|This is a Sketchy Park|
It's the park, and Rayne is there! What does this mean? Rayne is up a tree with her drawing pad! This time she's drawing the lake from her vantage point, instead of the usual drawing of the fountain area that she has... waaaaay too many sketches of lying around her apartment.
The park is not a place where one might imagine a being such as Kotal Kahn would be. What could interest the god of war here, after all? Those people often forget though that Kotal's domain of war includes a lot of aspects besides simple violence. Kotal also happens to be the god of physical might, and that means a lot of exercise!
Having the day off for a change, Kotal is at the park playing with a ball. What? Yep, you saw right, the TASK director is at the park engaging in a good ol' fashioned game of Mesoamerican football. He has Ferra/Torr and D'vorah with him and they are all hitting a ball against a tree using only their elbows, feet, head, knees and hips to strike it. No hands.
The tree they are all bouncing the ball against might or might not be the one that Rayne happens to be using as a perch.
It's at this point that Princess Twilight Sparkle powerglides in and touches down with a steady forward trot before coming to a full stop and lifting one foreleg to wave to everyone. "Hey there, everyone. How are you all doing?"
Rayne wouldn't take the chance at being belted with a ball: She is not in fact in said tree. It must be a slow day for both the director and his second to be lax at the same time in the day. She looks up from the lake as Twilight annouces her arrival. "Hey, Twi, what's up?" she asks of the pony.
Kotal pauses momentarily from his fun and games to notice the approach of Twilight. "Ah, greetings. I see you've reverted to your pony form once more." That or she can shape shift at will which the god of war didn't know about. The Aztec warrior keeps his eyes on the pony but even if he has his back to the game he still manages to elbow any balls coming his way back as if he had eyes on the back of his head.
Twilight says, "I'm doing alright, Rayne. And I decided to help out today with your portrait-drawings - as it stands, I've also got to announce that I'm moonlighting as a superheroine. But between us... If you see someone or somepony calling herself the Magenta Phantom running around, it's likely me."
Rayne blinks. Twice. "'Magenta Phantom'? I'm going to assume you'll be doing that in humanoid form? Because otherwise, it's going to be pretty clear who you actually are..." She shrugs lightly, but then smiles as she immediately unclips the art pad she has on her oversized clipboard, and proceeds to advance it a page. "Okay, then. Do you want me to attempt to draw you as a pony, or was that just how you got here?" The pad now clipped back to the board and her pencil temporarily in her mouth, she swings down from the branch to land on the ground. It's a move she's done enough times to be well practiced at, and she makes it look easy and quite graceful.
"Oh fantastic, now I have vigilantes in my city." Kotal can't help but deflate a little at the news of Twilight taking up the superhero business but he supposes he really can't stop her according to the chaotic premises of Twisted. "Well, it is best you've told us that now. It would have been awkward and time consuming to split TASK resources to finding out what were the real motives of this so called 'Magneta Phantom'." Because, could you imagine a superhero never telling the police who they are and let them fruitlessly chase after them instead of working out an arrangement with them? Only a fool would think that would be an efficient endeavor, thinks Kotal Kahn.
With Twilight taking up Rayne's offer to work as a model, Kotal turns around and goes back to his ball game, beaning Torr on the head almost instantly.
Twilight Sparkle gives Kotal a sheepish smile, before turning back to Rayne. "I'll be staying like this for the drawing."
Rayne nods to Twilight. "And he's right. I'm glad you've just gone out and told us, because it does make things easier when we know the vigilante is trustworthy. Uhhh, why don't you find yourself a pose you think you can stay in for a while... I really don't know how long this will take me." She awaits Twilight's positioning of herself before she finds a place to sit herself. She sweatdrops as Torr gets beaned in the head.... In truth, they'd asked if she wanted to join in the game earlier and she politely declined... for that very reason.
Torr will be fine, but getting beaned in the head by the god of war is no laughing matter, even if it was with a plastic ball. Even the giant ogre of a beast man grunts as he's struck and leans backwards.. then he slowly loses his balances and falls flat on his back causing the ground to shake a bit.
Ferra and D'vorah look curiously at him but Kotal just crosses his arms and laughs about it like a schoolyard bully.
