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Chaos is a force of unbridled power and disharmony. It is beyond anything that anypony could ever imagine. It is nature’s answer to logic and order. Legend tells us that chaos crept into the hearts of Equestrian citizens, releasing the inner disharmony that everypony hid from the world. Over time, this chaos erupted into the war that destroyed ponykind. Disharmony brought our entire society to its knees.
Sometimes I like to believe that a little chaos is necessary for ponykind to survive. One cannot have order without chaos. If you have too much chaos however, and the balance tips too far, sliding ever further into pure chaos. The same could be said of order as well. The balance is finding the happy median between the two worlds, the center in the middle of swirling chaos and rigid order.
Ultimately, was chaos really to blame for all of this? Was disharmony the true reason we destroyed ourselves? Or was there some other ulterior design behind it all?
Run! Run… now! Spark shouted into my head as I shrank back away from the serpentine beast that lay before me. In the back of my mind, I could only think of one thing. This thing was a living legend, a real spirit and god. This was Discord, the spirit of Disharmony and Chaos. His snake’s tongue flickered in and out of his mouth as his beady yellow eyes glared evilly at me.
RUN!!! FOR THE LOVE OF CELESTIA, GET OUT OF THERE!!! Spark now screamed into my mind, trying to force me to move. I was frozen in place, unable to lift a single hoof. The spirit of Chaos chuckled, his voice rumbling and bouncing off the walls of the small sanctum.
“You can tell her to run all you want, little Magic… but it won’t work,” Discord mused. His tail curled around us as he laughed. “She’s all mine now… and with all of that power at my disposal… I will rain glorious chaos over Equestria once again!”
Star, for Celestia’s sake, please move! You need to get away! Spark shouted again, trying to get my attention. I could feel Violet and Steeljack poking me and prodding me hard in my side. I could only stare into the beast’s eyes. Why could I only stare? Why wasn’t I able to move? I couldn’t piece together the reasons behind my inability to just run. It was as if I was literally stuck to the floor, waiting to be devoured by a god. Violet poked me again. I slowly realized that I really needed to move, that I needed to run away. Not for myself, but for her. I began to fathom just what the spirit of Disharmony would do to my friends once I was out of the picture, and I didn’t like it. In fact I downright hated it. I knew I couldn’t kill this thing. I needed a plan, and I needed one fast.
“V-v-violet… As soon as I move… you run… you run as fast as you can!” I shouted weakly. I stared down the beast.
“Star…?” my love asked, clearly unaware of what I had planned.
“Just do it!” I yelled as I began shifting back a bit. “You want me? Come and get me!” Discord sneered at this as I pushed out of his grasp and flapped my wings hard. This room had no windows so my only option was back down into Twilight’s office. A roar behind me indicated that the spirit of Chaos was indeed chasing me. I grinned as I burst through the door of the office into the Ministry building. Pushing my wings as hard as I could, I zipped and soared through the building as I could feel the creature closely on my tail. Several pink clouds suddenly burst into existence before my eyes as I tried to maneuver. One of my wings caught one of the clouds, getting sticky from the substance and embedding itself into the pink cloud. Cotton candy? Really? I growled as I yanked my wing out of the cloud. The beast was upon me in mere seconds, whipping his serpent-like tail around to try and drag me down. Almost instinctively, I brought up my shield, knocking the appendage to the side.
“Nice try, but you’re going to have to move a lot faster to keep up with me!” I yelled as I zoomed past the evil spirit. Discord laughed merrily as he gave chase once again.
“Oh Twilight you’re making this too much fun for me!” The beast sneered and cackled wildly as I beat my wings hard and fast. The moon’s glare filtered into the main lobby of the Ministry building as I climbed upwards towards the skylight, intending on getting out of the building. I braced myself for impact to smash through the window, but instead hit the window like it was a trampoline and rebounded back down towards the ground below. Discord laughed maniacally.
