PONYVILLE MARKET - AFTERNOON
Radar sits on Amber's neck as her friend retrieves the strips of small photos from the slot on the photo booth. She gives an excited little squeak as she tries to get a look at them.
Lucky Lightning attempts to look over, silently cursing her rather low vantage point. "Are they any good?"
Amber Fern replaces her large sunhat over her weedy mane and takes the photos in a hoof to better position them for viewing. "Well... at least now we're sure never to forget this experience." She lets out a sigh that ends in a chuckle, looking at Radar. "Thank you."
Lucky Lightning cranes her neck up: "I suppose it's a thing... well, I am not sure I could forget this." She lets out a small huff, but attempts to stay stoic otherwise.
Radar chirps happily at Amber as she looks the photos over, quite happy with the results. She nods enthusiastically in approval of the pictures and hops back onto Amber's neck.
Icicle Gleam trots around some nearby stalls, his saddlebags weighed down with some fresh produce, as he examines more things to purchase to restock the pantry of his house. His foreleg is still bandaged a bit from his encounter with the owl in the Everfree.
Amber Fern nods, "No, I'm unlikely to forget this either. But it means something to Radar to have these photos for her scrapbook. Now, lets go get fresh food." She begins trotting towards the same stalls where she spots a familiar pony. "Isn't that... Icicle? Icicle!"
Lucky Lightning walks next to Amber, then pauses to tilt her head at Icicle: "Hmm? Oh."
Radar looks to where Amber is headed and skrees softly when she sees Gleam. She flies off of Amber's back and lands on Gleam's back, nuzzling into his mane.
Icicle Gleam looks up and around from a giant pile of strawberries on display at a stand, then smiles and waves at the group. He chuckles and gives Radar a gentle pet with a wing once she's on his back. "Hey there, Amber, Radar, and..." He blinks at Lucky for a moment, "And... Lucky? Is... that you?"
Lucky Lightning blushes more than a bit, then just nods at Icicle: "Uhuhm."
Amber Fern glances at Gleam's leg and frowns. "Yes... Lucky and I weren't quite able to escape the Everfree unscathed. Poison Joke, I'm afraid. It seems you suffered a bit of injury too, but I'm glad you found Radar's things. Thanks again for everything you did."
Radar flies down to looks at Gleam's bandage. She squeaks questionly at her friend, wondering if he's OK.
Icicle Gleam nods as he looks at the bandage. "It's not too bad. I just got scratched by an owl, is all. I can probably take it off within a day." He tilts his head curiously, "So... Poison Joke, hm? I hope it's not messing with you two too badly."
Lucky Lightning huffs at Icicle: "What do you think? I can't exactly show up to the theater like this."
Radar flies back to Amber and nuzzles into her mane again.
Amber Fern takes off her hat to show off the weedy mane, though honestly the hat doesn't hide much. "It's certainly keeping me out of my greenhouse. It's making finding the cure for Radar... slower going than I'd like."
Icicle Gleam looks up at Amber's mane, and is about to make a comment about it when he suddenly turns his head and lets loose a really big sneeze.
Lucky Lightning tilts her head at Icicle. "Gesundheit."
Icicle Gleam sniffles and rubs at his nose as he takes a step back. "Thanks, Lucky... I, uh... So... Lucky got turned into a filly, and your mane turned into... weeds, Amber?"
Amber Fern sighs and takes a step back, replacing the hat. "Yes... weeds."
Lucky Lightning lets out a sound somewhere between a deep sigh and a groan: "Yes... a filly."
Icicle Gleam rubs his nose a little more and then gives his head a bit of a shake to clear his senses. "Did you need any help with the cure?"
Amber Fern sighs. "I can make it, once I get Radar's cure taken care of..." She glances at Lucky. "Though... the less time we have to wait for it, the better."
Radar squeaks softly, still feeling guilty.
Lucky Lightning nods: "...indeed." She sighs, looking at her hooves: "This tiny body is so useless... and most ponies see me as a little kid. Not fun."