He does look over his shoulder at Rayne and Twilight though and wonders to them. "If our rough housing is distracting we can move elsewhere."
Twilight Sparkle simply rises into the air to avoid being shaken up by the brief tremor, hovering for a bit before touching back down once it's subsided and settling down horizontally with her right wing extended upward and hind legs crossed atop the ground. "I think it's going to be fine."
Rayne sits against a tree to be able to see Twilight Sparkle easily enough but also be steady enough for decent drawing. "I think I'll be fine, Kotal. Don't worry about me, yeah? Uhhh, I assume he's gonna be all right, at least..." There's a brief look of worry on her face, but then she remembers she's talking about Torr. He'll be fine. She shrugs and starts attempting to sketch Twilight.
Sure enough, Torr gets up after a second and gives the thumbs up that he's okay. Kotal nods to Twilight and Rayne then gets back to his krew to play some more.
Twilight Sparkle remains completely still as she's sketched, keeping an amiable smile frozen on her face for the entire process.
For a while, Rayne just continues sketching in silence, as she tends to do when sketching still lifes. I know, Rayne shutting up for that long? Weird. The utter lack of conversation seems to get to her eventually, and she finally starts talking again. "Has something happened that made you want to, uh, do the vigilante thing?"
Twilight says, "Well, it's largely because I recalled a moment back home where my friends and I all got pulled into Spike's favorite comic series, and became what were known as the Power Ponies. It kind of made me want to take up the mantle of the Masked Matterhorn, but under a different name. Hence the Magenta Phantom."
Rayne says, "I'm going to have to ask again... are you going to be doing this as a pony, or in more human guise? Because if you're going to be a pony, I think everyone's who's seen you will know it's you." She pauses, adding a few lines. "Or possibly Rarity."
Twilight says, "We both worked out an agreement and a costume designed to better fit my human form. The Masked Matterhorn costume fit me perfectly in this form, but I felt going for a change here would be better."
Rayne nods. "That makes sense." Another pause as she erases a bit before returning to drawing. "I'm assuming Rarity insisted on designing the costume, from what I've learned of her so far."
Twilight Sparkle remains still, though one of her wings twitches almost imperceptibly. "I was actually the one who presented the idea to her, and she agreed to work on designing it."
Rayne says, "Well, I for one can't wait to see the end result." She continues making lines for a few moments more before asking, "Are you doing okay? I know how hard it can be to hold still for so long, especially with an outstretched... limb."
Twilight says, "I was turned to stone by a cockatrice once, back home. So being in this kind of position isn't as bad."
Rayne says, "Yyyeah, I'd imagine this is better, but more challenging, nonetheless. I can't speak for how painful being turned to stone is, though. Standing with an outstretched arm for an hour, that can start to be painful."
Twilight still isn't willing to risk moving for fear of throwing off the sketchwork. "At the very least, I can handle sitting still for far longer than Rainbow Dash can. That mare... I tell you. She's like a hyperactive grasshopper at times. Can't sit still, doesn't like to wait for anything..."
Rayne laughs, then a moment later says, "Yeah, I don't think she could stand to be in the position of either of us right now, then. Drawing takes... time. I'm actually feeling a little rushed right now because I'm imagining you discomfort at standing still. Like I said, been there, done that."
Twilight says, "So does a lot of Rarity's work, which I've seen on quite a few occasions. That helps, as does spending hours on end sitting in the same position while reading books or researching magic. Besides, it's to help you, so I can handle the discomfort."
Rayne says, "Heheh... well, just give me a break if you look weird in this. I've not done much in trying to draw... anything alive other than plants so far. Well, not seriously. I've of course doodled people before. But still... I appreciate it. I want to start this right, not just buying a magazine and drawing what's there. That feels... cheap."
Twilight says, "It's a sentiment I can agree with wholeheartedly. I've spent more than enough time around skilled artists like Rarity and Pinkie Pie to have an appreciation for high-quality drawings, designs, and even artfully arranged dishes. So that you're starting out with drawing the real me instead of just copying some tabloid misrepresentation... It means a lot, Rayne."