“What’s the matter my dear, don’t you like bounce houses?” He snorted with a wave of his hand. Pretty soon the entire ground, walls, and every other structure in the building were made of what appeared to be colorful balloon-like trampoline material. The spirit of Chaos guffawed as I hit the ground and bounced off, speeding into another direction. I turned quickly in midair, trying to control my ascent back up. I was stuck here! I was going to die in a fucking bounce house of all things! I snarled. I had no idea if Violet and Steeljack had made it out okay, and if I was going to die here, I wasn’t going down without a fight. I managed to slow myself down and hover in the air before the great god of Disharmony. The spirit of Chaos dwarfed me by several alicorn sizes as I stared down the beast. I unlatched Stargazer from its harness and pointed it at the spirit, who promptly began laughing even harder.
“Do you really think you’re going to kill me with that? Me? The spirit of all that is chaotic? Please… but if you so insist on trying, let me make it a little easier for you,” Discord snarled, waving a hand over his serpentine chest. A red bulls-eye target appeared, hanging from his neck. “Give it your best shot, Twilight. It will be your last.” I let time drift away from as I slipped into E.S.A.T.S., letting the spell take control. I chuckled at the fact that Discord had given me a target, and queued up every last shot to that exact spot. My E.F.S. was unable to calculate my odds of actually hitting the beast, probably something to do with the fact that I was in a sense, shooting a god. Time slipped back into motion as the spell dropped, and Stargazer unleashed its healthy amount of ammunition at the creature before me. The bluish bullets travelled at a speed like no other, almost as if they were seeking their target.
I was unprepared for what happened next. Howls of anger and pain erupted in my ears as the bullets found home, striking the beast dead center in the target. The burst passed through the spirit as Discord howled. Greenish blood emerged from the cavity where the gunfire had hit in a wild spray of ichor and goo. My eyes widened as I realized what had just happened. I had shot a god, and succeeded. How in the fuck did my gun do that? I thought, instead of thinking the obvious answer to all of this. Run!
The wound I had inflicted upon the chaotic creature had closed up by the time I got any guts to actually move. Discord chuckled, coughing and hacking a bit as he did. The walls and floors around us were receding, becoming the normal stone brick they had been before. Discord’s injury must have interrupted his powers temporarily. I used the opportunity to start flying, zipping my way out of the Ministry building and into the open air. A crash behind me indicated that the beast was not far behind me. I pulled into a dive, going low and in between the towering buildings as I tried to put some distance between me and the spirit of Chaos. I took a second and looked back and saw the monster himself, roaring and gaining on me.
I swooped left on the next street, hoping that I could confuse Discord. I nearly shrieked when he popped into existence right in front of me.
“That… was unexpected,” he said, grinning and stroking his goatee. “You shot me. I suppose I should have seen it coming. It’ll take a bit more than that to kill me though.”
“Try me. See how far that gets you. Next burst will be aimed right for your head,” I growled. “And I won’t miss. That’s a promise.” Discord laughed at this, prompting a confused stare from my eyes. “What’s so funny?” The beast sneered again, flicking his tail back and forth as he floated in the air in front of me.
“Star!” a voice from below me called out. I looked down to see Violet and Steeljack. Why didn’t they run? Didn’t they know they were in danger here? I sighed as I brought my gaze back up to the god of Disharmony, who merely continued to giggle uncontrollably. Above us, the sky roared in anger as lightning flashed and thunder erupted from the clouds. Rain poured down from the sky in torrents, except that it wasn’t rain. The stuff matted down my coat and felt sticky. I tentatively reached out with my tongue. Chocolate? Are you bucking kidding me? It’s raining chocolate? I thought as I continued to glare at the god of Chaos.
“You have no idea how funny all of this is!” Discord managed to choke out through the giggles. “Somepony actually hurt me! And of all the ponies to do it, it was you Twilight Sparkle.”
