1369/Laugh Clown, Laugh

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Laugh Clown, Laugh
Date of Scene: 19 January 2015
Location: Divided Equestria
Synopsis: Maud is chased into the depths of the catacombs of Baltimare for a final showdown. Where the truth is revealed.
Cast of Characters: 2, Maya, 264, 411, Mortimer Balman, 470, 475, 513, Ayako Hasekawa
Tinyplot: Crying Clowns

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    o/` ~ "I don't know what I was thinking. Leaving my life behind. Now I suffer a curse and now I am blind." ~ o/`

    It's time for a tour by cruise ship. Indeed, the best way to get to Baltimare without passing through a vast majority of Rarity's territory was decided to be a boat ride from somewhere in the domain of House Moon and Star, either Star Harbor or Port Town, and simply docking at the Baltimare ports. It's not the fastest means, having to hook around the coast at several points, but it's infinitely better than dealing with House Whitegold checkpoints and patrols.

    o/` ~ "With all this anger, guilt, and sadness, coming to haunt me forever... I can't wait for the cliff at the end of the river..." ~ o/`

    A joint operation has been sprung. The amazingly unlikely alliance of the killer, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Magister Twilight, The Syndicate, and The Union, leads to what may just be the most AWKWARD boat trip imaginable.
    The twins, Pound and Pumpkin Cake are seated on the front of the boat, sharpening knives, packing colorful odds and ends, Pound is even taking a few test swings of his favorite baseball bat.

    o/` ~ "Is this revenge I am seeking? Or seeking someone to avenge me? Stuck in my own paradox I wanna set myself free!" ~ o/`

    Pinkie, herself, is on the boat as well, walking along the rail and singing to herself to pass the time, as the boat pulls into the Baltimare docks. Getting through customs is suspiciously easy as the pink-clad clown slides something to the dock guards, who are instantly smiling with manic rictus grins and motioning for the crew to move along. And just like that everyone is in Baltimare. Though there's little time to see the sights of the city as she motions for everyone to gather around a manhole cover in the back of a dark alley.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
Eliot Ness is on the boat, obviously. He wouldn't have missed this particular conclusion to his latest arc of investigative work on this world. Earlier, he'd been disassembling a Thompson and putting it back together, along with sliding round after round into dozens of stick magazines for it.

At the moment he was pouring himself a cap-full of coffee from a genuine 1929 Vaccuum Flask and then drinking it down. The Thermos itself would be left on the boat, empty. He'd either come back for it later or see it replaced.

Either way, with his gun held in both hands, he approaches the manhole cover that Pinkie is gathering every around, "These lead to the catacombs you told me about?" He asks her as he slams a magazine up into his gun and then cocks it.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ooohhh... a ship ride! Ayako loves ships, boats, and of course anything to deal with water. And if there's something she can do to help, of course she'll be there! And so Ayako dressed in her witch outfit cheerfully rides on the ship. The broom that she usually rides upon is in her hands and... she's just absentmindedly sweeping the deck. Old habits die hard.

    Once the group arrives, Ayako collapses her broom and hangs it behind her horizontally-there seem to be straps on the back of her muffler for that. She quietly follows after the group and... then inclines her head at the sight of the manhole cover in the back of a dark alley. "A-ahh...? I take it... we're going down?"

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer is not so sing-songy along the way. The big black pony with the tattered cloak is just sitting there on the deck with his brass mask over his face, firmly attached to his horn, and calmly adjusting the wrappings on some sort of very large rectangularly shaped package. He's being pretty well dead silent, hasn't spoken a word since they left the safehouse unless it was absolutely necessary. It's not until they start going around Manehattan Island that he finally finishes wrapping the package- which is, by pony standards, pretty damned huge- and props it up on his back.

     He stares out at the edges of the island for a long time as the ship steadily floats by, head moving around to take in all the sights of the lights and the majestic structures and the cliffs.. And then he shakes his head, pulls the hood of the cloak down, and goes over to one side near the railings to settle on the starboard deck, letting his head rest on a coil of ropes. He now looks like a big pile of rags, you'd only there was a pony even there by the sharp, curved horn sticking out of them.

     Nettle is nowhere to be seen.

     Morty stays there for the entirety of the trip, just resting. He doesn't talk to anyone, not even to Pinkie, and he doesn't express anything out loud. He's in a pretty crap mood like that. When the trip ends, he quietly rises back to his hooves, follows after Pinkie, and waits patiently for further instructions.

Maya has posed:
Maya is also on the boat, boats never got much larger than a small speed boat on her world for the simple reason of there were no huge bodies of waters like oceans upon her world. Either way here she is trying to keep to deck and not ahem lose her balance upon the sea. She's not seasick but it is a concern for her given how little time she does spend on water based ships. She does look over to notice Mort for a moment and then back to Ayoko.

"It looks like it, Ayako."

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    The boat looks pretty inconspicuous... a sailboat with a crew of... are those earth ponies? They look like earth ponies! Where did Twilight get earth ponies to help her? They also feel a bit /off/ and one, at one point, grins enough to reveal rather sharp fangs.

    Twilight herself is in a hooded cloak, with a minor glamour around her to divert attention from her horn and hair. She isn't the best at that sort of magic, but it's a spell she's seen before. Simple enough. She is none to happy about seeing a manhole here. "I suppose it would be too much to ask for them to have a convenient hideout," she murmurs with a sigh. Well, at least she isn't Rarity, so she doesn't complain further than that.

Finna (513) has posed:

    That is the sound a happy dolphin makes when it LEAPS from the water near the bow's starboard side, majestically soars through the air over the deck... and splashes back down over the port.

    What the hell. Dolphins shouldn't be able to jump over a hundred feet out of the water, should they?

    let alone talk.

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Twilight Sparkle, the younger and less prone to anthropomorphic fits one, spent the ride in mostly silence. She was watching the other ponies, trying to figure out if she needed to act differently. Little Twilight is disguised just as Magister Twilight is, except hers is simpler. A long brown cloak with a hood that covers all but her nose and horn. She keeps close to Mortimer, the only pony she knows for sure won't hurt her. She doesn't really distrust the others, but she doesn't exactly trust them either. Then...a talking dolphin! "Oh my!"

     Having other Union members along helps to keep her calm as well. "So...the spell I made seems to be working quite well." she says softly to Mortimer as they approach the manhole.

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    She is armed with the usual clipboard, but also has a briefcase this time. It's a nice code-locked one, very expensive. The kind you give someone who just got promoted to an exec spot so he looks the part. Not that Homura doesn't look the part, dressed in a nice black and white formal suit.

    "That we can get to it probably makes it convenient enough, ma'am," she tells the Archmagister, before glancing at her actual boss. "Are we really sufficiently prepared for this? We don't know what to expect."

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    By the time everyone's grouped at the manhole, Pinkie makes a wordless hand signal that seems to make the twins very put out. It's an easy to read gesture, she merely jerks her thumb at the entrance of the alley, telling the two to hang back, stay here, and keep a lookout while the party moves on. Still humming as she crouches and starts sliding the manhole cover aside, the jester glances up.
    "Mmmmhm. There are entrances to the catacombs all over the city. I know most of them like the back of my hands and hooves buuuuut. There are some even I get lost in. Try to stick close. Maud's probably beaten us here." But then she tut tuts, once the heavy metal lid is slid aside with ease thanks to Earth Pony strength. "Convenient wouldn't be fun at all, Twilight." Noted as she peers into the darkness. "Oh I know what to expect down there. ... At least half of the Cult of Laughter ready to kill us~." She asides to Helpful Secretary before hopping into the darkness.

    o/` ~ "Justification is killing me... But is killing justified...?" ~ o/`

    One last verse and she quiets down, landing without a sound and beckoning for everyone to start following. For the record. It's a sewer. It smells horrible. You don't want to know what just floated by in the water right now. But a thump on a brick causes a wall to slide open, and the scenery changes drastically. Bricks no longer, the walls are now formed from hundreds upon hundreds of skulls, humanoid and equine in varying intervals, taking the place of bricks and mortared into place along a long corridor. It opens into a wider chamber, with indentations in the walls for full skeletons to stand, and mummified bodies dried with age to recline in eternal repose.
    "Whelp. It's not much, but it's home! Mi casa es su casa." Pinkie Pie chirrups, nabbing a skull off the wall to puppet the jaw with one hand. "Tea anyone? No thank you Jeeves, we're just passing through! Mmmmyeeees madame. Thank you Jeeves that will be all~."
    For all her jesting, though, Pinkie quiets down and sets the skull back into place. "If we're lucky we can find the other Cult Prophets- and Maud- without getting caught."