Rayne says, "Eheheh... and here I thought I was being stubbornly demanding. I'm just grateful I don't have to pay someone an arm and a leg for this." Several lines are added. "If you want this at the end, you're welcome to it, but I doubt this will have the artistic merit of, say, your stained glass window. It's definitely going to lack certain things. Like color."
Twilight says, "Rayne, really. It doesn't have to be over-the-top for me to be able to appreciate it. As long as you sincerely enjoy doing it, that's what should count."
Twilight says, "Sometimes simplicity is better, even when it comes to art, right?"
Rayne says, "Of course it can... Again, like your stained glass window. You just do need to remember... this isn't going to be a 'high-quality' drawing. I'm a beginner." She frowns slightly, adding a few more lines before saying, "Okay... I think I'm done."
Twilight Sparkle nods, finally getting back to her hooves and stretching her legs and wings before trotting over to inspect the drawing. "If it's any comfort, Rayne... I'm not one of those high-society types who have super-exacting standards and won't ever settle for anything even slightly below their expectations. And no, the irony of that isn't lost on me."
Twilight says, "Considering I was born and raised in Canterlot, and received a coronation as a Princess there... That should tell you a lot more about me."
Rayne turns the art pad towards Twilight as she steps over. "I do hope to improve a lot soon..." There are parts that don't look quite right here and there, notably Rayne's apparent inability to draw hair and fur well, let alone the feathers of Twilight's wings.
Twilight says, "It actually looks pretty good, but then again, I'm not hard to please or have standards set too high. I think it looks wonderful."
Rayne says, "Eheheh... Thanks, but I know I've got a long way to go, yet. I think maybe if I focus a bit on lawns and bushes with a lot of leaves I probably can get better at the fine detail things like... hair and feathers and stuff."
Rarity trots over, spotting Twilight and Rayne after coming to the park to relax. "Hello, dears. I do hope I'm not interrupting."
Johann soon enters the park as well, joining the others as soon as he notices them. "Well well, quite ze congregation here, hm? Everybody had ze same idea, it seems."
Twilight Sparkle looks away from Rayne, lifting a foreleg to wave to the incoming arrivals and smiling warmly. "It is a public park, Rarity, so you're not interrupting anything at all. And it's been a while, Johann."
Just off the side where Rayne and Twilight are busy doing their modeling business, Kotal Kahn is playing MESOAMERICAN FOOTBALL with some of his krew.
Rayne says, "Nope! Not interrupting at all! I just finished! I think it wasn't bad for a first attempt at anything living that's not a plant." She grins sheepishly while showing Rarity the picture. She clearly needs work on the finer details like fur, hair, and feathers. It's entirely a line drawing in pencil, there's no color whatsoever. "Heya, Johann. How are you doing?"
Rarity smiled warmly, coming to join them. "Excellent. And hello... Johann, was it?" she said, nodding. She looked at the picture, and grinned. "For a starting effort, it's quite good, Rayne darling."
Johann smiles as he waves back to Twilight and Rayne. "Indeed it has, Ms. Sparkle. And I am doing quite vell, Rayne. Good day to you as vell." Then, turning to Rarity, he nods. "Yes, I am Johann van Windhoek, head doctor of ze clinic. If you should find yourself in need of medical attention, drop by and I vill see vhat I can do."
A small blur of brow darts like an arrow through the park, then back wings and lands on a branch close to where the Krew plays.
Twilight sits down, flicking her wings a few times. "How is your business doing, Johann? I've been meaning to check in, but between Rarity's arrival, and Sunset's, plus all the other stuff going on now... I just haven't had the time to visit you."
That would be the sound of a soccer ball slamming hard into D'vorah's abdomen and sending the bee woman rolling on the ground until she finally comes to a stop a few meters where she originally was. "And you're all out." Says Kotal Kahn once he realizes that Ferra and Torr are also on the ground and look incapable of getting back on their feet. Fortunately, this means that he now has time to look back and realizes that the park is getting quite crowded. "Take five everyone." He says to his downed and twitching krew before walking over to where the group is gathering.