Icicle Gleam looks towards Lucky and sighs sympathetically. "Well, at least the Poison Joke is temporary. It'll be gone soon enough, once we get the cure fixed up, and you can get back to doing what you do." He looks at Amber, "Did you happen to need any ingredients from Zecora, then? I can make the run to her hut if you do."
Lucky Lightning sits down and shakes her head a bit: "I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to being just a mare again..."
Amber Fern nods. "She's who we're waiting on, actually... but... I have no business going back into the Everfree, especially like this."
Icicle Gleam: Well, in that case... If you want to get started on the cure a bit sooner, I can see about visiting her either today after I drop off my supplies at home, or tomorrow morning.
Amber Fern glances down at Lucky, then cranes her neck down at Radar. "I... would feel guilty curing myself before Radar..."
Radar looks to Amber and shakes her head. She pulls out her bracelet and spells out "IT IS OK".
Lucky Lightning looks up at Gleam, hopeful: "If you can get it sooner, please help us."
Amber Fern nods to Radar. "Yes. It's not fair of me to do that, especially when I can't know when I'll have a cure finished."
Radar nods. She spells out "MY FAULT".
Icicle Gleam nods at the trio. "I'll see how much sun we've got once I drop off my bags back at home, then. If I've got enough time to reach Zecora's place before sundown, I'll grab the things today."
Lucky Lightning tries to not look too hopeful at Gleam's statement - and fails utterly. She starts feeling a bit giddy at the thought of a cure sooner.
Amber Fern sighs at Radar's note, mumbling to herself "It's my fault you're not better yet..." But she nods to Gleam and smiles. "Just be careful. You might have a bit of an easier time avoiding danger in there... but... well, be careful."
Lucky Lightning stops herself from grinning, and nods at Gleam: "Yes. Careful. Uhm."
Radar squeaks at Gleam and spells out "BE SAFE" on her bracelet.
Icicle Gleam smiles in turn. "I'll be careful. The route to Zecora's hut isn't too bad since she travels it pretty often, but I'll keep my eyes open for trouble."
Amber Fern nods. "None of us want anypony else getting hurt because of this. Especially over something like this," She tugs at her mane, cringing as she pulls free a thorny tangle. "Which we know will be cured eventually anyways."
Lucky Lightning nods, feeling torn about this but keeping it to herself: "...y-yeah."
Icicle Gleam winces as Amber pulls a chunk of weeds out. "Well, that's true, but I can't imagine it being much fun at all, with Lucky not being able to do her stuff at the theater, and you not being able to really access your greenhouse while waiting for Zecora's arrival in town."
Radar nudges Amber and points a wing at the nearby fruit stands that have been taunting her with their sweet aromas for far too long now. She squeaks a bit impatiently, still not used to how frequently she needs to eat at this size.
Lucky Lightning looks at Radar, then at Amber: "...I think she wants some fruit." Her stomach growls in a similar kind of notion and she blushes a bit.
Amber Fern oofs. "Ah, yes... well, excuse me, Icicle. But... I've been locked up in my study and let my pantry run dry. I suppose I'd best let you go on your way as well. Give Crystal my best, yes?"
Icicle Gleam nods and smiles again as he shifts his saddlebags. "Will do, Amber. I'll let you know if I'm able to get the ingredients for the cure from Zecora! You three take care in the mean time!"
Amber Fern starts to wave, then hesitates... "Oh, and don't... actually tell Crystal what's happened, if you please. Take care, Icicle."
Lucky Lightning waves at Icicle, feeling silly for doing it but having this slight hope in her chest of getting cured sooner. "Take... take care, Icicle."
Radar skrees again, doing everything she can to keep from just flying over and absconding with a big fat strawberry.
Icicle Gleam chuckles and nods as Amber and company start to make their way to the fruit stand. "Don't worry, Amber. I'll keep quiet about it. See you all soon!" He gives them all one more wave, then starts making his way back home.