Finna (513) has posed:

    Finna didn't join the group until seemingly the last minute. Because a fox zipped down the manhole just before the last person was through. And... instead of strolling through the sludge, has been trotting ALONG THE WALL. ... As if the wall were the ground. It's trotting literally at a 90 degree angle from the ground. How's... that even work?

    Doesn't matter. She slides down to the walkway when Pinkie reveals the entranceway... "... Let's hope so!" the little white-furred creature replies, nose wrinkling and ears low against her head. Her tail's not wagging at all. But she sees the skulls and the bodies, the stench of death is starting to overpower the stench of waste...

    "Out of one reek and into another."

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
"As ready as I can be. I already told you this is far out of my wheelhouse, but I'm gonna make due," Ness says to the secretary next to him. He has a serious look on his face as he gives her a hard stare, "Which is why I'm trusting you to have my back." Which is something that's hard for Ness to admit, considering who he is elseworld and the reliability of trusting other people.

Ness stops at the bottom of the manhole and waits, looking around. It's disgusting down here, but he is polite enough not to remark. And a veteran of Chicago enough to simply let it go unsaid as well. He waits at the bottom and folds his hands in front of himself. When Magister Twilight reaches the bottom, it is revealed why he waited: 1920s Codes of Conduct.

"Would you like to be carried so as not to dirty your robes, maam? Or will you simply be levitating?" It's a weird question for him to be asking, but one that is polite in its intention. After getting an answer either way, he will take off after Pinkie, wanting to keep up with her.

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mort's masked face briefly looks at the twins, hesitating for a moment, then walking inside of the tunnel behind Pinkie. He takes off the mask at long last- because he might need to set someone on fire- and, still quite wordless, plods along after her. The thing strapped to his back is adjusted so that it can point forward over his shoulder without hitting the walls. He pauses to glance at all the skulls.. There is a sigh and an irritated grunt, and he starts walking along again. A small fire appears on his horn- once he's sure the methane concentrations aren't TOO high- to provide a simple torch so that it's not too damned dark for them to see. He's watching the walls as intently as he's watching the corridor. Never know if something's gonna spring to life around here..

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako smiles softly at Maya and then looks back down at the manhole. "While I do go down drains all the time, not everyone likes going into sewers..."

    She peers down the open manhole once Pinkie slides the the cover aside. "People sure love hiding places in sewers, though... Well, there are times I'm happy that I can't smell! Because people who can always act so disgusted whenever they go in." She winces slightly when she hears there are likely people down there ready to kill them all. "I'll do my best to make sure no one does get killed, then." Ayako nods her head once. Then she hops into the open manhole and floats gently down, pushing her skirt down with her hands as she does so.

    She follows quietly after the group... and then blinks her eyes quickly at the... decor of Pinkie Pie's... home(?). Skulls. Skeletons. Mummfied bodies even. How macabre. "That's... quite... Hmm... quite a theme you have going here."

Maya has posed:
Now they are no longer on the boat any longer andf they are about the manhole at this point and she wonders at the entaceway and she looks to 'Finna for a moment wondering somehin t but does not say anthing else takes a moment to prep a small protection spell for herself and moves on towards it.

"Can't blame you there Ayako it's nasty for about anyone to go down in there and you have no idea the things I found in the Sewers on my world."

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Twilight Sparkle looks down at her hooves as Mortimer seems too distracted to hear her question. She follows Pinkie as well, and like the others her face crinkles as the smell hits her. "...ohmy..." she says, having a slight Rarity moment. A sewer? Ewww! But, she is here, and she is determined to help this world, so she carefully makes her way down and after Pinkie.

     The decor of Pinkie's home doesn't help Twilight at all. She ends up staring at the skull walls and the mummified bodies. "...when did skulls become the new party balloon?" she says softly.

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    While Eliot is very nice, Magister Twilight shakes her head at the offer. "N... no, I think I can walk myself." She drops down after the others, a shimmer from her horn repelling the filth... if not the smell that makes her nose wrinkle.

    Finna joining them, and the others that she is mostly unfamiliar with, doesn't seem to perturb the Archmagister. She's watching them to get an idea of who they are, what they will do. At least the younger her she can somewhat predict.

    "Welcome to one of your possible futures," she says to Twilight Sparkle. The mage, still in humanoid form, summons up a little sparkling light as well, but she uses her left hand to do so. "Let us hope for your sake that something better than this happens, for your world."

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    Homura is mostly quiet as they go in; the decor, while macabre, doesn't entirely bother her. She nods to Eliot, mostly remaining behind him and the Archmagister. She doesn't have anything especially important to add or say, and so does not. She just scribbles things on her clipboard, evidently not bothered by the reduction in visibility.

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    Twirling 'Jeeves' on the top of one finger like a basketball, the pink-clad clown idly tosses Ayako the skull. "Well duh, I mean it was only the most obvious place to hide a whole cult. 'The dead always laugh last', and all is kind of the motto."
    It's dark- near pitch black in fact, with no sources of natural light, and the chill tomb air is saturated with the smell of bone dust and leather. Though Mort and the Archmagister suddenly becoming a source of light earns 'cut it, cut it!' motion from Pinkie- who seems to know her way around in the murk easily.
    Nevertheless it had been going well enough until an echo sounds out from the gloom. It's cheery music. ... Followed by a reedy, cackle of a voice.

    o/` ~ "This is your time to pay... This is your judgment day! We've made a sacrifice... And now we get to take your life!" ~ o/`

    Bright as the song sounds, the lyrics are incredibly unfriendly as halberds thrust out from the walls, several Harl-Equines, without their unicycles, cleverly disguised at mummies suddenly springing to life with wild giggling laughter and assaulting in the cramped quarters, quickly filling the tight space with bladed staves and clopping hooves, hooting and squealing.

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer, who had been- y'know, watching the damn walls- was anticipating something like this. At Pinkie's command his horn quickly snuffs out. Fine, just adjust to the dark then. She knows what she's doing, this is her run. There's another irritated grunt at the sound of the harl-equines and then the package on his back is launched forward, the end of it gripped in his teeth- which looks awkward but he's had a LOT of time to practice, and despite the immense size of the pack, he wields it as though it were light as a feather. The end is being used to jab at the harl-equines and to slap their halberds out of the way.

     Either they back off or he's gonna start poking them full of holes.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
With the submachine gun held in one hand, Ness has an old-style flashlight held in the other, waving it around a bit to cut through the darkness. He seems on-guard and uneasy, wanting to move slowly and carefully. He also doesn't seem too bothered that the Archmagister turned down his offer.

He jumps back, defensively crossing an arm across the Archmagister as the halberds come out. He raises the gun up with one hand and then tries to finagle gripping the front with the other. He plants his feet firmly and then lets loose with short bursts of fire, trying to perforate his attackers with crisp bursts from his weapon.

Finna (513) has posed:
    The moment Finna hears the clinking of metal weapons moving around from IN FRONT, she reacts. The mark of the moon appears faintly on her tiny forehead, providing barely enough light for anyone to see by. Sure, it reveals her location... but foxes have EXCELLENT nightvision, and she's an Exalt on top of that. She doesn't need much light to see almost as if it were day. Or at least... to function almost that well.

    She dives past the cultists, counting on the fact that some tiny animal's probably not the first thing they'd swing at, and flexes her claws. Faint silvery light emanates from her claws, fangs, and tail... and she goes for a TACKLING BACKSTAB. There's not much force, given her small size, but getting the back of your neck chopped CANNOt be good.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako blinks her eyes when Pinkie Pie tosses her the skull. She tries to catch it-fumbling for a few moments, but then stablizes it in her hands. "I don't know about laugh last," Her hands turn the skull towards Pinkie, "but they certainly smile last." She places the skull back where Pinkie found and grabbed it and bows lightly towards it. She's respectful of the dead at least.

    Ayako blinks her eyes slowly when she starts to hear the cheery music and then grabs her broom that is secured behind herself the moment she hears the cackle. The broom quickly uncollapses as she stabs the brush downwards at the ground. "Emergency Water Bubble!" A bubble of water forms about everyone in the group!

    Normally, Water Bubble is a barrier that barely does anything. But Emergency Water Bubble tries to slow down incoming attacks-hopefully enough for everyone present to evade, parry, or block! However, said slowing effect only lasts a minute at most. After, the barrier appears to fade away. It's still there, but it doesn't appear to do anything. Still, a minute is better than nothing, and it still works as the foundation for Ayako's other barriers!