As the statuesque turquoise Aztec walks over to them, he notices a familiar ball off fluffy wings perching on a nearby tree. He motions for Minu to come perch on him just as he approaches the gathered people. "Greetings everyone." He doesn't recognize Rarity but he does see Johann there. "Ah, good doctor, thank you again for tending to the wounds of my prisoner. I commend you and your work."
Rayne blinks as seemingly suddenly the space around her is nearly filled with people. She suddenly feels a lot more self-conscious, and proceeds to turn her art pad to face her stomach, hiding her sketch of Twilight Sparkle. Not that it was bad for a beginner, but it wasn't that great, either. "Aaaaah, anyway, I think I'm needed on duty soon, so... Have fun everyone! Take care!" She then makes a quick call on her comm and is teleported away... Only Kotal and Minu know if she really was to be on duty or not.
Rarity frowns. "I hope I didn't chase her away..."
Johann waves to Rayne, bidding her farewell as she teleports away. Returning his attention to Twilight, he nods and grins. "Excellent! Ze trainees are making great progress, and ve seem to be making a reputation for ourselves. Vith any luck, ve vill be able to significantly reduce ze casualty count in Tvisted vithin ze year. But more importantly, how have you been?"
Then, noticing Kotal knocking out his krew in a game of football, the medic gives a respectful bow to the Aztec. "Ah, it vas nothing. She put up quite ze fight, didn't she? I am more vorried about your, er, pet. Are zey alright?"
He also reaches out to gently pat Rarity's shoulder while he speaks.
The little owl fluffs her feathers and bounces on the branch briefly. When Kotal looks up and sees her then motions for her to join him, she takes to wing. Circling the area then sweeping down to land on the blue mans shoulder.
An astute question! And one that Kotal can't really answer since he doesn't know Rayne's patrol schedule from the top of his head, that's more of Minu's thing. Seeing that she's currently in owl form Rayne's true patrol schedule will have to remain a mystery to all.
Once the little owl perches on Kotal's shoulder, the Aztec reaches over to her head and pets the tiny thing gently with his index finger. Then he boops her beak a little having a little too much with the tiny owl.
"Yes, she is skilled for a mortal." Replies the Aztec warrior to the doctor once he stops petting the owl. "I'm more concerned for her judgment however. Under no circumstances is it ever a good idea to try and infiltrate our building. I am not certain what she was thinking."
"My dogs are fine." Kotal reassures the doctor. "I wouldn't have let her harm them. It was part of the reason why I was fighting alongside them."
Finally, it looks like its time to address the elephant in the room, or in this case, the pony. Kotal fixates his glowing eyes on Rarity and makes a pensive gesture "Another pony?"
Needless to say... The moment she hears that resounding impact, Princess Twilight's flying over to check on Kotal's downed crewmates, cringing a bit. "I'm pretty sure you didn't drive her off, Rarity... And that doesn't sound too pleasant. Better go see if they're alright..." She does, however, nonetheless, nod in response to Johann's explanation. "As for me, I'm doing alright, and just seeing to it that the up-and-coming Magenta Phantom doesn't witness unnecessary deaths."
Rarity watches for a moment as Twilight checks on Kotal's crew. She listens to Johann and Kotal for a moment, looking over to Kotal when he looks at her. She starts a bit at his glowing eyes, but keeps her composure. "Hm, yes. I am a unicorn, actually. My name is Rarity, formerly of Ponyville and Equestria, formerly the proprietor and owner of the Carousel Boutique house of fashion. It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
Johann raises an eyebrow at Twilight. "Magenta Phantom?" he asks quizzically, then nods to Kotal. "Zat is good to hear. I vas vorried vhen she got zem vith zat tranquilizer dart." Glancing at Rarity, he adds, "Zey do seem to be coming in more frequently zan people of other vorlds now. I vonder if zere is a reason for zat..."
The little owl tilts her head as it is stroked by the big blue man. She blinks at the beak tap and playfully beaks at his fingers. When mention is made of the pups the little owl remembers the reason she had sought out the war god. She was cross with him for putting the pups in harms way with no previous training. She suddenly squawks and does a little angry hop and beak clatter. Bouncing sideways on Kotals shoulder toward his neck. She darts her head down and brutally beaks his ear till she draws blood. All the while she hoots scoldingly.
