Page 976 - Downward Stares

21st Oct 2017, 6:00 AM
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Downward Stares
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 21st Oct 2017, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
It has been / is / will be interesting to see people's predictions on what's going to happen next evolve in real time. My only hope is that there appears to be at least some ghost of a chance that things could take a non-obvious path. Though as the episode wears on, it becomes more and more clear what screencaps I'm going to be using next, which somewhat determines how the comic will play out. After all, it's not like I can change the episode itself...

36 Comments:

RandomRex6 21st Oct 2017, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Or can you...?
Evilbob 21st Oct 2017, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Evilbob
Of course he can. All he has to do is to skip those scenes of destruction and get a vector artist to make any changed scenes he needs.
Hariman 21st Oct 2017, 6:58 PM edit delete reply
Swarm of the Century didn't survive contact with the mane party! ;D

As for this adventure/episode, I think it will go pretty chaotic as the others fake a disaster and torpedo their own (current) social standings to make sure Rarity isn't being captured.

I also suspect that Rarity might just put herself behind Blueblood deliberately, to frame him instead of having his cowardice revealed.

Then again, everything playing out and Blueblood being revealed as a coward would actually be a surprise to me, as my guess was that Rarity will burn Blueblood for being a selfish manipulator.
Jennifer 21st Oct 2017, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
It looks like my thoughts on how this will progress may be correct. I'm certainly hoping for something less obvious than "Blueblood reveals cowardice and THEN Rarity decides."

Metagame-wise, I wonder whether Blueblood's lightning reaction might reveal him as a thief. After all, why would an inbred royal need a sky-high dodge score?
Greenhornet 21st Oct 2017, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
MAYBE...
The main six decides to "do something" about his plot against the throne, takes "Elusive" out, exposes the thieves' guild sending half to jail, the other half on the run and exiling "Elusive" to the moon.
OR...
Blueblood is NOT "Elusive", he's just a minor boss with big ideas. Which includes bumping of the REAL big boss and claiming to be him/her. In which case, he'd need Rarity and friends to back him up; both verbally and with firepower.
Needling Haystacks 21st Oct 2017, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
In that eventuality, Rarity could wind up head of the Thieves' Guild...
Xanderman1201 23rd Oct 2017, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
If that second one is true, then why would he be unhappy about seeing Applejack at the Gala?
Magthere 21st Oct 2017, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Why in case he ever gets invited to a Royal Wedding, have you seen how lethal they can be?
darkgloomie 21st Oct 2017, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
If anything, being an Aristocrat is one of the better reasons to have an high Dex score. Helps with all the daggers people wants to stick in your back.
Digo Dragon 21st Oct 2017, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
If this was my old local group, they'd start a fight to "rescue" the social rogue from a fate worse than death--marriage. Destroy the ballroom, attack the prince, scare off the guests, kidnap Rarity and run for their secret donut safehouse.

...I'm starting to question why I missed this old group.
Evilbob 21st Oct 2017, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Evilbob
Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em.
Mykin 21st Oct 2017, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
I know the feeling, Digo.
Brax 21st Oct 2017, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
I've never seen Friendship is Magic, so I have no idea how this is actually gonna turn out.
Robin Bobcat 21st Oct 2017, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
Wait.. never?

Wow... Okay, this must be an interesting dynamic for you then.

First off, obligatory exhortations to watch it. It's good. The first season was enough to get everyone hooked.
DeS_Tructive 22nd Oct 2017, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
DeS_Tructive
Brax (Great name. I loved that character in Mass Effect) isn't the only one. I only watched the first six-ish episodes. I like FIM, but it's pushed down in priority by fifteen or so other shows I like better.
I also read Grand Line 3.5, even though I absolutely loathe One Piece. It says a lot about the author, if their material is good enough to pull in people who aren't fans of the franchise.
Greenhornet 22nd Oct 2017, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
Oddly enough, I'VE never seen the show either, until viewing the video parodies and a comparison to D+D by a gamer made me check it out.
Not bad, I thought. I was impressed that the writers didn't treat their audience like babies.
Robin Bobcat 23rd Oct 2017, 4:56 AM edit delete reply
That's pretty much why so many aduflts like the show.