Maya has posed:
Maya is movving along with everyone else and halts for a moment at the song she now gets on edge as she listens and sees that others are showing up at this point she unshoulders her rifle at this point. She's ready to lay down some fire if things keep going she eyes those ahead of them for a moment but she's not oging to be the first one to fire. The Magister's comment to the Twilight she knows better is a little chilling as she thinks about an alternate of herslf she fought a long time ago. However Ayako's spell is welcome and she's about ready as she's about ever going to be for this.

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Twilight Sparkle notices the fox running along the wall a bit belatedly. "Oh! That is a neat power. It makes me wish I had practice such gravity-defying magic." she says. As Magister Twilight speaks to her, Twilight Sparkle's ears splay. "I still think there must have been something you could have done in order to prevent this." she says before...eek! Harl-equines!

     Twilight's horn glows as the homicidal jokesters attack. She has had experience in battle since becoming the Knight of Magic, but she isn't used to such close quarters combat. She does her best to dodge any attacks that come her way, or tries to counter them with telekinetic magic while firing beams of energy to defend herself and the others. "I...I suppose it is to be expected...that we would be-eeek! ..attacked in the base of an enemy faction!" Twilight manages between attacks and dodges.

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    What does a secretary do when combat breaks out? Basically a whole lot of standing back and using Eliot and the Archmagister for cover. She doesn't comment on the matter of avoiding this situation, mostly because her answer would both be harsh and insulting to the woman she's using as combat cover. Don't anger the people you're using for protection, and all that.

    Occasional bullets might streak along Ness', as if he'd fired twice; the careful eyes and ears would notice that, but as usual it's not like there's too obvious a source. Certainly couldn't be the meek secretary standing back, could it?

    "We are making a lot of noise. If they did not know we are here before it will be difficult to hide it from here onward."

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    As soon as Pinkie motions for the light to go out, Twilight cuts the light and follows with the ambient glow instead. She'll just have to deal. It earns another sigh, but for now she sticks close to Ness and follows Pinkie's lead. "Such grim surroundings for a laughing cult," she murmurs. Not that she's surprised.

    The attack comes and forces Twilight to step back. She doesn't think anything of it when she retaliates against the nearest one, acting quickly and without thought about what, exactly, she is doing. That being, numerous dark crystalline growths will begin sprouting on the nearest Harl-equine, in an attempt to encase them completely.

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    The cramped and tight passages of the catacombs are going to make any fight a nightmare, and with the Harl-Equines reach thanks to their polearms, they're prettymuch trying to make a wall of steel and mercilessly jab and poke the sharp ends. Stealth is now out of the option by the time the fight so much as begins so Ness pumping lead into the group ahead is really not going to have a downside, as several go down in squawks and trilling bleats of pain, some crumpling and not getitng back up.
    "Don't stay around to fight them, now we REALLY need to go before more come to box us in." Pinkie hisses. Indeed, already more echoes can be heard from the way everyone came, as she slides into a sidepath. "Seriously, stick close. It's no joke if you get lost down here, no one will ever find you." That's probably good incentive to beat feat as Mortimer starts swatting halberds aside, and between that and the wily arctic fox manages to flank and start tearing into the ranks from behind.
    With a path opened, Pinkie slides back into view, just slightly beyond the Harl-Equines, motioning for the others to follow, the bubble presenting a means of keeping the remaining killer clowns from getting by a bit longer as telekinetic force and crystal stasis deal with the last of the initial encounter.
    But where those were stymied, more rush through the catacombs, the clatter of hooves and the wicked giggles of glee and song reverberate along the skull-adorned walls. They chase the shole way, as Pinkie swerves and makes sudden turns, left, right, right, straight, left, left, left, right- the place really is a maze, that only comes to a halt when she skids to a stop in front of a large door of heavy wood and bone. Voices can be heard on the other side, deep in heated arguement. The door however is locked on first attempt.
    There is still the issue of fresh Harl-Equines giving chace, however.

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Irritable grunt. Smacking another halberd out of the way, Mortimer crouches down and slides the weapon back over his back- the wrappings are rapidly falling away, revealing the bright glint of orichalcum and red jade. The daiklave neatly slides back into its hold and then Mortimer suddenly races ahead at impossible speeds. A blaze of flame trails in his wake for a few brief moments- if the Harl-Equines don't get out of the way, they'll get caught in the blaze and roasted alive. But the flames die down after only a few moments, so one way or the other, there's a hole for people to start running through. Mortimer is of course, following after Pinkie. The others should be able to keep up, he presumes.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako holds her broom horizontally and then hops onto it side-saddle. The broomstick floats of course! If anyone wants a ride, there is space by the brush! She quickly floats after Pinkie Pie, although she does look back frequently to make sure no one is left behind, has tripped, or-especially after Pinkie Pie warns them, lost.

    She comes to a halt at the large wood-and-bone door, though. "Uhh... Hmm..." Ayako gives the door a try! Locked. "I don't suppose anyone knows how to pick locks? I mean... I could try but... I'm not very good at it and it would take a while..."

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     With a path cleared and the promise of being lost in here forever...or at least until the Cult of Laughter gets ahold of her...Twilight Sparkle is quick to follow after Pinkie. Once everyone is down the tunnel Pinkie is taking, Twilight erects a magical shield wall behind them to try and limit the number of pursuers. Of course, in places like this there are usually multiple paths to the same place.

     "We should definitely hurry!" Twilight says in a bit of a panicked tone. She lets Mortimer and Ness handle the heavy fighting, and focuses her attention on limiting the number of cultists that can reach them even as she follows as quickly as she can after Pinkie.

Finna (513) has posed:
    With the group making progress and only getting stymied by a door, the arctic fox - so very out of her environment - shifts to human. Finna's caste mark is still glowing, but only faintly.

    "Locks? Pfeh. Maybe I'll be lucky and it'll be one that's actually a challenge!" yup. She knows a few things about locks alright. "Though perhaps our guide has a key?"

    And if Pinkie doesn't... well, Finna has lockpicks, and will get to using them.

    No respectable Rogue build Changing Moon can leave home without them.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
Despite her doing nothing, Ness still gives the secretary a nod of his head, "Thanks," He says before turning off his flashlight and slipping it into his jacket. He grips the gun fully in both hands and takes off jogging. He'll keep his pace slow, though. he wants to migrate to the back of the group as they head through the tunnel.

The reason for that is pretty obvious: He's going to take rear flank and give covering fire to the others. He has a slim advantage in having a firearm versus their polearms, and so when he can get to the back of the group, he's still firing off bursts with his gun. Every now and then, taking a stick magazine out of the Thompson, letting it clatter to the floor of the caves before slamming another one in and opening fire.

He doesn't mind falling a bit behind and using his Chicago Typewriter to give these guys a strongly-worded letter.

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    Twilight hurries after, in no position to want to deal with close-quarters battling. "Thank you again, Agent Ness," is all she states. She's quiet to the rest, frowning heavily at the pursuit.

    Most of the rest of her attention settles on Twilight Sparkle the younger. Another gesture and glow of her horn summons up more black crystals, blocking off other potential avenues. "Do not use this, Twilight, until the time that it seems right. It is very dangerous magic."

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    "I can agree with that," Homura replies to Pinkie as she urges them to Hurry The Fuck Up and not waste time on the endless undead hordes. Generally a bad idea, especially in the zombies' home turf. Or cultists. Whatever these are. Past a point you probably lose track of what's living and what's semi-living and what isn't in here.

    It does occur to her, at least, that if she's going to play the secretary role she can probably extrapolate what someone like that could do. Logically you're looking at... paper or information related magic? But she's not posing as a unicorn, so, it should probably be kept to a minimum.

    She rips a few sheets of paper off her clipboard and hurls them behind as they run. With a little bit of time magic abuse, it's pretty trivial to use a sword and make it look like the paper's cutting cultists and zombies up. The wounds won't match at all, but unless people are paying attention that's fine, in this environment.

Maya has posed:
Maya gets the warning from Pinku to not get bogged down fighting at this point she moves to force them out of her way where she needs to but is clealry going to be pressing forward at this point. She keeps an eye on the kilelr clowns should they do anything else she just keeps with their guide wondering about this place she's nto lying it's a hell of a max when she thinks about it. Maya is joining Ness and the others in their attacks her rifle winds up with a whine and starts spitting rounds, shell casing fly out of her weapon but maya makes not pause to slam in a fesh clip the rounds just seem to keep comming.