“For the last time, I’m not Twilight!” I shouted, bringing up Stargazer again. Discord sneered at me as his body began to fade into nothingness, leaving only his floating eyes in the air. The eyes darted around, drawing my gun to follow his path. The beast reappeared and snarled, snapping his fingers and tossing several more cotton candy clouds my way. I hovered to the right and fired, obliterating the clouds, causing some of the cloud residue to hit me and nearly gum my wings up. I growled and shook my wings, flinging bits of cotton candy everywhere. The spirit of Disharmony used the opportunity to wrap me in his tail as he chuckled.
“Oh no, poor defenseless Twilight Sparkle. Maybe the magic of friendship can save you… not! Not even Princess Celestia can save you now my dear, seeing as how that old hag has been dead for centuries!” Discord crooned. I struggled, trying to free myself from his grasp. I aimed Stargazer in a misguided attempt to free myself and managed to land a few shots on the god’s body. Discord promptly howled and released me. I took aim again and prepared to fire when a burst of soapy water expelled from the thing, drenching me and clouding my vision. A strike at my left knocked me into a nearby building, causing parts of the stone to crack and sway under the force that I had been sent there with.
Star, what the fuck are you doing?! You need to get out of there! Spark screamed in the back of my mind. I growled as I pulled myself back into the air, bringing Stargazer to bear again on the malevolent spirit.
Spark, shut up I know what I’m doing, I responded to the voice in my mind. If I had a gun that could hurt a god, maybe it could kill one too. Discord moved quickly and lashed out at me with his griffon’s claw, raking my side and causing me to bleed before I could even get a shot off. This fucker was fast when he wanted to be. Was he just playing with me up until now? I couldn’t take any more chances. I turned and dropped into E.S.A.T.S., queuing up as many shots to as many points on his body as I could. The spell released and Stargazer fired. Many of my shots went wide as Discord waved a claw in the air and snapped his fingers. A shield of energy appeared around his arms, deflecting many of the bullets. Several however, found home in his legs and tail, forcing the shield to dissipate instantly as the god of Disharmony roared in pain. He sneered at me, panting as the wounds began to close up. I tried to move away, but instead Discord brought his tail around, slamming into me hard. I growled through the pain as the beast brought his tail back around to strike again. I wasn’t there when his tail came back around. I locked my wings in hard and dropped, just barely missing the massive tail. I let loose a spray of bullets that sunk into the beast’s side, earning another roar of pain from the god of Chaos. Discord twisted around and stared down at me with his beady eyes, grinning evilly as he did. I pushed off with my wings, bringing myself even with the god as I leveled Stargazer directly at his head.
“Next time… you’ll be mine.” The voice of the spirit of Chaos emanated all around me as the chaos spirit dissipated into thin air, leaving only myself hovering in the air. Another call from my friends forced me back to reality as I lowered to the ground. My little green unicorn wrapped her forelegs around me, smothering me in a bear hug that could literally kill a real bear. I smiled warmly as I patted her on the head. A brisk cough from Steeljack interrupted our tender moment.
“I hate to be interruptin’ and all, but I think we oughta get out of here before that thing comes back,” he said. I nodded and narrowed my gaze at the grey buck as I thought about the events that just transpired. How was I able to pierce the very flesh of a living god with my gun? As we made our way through the city, all I could think about was the other things Discord had said to me. Was I destined to become another Goddess? Was that the ultimate goal of the Twilight’s spirit? All of this just brought up more questions instead of answers. I didn’t need any more questions. I needed answers.
I cracked my eyes open and looked around the room. Violet was sleeping quietly next to me, and Steeljack was across the room keeping watch. I picked myself up and quietly strode over to the grey stallion. We had managed to find an abandoned building that had no gang markings on it in the city and had holed up for the night. It had taken a lot of Med-X and plenty of magical bandages to heal the scars I had received during my aerial battle with Discord. Fortunately, the chocolate rain had subsided when Discord had left, being another one of his strange abilities. My coat still felt rather sticky because of it though. Not exactly a pleasant feeling. I tapped Steeljack on the side, letting him know I was behind him.
“Can we talk?” I asked quietly. He nodded and followed me out into the hallway and onto the fire escape. My horn glowed, revealing Stargazer.