Amber Fern glances down at Radar after Gleam heads off, and then leads the way towards the strawberry vendor, digging out a few bits to buy a few immediately for Radar to snack on before she begins picking out a a fresh bushel for the pantry...
Lucky Lightning stands awkwardly to the side, not sure if she should be taking a part in this picking or not.
Radar screes happily as she digs into her feast in her makeshift nest in the base of Amber's mane.
Amber Fern pays for the strawberries and moves off to the next booth, asking Lucky and Radar to be sure to point out anything they want, and doing her best to keep a slight distance from ponies, who all seem to start sneezing around her as she shops.
Radar wants a little bit of everything, but mostly tries to stay unnoticed by anypony else.
PONYVILLE PARK - SOME TIME LATER
Lucky Lightning is sitting on a bench, having wanted 'more fresh air' after the market trip, but her mood not really improving. The gray filly whispers to herself: "I hope Icicle does... fine. I want to be me again." She sighs, laying down on the bench: "...is this my life now?"
NocturneStar wanders into the park, taking a bit of a rest break from the day's errands. His pace slows as he passes Lucky's bench and notices the sad-looking filly laying on it. "Hello, little one. Are you okay?"
Lucky Lightning blinks from her sad reverie, looking up in surprise, then groaning as she is once again reminded of what she looks like: "...m'fine."
NocturneStar frowns. "You certainly don't sound fine."
Lucky Lightning looks up: "Well, I am. Thank you for your concern." It's pretty obvious she doesn't even believe that herself.
NocturneStar tilts his head at the sound of her voice, her mood being pretty clear from her tone. "Well, I do find that it often helps to talk about things when something is bothering me."
Lucky Lightning sighs, looking down: "I suppose... though who can really help me? I don't even know who I am anymore..."
NocturneStar takes a seat on the ground next to the bench. "Growing pains, I'm guessing?"
Lucky Lightning chuckles darkly and morosely, shaking her head.
NocturneStar frowns, and ponders things for a bit. He then asks, "So, how old are you, if you don't mind me asking."
Lucky Lightning replies automatically: "Twenty-seven."
NocturneStar blinks confusedly. "Wait... twenty-seven?"
Lucky Lightning looks up at Nocturne, nodding sadly.
NocturneStar cringes a bit. "Oh dear, I've, err... not met an adult of... your size, before. I'm sorry if I insulted you."
Lucky Lightning sighs, shaking her head: "I am not usually a kid. I'm a stallion."
NocturneStar starts to look confused again. "Not 'usually' a kid? So this isn't your normal size, then?"
Lucky Lightning looks up at Nocturne: "Not too long ago, I was about your size. Maybe a bit bigger." She sighs, turning to look at the grass again.
NocturneStar reaches over to rub the not-filly's shoulders. "Then what happened that brought you to this size?"
Lucky Lightning almost shifts away from the touch, but something keeps her in place. "...are you familiar with a plant called 'Poison Joke'?"
NocturneStar frowns, and nods. "I am aware of that nasty little plant, yes. The local clothier got exposed to that stuff some time ago, and ended up looking like a sheepdog with dreadlocks."
Lucky Lightning snorts: "She got off easy then."
NocturneStar nods. "She actually kindof did, yeah, as her friends found a cure for it. Somepony in town should still know what the cure is."
Lucky Lightning nods: "My friend is working on it. It's just... slow going. I can't really... do much but wait."
NocturneStar smiles upon hearing the first sentence. "Ah, I see. I'm glad that somepony is helping you with this, at least. Should hopefully not be too long before you're restored to your normal form."
Lucky Lightning looks down: "...one can always hope, at least..."
NocturneStar nods. "I do hope so, Mr... umm, what is your name?"
Lucky Lightning: "Sir-" she pauses, sighing: "...Lucky Lightning."
NocturneStar nods. "Ah. And my name is Nocturne Star. I do hope the name 'Lucky' usually fits your life better than it seems to at the moment."
Lucky Lightning snorts derisively: "Honestly, I've considered changing my name. I'm not 'lucky' in the least, and I have been disowned of the 'Lightning' family estate too."
