This story is not MUCK IC, and is just a fantasy what-if alternate world.
Dusk has come to town to provide a little entertainment and simple tricks! He's set up a little show, like he does at all the little towns he goes too. He does quite a variety of fun things. Changing a small stack of papers into origami birds.. Then changing those into actual white doves that fly off. Hovering and juggling some large metal balls.. more and more.. Until one slips and falls into the audience! But instead of crushing ponies it bursts into confetti and candies. All the while too, he's looking over the audience.
Mirage is just settling on a pillow set upon the grass of the town commons where the show is being held. It's a pretty evening, just after sunset, and quite a few ponies are in attendance. After all, it's not often that a travelling entertainer comes to town with his own caravan and stage. Most travelling entertainers that perform in this little town are street performers; talented but lacking polish or resources. But this performer, if his flyers and posters can be believed, is experienced and worldly, and a real treat for the townsponies. "Of course, if he's that good, why is he performing here?" she wonders to herself. It's a sell out crowd, but the cushion next to her is empty. Mirage glances at it and tries not to sigh or frown. Perhaps the show will take her mind off the disappointment she's feeling.
Dusk's show goes on as described, and he calls a couple of ponies up, or does some ticks right in the audience, coming not far from you even, a couple of times. He even looks in your direction at times, with those vivid violet eyes. Then a nice little light show even, with a larger one planned for later. He walks again through the audience, on the far side from you. But you can still see as he draws a bird from a mare with a curly mane. As it flies off, when ponies look back Dusk is gone.
Mirage, like the rest of the audience, is thrilled by the show. It's much better than the usual entertainment that comes through the little town. But she finds herself becoming distracted and not enjoying as much as she would, her thoughts going back to a couple of hours before. She'd been tempted not to come at all, but she disliked the thought of both tickets going to waste rather than one. As you engage the audience by having volunteers come up, or perform some tricks in the audience itself, she does see you look her way, and she's careful to descretely move her head so another spectator is blocking a direct view of you. Seeing the show is one thing, but being a part of it is not what she planned. Not that you'd pick her anyway. There's plenty of enthusiastic ponies in the crowd eager to see your tricks up close. She blinks as she, like all the other ponies, watches the bird fly off, and then finds you've vanished!
The little yellow bird though tweet-tweets, flying around as ponies glance about. Dusk has been eying you from here and there, as you've been avoiding his glances, and finding you quite fascinating, unlike all the others all jumping for momentary attention. The little bird flies about overhead near you now, and comes down, landing right on your head! "Looks like our next volunteer has been picked!" comes Dusk's stalliony voice as he stands right there by you, over the empty seat.
Mirage was watching the bird fly about, just like every other pony in the audience. But when the little bird starts to get close, she tries to shrink away from it as much as she can, at least without seeming too obvious about it. She doesn't want to disrupt the show! Mirage just freezes when the bird actually lands on her, and then she lifts a hoof to try to coax the bird into leaving. And suddenly you're right next to her, announcing her as a volunteer! "Oh no," she says, her eyes wide and beady for a few moments until she realizes -every pony- must be looking at her. "Maybe your bird would like to pick somepony else?" she manages to you.
Dusk chuckles a little and smiles quite showmanly as the rest of the audience ooos and clops happy at the trick. Dusk reaches out a hoof taking yours, smiling as he looks into your eyes, "Perhaps she might. But I certainly do not." He draws you forward by the hoof, giving it a little kiss. "Please, come join us for a few tricks and fun!" he requests, but seems pretty set that you will too.
Mirage gives you an appeasing though nervous smile as the rest of the audience applauds. "Um thank you, but I don't really..." she almost whispers to you before peer pressure from the herd, and your own determination, convinces her to follow you. She gulps, finding it a bit frightening not to be just another face in the crowd, and she hopes you don't have anything in mind too demanding.
Dusk smiles as you join along. "Such a wonderful sport!" he announces to everypony. He walks you up to the nearby stage. Once we're up he asks, "And what is your name, Miss?"
Mirage looks out at the audience once we're on your stage. There are far, far too many ponies out in the audience looking at her, and she decides keeping her eyes on you is better than getting even more nervous about the audience. She just becomes aware that the bird is still on her head, and she blushes despite herself before your question brings her attention back to you. "My what?" she blinks, trying not to shake her head to get the bird to leave. "Oh, Mirage," she says with a shy smile. "Hello."