Make no mistake, it's a kid's show, and they keep it there, but it's hardly baby food and sparkles.
Robin Bobcat 23rd Oct 2017, 4:56 AM edit delete reply
That's pretty much why so many adults like the show.

Make no mistake, it's a kid's show, and they keep it there, but it's hardly baby food and sparkles.
Robin Bobcat 23rd Oct 2017, 4:56 AM edit delete reply
That's pretty much why so many adults like the show.

Make no mistake, it's a kid's show, and they keep it there, but it's hardly baby food and sparkles.
evileeyore 24th Oct 2017, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
Kinda ditto Brax. Watched the first four episodes (after getting into Pinkie Pie* memes on the internests) and didn't like it.

The comic is aces though.



* Pinkie Pie is best pony.
Robin Bobcat 21st Oct 2017, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Soooo... if she turns him down, she's ruined. Totally and completely. And probably dead in a ditch somewhere. This is the threat he's got over her head.

If she takes him up on it, he wins. It may be what Rarity wanted, but the power balance has definitely shifted.

The only way out of this is for a monstrously unmitigated DISASTER to happen, making it so it is impossible to move forward without arousing suspicion.
hariman 21st Oct 2017, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
And I will enjoy watching Rogue-ity year his reputation and his standing/position as Elusive apart.

I also think that Rarity could think her way out of this, and likely take out a large chunk of the Thieve's Guild while at it...

If I didn't think that her friends are about to bail her out before that's needed.
Jaakusan 21st Oct 2017, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
Not necessarily. She could agree and pull a long con on Elusive himself. Play along, build up his trust and her own power base, then at the opportune moment turn to the noble friends she's made (and the contacts she already has at the ECC thanks to Fancy Pants, even if they don't necessarily like her), and present the evidence she's been stockpiling. All while decrying her own horror that her beloved could have been duping her all along.

Heck, she could potentially even get Celestia to back her up. Celestia has already stated she's giving Rarity a chance to prove herself as a proper wielder of an Element. If Rarity uses her noble alias to out the Head of the Thieves Guild, it's solid proof of what side she's chosen and there'd be every reason to help cover up potential loose ends.
Greenhornet 22nd Oct 2017, 2:35 PM edit delete reply
That may not happen. Remember that Fluttershy is ready to "Hulk out" at any moment.
"Oh, I'm so glad we could come to an agreement, dear Blueblood! Wait, did anyone inform Fluttershy?"
CRASH!
"Death to all thieves!"
Kuraimizu 21st Oct 2017, 1:48 PM edit delete reply
The only way for Rarity to win this is challenge is to turn Elusive in. Revealing him to all the guests at the party and Celestia at the same time is the best option. Once Elusive is revealed as Blueblood, he will be on the run from the Crown. Everyone knows the only people he could turn to would be members of the thieves guild. And as Blueblood is a very well known person, any pony meeting with him or found helping him would instantly be suspected and investigated by the Crown on grounds of being a member of the thief guild. Meaning publicly revealing him would instantly blacklist him from the rest of the guild. Meaning Rarity would then be in position to gather the guild under her own leadership, or to start fresh and leave the guild to be investigated by the Crown. She already has her business and is now also Dainty Dove the Noble. This will be a shining moment to throw away her old life, and embrace her new life as an element of harmony.
hariman 21st Oct 2017, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
Generosity.

Heh. Rarity could give Blueblood a chance to reform under Celestia instead of completely outing him.

I also think it would be shortsighted to burn the entire thieve's guild. Sure, they're a bunch of crooks of varying stripes, but they could also be hired as informants and for spying by the crown!

Just, you know, with a little less of the crime and stuff.

It wouldn't get EVERYONE from the Thieve's Guild on the Princess' side, but I'm willing to bet a lot of them would go a little more legit, if given a chance and a reasonable offer.

And I do mean reasonable, and not "reasonable" or "an offer they can't refuse"!
The MunchKING 21st Oct 2017, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
She would need evidence to turn him in. "He told me" wouldn't hold up to a "Nuh-uh", much less his actual social standing and manipulation skills.
hariman 22nd Oct 2017, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
That's the catch. I think Celestia either knows, or suspects that Blueblood or one of the other nobles is a member of the Thieve's Guild.

After all, Elusive DID go on a Canterlot based crime spree, and stole something valuable from her.