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    The group is fairly effective in holding off the oncoming horde of cackling clowns while stopped at the door. Finna sets to handling the lock while Pinkie pantomimes rummaging through her pockets frantically, and for a moment things are looking pretty close. For every insane jester put down by bullets, timehax-swordery, and magic, another sidepath spits out two more.
    It is a HARD lock, but not hard enough to deter a skilled rogue child of Luna, and with a POP it comes undone.
    The door opens and THEN Pinkie gives a flick of her wrist, an ornate key sliding out of her sleeve. "OH that's where I put it!"
    Still, the door is unlocked, and the group BUSTS in on a very heated meeting, one that doesn't even seem interrupted by the slam and click of the door locking once again.
    The room is dimly lit, a large circular chamber lined with skull walls staring at the occupants. The chamber is dominated by a large table, carved from macabre ivory, and set with seven places and six thrones, and a casket at the head of the table, each made entirely from a specific type of bone. Maud Pie stands in the center of the room, facing down the Prophets of the Cult. And six of the thrones are occupied.
    Just like she completely owns the place, Pinkie saunters to the throne made wholly of skulls just beside the casket and flomps into it.
    The meeting of the prophets is in session. And none are happy at this intrusion.
    "Pinkamena what is the MEANING of this?!" That comes from an old ass of a man, wearing bright robes and a silly hat. He's also wearing a scowl as he shoves a painted mask on his face.
    "Oh. The replacement is here." Maud sighs. "I was hoping to get this done without interruption."
    Whatever her plans were sets the rest of the table into an uproar, various curses and insults slung at the necromancer from half the table, the other, ominously silent.
    "I know EXACTLY what went wrong with your plan, Maud!" A blonde pegasus-woman with googly golden eyes and a messenger bag, says as she slides her mask on upside down. Another woman adjusts her glasses with a stern glower. One seat sits empty.
    And in the glass casket is... A serene figure. Curly pink hair, a simple white dress and...
    The Element of Laughter is in the casket with her. Though the gold and sapphire necklace rests at base... Split in half with a jagged crack, long since emptied of power. And the coffin is marked...
    'There is no more laughter with you gone. You will always be missed.'
    Pinkie-- the living one in the throne kicks her feet up on the table. "Looks like we're just in time for something good, huh, guys?"

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer surveys the room once he's able to back inside of. ...Ditzy Doo.. Cranky Doodle.. ..And of course, Maud. And there in the casket. ...The body of Pinkie. So serene, a pleasant smile. His hood suddenly bursts into flames as his mane changes from hair to a raging fire. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. And I shouldn't be any angrier about this situation than I already am. And yet.. There it is." His overtired eyes start twitching a bit, and his teeth are clenched so hard they're threatening to break from the strain. "I am getting /really/ damned tired of seeing familiar faces of people I like that are on the "skeletons I need to break" list.. Please.. Just /surrender/." He looks angry but he sounds exhausted. Emotionally exhausted to a severe degree.

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Younger Twilight nods at Magister Twilight's warning, then hurries into the open room. It is only once the door is closed that she realizes they are interrupting some sort of meeting. A meeting that seems to feature...a dead Pinkie Pie. "I..." Twilight starts to speak, then Mortimer starts speaking. She waits for him to finish, then looks at Pinkie. "What is going on? These ponies seem to know you." she says, then looks around. "Um...I am not sure we are in time for someting 'good'."

     Twilight fully expects some kind of final confrontation, and so she summons her Harmony Armor. Swirling sparkles of purple and white flow around her, coalescing into the armor and the magical book that goes with it.

Finna (513) has posed:
    The moment Pinkie draws out the key... Finna makes the WEIRDEST grinning face at her. Amused. But maybe a little murderous. Maybe just a little.

    Wasting the group's time, she was!

    By the time the group strolls out into the main room, Finna is once again in fox form. Except she's also practically faded from sight! Instead of streaming out with others to confront the cultists she's attempting to slip around the edges of the room with her presence veiled with Lunar power - inattentive eyes might quickly slip elsewhere instead of fixing on her. And once out of sight, out of mind.


    The only question is... just what is she planning?

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako blinks her eyes quickly when... Pinkie Pie had the key to the door the whole time? Oh well. She floats after the group on her broomstick and... well. She has no idea what exactly is going on. So she simply watches with her head inclined to the side gently.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
Ness would normally be trying to arrest this room full of people, but there's so many things to react to beyond it. So instead, he falls to step next to the Elder Twilight and hoists his gun up against his shoulder. He takes a cigarette out of his jacket and presses it to the barrel of his gun, lighting it before then looking over to the woman.

"Who's that in the coffin?"

He asks of the one who, you know, is ostensibly his boss at this moment. He will deal with the rest of the room once he gets that answer. Assuming he does.

Once he does, he looks out towards the room again and says, "Federal Agent, House Moon and Star. I have a warrant for Maud Pie's arrest." He rolls his neck a bit and then pops it, "Here's the bargain I'm offering. That one..." He points to Maud, "Is coming with us. Mass murder, the whole nine yards. You all, I don't have enough evidence on to arrest. You give her to me, I can't charge you with a thing. You help her get away, aiding and abetting."

He shrugs his shoulders, "I think it's a simple call for you all."

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    The chairs are pretty ominous in make. One wonders whose bones those are. Probably random, all things considered, but probably not something to ask either way. 'Pinkie' slides into her throne, reminding Homura that for all she's being helpful they shouldn't get too comfortable either. But then the same could be said of the Archmagister, in a completely different way.

    How strong are the cult leaders, that's a good question. One they'll probably find out first-hand whether they want to or not. It's going to depend on how 'in' on Maud's plan these people are. The ongoing debate between the leaders seems to indicate disagreements, though, or at least incomplete plans.

    There's also the matter of 'if Pinkie's in that coffin, how are you her?' but that's a fair bit easier to write theories on. Possession, maybe. Or just a lie. Reincarnation, on the extreme end? Hard to say, like everything else.


    Her eyes fixate on Eliot as he steps forward, exposing himself to anything they elect to throw at him. She is extremely ready to intervene, even if it'll give things away more than she'd like.

Maya has posed:
SO they catch the leaders of the cult with htier pants don to to speak as she keeps her rifle slightly lowered and she looks at them all and Mort is the first to ask for their surrender there's no need to zay it again she holds her weapon waiting to see ho w they respond to this? She can only guess what Finna's up to. Maya seem redy for a fight and it's not because she thinks the cults leaders are weak, it's more she's got an idea of what her compaions are able to do. She gets the idea of an interal schism is going on here the cult seems to be turning upon itself.

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    As Twilight steps into the room, she tugs back the hood of her cloak, revealing who she is more clearly. Ness beat her to a declaration, but she can plainly speak, "Federal Agent's statement is fully backed by House Moon and Star. I have that authority, and I believe you all know it. In light of the /unusual/ circumstances I am willing to cut a deal, so that Pinkie Pie's body is not risked."

    The declaration is said in a dry, clinical tone. Twilight is avoiding direct contact between her eyes and Pinkie's body, as well. "Now, what is going on here that you did not wish to invite 'Pinkamena' as well." The air quotes are pretty obvious.

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    [Grumbling Intensifies]
    Indeed, the Chamber of Prophets is rife with silent yet palpable aggression. Pinkamena prettymuch just handed the identities of the Cult Prophets to the Archmagister on a plate tonight, but there are more important matters and even they understand that much. Which might be why Cranky Doodle gives a wave of his hand. "By all means TAKE her," He practically spits. Even Derpy is mad as she thunks her fist on the table. "She really blew it! I should have never let Cheese talk me into giving her a chance. I feel so dumb." Huffed as Mayor Mare gives her a light pat on the back.
    The offer is an easy way out for the lot of them, and after Maud has failed the cult as badly as she did, the general concensus seems to be to just hand her right over.
    "We were just discussing Maud's punishment." Cranky hisses at Twilight-the-elder. "But it looks like that will be handled. I do not brook failure."
    Pinkie just leans right over to Ayako and stage whispers, "The High Prophet has blood pressure problems." But then she hoops her arm around younger Twilight's neck. "Of course they know me, silly. This is my chair! I'm the Prophet of Laughter!"
    No, the Prophet collective don't seem to notice Finna in the midst of the debacle, by then Maud just... Heaves a heavy sigh.
    "Sorry. Not part of my plans." The necromancer lazily monotones. "I'll be waking my sister now."
    How an earth pony breed woman could get so powerful in maguc is almost a mystery. But it looks like she's had time to prepare the chamber beforehand as a sigil of purple light forms at her feet, a terrible runic design spanning the whole floor of the chamber as it activates, chilling the room with a sudden drop in temperature. The ceiling rumbles, the prophets begin to panic- and Derpy is the first the blitz out of the room at a frantic pace, but the spell is done. The glass coffin cracks. It shatters open, and the body within comes tumbling out with a pathetic crumple. It doesn't look like it did much at first. But the tingle on the air, rife with energy says something is every wrong. As a subtle whisper of an ominous giggle seems to silently filter on the air.