"Leave them be, Twilight." Kotal glances at the princess of friendship when she starts approaching the downed figures of his krew members. "It is part of their training to overcome their injuries. Helping them would defeat the purpose of the exercise." Looks like the Kahn is as a hardass as always. To their Kredit, the members of Kotal's fighting group don't look too injured, these are hardened warriors and they'll get over getting their wind kicked out of them. It's just going to take them a little bit..
The warlord nods to Johann and his concerns. "It is said in Twisted that once a person from a particular realm converges, it makes it more likely for other people from that same realm to converge as well. I suspect Twilight is just the first of the many. If her bond with her friends is as strong as she claims it to be then they will find their way to her eventually."
Kotal recognizes a lady when he sees one, even if they do happen to be a unicorn. "Well met, lady Rarity. I bid you welcome to Twisted, our home." He makes a regal bow. "I am Kotal Kahn, god of war, chief of defense of Twisted, and director of TASK." Minu picks the perfect moment to start throwing a fit and start pecking him just as he's introducing himself. "And this volatile little feathery one is Minu, my personal assistant." He motions to the tiny owl viciously pecking his neck, right under the helmet. Even though she manages to break skin and a trail of blood begins to drip down Kotal's chest, the Aztec is just not reacting to it. He seems to be immune to pain, that or he's far too used to Minu's way of showing her affection.
"...well, alright, if you insist on that, Kotal." Begrudgingly, Twilight swings about in a wide arc before coming to rest near Rarity and flexing her wings, deciding to just let them recover on their own. "As for that... Sunset Shimmer and I are still working on research, but we've come up with an as of yet unsubstantiated theory about how things might come to work here, regarding those from other dimensions."
Twilight says, "As for that, Johann... The Magenta Phantom is really just a revival of how I came to be known as the Masked Matterhorn when Rarity and I, along with the rest of our friends back in Equestria, were pulled into one of Spike's comics and turned into a team of superheroes called the Power Ponies."
Rarity giggled softly. "That was a fun time. I became a heroine called Radiance, and had the power to create constructs of solid light," she said.
Johann raises his hand toward Kotal, switching on the healing beam for a moment with his other hand. Even if it doesn't hurt the guy, there's no reason to stain the grass unnecessarily with blood. "Interesting. So ze bonds of friendship transcend time and space, hm?" he responds to the Aztec, then nods again to Twilight and Rarity, grinning a little. "Heheh, comic book characters, eh? I believe ze Scout read somezing like zat once, about a hero who used some kind of lantern or somezing..."
As Kotal offers up that bow to the pony lady the little owl simply sighs and gives up her attempts to scold the blue god. She would have to deal with her annoyance with him another time, the little owl would not air things before strangers. As she is introduced to the pony the little owl flutters her wings and hoots, bobbing her little head in as close an approximation of a bow as she can.
"Thank you, doctor." At least someone here is concerned that an owl is viciously attacking Kotal's neck. So what if it doesn't look like its hurting him?
He listens carefully as the ponies speak of their runs as super heroes and crosses his arms over his chest. "Just keep the vigilantism and heroism to cases of emergency." He reminds them as its kind of his duty as chief of police. "Do not try to tackle on perils by your lonesome. If you encounter danger and there are officers nearby call upon TASK's aid and we will assist you. It will bother me greatly if you get injured for doing our duty." Another thing that is constant; Kotal being a stick in the mud and having to play the grown up.
"Wh... But we... Urgh, fine. This is precisely why I got out of TASK, to have a little more freedom to operate. But no. You still don't recognize sovereign power, and insist on limiting what a Princess can do, even when said princess has, with her friends alone, dealt with very dangerous threats in the past. Forever destined to live in your shadow, Kotal?"
Twilight Sparkle, it's clear, isn't too pleased with being subjected to restrictions as an independent force.
Rarity grimaced. "Twilight, dear, perhaps for the sake of diplomacy we can make a few concession or two," she said, smiling. "We can keep operating on our own, but perhaps to assuage Kotal's concerns, we consent to calling in help? After all, our magic is a little on the fritz here." She turned to Kotal, and added. "And besides. It's quite obvious that he just doesn't want anyone to get hurt. Correct?"