“You said you found this under the Mall. Where did it come from?” I said, pointing at the minigun. Steeljack shrugged.
“It was in some R&D laboratory, I told you. That’s all I know,” he said, appearing a bit distant. I huffed at the obvious lie.
“Steeljack, answer me truthfully. I need some answers here. I’ve been noticing it for a while, this thing isn’t normal,” I said, glaring at him. He sighed and lowered his head.
“Alright, I do know a little bit about it. Violet wasn’t with me when I found it,” he said finally. “Truthfully, it really was in some R&D lab. There was a recording with it. I’ve got it on my PipBuck. I think it will answer all your questions. I’m sorry I kept it from you, I honestly didn’t think it was that important.” He lifted his hoof and connected his PipBuck to mine and transferred the recording. I smiled.
“Thank you,” I said quietly. “Can I ask you something else?” He nodded. It was time for some more answers.
“Who was she?” I replied. His eyes widened.
“I don’t…” he started to say. I cut him off before he could continue.
“Don’t you lie to me, I heard you talking to Brisk. Who was she?” I said. The grey buck looked as if he was going to fall apart.
“My wife,” he muttered, before beginning to speak normally. “We were on an assignment. Mercenary work. The kind one typically kills raiders for. Weren’t none proud of it, but it was work. She was an ex-slave and a salvager, but we worked together. Anyways, we were assigned to guard this camp. Didn’t know it at the time we were assigned but it was a slaver operation, one of Red Eye’s. When we got there, we realized they were trafficking in foals. Disgusting stuff I tell ya. She couldn’t take it, having been a slave herself. Tried to convince us to free everypony, and abandon the contract. Leader of the camp caught wind of it, and came to us telling us we were breaking our contract. Had his boys start in on us. I did my best, but I was too late. The fucker shot her twelve times before I could get to her in the middle of the firefight. I lost it. I had lost her, and I had lost everything. I put a bullet through that slaver’s head, and then I ran. I ran until the hurting stopped. And then when it began again, I kept running. I’m still running.”
I let out a low whistle at this. The grey buck just stared on, gaze as cold as steel. I hadn’t imagined how hard life had been for him. Losing a loved one, even in a place that is as fleeting to live in as the Wasteland, was still a rough thing. Still, I was amazed at this stallion’s fortitude. Talking about something like this for me would have driven me into a sniveling mess of tears, while my earth pony friend soldiered on in the face of hard times.
“Did you love her?” I asked. He smiled.
“Yeah, I did. She was a great mare, and not just for her physical attributes neither,” he said. “We always figured that if we ever made enough money, we could move someplace and settle down, maybe even have a few kids.” I chuckled at the prospect of Steeljack being a father. He certainly didn’t look the type to me, but I figured everypony wanted to pass on something.
“What happened afterwards?” I asked. He nodded in response.
“I found out later that everypony in the camp had been freed, but I was too drunk and fucked up to really care. My wife’s wish to free everypony came true, at the cost of her life,” he replied. I gave him a soft smile and a hug, which really surprised him.
“What was that for?” he asked, his eyes widening. I smiled again warmly.
“Sometimes, all we really ever need is somepony to stand by us in times of need. You’ve certainly done that for me and Violet. I’m sorry for dredging up old memories, but I needed to know that you were on our side. Too much has happened for me to ignore it,” I responded softly. “Plus I wanted to let you know that we’re on your side too. We’re your friends after all. I’ll let you get some sleep now. I’ll take watch from here on.” The buck nodded and walked back into the room and lay down, falling instantly asleep. I flipped on my PipBuck and set it so I could listen to the audio recordings through an earbud so I wouldn’t wake my friends. I set the audio recording that Steeljack had given me to play.
Bzzzt….. *crackle*… Bzzzt… this thing on? Oh, it’s working. Good.