Dusk gazes back to you as well when not addressing the audience for a moment or two. The little bird seems to stay in place even as you shake your head. Dusk smiles warmly, "Well thank you very much, Miss Mirage! It is wonderful of you to help out," he says as magicing up a good sized swath of shiny, silky red material in the air and along the stage. "Because we all know every good magician cannot work without a most lovely assistant.." And as he says that the material passes between you and the audience. Only a moment, but once it passes, first the audience, then you, realize you are dressed up in one of those lovely bunnypony outfits such assistants wear, of the same silky material, stockings, fake bunny ears, and your tail done up like a cute cotton tail. The little bird still right in place atop of your head, though it finally flies off shortly after the reveal, landing off on a stage structure.
Mirage still looks nervous, but you speaking to her does help reassure. And after all, it will be just a trick or two and then she can go back to her seat. She pauses a moment, thinking about the empty seat next to her, then she's distracted as you begin. She gasps aloud as you change her into a rather surprising new outfit! Her eyes go wide again and she lifts a hoof up to her chest as if that would bring back her clothes! The sudden applause for your trick surprises her as well! "Oh, nice trick," she says softly, "I can go now yes?"
Dusk smiles as he gets to check you over in the cute and sexy little outfit as the audience applauds. He chuckles a little and smiles, slipping a hoof around you, "Oh we got a few more wonderful tricks for my new assistant!" You feel his nice strong form, and he gives a rather pleasing, sincere looking smile as he looks back to you, and into your pretty green eyes. "Right over here, Assistant Mirage!" He shows you over to a table.
Mirage is starting to take a few little steps back the way she came on the stage, when you slip your hoof around her and stop her. She blinks again and looks beady-eyed, her ears flattened back, as you suddenly find a new job for her. "New assistant?" she says in a stage whisper that is accidently loud enough that at least some of the crowd can hear. "What happened to the old one?" she protests as you take her to the table. She gives the table a dubious look.
Dusk smiles as he gives a little squeeze, keeping you from leaving. At the table he magics over some steps and helps you up, and has you lay back on it. Some do hear your words and chuckle, and it sort of spreads across the audience as others ask what you said. "My last assistant?" Once you get in place he closes up a long box around you, with your head sticking out one end, forehooves above, as if holding a sheet in place, and rear hooves poking out the other end. Dusk loses his smile and gives a momentary glance down, "She's not with us now.." Not with? Quit? Dead? But he perks right up, "But that's okay!" He produces to large metal panels with a wood handle-like edge on one end, and a very sharp looking other end.
Mirage isn't too sure about all this, having never seen your act before. "Her ears twitch at the ripple of laughter going through the audience, and she wonders briefly how much trouble she'd be in if she simply followed her instinct and chickened out now. But, there'd be an angry audience to deal with later.... She blinks at you as you explain in an almost sinister way about your old assistant. And the audience reacts to your words, a nervous laugh coming from them as interest and excitement begin to build. "Are the sharp things really necessary?" Mirage asks you in a very concerned tone.
Dusk is getting things set up, showing them to the audience with you now inside the closed up box, other than where you stick out through the openings. He pauses at the question. "I.. Pretty sure. Hmmmm." He magics over a book sitting off to the side. The cover reads "Magic Made Easy" clearly visible to the audience, which gets a bit of a chuckle. He opens it with his magic as he hovers it, flipping through a few pages. "Ah yes, definitely. Sharp blade thingies! Two of. Check! Platter, one, coconuts, two." He magics the items over. "Check and check. Place coconuts on platter and test blade sharpness." He nods, and proceeds to chop one coconut in half with one blade and the same with the other blade and coconut with virtually no resistance. He nods again, and chops them up into little pieces like a chief cutting up a tomato. "Check! And snacks for our guests!" He goes to serve the chopped food to the front row, but about half way there the metal platter falls apart into little chopped up bits too. "Oops.." There's a little gasp and then a chuckle from the audience again.
Mirage can't quite see all that you're doing, although the audience's reaction lets her know your act is going well. She calms down a bit, telling herself it's all part of the show. But when you chop up the coconuts, the blades clanging on the platters, she starts looking for a way out of the box. "You know, you should really have a professional assisting you," she protests, accidently loud enough for the audience to hear. Then she meeeps! as you reveal the platter is diced, too! "You know, I think I left my waffle iron on, Mind if I go now?"