Johann nods his acknowledgement to Kotal, then flinches at Twilight's outburst. "Calm down, Twilight. He simply has your safety in mind, and having allies is not a bad zing, yes?" he reminds her, gently patting her shoulder.
"Sovereign power?" Kotal says incredulously, glowing eyes widening. Honestly, where can he even begin here? He frowns at Twilight hard, but characteristically doesn't lose his temper immediately. "You are no longer in your world, Twilight. Whatever title you held in Equestria does not apply here in Twisted."
"Even I, a god, knows better than to try and tackle all the dangers here by my lonesome. You do not face the villains of one or two worlds, but of all the multiverse. To stand against them on your own is a folly of the highest order. As a so called 'Princess of Friendship' I would suspect that you better than no one else would know the power of unity and strength in numbers."
Kotal glances at Rarity and Johann and nods slowly, even if his gaze glows ever so brightly in warning. "Listen to the wisdom of your friends. They understand that my position as head of security means keeping everyone safe. That includes you, Princess."
Twilight Sparkle just sort of slumps, sighing in defeat and letting a few tears of frustration fall before simply teleporting away. "To the point I can't even get a slight increase in the power I have within the group you lead, Kotal...? I'm sorry, everyone... I'm just going back home..."
Rarity winces. "Well... um..." Rarity briefly struggled to find a diplomatic way to tend this. "Perhaps we can save the discussion of power and authority for another day," she said. "Kotal, it was a pleasure to meet you, darling. I hope one day I can design a uniform for you." She briefly went into what she termed 'the Zone,' already getting ideas. "Perhaps something in a mix of blues and golds... armored, of course, to reflect your status as a War God... Hmm..." She quickly shook it off. "Anyway, I should go check on Twilight. Tata!" she said, running off.
Johann shakes his head as he watches Twilight and Rarity leave. "I really don't know vhat to do vith her. Maybe if ve simply give her some space, she'll come to ze realization on her own, hm?" he says to Kotal, then asks, "By ze vay, have you gotten anyzing out of ze prisoner? Is she vorking for somebody? Trying to sabotage TASK from vithin?"
"Power must be earned." The Aztec calmly reminds Twilight. "In your time in TASK you assisted in no official missions and participated in only one meeting. There was nothing I could base myself on to judge your worth. Outbursts such as the one you're doing right now only hurt your chances of ever raising in rank. And even then, what rank would this be you speak of? I am in charge, Rayne is my second in command, everyone else are officers. If you wished a title to prove your superiority over everyone else in TASK then that is something I would have never provide, for you or anyone."
But then, Twilight and Rarity are making a quick exit leaving the War God to cross his arms and shake his head in disapproval. "Children."
Kotal glances then to Johann and closes his eyes in thought, or perhaps to keep his anger in check, its hard to tell sometimes with Kotal. "I will let them be for now." And he's going to leave it at that.
As for the prisoner. "She was trying to deliver a present to me by pretending to be Santa Claus. Apparently, it was her way of getting excitement and polishing her skills."
"In the end, it was nothing more than a childish prank. It is why I decided to let her go with naught but a warning."
Minu sits quietly, blinking those great golden eyes and watches the outburst and rebuttal from the blue god. The little owl beak clacks and looks quite perplexed, even turning her head almost fully upside down as if trying to see things from another perspective.
Johann rolls his eyes. "So many young people running around. It vould be nice to have some more maturity, hm?" he says, then sighs and gives a farewell wave to Kotal and Minu. "In any case, my break is nearly over. I vill see you two some other time, yes?"
The Aztec gives a tired, but understanding, nod to the doctor, agreeing with him wholeheartedly. "May the light of the sun shine upon your path." Says Kotal as he raises a hand to the departing Johann.
Then, as if to release some built in tension, he begins petting Minu again with his finger. Because petting fluffy things always makes things better.
Even for a god of war.
Minu is aware of the tension in the war god and after that scene she chooses to keep her own annoyance with the god till another time. As he reaches to pet her, she tilts her head into his touch and coos softly.