    Pinkie is no longer kicking her feet up on the table. She's suddenly cowering behind her throne.

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     It's not a mystery to Mortimer who all those people are. But then, Equestrian citizen of a different time. He'd recognize them by nature if not by appearance. By voice too probably. "What.. Maud. Maud what are you-" And then the spell is cast. Mortimer's eyes go wide. "...Aw, Hell." And that's pretty much all he can say, backing up a few paces with a look of extreme apprehension on his face. "Oh, Maud, what have you /done/.." A rhetorical statement, not an actual question.

     Somewhere in Mortimer's head, Nettle is screaming.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
"Tch," says Eliot. The prophets have basically disavowed involvement and handed her over, which means he only has to worry about one opponent instead of who knows how many. The Agent keeps an even look on his face.

That calm breaks for a moment as Maud denies her arrest and claims she will be waking her sister. He's unsure how to process the threat, and his footing shakes on the ground. A hand comes up to make sure his hat doesn't fall off before Ness says, "I'm growing tired of your witchcraft, woman."

"You may have caught me off guard last time, but you're not the only one that knows magic. I prepared after the last time and learned a spell of my own," Ness notes, holding his hand out towards Maud Pie. Gloved hands slowly curl and he says, "Now. Die."

His fingers let out a quick and decisive snapping noise. It does nothing, but provide a framework for what someone else is about to do for him to make Ness look like he got magic powers.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako blinks her amber eyes once. Then twice. Wait... waking your sister now? But no one's slee-

    Then the sigil of purple light ignites and fills the floor of teh chamber. "Uh oh." The glass coffin breaks and... Ayako decides to abruptly float her way behind the group!

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     As Maud casts that spell, Twilight becomes even MORE confused. And the question she had earlier seems even more important now. "Wait! H-how can that Pinkie rise? Aren't -you- the risen Pinkie?!" Twilight exclaims to the now cowering Pinkie. "How can there be two of you? Unless...she is animating your body with magic!"

     Whether that is true or not, the very idea that someone is desacrating the remains of an alternate version of a very dear friend makes the younger Twilight...angry! "Stop this madness right now! I don't know what you hope to accomplish, but I cannot allow you to continue your disrespectful treatment of the dead!" the purple pony demands as her spell book starts to spin in place, its pages opened toward Maud and the risen Pinkie. Twilight's horn glows, then a ray of magical energy bursts forth, attempting to break whatever spell Maud has cast and let Pinkie slip back into peaceful slumber.

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    This is all very worrying, as Nathan would put it.
    Necromancy of someone like Pinkie Pie isn't the same as just a horde of zombies. She just profaned her god's body, didn't she? Or did she honor it, technically? This cult is fucked up.

    Homura keeps her best poker face on though.
    She is quite safe behind the Archmagister, after all.

    As Eliot's fingers snap and he gestures towards Maud Pie though, there is a thunderous noise in the room, the telltale sound of an anti-materiel rifle firing in a closed room. Bad for your ears, although the sound is off, oddly delayed. Easy to mistake for just any other noise.

    That doesn't quite change the fact there's a .50 caliber round headed for Maud's head, fired from somewhere above and in front of her, so as to hit the ground afterwards rather than someone else. There may not be a head left so much as a shower of gore and brain bits on everyone, if Pinkie's sister can't defend herself. (Spoiler: she probably can.)

    But don't look at that boring secretary.
    She really is just a boring secretary right now.
    Pushing her glasses up, taking notes.
    Briefcase still unopened, but put on the ground now.

Finna (513) has posed:

    In truth, Finna had... no plan whatsoever. Had this been her own operation, she'd probably be sneaking around and hurling knives for throats and never speaking about this again.

    Or preparing an ambush to have everyone brought before a council for judgement, maybe, but magic users are hell to properly disarm...

    But from the corner of the room her gaze is fixated on the corpse that was just animated. She cannot explain it, but her gut is screaming 'DANGEr, DANGER, STAY AWAY.'

    Despite there being no obvious weapons or dangerous things about this risen body...

    The little fox is disoriented by Homura's rifle antics, forced to take a step back and shake her head to try and clear the ringing in her ears. But she's left peering at Eliot - what the HELL was that?

Maya has posed:
Maya's keeping a cool head as some of the cult seems ready to stand down. That was a change and not expected however one does not and then coems the horrible necromaitc powers and Maya stomach chu4rnch at the act she moves back she sees what has been done as the necromantic powers have brought the dead back in such a way there seems to be something home for a moment.


Maya's inflection on the tone is dripping with more than a bit of disgust there.

She readis her weapon and seems to be charging it with magic as she brings some of it's more powerful systems online. Then the crack of the anti material rifle come and it's not enjoyable her ears are ringing. She doe snot fire on the rising dead Twilight's making her attempt and she'll lets her try before she opens up and homrua also has the other hopefully handled? Also damn it her ears.

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    The Archmagister is already displeased, and hearing that Maud was to be punished only briefly mollifies her. "Then there will be no trouble today." Of course she has the identities, but that really is secondary to stopping the undead problems.

    But animating Pinkie?

    Twilight is suddenly FURIOUS.


    All at once, the numerous tattoos around markings all upon Twilight's body flare to vivid, glowing purple life. Her eyes narrowed, she seethes in visible rage, and it is only worsened when her other self is forced to try to strike down Pinkie. All at once, chairs and tables, even the walls themselves sprout tendrils of stone or wood, ripping outward and all aiming to strike at Maud, seeking to envelop her in their questing reach.

    The shots and sounds of battle ripping through the air slam into the pink shield that she raises. It's not ineffective... Twilight's body twitches at the explosion of noise, but she's too angry to actually feel it.

    "I was going to take you to trial, Maud... but I think a better place for you to stay has been found," Twilight speaks. And there's an odd rippling in the air, as of something very /wrong/ trying to reach through.

    "No less than TARTARUS!"

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    Whatever Maud had tried to do... Is done. Though the corpse remains right where it is, the lights gutter out as candles flicker. But the necromancer suddenly defiling the corpse results in an outcry.
    Pinkie seems to be too busy cowering in terror behind her throne.
    Glowing scarlet eyes open in the darkness. And then a cheshire grin of murderous shark teeth, and a headache-inducing psychic voi<span class=" bold_fg_r bg_n ++ e.

    chr">~</span>What do I spy with my little eye? Someones purple and smart, well versed in magic art. A squad of fools all played like a harp, and a sister who oversteps her part.~

    Maud looks smug for a moment before The Laughing Mare mocks her as well, an indignant look forming on her face before she begins to sweat. Twilight's threats of Tartarus actually seem to unnerve the emotionless necromancer, but she's spared that. Not even given a chance to scoff Ness there's suddenly a hole in her forehead. It was not there a second ago, and she looks confused by this matter as the very large exit hole paints her brain matter all over the walls behind her.
    As she crumples to her knees and slumps in a pool of blood, a pink hoof steps from the shadows and onto the flowing cpread of crimson. It's a small pink pony. With curly pink mane... Thoroughly rotten, face tugged into a rictus leer as she does a little bow. She stamps, and then pran<span class=" bold_fg_r bg_n ++ es.

    chr">~</span>Now why all the fuss? Just look at this nasty muss... Maud Pie, your death would bring a tear to my eye. If I still had any left to cry.~ The laughing mare titters before canting her head.

    Oh the room is full of dread energies, shadows licking at the walls as the monstrous phantom, wearing the broken Element of Laughter trots circles around the group. To Finna, she will smell like nothing but rot and decay, a vile, twisted retching scent of dark magic and hate. It is as she said, no one returns from the dead the same. Necromancy at its worst. And for an instant this TERRIBLE thing thrusts itself in little Twilight's face, before casting that murderous leer to the elder.

    ~What's this? A blast from the past? Twilight you haven't aged a day, but now I wish you'd just go away.~ Tittered mockingly before she looks to Ness and Homura. Mainly at Ness because it's not like that secretary did anything. Or did she?

    ~Neat trick! Teach me sometime. That is... If you're still alive to keep fighting crime.~

    A cantering clop-clop and she floats to the top of the room, giving a yanking tug on the air and ripping Pinkie out from behind her throne with a yelp. There's a glimmer. A faint shimmer as the threads of marionette strings become visible, connecting the clown to the terrible dark THING that starts to make her dance. ... And then meld into the shadows, suddenly lunging out in blurringly fast strokes to stab at everyone with dark blades.