This is Chief Weapons Specialist Star Gazer of the Equestrian Special Forces, Luna Division. The ‘Stargazer 6000’ project, so named after yours truly, is officially under way. This recording is to provide a brief synopsis of what the device is and how it works. It was difficult to find a location to develop the device, with the Ministry of Wartime Technology trying to butt their way into our funding, but we managed to locate a suitable location to begin our work. We are currently situated in a Research Laboratory underneath the newly constructed Mall of Equestria. The idea is that nopony, not even the Ministries themselves, will know we are here, and trusting on the safety of a civilian operation that no Zebras or Zebra Infiltrators will catch wind of our research here.
That being said, this project that the Princess asked us to look into for her is putting us through hell. Starmetal is such a unique rock that it takes immense amounts of power to control and shape, let alone shaping it into something that can be actually fired, but the Princess was adamant that this device be created.
The device is very simple in design. It is a standard 7.62mm minigun, based on an Ironshod Firearms design. Instead of regular ammo however, this thing is outfitted with a core of starmetal, a type of meteorite rock. Starmetal has very many unique properties. First and foremost, we have discovered that over short periods of time, the starmetal core will actually regrow itself. This means that this weapon will literally never run out of ammunition unless the starmetal core is completely depleted. The core is protected by special shielding so that its special qualities are contained to the gun itself.
Starmetal is also highly poisonous to any normal pony, but our tests have indicated that the weapon will be fit for use by the Princess due to some inherent immunity to the strange metal. We’re hoping that the core’s shielding will hold up in the hooves of any normal pony.
We’re also developing the Stargazer 6000 to be interfaced with a PipBuck. I can’t really tell you the kind of crap we had to go through to get Stable-Tec to let us peek at the software matrices of one of those things. I’m still dreading paying that bill off. Anyways, the device is interfaced with the Stable-Tech Assisted Targeting System, otherwise known as S.A.T.S., which is a targeting spell that allows the pony to time their weapon firing. Stargazer takes that concept several steps further. By integrating with S.A.T.S., it creates a spell where individual shots from the device can be sent to multiple targets, making the device a fully multi-directional targeting weapon. In the hooves of the Princess, the device will be the shining sword of the night that she will use to cut down our enemies for good. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a project.
This is Chief Weapon Specialist Star Gazer signing off.
I blinked for a few moments and looked down at the minigun cradled in my hooves. Its sleek bluish black barrels gleamed in the dark as I turned it around. Sure enough, there was no access to the inner workings of the gun. Whatever Chief Star Gazer had done to this thing, he had made it impossible to access the inside, ensuring that nopony would poison themselves by interacting with the starmetal core. Starmetal? I thought, as I silently sat there, watching over my friends. The old zebra myths went that the stars themselves were sentient creatures and sought only destruction upon our fair land. To that end, the stars sent emissaries of doom to Equestria in the form of great meteorites. The metal contained within the meteorites became known as starmetal. It is claimed that the spirits of the stars were responsible for corrupting Princess Luna and transforming her into the wicked Nightmare Moon. Some even went as far to say that Nightmare Moon’s armor was constructed of the same metal.
I sighed as I pondered the existence of the weapon I now carried, and stepped back into our room and watched Steeljack and Violet sleep while trying to fight off sleep myself. I needed an escape, if only for a moment, from my thoughts. I just had too many questions, and never enough answers. I pulled the case of memory orbs out of my saddlebags and opened it. The six orbs glittered in the darkness of the night, begging me to look at one of them. I looked again to my friends, ensuring they were soundly asleep. I ran my hoof across the orbs, before finally resting on the one adorned with a rainbow lightning bolt ejecting itself from a white cloud. The Mare of the Ministry of Awesome: The one and only Rainbow Dash. My eyes darted back and forth between the orb and my companions, wondering if it was appropriate to view this orb. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Right? I justified my actions mentally, and reached out with my magic, taking hold of the swirling orb. Then there was nothing but black.