The audience is loving it and laughing it up with your own added comments too. It could probably not be scripted better. Of course with the antics Dusk is going through it's an expected result. He flips back and forth through a few pages in the book. "No no, it's fine! I'm /sure/ I have it (this time)." He comes over to the box you're in, on the far side from the audience facing them. He holds the blades using his hooves, not magic. He addresses them, "So! Every pony ready?" To which a mix of 'Yeahs!' and cheers goes up. "Alright!" He holds the blades up, "3! 2!" at which the audience joins in, "1!"
Mirage says, "No!" while the audicene choruses "Yes!" She's beginning to feel like it's all some huge conspiracy between you and the townsponies! They're going to enjoy whatever you do to her! Then Mirage tries to calm herself, telling her this is just an act, after all. But it's not easy to be calm when you're going to be the coconut. "Is it too late to ask for another volunteer?" she pleads to you as you count down."
The audience really laughs as you ask for a replacement. If you survive you should be rather famous and popular in town. "2! 1!" Dusk thrusts the blades down! And stops! He pauses, looks back over the book, flips a page, then back and forth, like maybe there's a step missing, by his expression. He shrugs and without further warning, thrusts the two blades down the middle of the box, taking many ponies somewhat by surprise with a gasp.
Mirage gives a little gasp when your first start with the blades, and breahes a sigh of relief when you stop short! "Um, the trick is over, right?" she says with some faint hope in her voice. She can hear the audience enjoying her discomfort, since by now they must think it's all part of your act. Taking a deep breath and holding it to calm herself, she's as surprised as everypony else and cries aloud in shock when you slam the blades down. Then she's very still and quiet as everything seems to go dim for her.
Murmurs start going through the audience as you become still and Dusk is looking the box and you over, the inserted blades separating the top half from the bottom. Dusk looks up, "Ta da!" The ponies still murmur, with perhaps a couple of small clops. Dusk hmms and looks back at the book. "Oh there's more!" That gets a small chuckle, though ponies still seem nervous. He walks around, looking at you. "Hmmm.." He walks around to the other end and sees your hooves sticking out. He takes off the short black heals and showing your stockinged hooves. He magics up a feather and shows it to the audience, and then proceeds to rub it ever so softly against and around each hoof.
Mirage is kind of liking things being dim and distant. It's very calming and she can pretend she's all alone now. Why didn't she think of this before? She breathes in a restful breath and then suddenly goes into giggle-fits! "Ahh!" she manages between giggles than turn into laughs! "Don't tickle!"
The ponies of the audience take a collective deep breath as they finally see you're just fine, and then break into much more comfortable laughter once more. Dusk smiles happily too, with a little chuckle, and obliges, stopping the tickling. He slips your new shoes back on and steps back around. "Ah wonderful! You're doing fantastic, New Assistant Mirage! Step two and you're still alive. I think I'm getting the hang of this!" he teases and smiles. He leans in and gives your near hoof a kiss.
Mirage takes a few moments to get her breath back after the tickling stops. "We should be on step six by now," she complains as you tease her. She wiggles her hooves and turns her head. "I don't want to be a chopped coconut!"
Dusk smiles, "Well so eager to do more! How wonderful! And you look much more appealing than any coconut." He walks around to the side of the box, reaching over and undoing a latch on the audience side. Then undoes one on his side. The ponies watch intently, "Ladies and gentleponies.." He pauses, then separates the two halves! "A dual Mirage!" He turns the half with your feet, the table being in two parts too (or is now), and wheeled, letting everypony see. Each blade closes the end of one half. He even wheels it around to where you can see your rear hooves, and still wiggle them.
Mirage hmmphs! as you continue to play her along with your act. She 'eeeps!' as you turn the box halves around, showing off your trick. Mirage does wiggle about, not liking the sensation of seeing part of herself not conntected. "I'd -really- like to get myself together," she says, thumping the box with her forehoof.
Dusk chuckles, "So you're saying I should get my act together?" Which gets a small chuckle out of the audience. He smiles, glad to see you at least are getting comfortable enough to grumble about his teasing and not just be frightened. He wheels the two halves around until they're mostly in place, with standing between them. "What says, everypony? Shall we restore my lovely assistant?" To which you get cheers much more agreeable to you.