NocturneStar regards Lucky sadly, and reaches over to rub her shoulders again. "Sounds like you've had a very rough life. Makes me hope even more that your friend can get the Poison Joke cure, so that something in your life will improve."
Lucky Lightning sighs, unthinkingly leaning into the rubbing: "It's just... I'd already been changed. Now changed again... what does the cure even do to me?"
NocturneStar frowns. "Changed... again? I fear my knowledge of magic, transformative or otherwise, is fairly limited. But I suspect the cure will at least restore you to... whatever you were before your run in with the Poison Joke."
Lucky Lightning sighs, frowning: "Kind of what I... suspected. I will become a mare again."
NocturneStar "So age and gender are two separate changes, then." He thinks for a moment, then looks back over towards Lucky. "Any idea what may have caused the first change. If it was Poison Joke also, the cure might end both effects."
Lucky Lightning shakes her head: "Don't know. Just woke up like this- er, I mean, as a mare on the morning I was to leave the Lightning premises."
NocturneStar: And nopony there had any idea either, I take it?
Lucky Lightning: I left before anypony saw me.
Lucky Lightning: Haven't been to Manehattan since.
NocturneStar frowns. "If you were in Manehattan, then I fear it was probalby not Poison Joke. So far as I know, that flower only grows in the Everfree Forest."
Lucky Lightning frowns: "I will find it out... eventually, I guess."
NocturneStar nods. "I do hope you can find a solution to all this, whatever it may be."
Lucky Lightning looks up at Nocturne. After a short pause for gathering her thoughts, she replies: "...thank you."
NocturneStar smiles warmly. "You are welcome."
Lucky Lightning takes a deep breath and hops off the bench: "I suppose... or I hope... that next time we see, I am back to... well, non-filly. I hope."
NocturneStar nods and stands up. "I do hope so as well. Good day, and good luck, Lucky."
Lucky Lightning nods at Nocturne and starts walking back towards Amber's, at least in mildly better mood if no more clear on answers.
NocturneStar waves as Lucky heads off, then heads off himself to continue his errands.
THE EVERFREE FOREST'S EDGE - LATE AFTERNOON
Icicle Gleam comes to a stop at the edge of the forest and takes a moment to glance up at the sky, trying his best to gauge the amount of sunlight he has left. He sighs and nods to himself as he lowers his gaze back to the well-worn, if narrow path that stretches deeper into the forest's confines, feeling confident that he can make it to Zecora's hut and back before nightfall. He gives his now-empty saddlebags a shift, then marches into the forest once more.
Icicle Gleam follows the path through the forest as best as he can in the steadily dimming light filtering through the leaves of the canopy above. The path itself is easy enough to follow, thanks to the fairly regular use it gets from Zecora and those that occasionally visit her. He keeps his ears perked, listening to the sounds of the forest for anything out of the ordinary.
Icicle Gleam continues along the path, delving steadily deeper into the forest. He begins to slowly relax as the forest seems to stay rather benign, at least for the time being. "Heh... at this rate, I can be in and out with a lot of time to spare..."
Icicle Gleam is sadly forced to slow his pace every so often to circumvent the occasional mud puddle formed from recent rainfall. He sighs to himself as he leaps over the umpteenth mud puddle and nearly slips backwards right into it upon landing. "Ugh... If this canopy was any less thick, I'd just fly..."
Icicle Gleam looks around as he begins to notice the trees growing a little wider and older. "Good... Her hut shouldn't be much further, now."
Icicle Gleam comes to a stop as he approaches the edge of a particularly large puddle of watery mud that blocks the entire path. He furrows his brow a bit as he paces around, trying to find the narrowest spot to jump across. He picks a spot after a few seconds of searching, located along the edge of the path, next to some bushes.
Icicle Gleam is about to make the leap when he pauses, then reaches around and grabs his saddlebags. After a short while spent wrestling with the straps, he pulls them off and tosses them onto a dry patch across the puddle, then prepares to make his leap once more without the burden.