    ~It's been too long since I've had some fun. This'll be hilarious. I HOPE YOU DON'T RUN!~

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer blinks. "You.." Nettle screaming in his head. "So.. So THAT'S it, huhn.." The old war pony suddenly explodes into a violent and bright flame, the daiklave on his back is kicked up and then stabbed into the ground, likewise bursting into flames that emanate from the red jade, catching the dark stab thing just before it can pierce his face. He gets it now. And he's not going to be holding back any longer. "Take it DOWN. Take it down NOW!" Bellowing out that as loudly as he can, before taking off like his legs were spring-loaded and racing around to get to the other side. A bright plume of blue-hot flames shoots out of his mouth, licking at the Laughing Mare's heels.

     "OVER HERE, GODLING! C'mon! I'm a meatier treat than these children are! C'MON! C'MON MAREMOUNTER, C'MON!" He pauses long enough to breathe out another gout, rising up on his hinds and kicking his forehooves out threateningly.

Maya has posed:
Maya is not going to play around at this point she levels the rifle again as the undead pony speaks to eveyrone else she looks at Maud for a moment she sees the other Pinkie? Is terrifed at this point, and Homura's shot puts an end to Maud in short oder now. She sthinks ther's one less necromancer to deal with and now she turns towards them for a moment. She's going to need more than her rifle she suspects but she does open fire at the reanimated undead to a burst of fire from her rifle, shells go flying but maya's now being envloped by blue fire she's tapping her magical reserves for something else but she's going to need some time...

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Younger Twilight...doesn't know what to say or do. Even how to react. Maud Pie was just splattered like mincemeat all over the back wall. Twilight Sparkle has never been exposed to such things before. She finds herself just staring at the fallen form of the Pie sister.

     That is, until the Laughing Mare lunges at her. Twilight yelps and jumps back as the grotesque...creature is suddenly in her face. But, as soon as the Laughing Mare backs away, Twilight huffs and frowns. "Run away? Whatever you are, be it the real Pinkie or some dark manifestation of her damaged spirit, I will not abide it! You will go back to whatever dark realm you came from!" Twilight exclaims, her mane and tail starting to flow in a magically-induced wind. Her horn glows brightly. She puts up a shield of protection, but with such a short casting it can only weaken the blows against the others while deflecting those against her. Then, Twilight Sparkle starts firing...mage lights. Yes. Not attack spells, just magical, bright lights. In an attempt to banish the shadows from the room, she fires them into every corner, under the table, behind the chairs...under her allies. Anywhere there could be a shadow.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
Ness watches the rifle take the head clean off of Maud Pie. He runs a finger over the brim of his hat and says simply, "One situation where being head and shoulders above those around you did not pay off, now did it? Rest in peace, witch."

Ness hardly has enough time to savor his (mostly Homura's) minor victory as osmeone else has stepped to the field. The Treasury Agent curls his hands into fists, trying to figure out his next move as a being he's never dealt with in his life steps into the field.

Hazel eyes carefully take in all his options: Both versions of the purple-haired girl seem angry. His secretary is reliable as ever. The one with fire is attempting to attract attention. Pinkie is currently in hid- oh no. She's back on the field.

THAT is a mistake on the part of the Laughing Mare, because Ness KNOWS Pinkie's special gimmick. At least enough to know what is coming next. Feet plant on the ground as a thin knife SLAMS into his midsection, actually causing him to come a couple inches up off the ground with the force of Pinkamena's stab before dress shoes settle on the ground again. But that knife didn't hit flesh, because there's a metallic scraping noise as he settles to the ground again, "I don't fall for the same trick twice. Remember who you are, little girl. Don't let it end here."

He lifts up the submachine gun in his hands and SLAMS the butt of the weapon right down onto that mask the assassin wears with all the force his body can muster. Stepping back away, he still has more to do. He looks at the Laughing Mare, "That ain't all my tricks."

Ness has enough trust in Homura to just... wing it. Because he doesn't give her a precall, instead opting to just swipe his hand through the air and then thrust his palm forward as if casting a spell.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako flinches at the sound of the anti-material sniper rifle going off and has to take a while to recover from it. Just one of the downsides to being made of water. She does recover in time to look at Pinkie suddenly being puppetted by marionette strings. Her amber eyes dart around quickly... and then she notes Finna! She's going to have some trouble getting in close while everyone else has ranged attacks.

    Ayako gathers her hands together and then thrusts her palms towards Finna. "Purifying Water of Acheron!" And a circular barrier of flowing water forms about Finna. This one of course, is meant to help Finna against dark magic and give her own attacks an anti-dark edge to it!

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    Well that worked. Homura's come not to expect it to, but sometimes it's nice when a headshot really is a headshot. Hopefully the people closer to Maud don't mind the goresplash too much. For her part, the secretary will just stand back and--

    Do nothing would have been the plan, but suddenly knife.

    She uses the clipboard to block. Unsurprisingly the blade goes through, but a quick jerk motion at least prevents it from going all the way inside her. More of a graze on her chest, but that's still more than she's comfortable with.

    With her notes stuck on a blade, though, the secretary becomes very cross. She starts backing away from the attacker-- trying to keep them still with conversation. "That was all of my work for the day, you realize. Now I will have to start all over. How would you like it if I made you have to start a lot of paperwork all over again?"

    This is a trick question, because something beeps on the clipboard and then detonates. Tiny explosive, not enough to threaten anyone but the person immediatly next to it.

    And then Eliot wants to be a magician again.
    As usual Homura gives no particular cue she does anything, not unless you're sensitive to time shenanigans anyway. Rather than blowing a head off with a bang, this time Eliot's motion produces a bolt of purple lightning, infused with holy energy. It's equivalent to being stabbed by a holy sword, except it's lightning. The lightning arc vaguely follows the motion Ness made with his hand, so it's perfectly plausible he did cast that spell. Visually, anyway.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako then yelps as one of the dark swipes from the marionetted Pinkie Pie ends up going towards her! She eeps softly and just barely floats out of the way. Even after she took care to stay away, Pinkie's movement is so erratic! Just as like one could be expected from marionette movement!

    It looks like Maya has the right idea as for appropriate distance and so Ayako quickly floats over to her side.

Finna (513) has posed:
    The little fox is finally faced with something that actually frightens her. The machinations of mortals who bare steel and guns can only kill her. Who knows what sort of awful things a spirit like this can do? She trembles just long enough to ALMOST get caught by the puppetted Assassin. But Finna is nimble and leaps up, only taking a slight gash to her side that seems far less effective than it should be, given her size. And then Ayako's purifying barrier falls into palce around her. Well that's kind of a soggy mess where her fur's concerned but still...

    She lands on the table, fury in her little eyes. But they're not little for long. Her body expands and unfolds gracefully as she rises, tossing hair over her shoulders.


    The word shakes the chamber, unsettling dust from the corners. The word itself carries with it a thin wave of silvery light. Wavery moonlight, at first gentle but swiftly intensifying into a bright aura that joins Twilight Sparkle's efforts, purges away shadow.

    Luna is a more tolerant and mischevious goddess than the Unconquered Sun, but she is no less against the enemies of the living than the Most High is.

    The Holy light spreads outwards. Sunlight it is not, but Creatures of Darkness will not find it any more tolerable than that golden light.

    And if this dark god is not such a thing, what is?

    "A fool, me? Someone doesn't know who the real hunter is around here."

    Perhaps Pinkie is not a Creature of Darkness, but this aura cannot possibly be comfortable on the power being used to puppet her either.

    And with a sudden blitz of motion Finna's off of the table and right in front of the Laughing Mare... albeit upside-down. Yes, standing on the ceiling. She spins about and drops, hoping to piledrive the Laughing Mare straight down into the table with shattering force!

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    Twilight was trying to apprehend Maud, but killing her is just as good. There's no anger at Ness, or perhaps the situation keeps her from feeling such. All the animated furniture and walls suddenly snap back into place as if burned. And Twilight? That cold fury drains from her face and body as swiftly as it entered.

    "No... the Laughing Mare..." she whispers. Twilight actually takes a step back... but it's her younger self that bolsters her will. She doesn't have time to ask where Ness learned magic or what is going on, or anything else that is happening with the others.

    One of the dark blades manages to get past her mystical barrier to lance into her shoulder, staggering her, and she clutches at the bleeding wound with a sudden alertness. "Tsh... not how I wanted to wear myself out. FEDERAL AGENT! I may need you to carry me back."

    Twilight glances to her younger self with a sincere, apologetic tone. "I am very sorry you had to see this."