Mirage wiggles in the box again. "You know what I mean," she stage whispers to you. Yes, it's an act and a very good one, but it's still a little scarey to be suddenly thrown into something that normally requires a trained professional! She breathes a little sigh of relief as it seems you're about to put her back together again. "Yay,'s she chimes in.
Dusk chuckles and gives you a little wink. Then to the audience he smiles and gives a bow to everypony, "As you all wish! It is your show after all." He takes a step back and pushes the two halves of you back together. He reaches over and reclasps the one side, then the other.. well.. seems to be stuck.. Just moment.. *pound* *pound* *click* "Ah there we go." He smiles. No problems here. He reaches forward and grabs the blades, "This may tickle." He gives a pull, and they come partly up.. and get stuck. He makes a face, which he quickly changes to a smile and pushes them back down. A quick look at the book and ohs, "That's right. Everypony, count it down! 3! 2! 1!" He pulls again coming quite cleanly this time, followed by a large puff of smoke covering the table, the sound of the box falling a part and pieces sound falling to the floor of the stage below the level of the smoke. The smoke finally clears and there on the table you stand, complete and whole..y mholey! You're put together all wrong. Legs and tail all askew! Dusk looks aghast, then grins, pulling a silk sheet with the image on it off from your back, revealing you normal beneath. The audience applauds and yells quite loudly.
Mirage is rather patient as you begin to put the boxes back together. At last she'll be ouf of the box and back on her hooves! The puff of smoke startles her, but she's more than happy to have the box fall away... until she sees the condition she's in! "Ahhhh!" she cries, her beady eyes wide as her tail sticks almost straight out in shock! It takes her a few moments to realize she's just fine when you remove the silk cover with the image on it! Even so, she sways a bit as you receive your applause from the happy and excited audience.
Dusk gives a bow and smiles. He lets the audience cheer as he reaches up and takes a hoof, helping stabilize his bunny assistant, and down the short flight of steps to the stage level. "Wonderful wonderful! I agree, you're much better than how the coconuts turned out." He smiles warmly as he holds your hoof there. "For such a great assitant, you deserve something more easy going, I think."
Mirage is happy for your help coming down the steps from the table. She feels wobbly enough that she might have trouble otherwise. But at least you're getting a big round of applause, so she just smiles shyly as you compliement her. "Oh, I get to go back to my seat?" she asks hopefully.
Dusk is quite glad to help too. He can't help admiring you, which he gets plenty of chance to do with you right there with him, in your lovely new bunny suit. It doesn't take too long for the audience to calm back down again. Dusk smiles, "That is exactly right, Miss Bunny! And just right this way then.." He escorts you across the stage but instead of towards the audience and your seat there, he turns and takes you to one of two seats, directing you to the nice sizable comfy one. "Here you go.." He guides you to the seat by the hoof.
Mirage is relieved that her ordeal seems to finally be over. And she didn't even mess up your act, so that's one less thing to worry about. She follows along and then hesistates when she sees you're taking her in the wrong direction. "Um, just a minute?" she says before you usher her to the seat on the stage. She gives you a bewildered look, but guesses the act isn't over yet. "What are you doing??" she whispers to you.
Dusk smiles as he guides you to the seat and then takes his own, "Giving my assistant a chance to sit back and relax," he says, hovering out a lovely little clear crystal that spins hypnotically before you.. Such beautiful reflected colors, gently spinning.. "Sit back and relax.. So easy and happy.. Away, relaxing in your chair someplace soothing and peaceful.."
Mirage is completely distracted by now with the tricks and the audience, that she gazes into the crystal, puzzled by what you're doing. And then she finds the colors very soothing and relaxing, making it seem as if all this is just a bad little daydream and she's not on the stage anymore...
Dusk smiles as you watch the crystal and the relax and settle in, imagining someplace nice and peaceful... "Yes, just you and me, Mirage. Just hearing my voice. You trust my words.. You know they're true," he goes on in a calm voice, letting you give little responses here and there. "But now it's time.. Time to show them what a wonderful, graceful dancer you are, Mirage," he says, helping you up once again with a hoof.