Icicle Gleam braces, and then makes his leap, aiming for a flat rock that sticks partly out of the dirt just beyond the puddle. As he lands, though, the rock gives way under his hooves, and his supposedly solid landing spot quickly crumbles down an incline hidden by the bushes, with him following immediately afterwards.
Icicle Gleam stumbles down the incline, trying his best to remain upright as he weaves through the trees towards what looks like a clearing a little ways below. He refrains from opening his wings to take flight, for fear of the momentum carrying him straight into one of the oncoming trees' trunks.
Icicle Gleam 's hoof catches on a root just before the slope ends, sending him into an uncontrolled tumble. He manages to avoid any injury beyond a few minor scrapes before he finally rolls to a strangely soft landing on flat ground.
Icicle Gleam groans quietly, just laying there as he waits for his head to stop spinning. A minute or two of near-total silence passes before he's able to get a hoof braced beneath himself in order to push himself back upright again. Before he opens his eyes, he takes a moment to give all of his limbs a wiggle or two, just to make sure there's no lasting damage. Satisfied that he's pretty much unharmed, he opens his eyes to look around.
Narrator: The clearing Gleam has fallen into appears to be a smaller one, with the edge opposite where he entered only about 20 meters away. Beyond that, the only other thing of note is that the field is full of blue flowers, all swaying in an absent breeze.
Icicle Gleam blinks and frowns as he looks at the flowers in the clearing, including the ones he landed on. He sighs and turns his gaze back up the 'path' his stumbling cleared along the incline. "Damn it... Guess I'd better get that cure to Amber fast, before my wings fall off or whatever this plant has in mind..."
Icicle Gleam manages to make his way back up the incline with a lot more grace than he had going down, and is able to gather up his stuff back on the path before long. Once he's on flat land again, he gives himself a quick dusting with his hooves and feathers, and then marches deeper into the forest with renewed determination.
FOREST'S EDGE - SOME TIME LATER
Icicle Gleam waves a wing at the retreating form of Zecora, who guided him out of the forest after he'd managed to reach her hut. His saddlebags weigh him down a little more, a full load of ingredients for the Poison Joke cure now stowed away in its pockets.
Icicle Gleam turns around to look at the town's profile in the distance against the fading light of the sun, then looks down at his hooves for several long moments. Frowning a little, he shakes his head and starts his trek back to Amber's greenhouse.
THE LUSTY SEAPONY - LATE AFTERNOON
Dandelion is sitting - nearly laying down - in a booth, leaning into a corner and looking a bit down, taking the occasional sip of her cider and sometimes glancing at an unopened letter laying on the table and sighing.
Julienne walks down the stairs of the Seapony, having just finished her morning cleaning routine and intent on a little bit of lunch. As she looks into the room, she sees Dee slouching in the booth with a not quite smile on her face. She heads over, slipping into the booth on the same side as Dee and (a little awkardly) scooting in close. "Afternoon, love. Everything alright?"
Dandelion looks up and smiles a bit weakly: "Hello, beautiful. And... I'm not sure." She nods at the letter, addressed to her, from Canterlot Premier Papers.
Julienne glances at the letter, raising an eyebrow. "From your job? And... you haven't opened it yet?"
Dandelion nods and sighs: "Whatever my editor is sending me, it can not be good."
Julienne frowns, but unfurls a wing to wrap around Dee as she snuggles in close. "Well... whatever it is... I would think not knowing would be worse than just... knowing. And it's not going to be anything that'll make me love you any less."
Dandelion smiles at Julienne and chuckles softly: "I suppose you are right, as usual. Can you... read it for me?"
Julienne hesitates a moment, then nods, taking the letter and opening it very carefully. She's used to opening mail, but usually has a letter opener to aid her when she used to go through all of Lucky's mail. She opens the side with a straight tear, pops the envelope open and pulls the folded letter out to read.