Bright lights and the sounds of gunfire filled my eyes and ears as I adjusted to my host’s body. Wind blew into my mane as I flew around the battleground, dodging the enemy’s fire. The tinted view indicated that my host was wearing some form of power armor, specially designed for pegasi. The E.F.S in the visor of the power armor indicated that my host was surrounded by hostiles. I brought my gaze over the battlefield and watched intently. The valley I was currently in was situated near the great city of Cloudsdale, the deep terrain now filled with military forces, both Equestrian and Zebra. I could see pegasi forces swooping in and cutting through the Zebras like they were butter. My host had good feelings about this battle I could tell. Equestria was winning this fight, and it felt good.
“Alright! Shadowbolts, move in!” my host squealed enthusiastically. Several pegasi, all clad in their scorpion-like power armor, formed up behind my host as we flew along the battlefield. The rush of the wind increased as we picked up speed, moving faster and faster like rockets in the sky. My host’s body began to strain against the forces pushing on her as she pushed even harder against gravity itself. A massive cone began to form around the group of pegasi as they stretched the very limits of normal speed.
Then the world exploded.
Well, not really exploded, but it sure felt like it. A massive *crack* sounded behind us as a mass of light and color spread across the sky. I could feel a smile of joy creep across my host’s face as the intense rush of speed propelled her forward like a supernova. Below me, although fleeting as it was, I could see the enemy forces being knocked back by the sheer power of the explosion. Equestria had managed to weaponize the Sonic Rainboom, all thanks to my host. An intense sort of pride built up in my host’s body as she banked around and let her Shadowbolts back to the base camp on the Equestrian side of the battlefield. She landed next to a tent set up at the back of the camp. The cyan mare entered to meet a very familiar purple unicorn who was overseeing battle plans next to an equally familiar white unicorn stallion. Their nearly matching cutie marks indicated that this stallion was related to the purple Ministry Mare. Several unicorn and pegasi soldiers guarded the tent. Twilight was engrossed in deep conversation with the other unicorn, indicating several items on the map and other battle plans. My host stepped up and nodded at the two, grinning as her visor flipped up to reveal her face.
“We’ve pushed the enemy back and they now appear to be retreating, Twilight,” my host said breathlessly. The Rainboom must take a lot out of a pony, I supposed. I can’t say I’ve ever gone that fast to even try.
“Excellent work Rainbow Dash. The synchronization spell on your armor worked then I take it?” the lavender mare responded.
“I guess so, otherwise that Rainboom wouldn’t have worked out as well,” my host said, puffing her chest out with pride before narrowing her gaze at the unicorn. “Just don’t make this a repeat appearance. The Shadowbolts are too busy being awesome for Equestria to do these kinds of jobs. I can’t just have them doing Rainbooms all the time.” Twilight merely chuckled in response.
“Alright Rainbow Dash, if you say so,” she said sarcastically, smiling. I got the distinct feeling that Twilight didn’t care for Rainbow’s idea of her Ministry. To be fair, a lot of ponies weren’t even sure what the Ministry of Awesome even did. It wasn’t until after the end of the war that ponies scavenging the ruins of Ministry buildings soon learned that the Ministry of Awesome was more involved in the internal politics of Equestria in more ways than any of the other Ministries combined. Secret covert infiltration units and blacks ops were the bread and butter of Rainbow Dash’s Ministry. Even the pegasi, so quick to assume that Dash was an idiot who didn’t know what to do with her own power, were largely unaware of just how smart the cyan mare really was. My host’s eyes drifted up to the white unicorn standing next to Twilight.
“Oh, I almost forgot. Rainbow you remember my brother, Shining Armor right?” Twilight said happily. The stallion extended a hoof to my host, who in response did the same.
“Miss Dash,” Shining Armor said, bowing. My host chuckled.
“General Armor I was a bridlemaid for your wife, there’s no need to bow to me. And drop the ‘Miss’ thing, just call me Rainbow,” my host replied, pushing forward and giving the buck a simple hug for good measure. “Besides, I’m glad to see you. You’re just what we need to keep ‘Twiley’ in check here.” Twilight’s face immediately went beet red.