Mirage seems to only be aware of your words, her ears lightly turing at the sound of your voice while she gazes into the little crystal. She wears a relaxed smile as the stress drains away from her, and she readily stands up as you take her hoof.
Dusk watches you as you relax and become comfortable listening to his voice. "That's my girl. You don't even have to say a word. You can show the world with your hooves.." And he soon has you out dancing beautifully and gracefully across the stage with him, whether you ever had before or not.
Mirage does indeed dance along with you, purposefully and gracefully as she follows your lead. Anypony would think that you and she had been dance partners for some time, so well does she time her moves to yours. And there's not a hint of shyness or embarassment, even with the audience looking on.
Dusk has quite a wonderful dance with you, and quite enjoys it himself even as the audience applauds the performance. You do indeed dance so lovely, as he quite carefully leads you and you pick up without mistake. "So wonderful, my silent dancing little mare. They all love our beautiful dancing. But none of them know.. that you are.. secretly.. a cockatrice! You fooled them all and will now stare and happily turn them all to stone!"
Mirage blinks and then her eyes widen, becoming uncommonly fully open as she gives a sweeping gaze to the audience. Her sea-green eyes sparkle in the stage light with a predatory look, making sure no pony in the audience escapes her stoney glare!
Dusk staggers back, trying to avert his eyes, and keep between you and the audience, "Oh no!" he cries in a clearly acting style. In fact his turns his head to the audience and gives them a wink and a grin. "I have to protect everypony from the cockatrice!" He keeps between you and them as he playfully 'avoids' your stare. The audience gets quite a chuckle as you go on about, thinking you're a cockatrice. So much better than the old chicken gag. But at some point his eyes do make contact with yours and he pauses.. looking.. The laughter stops as they see him turning into stone right before them, and a solid block in a matter of seconds. Now nothing stands between you and the audience.
Mirage flattens her ears back as you turn to stone under her gaze, then she steps around your still figure to gaze directly at the audience!
There are gasps and ohs! and as you come around and stare balefully upon them, ponies want to believe it's part of the show, but doesn't keep them backing away, averting their gaze, and the occasional pony crying out and trying to hide. But before an all out panic can start there comes a ring of a gong, "And stop!" cries Dusk voice, as we can now see him wheeling off the stone Dusk statue, that apparently nopony noticed had small wheels on the bottom. "You are no longer a cockatrice. It was all just a fun gag. You are once again my ever loyal and lovely assistant, Mirage." He parks the statue in the back area of the stage and comes back over. First there is relief from the audience, then chuckles at the statue, and finally some applause.
Mirage's expression changes almost immediately, her eyes resuming their normal half lidded almond shape while her ears tilt back up. Then, as you take your bow as the audience appluads, realizes how you performed a trick within a trick, Mirage bows to the audience too. She wears a greatful bur professional smile for the audience, waving a hoof towards you to direct the audiences' attention and appluse to you. You are the star, after all.
Dusk smiles, taking a couple more bows. And nodding to you as he sees you waving the attention to him. He steps back over besides you, waving to the audience as the applause starts to settle off. "Thank you, thank you! And of course some applause for my ever so sweet and shy and mysteriously silent assistant, Mirage!" he says, putting a hoof over you and waving to the audience to cheer some more. "But we're not done yet! We still have another trick yet!"
Mirage gives a gracious bow to the audience, her costume bunny ears only flopping slightly. Indeed, she plays the part very well, acting just as the assistant you want for your act. She gives a wave of her hoof, encompassing the stage as you announce yet another exciting magical spectical!
Dusk hasn't ended the hypnotic influence yet, though to the others it may well seem he has. As you gesture to the stage, Dusk waves his hoof to a spot on the stage and there's a puff of smoke and a sizable tall box appears as the smoke clears. "Please open the box, my assistant!" The entire front is a door.
Mirage glides over to the box, taking care to move her hoof over it, briefly outlining the box for the audience in a bit of flair. By now, some in the audience may be thinking you planted your assistant in the audience to pretend to be a volunteer during the dangerous blade and box illusion. She does a little turn as she opens the door, revealing the interior to the audience.
Dusk smiles as you're doing such a wonderful job. The audience follows him and you as we work on the next act. And he doesn't mind if that's what they think either, as it doesn't change the fun of the show. Inside the sizable box are just some chains and other gear, but otherwise largely empty. "Today my lovely assistant is going to help with performing an amazing escape right before your eyes!" He gives the audience a few moments then turns back to you, "Miss Mirage, please step back into the box!" It's not deep enough to fit entirely inside. Some chains are on the floor, some others hang from above and the sides.