Narrator: The letter is short and to the point, as a formal invitation: "Ms. Dandelion Dawnrain. You are hereby expected to show up at Premier Papers HQ in Canterlot at (date and time), regarding your late performance." Scribbled after the typed bit are a few hoof-written words: "...and don't you dare be late!", signed by one Primrose Pencil.
Dandelion looks at the signature from the corner of her eyes and groans, looking up.
Julienne reads the letter quickly. "An appointment to discuss your late performance..." She glances at Dee. "I... I haven't been keeping you from your writing, have I?"
Dandelion shakes her head and smiles at Julienne: "Never."
Julienne tilts her head. "Then... why?"
Dandelion looks at Julienne sadly, then shakes her head a bit, looking down: "I... I may have lost my motivation to write. I'm not sure I'm... any good as a journalist. They're sending for me because I haven't... written in three weeks now."
Julienne frowns, but keeps her eyes on Dandelion. "No motivation? Three weeks? Oh, Dee. Is there anything I can do to help?"
Dandelion shifts to hug Julienne: "Just... I guess, be here for me. I have to go face the music." She sighs: "Of course, there's also the fact that my editor does not know of my... scaliness. I have no idea how she'll react."
Julienne blushes, hugging back. "I... I always forget that's new to you. You've looked like this since I first met you." She raises a hoof to gently pet along Dee's chest. "If your boss doesn't like it... th-they can take it up with me."
Dandelion looks up, smile again finding her lips: "...if there ever was a plus side, it's you."
Julienne smiles back, face still warm. "That's better. Your face is that much more beautiful with that smile on it." She leans in to peck Dee on the cheek. "Just... remember, I will be there for you. I will be there."
Dandelion smiles warmly and softly whisper-sings: "In the echo of the ocean... in the haunting of the wind..." She kisses Julienne deeply on the lips.
Julienne leans into the kiss, pushing back gently, she only pulls back to whisper "In mysterious, extraordinary ways... Through the darkest sky, I will be like the shimmer of..." Her ears drop. "I... d-don't know all the words yet."
Dandelion giggles and just hugs Julienne tightly: "Well, it's not a hard song. But... dare I call it 'our song'?"
Julienne giggles. "I've never had a song, but that one... and to share it... yes. Our song."
Dandelion nuzzles Julienne: "I will miss you, going to Canterlot."
Julienne lowers her head into the nuzzle. "I'll be here waiting. When you get back, we can pick out an apartment here in Ponyville... if... if you still want to."
Dandelion giggles: "O-of course I will!"
Julienne hugs Dee in tighter. "Wonderful. Then... go on up to Canterlot. And whatever happens, don't let it get you down. I'll be here for you, no matter what."
Dandelion hugs back: "I will come straight back. I will run back if I have to."
Julienne giggles. "I've never been anypony that has been worth running to. But if it brings you back that much faster, I won't complain."
Dandelion hums: "I don't know what I will hear up there - probably not anything good - but I will go face it."
Julienne nods. "You're braver than I am, Dee. You can bear it. And when you're back, I'll help you, however I can."
Dandelion smiles and nods: "Well... don't know about brave, but I'll see about it."
Julienne giggles. "Well, you're more beautiful than I am at the least."
Dandelion winks: "Well, your opinion is biased so I am not sure it counts in this case~"
Julienne nods reluctantly. "I suppose so. But knowing it's biased doesn't make change my mind." She shifts to lean against Dee, nuzzling against her as she practically lies down against her in the booth.
Dandelion chuckles and nuzzles Julienne: "Can we just stay like this for the rest of the evening?"
Julienne snuggles up closer, feeling uncommonly brazen. "You ask that... but I'm not sure you had a choice at this point."
Dandelion shifts a bit, letting Julienne fully on top of her: "Woe is me. Whatever shall I do?"
Julienne makes herself comfortable against Dee and giggles. "I don't know. But you're not getting up."
Dandelion giggles and kisses Julienne on the neck a few times: "I'm probably okay with this~"
Julienne squirms at the kisses, nuzzling against Dee's belly, softly whispering. "Good... just... close your eyes, remember my embrace, I will be there like freedom, I will find you through it all... this do I swear, I will be there."