“Hey!” she said angrily. “Might I remind you Dash, that we’re still fighting a battle here?” My ears turned and I listened intently. Sure enough, the battle still raged on outside of the tent. In fact, it almost sounded worse out there than it did when I landed at camp. My host turned and poked her head outside of the temporary covering to see what was going on. My host’s eyes gazed upwards, seeing hell itself unleashed at the camp. The Zebra forces were in fact, not retreating, and instead had sent reinforcements wearing invisibility talismans within Equestrian ranks. The Equestrians were now being pushed back to their own camp as the Zebras began overrunning the ponies. Fire and bullets raged everywhere as Equestrian soldiers were shot down and tents burned to the ground. My host’s eyes widened as I saw a missile, long and sleek in nature, heading right toward them.
“Twilight we gotta get out of here! There’s a missile headed right for us!” Rainbow shouted. Twilight said something, but I couldn’t make it out. The roar of the oncoming storm was too much in my ears to hear her. Her horn began to glow as her brother stepped forward, his own horn glowing fiercely. He looked at my host intensely.
“Get my sister out of here. Go!” he yelled. My host’s body failed to move for once in her lifetime. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as Shining Armor cast his spell, forming a protective shield around my host’s body and his sister. Twilight’s horn immediately stopped glowing as she realized what was happening. She pounded at the shield, tears streaming out of her eyes as she screamed.
A loud roar filled my host’s ears as the missile struck home. It appeared to have struck the ground just before the tent, but it was enough that the damage was already done. My host was knocked back into the bubble surrounding Twilight. Smoke and fire filled the area as my host’s eyes struggled to see what had happened to Shining Armor. The shield surrounding the two Ministry Mares dissipated, leaving a screaming and crying Twilight to hit the ground as she continually tried to pound the now nonexistent shield. My host’s body shuddered as her eyes finally located Twilight’s brother.
The unicorn was laying several feet away, blood pooling beneath his shaking body. Several large pieces of shrapnel were embedded in his chest and legs. It wasn’t good. He was awake, but his eyes were wide and his breath staggered, indicating that he was in shock. My host dragged herself to her hooves and ran to the stallion’s side, making it there the same time as Twilight had managed to. Her eyes were puffy and red as she cradled her brother’s head in her forelegs.
“Brother!” she shouted, crying hard. The lavender mare looked like hell. Despite being saved by the shield, there was still a thin line of blood coming from the mare’s head where she had struck the ground. Based on my host’s E.F.S., Rainbow had absorbed much of the physical trauma through her power armor, but still had parts of her body that were damaged.
“T-twilight… have… to… run… get… out…” The stallion uttered in between coughs of blood. My host stepped up beside Twilight, who turned to the power-armor clad mare and began pounding on her chest in pain and agony. My host wrapped her hooves around the Ministry Mare.
“Twilight, we gotta get out of here. There’s… there’s nothing we can do for him now,” Rainbow Dash said softly, trying to console the purple mare. More explosions around us indicated that the camp was being obliterated around us.
"Twilight... listen to her... I'm... sorry. Tell... tell Cadance... I love her..." Shining Armor sputtered out. Twilight returned to his side, cradling his head.
"No no no, you're going to be fine. You're going to be okay. I'm here, it's me it's Twiley remember. Stay with me!!" the lavender mare screamed, sobbing hard into her brother's mane.
"You're... alive... All... that... matters... now... Love you... Twiley..." the white unicorn said, his breath finally leaving his body as he went still. Twilight's eyes widened and she began crying again, shaking the still body of her brother.
"Brother! No! Please... stay with me... I need you... I need you!" she cried. She pounded the ground next to her with her hooves. It pained me to see the mare in such a state. How many survived? I wondered as I watched on. Twilight wasn’t responding at all to the words my host was trying to say to her. A hoof reached out and struck the lavender mare across the face, bringing her to her senses.
“Twilight! Come on! If we don’t get out of here, we’re as good as dead! They’re going to be on to us any second!” my host shouted. Twilight stopped and looked down at the white unicorn below her. He looked serene in death, almost peaceful. Twilight looked up to Rainbow Dash and uttered one sentence.