Mirage turns gracefully, doing a little high step as she backs into the box. No, the audience's suspicion doesn't deminish the fun. If anything, they're enjoying the show more as they suspect you'd never endanger some innocent pony from the audience with your magical feats. Mirage gives a little bow to the audience as she takes her place and awaits your preparation for this next trick.
Dusk makes sure the audience has a clear view, "Now if you would, place each of your hooves into the shackles off to either side, as well as your forehooves to the ones hanging above, Miss Mirage. And give a tug until they are secure!" The rear ones are each on a short chain, requiring you to spread your hooves out a ways to each each.
Mirage flashes a smile to the audience, and then gives a little tug to each of the chains in turn, showing they're at least secure to the box and not completely fake. Then she delicately places the restraints on her hind hoofs, and then stands on her hind legs as she makes a little show of putting the hanging ones on her front hooves. Once they're on, she gives another little tug to show she can't simple slip away from them.
Dusk has you get good and secure. They're padded and comfortable, but the mechanism clicks them tighter until they're good and snug the more you pull, but doesn't loosen when you stop. Then Dusk slips another around your waist, though this one is just a fixed size, and connects to chains to either side. "Excellent! Everypony can see she is well secured! And they are all magic resistant, so she will not be able to use magic in her escape. Not even myself!"
Mirage gives another smile to the audience, pleasant and reassuring as you guide the act along. She is acting just as you'd want an assistant to act, not shying from your touch as put the last belt around her waste, but blushing enough that the spectators closest to the stage can notice. When you announce how escape proof the box is, Mirage lets her horn shimmer with pretty green magic, and the chains begin to glow likewise. And while the chains may shake, they do not come loose!
Dusk smiles as you do your best to be a perfect assistant, but he loves seeing you blush too as he smiles all the more. Still so sweet and shy as you've always been, but being such a very good assistant as well. The audience watches as you test out the chains. He turns the whole box too, which is raised up off the ground on a large dolly-like base. The other walls are clear and the audience can see there isn't anything else around or under. As he does he closes up the door, and secures a series of latches, sealing it up tight.
Mirage returns your smile, giving you a barely noticible nod as the trick seems to be going along fine so far. As you turn the box, she moves as much she can, posing briefly one way and then another, looking over her shoulder back to the audience with her smile. Then, when you close the door and secure it, she slowly lets her head down, letting her long mane fall a little forward, partially hiding her face.
Dusk gives several taps from the other side of the door, making sure it's good and sealed. "And now, to not just make it amazing to have my wonderful assistant escape, we are going to make it.. Exciting!" He reveals a large overhead container of water. He pulls a cord unplugging the opening on the bottom, and the water starts pouring down in a heavy stream, right into the box! The water can be heard pouring down inside. "Let's hope she can make it in time! Or better at holding her breath than my last assistant!"
The audience watches as the water pours into the box, and ponies that can see the sides can see water filling the box! Gradually, though, as more water pours it becomes faintly blue and then a little more blue and frothy as more and more water continues to pour! Surely it will be just a matter of seconds before the box is filled completely!
Indeed, it fills and fills, the water in the overhead container most of the way down. Dusk keeps looking around as if expecting you to step out from somewhere, and looking up at the water. Then it finally reaches that filling point, and starts spilling over the top of the box, pouring down over all the sides and down onto the stage in a stream of water until the last of the overhead container comes to a trickle and runs out. Dusk waits a few more moments and then steps back over to the box and starts to undo the latches, water seeping and squirting out with each opened latch.
Dusk works his way up to the top latch, water pouring out. And just as he opens the last latch and ponies lean in to see you, expecting to have the last of the water pour out.. Instead, inside, fireworks sparkle and flair, shooting up into the sky, as well as just over the heads of the ponies as they shoot out from the open door. Soon it is quite a fireworks display filling the area!
The fireworks go off and it's quite a finale act for the show with quite the light show. The bright flashes and loud pops going off all around, ponies applauding and cheering. By the time ponies notice, Dusk and show are gone even more quickly than he arrived.
Thursday, January 16, 2014