    But she has something she can do. Her horn glows with a more sickly purple light that's much darker than what she had before. The others will recognize the chill of the magic she is using... a type of necromancy, herself. She's reaching for the puppetress, trying to /push/ back with Finna's help and force her manifestation to break.

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    The Laughing Mare's presence is enough to make the room colder than a tomb. Every breath hangs like a chill mist fogging the air, but the rapid flow of adrenaline and racing hearts should be enough to keep warm for just long enough to face the dark embodiment of shattered laughter.
    Powerful she may be, there is an issue in her manifestation. A fact made evident as the fight launches into an all our brawl. With Mortimer in her face she LEERS as the 'morph, snapping those shark-like fangs at him with a cackling laugh before flames engulf her. ~Awah! Hot hot hot hot hot! I'm burning up! That's not funny, I don't like that a lot!~

    She reels a hoof back, intending to brain him when light starts to fill the chamber. Younger Twilight's spells illuminate the Chamber of Prophets, stripping away shadows and presenting another problem. Pinkie has no means of teleportation anymore. And she's caught, blade scraping off Ness' vest, green eyes go wide as the butt of his gun comes down...


    With a resounding porcelain-shatter, the white-pink mask eats the blow full force, blood spurting from the mouth-slat from a brutal hit to the nose. She reels as the mask splits in two, falling to pieces as it hits the floor and crumbles. There's a brief glimpse. A face that's too young. A girl in her early or mid twenties perhaps- nowhere close to the age that the Archmagister or the other known Element Bearers of the world are at- all in their thirties. And there was a reason for that mask. Her face is scarred, a horrible circular mark on her forehead where flesh and bone was shorn and scraped away.
    But just like that she crumple, taken out of the fight completely as green eyes slide closed.

    Then comes the shriek. An angry roar from the dark god THING floating above as the puppeteer strings connecting her to the kiler clown disintigrate with the mask's crumbling. ~Oh that's just not fair! Why did you have to go and hit her there?!~

    However she doesn't have much time to lament the loss of her puppet as purple lightning lances forth, a holy ray of shocking energy striking the infernal thing from Elsewhere. It leaves the Laughing Mare open, screeching with violence and hate as rifle bolts pelt her ephemeral, barely corporeal body, thus trapped in the scathing light of the moon, blessed by Luna AND the spirit of water.

    ~A fool indeed! A fool indeed! Cursed fox, when I get my hooves on you I'm going to lock you forever in the smallest box!~

    But. That weakened manifestation cannot last, as the Archmagister lends her magical might to the situation, and try as the extradimensional beast may to remain tethered to the world, she realizes the futility of it. She is bested. She just can't remain, now, getting pushed forcibly back into the aether from whence she came.

    ~Haaaa! Alright. Alright! You win this fight... But wasn't that just fun? Next time I'll be stronger! And it will be you all who are on the run...~

    A hollow promise for now as the room darkens once more, the chill presence shoved back onto the Astral Planes, leaving the Chamber of Prophets, and the mayhem behind.

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer braces himself for the hit, he's not gonna dodge that one- not if he wants to keep the metaphorical heat off the others. But then the younger Twilit saves his fiery butt! Yay! ...NO! "No no no GET BACK HERE!" He flings himself through the air as hard as he can, but just ends up crashing into a wall- and leaving a him-shaped dent in it to boot, before landing on the ground, and letting out a roar of frustration, one hind-leg kicking the back wall so hard that it leaves a /hole/. "DAMMIT, *NO!*" She wasn't supposed to ESCAPE. The temperature around him rises, so much that it is physically unsafe to actually be very close to him.

     Then he sees the Prophets and his rage finds a target to vent at. He sucks in a considerable amount of air and bellows out- and he can be /considerably/ loud- "YOU! CRANKY! TALK! NOW!" He starts walking toward the Prophets, steam floating out of his eyes, every labored breath one that brings small puffs of flames and smoke out of his mouth and nostrils.

Ayako Hasekawa has posed:
    Ayako whews an audible sigh of relief as the horrible, cold, dark presence has been forcibly removed from the Chamber of Prophets. She hops off of her broom and then sweeps her amber gaze about to see how everyone else is. And she does wince when she notes Maud and then the unmasked Pinkie Pie.

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    Well, that seems to have... arranged itself, for a lack of better words. Very violently, and with a lot of special effects. Some injuries, all around. And the loss of the secretary's trusty clipboard. That thing served her well. RIP clipboard, 2014-2015.

    Her briefcase tucked into the corner of the room, she walks around to see if there are any lingering traces of the runes Maud used to activate whatever the hell the ritual is; as a good secretary, quite helpful at that, she even produces a new clipboard out of a pocket inside her suit. As if nothing had happened, exactly how it should be. She'll try to draw and recreate the rune and circle, best as she remembers it or can find remnants.

    Then, towards Ness (and possibly the Archmagister): "Sir. Ma'am. I take it we will be leaving without further incidents, even if this cult still means the world no good?"

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    That chaos filling the room is short-lived, but pretty intense. The Archmagister pants heavily, eying her wound, then looking at Federal Agent and his secretary. "Those were unexpected tricks." Mortimer is ignored, for now, as is Maya and Ayako. She has a reason to ignore like that.

    To her younger self, Twilight murmurs, "Good job. You're tougher than I remember."

    She finally moves forward, pointing out to Mortimer quietly, "We did offer them amnesty, recall." Dropping next to Pinkie, she settles on one knee and sighs. "Maud is dealt with. And she will be punished. It would be efficient to kill them all anyway, eliminate the Cult for good. I think... I will not do that this time. Besides, I am more curious about why Pinkie here has-"

    She pauses, turning Pinkie's head up toward her and taking a much better look. She's silent for a very, very long moment.

    "Sweetie Belle."

Finna (513) has posed:
    With the Laughing Mare retreating... Finna ends up almost on the other side of the room. Because on impact she backflipped away and went skidding over the ground to a halt... ready to pounce. Or dodge. Her heartbeat's going fast enough to match a hundred booming dreams! And every hair on her back's standing on end... But slowly she straightens out and just sort of shudders right there. "Ah...ahahaha... ahahahahahaha.... it's gone..."

    Laughing right now is probably HIGHLY inappropriate.

    But she's just that shaken!

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
Ness is quick to dart back and away as the mask comes off and the blade comes out of him. A hand drags across the floor to slow his skid backwards across a blood-soaked floor. He lets out a 'tch' noise as she hits the ground and starts over as if he plans to catch her. But he has a cover to keep up, and so he stops.

"They were nothing special, maam. I doubt I could do it again," He notes, adjusting his tie and fixing the hat on his head. The knife, when pulled out of his chest, reveals that his suit vest had thin metal plates in them that were layered. A gift from Eryl over Christmas.

"Sweetie Belle?" Ness asks to the Archmagister, looking down at the girls face. He'd seen it once before, in his car, but he never bothered to ask for a name. An assassin is, after all, best known by their mask. He can't step in to defend the girl, so all he says to the Archmagister is, "She'll kill you if she wakes up and you're looking at her face."

His hands fall to his pockets and he looks to Homura, deferring to his 'boss' on how to proceed forward. He takes another cigarette out of his jacket and lights it, sighing, "Archmagister. We promised all the Prophets they'd leave here for the turnover of Maud. That includes her."

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Twilight is very glad that it is over. Even if the Laughing Mare escaped, this whole ordeal is more than she can take. She looks a bit proud as Magister Twilight compliments her abilities. "I am sure your memory is just a bit faded." she says modestly. Once the evil godling is gone, Twilight rushes to check on the fallen Pinkie along with her older self. Then...she skids to a stop as her older self identifies the fallen pony. "Wh...what...?" Twilight says softly, tears already forming in the young pony's eyes. She stares, then slumps down onto her belly.

     She notices Mortimer's building energy level, but in her current state, she doesn't realize what might happen. She is too busy thinking of the implications. Pinkie Pie seems truly lost now. Sweetie Belle, a cute and innocent little pony in her world, is either dead or badly disfigured. Or both, not to mention most likely insane like Rarity. The younger Twilight just curls up, sniffling. She tries to gather herself, but it is all so terrible...it will take her a minute or two to gather herself.

Maya has posed:
Maya is caught in quite the fight with the horrible thing that's driving the corpse before them. She's getting ready to really unlead the powerful magic at the horror that should not walk the world. Pinkie is just hardcore dropped and doesn't seem to be getting up any time soon the laughing mare is now. Maya does respond.

"Be gone to whatever dark place that spawned you!"

She's about to start casing when the laighing mare just up and leaves. Maya now disperses the power and looks at Pinkie, wait Sweetie Belle? Who the heck is that? To also say Maya's not unshaken is a lie she's just had a lot of experiance of letting thingts hit her later perfabley in the confines of the old Junker where she can get stiff drinks.