I've always wondered if that something was actually a person's loyalty, and not a physical object.

Besides, I'm not thinking an official "in jail for secretly running the Thieve's Guild". I'm thinking "taking a sabbatical from public life in the royal retreat, wanting privacy after his recent humiliation and poor behavior" to isolate Blueblood from his position as Elusive. ;)
Rokas 21st Oct 2017, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
We all know she's going to turn him down and start a fight in a worthy switching of roles with RD from diplomancer to "I'm going to RIP YOUR FACE OFF". It's part of her character arc, such as it has been, to go from the typical "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine" thief to the "rogue with a heart of gold". Sort of how RD's player has gone from "kill everything and this setting is lame" to "well, maybe we can talk and the ponies don't suck. I mean, not totally, anyway."

Meanwhile Fluttershy's character has gone from wallflower to effective member of the team, and I'm pretty sure she's about to make the barbarian's player tear up with pride as she storms the party with her animal army of doom.

But we'll see.
Captain Snark 21st Oct 2017, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
I have to admit if I was Rarity's player I'd be very tempted to take his offer. Sure he 'wins' now. But I like playing the long game. Take my time building up his trust and my power and then take over the thieves guild and stab him in the back, quite literally in this case.
Dragonflight 22nd Oct 2017, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
It might make sense for Rarity to consider taking him up on her offer, but assuming the other ponies decide to start something, she might instantly switch tracks, and arrange to remove Elusive from power.

The goal? Simple. She becomes the new head of the Thieves' Guild, by using *Rarity* as the new Guildmaster persona. When Rarity starts building all those stores in various cities, who do you think she recruits to run them? Not to mention the opportunity it provides the Guild for money laundering and establishing safehouses across Equestria.

Add to that her status as an Element Bearer, and the obvious access she has to Celestia on pretty much a "casual friend" basis, and the Guild will be *begging* her to take over from Elusive.

Which after he betrayed and tried to manipulate her would be the best revenge ever. :)
hariman 22nd Oct 2017, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
Why be that roundabout? Rarity could directly take over and do that too, especially with Celestia/Luna helping out with keeping up the charade.

Granted, some of the Thieve's Guild, like Sapphire, would know. But would they care? Especially when Rarity is the element of generosity, and might be more predisposed to letting them keep their own profits.

I'm pretty sure that Elusive is the type to skim off of everyone else' work.

That's why he thinks an ultimatum of "marry me and become my second in command, and be grateful to me forever" is actually an "I have this great gift for you!" offer.

I love the character study of Blueblood in this comic. It's such a myriad of personal blindness and selfishness!
Dragonflight 22nd Oct 2017, 2:48 PM edit delete reply
Possibly. As the Element of Generosity, she would be more inclined to look favorably on any thief who stayed on her side of the line, wherever that's drawn. And *as* the Element of Generosity, she will probably favor crimes which don't hurt those who can't recover from it. I don't see Elusive caring one way or another as long as he can keep his lifestyle up.

Celestia/Luna might support Rarity as the new Guildmaster in a sort of tacit/passive way, by not pursuing or investigating their activities, as long as they take their lead from Rarity. This would give them the ability to rein in their excesses while also providing a valuable spy network (if somewhat unreliable at times.)

I'm also thinking that Celestia would be wanting to find some way to channel Rarity's creative and manipulative power in a way that benefits Equestria as a whole. A fanfic I read a while back made a very interesting point. Rarity managed to completely upend the Canterlot social scene with no more than a *hint* of royal approval, when she was given a room in the palace on Twilight's request.

So from Celestia's point of view, imagine what Rarity could accomplish if the Diarch gave her some *real* power???
Azureink 22nd Oct 2017, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
Azureink
I think Rarity should take the offered gold-plated olive branch. It would be easy to get what she wants without any more hardships.
Robin Bobcat 23rd Oct 2017, 5:00 AM edit delete reply
You know... I'm reminded of a quote...

"I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave."
Star_Sage 23rd Oct 2017, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
I'd set fire to things. Not for any real purpose or anything, just fire in these situations causes all sorts of neat consequences for the rest of the party to deal with. Also, get some fireworks ready for a big escape sequence...and despite doing things like this, I was the only party member to never die.