Dandelion just whispers: "I will be there, beside you..." she trails off, humming the rhythm as she nuzzles Julienne, closing her eyes.
BLUEFERN GREENHOUSE - LATE NIGHT
Amber Fern works tiredly through the night, sniffling and sneezing as she continues to work on the antidote. She's physically and mentally exhausted, but refuses to give up, knowing her friend is counting on her, even as her confidence is flagging and her skills are being pushed to their limit.
Narrator: Some time into Amber's late evening toil at her workbench, a series of soft knocks come from the back door.
Amber Fern 's ears perk up as she hears the knocking. She sets aside the beaker she'd been working with and turns her burner down with a sigh, then slides back from her table, itching at her mane, and heads over to the door. Blearily, she opens it and looks outside, but blinks as she doesn't see anything.
Amber Fern waits a moment, then shakes her head. "Now I'm hearing things... wonderful." She begins to close the door.
Narrator: Near the base of the door, there comes a rather loud squawk, and a large amount of flapping sounds.
Amber Fern halts the door and looks down, having a hard time processing the rather odd looking sight at first of a large rooster staring up at her.
Icicle Gleam stops his flapping once Amber looks down at him. He cants his head a bit to the side and then looks pointedly at the saddlebags resting on the ground beside the door. He fluffs up and rustles his feathers, seemingly in irritation at something...
Amber Fern takes a moment long to process this, until at last she takes in the saddlebags presence and then glances back at the Rooster. "...oh no. No, no... I-Icicle?"
Icicle Gleam nods emphatically as he gestures at the bags with a wing, then tries his best to pantomime stumbling into a patch of flowers.
Amber Fern frowns, not understanding any of that, but the implications are all very clear. "... poison joke, then?" She is barely keeping it together as she reaches fro the saddlebag, digging through to note the ingredients. "At... at least you got the ingredients. This... his is spiraling out of control. I'll start mixing the cure right away, Icicle, I'm sorry."
Icicle Gleam nods at the initial question, then shakes his head and shrugs his wings. He squawks again as he points at the ingredients, and then at Amber's mane for a moment.
Amber Fern continues to stare at the rooster as she hefts up the saddlebag onto her back. She itches a hoof at her mane. "I'll... I'll fix this. For everypony, Icicle."
Icicle Gleam nods again, then tilts his head as he leans in to look around for a moment, then looks back up at Amber. He seems uncertain, or at least as uncertain as a rooster can look...
Amber Fern frowns, but bows her head and steps aside to let Icicle in... "I... come on. My house isn't much, but... it's safe at least."
Icicle Gleam dips into an amusing approximation of a grateful bow before he steps into Amber's house. He remains by the door, however, uncertain as to where he should go.
Amber Fern takes one last look outside into the night, holding back the urge to just start screaming in frustration, but at last shuts the door. "I... I don't really know where you can stay... Lucky has the guest room, and Radar has made up a next in the study. So I guess... wherever you can find a place... you can even use my bed, if you want. I've... not been using it."
Icicle Gleam walks up to Amber and leans affectionately against one of her legs for a moment and clucks in thanks. As he steps back, he looks towards one of the chairs around the kitchen table and walks over to it. He spends a few moments laboriously fluttering up onto the back rest, before he settles down into a big, fluffy ball of feathers.
Amber Fern nods, making sure Icicle is comfortable, then carries the saddlebag back towards the lab. "I... I'll clean up. The poison joke cure has my priority now. This will be fixed as quickly as I'm able."
Icicle Gleam nods a bit as he settles down comfortably. He clucks a couple of times, which could be taken as perhaps 'thank you', or maybe 'good night'.
Amber Fern nods to Icicle as she closes the door to the study behind her. She glances at Radar, resting in her little nest, and bites her lip. She wants to scream, to cry, she's not felt this helpless since Fillydelphia. Instead, she simply bows her head alone in her study, and sets herself back to work.