"Then we best keep our word..."

After breaking some rules of hospitality Maya is not inclinde to go that way again if she can help it. She pauses for a moment looking at Twilight the younger and moves to try and comfort her...

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    "And just what. Is there to explain?" Cranky Doodle asks, stepping forth from where he and the rest of the Prophets hat taken refuge. Even Derpy is poking her head back in the door. "The Cult is in shambles because of Maud and Cheese Sandwich pushing for the use of dark arts we were not ready for. I was just going to have her killed, myself, out of hoof, for her repeated failures."
    There is however the other issue. The fallen clown. Pinkie is still breathing, but the blow from Ness gun butt rendered her out cold. That porcelain mask was thick- enough to be considered armor in its own way but the blow dropped her hard.
    But indeed, there's no missing the terrible scar of where a horn used to be. And no longer conscious to keep her glamour up, pink hair begins to fade, shifting a silvery color, streaked with lavender, as lashes flutter. But before she can rouse, two shadows appear. Pound and Pumpkin glower, hoisting their fellow Ponyville orphan back up between them, pausing to stare sadly at the crumpled corpse of the true Pinkie Pie, which Mayor Mare and Derpy are reverently laying back in the coffin.
    "This was a complete fiasco. But Maud probably would have killed us all if Sweetie didn't reach out to all of you. And with the location of our lair known now. Well we can't very much keep it as a lair now can we?" Cranky Doodle grunts. "I believe we will be taking you up on that brief clemency, and leaving."
    But that's when a gloved hand reaches out. Lightly patting the younger Twilight on the head. Sweetie is regaining consciousness slowly. And the implications of not wearing her mask are seeping in through her numb skull bit by bit, but she does whisper. "Don't let this happen in your Equestria. For all our sake."

Finna (513) has posed:
    With everything else full of chaos, Finna, terribly shake, does the only thing she can really think of doing.

    She totters over towards the younger Twilight, crouches down, and puts a hand over her back. She doesn't really even know her, but battle comrades are battle comrades.

    "... This world's a mess... maybe we just made it a little better..."

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     And then the name drops. Sweetie Belle. Mortimer's rage is stopped dead in its tracks when he hears that, and turns to look at the body. Wide-eyed with disbelief. So many things suddenly become clearer! He was so close, but.. Not close enough. Sweetie Belle's laying there dead on the floor. The flames roaring around him die out so quickly it creates a brief vacuum in the air and he slowly walks over to the body, and stares down at it. Nettle materializes next to his head, staring with equal wide-eyed disbelief.

     When Mortimer finally speaks, it is a bland, perfectly even monotone. Almost robotic. "I apologize, Cranky. I let my emotions get in the way. I don't always think clearly when I do that." The little shuppet sits on his shoulder as he turns and walks up to Cranky, staring at him with empty, almost lifeless eyes. Like a doll's eyes. "Where would she go. I would greatly appreciate any information you would have on where she might turn up. In this world or the other side." He stands at perfect attention in front of the old prophet, waiting patiently. Nettle does not speak, only stares with a similar empty look on her face.

Magister Twilight (475) has posed:
    Eliot's statement does reach Twilight's ears, though she takes a moment to respond. "Yes... yes. I know. But I do have one thing to do here first." She eases Sweetie/Pinkie's head down as the girl starts to stir, then steps back and looks at the real Pinkie's corpse.

    "Pinkie and the other Prophets are free to go, but we will be taking back the real Pinkie's corpse and properly interring it again. As it was before." She glares at Cranky, as if daring him to protest this. "But first... you still need to hand over Maud."

    Twilight strides over to Maud's corpse, her horn glowing a brilliant purple. Again, there's that ripple of wrongness... of something breaking through that shouldn't. It's more confined now, more controlled... and there's again necromancy in the air, as Twilight reaches out for Maud's soul, to yank it from the astral and into that small tear.

    It's exhausting to her. Everyone can tell that. But she's probably running on sheer anger now.

Homura Akemi (2) has posed:
    Homura gives a shrug to Ness. For all she's concerned they're done here, minus the detail of making sure whatever piles and piles of corpses in these catacombs can't be used for anything again. For that matter, make that 'most of the things in the catacombs at all'. No doubt there's tons of dakr forbidden things down here that nobody'd benefit from being around. Maud can't have just spontaneously learned everything she knew, can she?

    But that's already taken care of, so.
    That's why she brought that suitcase.

    Making note of the obvious red flags the Archmagister lights up, Helpful Secretary returns to Federal Agent's side and gets ready to leave. The faster they're out of this cramped, dark and reeking place the better.

Eliot Ness (264) has posed:
An unexpressed relief washes over Ness when his double agency is allowed to continue intact. With the filterless cigarette in his mouth, the man heaves a slight sigh of frustration and then follows after his employer when she walks over to Maud's corpse. He isn't going to interfere with her work, but his cover is as one of her agents and a part-time body guard. It fits his character to interpose himself between Archmage Twilight and the Prophets when she gets to work.

Ness looks to Helpful Secretary, "As ever, your organization and filing were invaluable, Helpful Secretary. I am always grateful to have you along on these missions, Miss." Ness tips his hat a bit to Homura and gives her a sincere smile. He is, for the most part, hanging around the ritual and watching it happen. She did mention that she might need him to carry her out, so he doesn't want to be too far away in case she collapses.

Twilight Sparkle (411) has posed:
     Twilight Sparkle lifts her head as Maya and Finna comfort her. As they do, her armor sparkles before disappearing, leaving just the purple pony. Then, Sweetie reaches out and pats her on the head. Twilight blinks, then raises a hoof to clasp Sweetie's hand. She smiles weakly. "I promise. I will never allow such a future for Equestria." she says, then lets Sweetie's hand slip away as the Cake twins carry her away.

     Twilight rubs at her eyes to clear the tears, then stands up and looks toward the prophets and the Magister. "What happened? How could you all allow this future to come to pass? And how could you practice these dark magics?" she asks them, her still teary eyes and serious expression showing she places at least a bit of blame on them for how this world has turned out. That gaze ends up focused mostly on Magister Twilight. With nothing left to say, she starts toward the door.

     Then...stops. "...are the cultists still waiting to attack us?"

Pinkie (470) has posed:
    There is much discontent. Now Cranky, Derpy, and Mayor Mare are glaring, and if their looks could kill, those glowers at the Archmagister would probably succeed all the times where the formerly masked assassin failed. But they can't, for they are just hard and angry stares. "I can't tell you that." The old ass grunts at Mortimer. "Because I genuinely don't know." It is a genuinely true reply as he grits his teeth, "No, the greatest Prophet is coming with us." He does actually protest, motioning at Maud and signalling the Archmagister to do as she pleases. He doesn't even flinch when, like Star Swirl the Bearded, Maud Pie's soul is dredged from the depths of death.
    "... No... Not Tartarus. Anything but Tartarus." She monotones.
    Deadpan though her tone may be, the terror is genuine as she is bound to the elder Twilight.
    The explosives Homura set will do an easy job of sealing off this damned chamber and cave in a good portion of the Baltimare catacombs. Though they span the whole city, the Cult of Laughter's main stationary base of operations will be reduced to rubble. But Derpy shakes her head to the younger Twilight. "They won't attack with Cranky around!"
    Then that's handled. Except for some issues...
    Because regardless of whatever exit the group takes out into the city they will be met by a horned and antler'd man in a garishly purple suit, decorated with lightning, mismatched wings sprouting from his back.
    Discord flashes that charming snaggletoothed smile of his as he holds up a stack of papers. "I'm afraid as my client is out cold, I'm going to have to ask you to sign these Non-Disclosure Agreement forms. And Archmagister, I think I'll be seeing you in court over tea and a very long and drawn out custody battle."

Mortimer Balman has posed:
     Mortimer nods. "Very well. Good bye, Cranky." He briefly turns to look at the Magister, then at Discord, then away from them. No hint of emotion whatsoever. Just taking mental notes of what is happening. He starts walking for the door, pulling his grand daiklave from the floor. Nettle floats over to the younger Twilit for a moment, "<Go home dear.. My Master and I will be along as soon as we can.>" Her tattered little body wraps a bit on Twilit in something like a hug, and then she floats off after Mortimer, who has already disappeared into the corridors.

Maya has posed:
Maya looks as everything comes to an end for now their word is kept and she moves to shoulder her weapona t this point as there's no point in fighting any futher and in a way she seems rather tired. Twlight seems to be doing a little better so that's some good news at least.