“We’re taking him with us,” she said with a fire in her eyes. My host closed her eyes for a moment, and nodded.
“He deserves to be buried with his family, we owe it to him. We owe our lives to him!” Twilight said fiercely as her horn began to glow intensely, the glow surrounding my host and Shining Armor. Soon the world went *pop* as everything faded to white and the memory drifted off into nothingness.
I awoke to a tingly feeling all over my body. This is new, I thought as the tingling continued. My eyes snapped open as the tingling intensified to a point where it began to hurt. A deep chuckle emanated from all around me as I realized that once again, my little trip down memory lane had gotten me in trouble once again. I appeared to be tied down to some form of post. My eyes drifted down to the floor, taking in the alternating panels of black and red as I did. The area was cylindrical in shape, almost like a… oh buck me. I knew what this was.
I was tied to a post on the spoke of a really really big roulette wheel.
I didn’t even know they made roulette setups this big! I thought as I as looked down to my bonds. I started tugging on them with my telekinesis when suddenly the tingling sensation started again. A zap of electricity from a metal ball in the center of the wheel flew across the room, hitting me with just enough force to stop me from moving. Another evil laugh erupted from the room. Shit, I thought. I knew that laugh. The guess as to who it belonged to flew out the window as the beast made himself known. Discord appeared in the center of the room, laughing triumphantly.
“You should see the look on your face right about now,” the spirit of Disharmony finally said. “Priceless! It’s so good to see you again Twilight Sparkle. Do you like my little toy? I know your friends are enjoying it.” I growled.
“Where are they?” I asked. The chaotic god sneered and waved his hand, revealing my two friends tied up to similar posts on the other end of the wheel. They were bound and gagged and appeared to be unconscious.
“What did you do to them?!” I yelled as the beast coiled up next to me. A talon slid down my cheek as the grey head leaned in.
“Oh don’t you worry my dear Twilight. Your friends are enjoying my sincere hospitality. You should be worrying more for yourself,” Discord replied. “You really think that I couldn’t catch you? Please. I’m far too clever for you.”
“I’ll show you clever,” I said, snarling. I began to fight once more against the bonds, attempting to rip them into shreds as I worked myself out of them. Another zap of electricity appeared from the ball, this time meeting my shield as I ripped myself up and away from the post. A slow clapping noise filled my ears as I stared at the spirit of Chaos, who was now sitting back on a reclining chair with a bowl of white puffy balls.
“Well done! You got free. Now the real fun can begin. You see, I am a sporting deity of Chaos. It would hardly be fair of me to make this too easy on me. I could have taken you completely while you were entranced in the past, but I feel that wouldn’t have been as much fun,” Discord said, popping a few of the white balls in his mouth and crunching heavily on them. “As you can see, I am a gambling kind of fellow. So let’s play a game shall we?”
“What kind of game? What’s your angle?” I asked. Discord laughed.
“It’s quite simple really. If you win, I’ll let you all go free… for now. If you lose, I get you,” the god of Chaos said, motioning to the roulette wheel. “There’s a small catch though… if the ball lands on the spaces with your friends, then they will be zapped to death by the resulting electrical discharge. I figure, being aggressive didn't work with you, what with that fancy gun of yours and all. But a little incentive? Well that goes a long way.” He laughed profusely. I looked down to where my friends were strapped to and sneered at the spirit of Disharmony.
“How do we play?” I finally replied. “And how do I know you’ll keep your word?” Discord laughed again heavily and snapped his fingers, revealing a large metal ball. The roulette wheel began to spin beneath us, picking up speed as it did.
“You’ll just have to trust me. Your friends are located on numbers thirteen black and twenty-one red. Place your bets wisely,” the god said, waving a hand and bringing a roulette board into existence containing the numbers needed to play the game. A set of chips appeared on my side of the table. “All you have to do to win the game is to win three out of six rounds.” I glared at the god of Chaos. I felt like I was making a deal with the devil himself. I didn’t like it. I wanted to find my gun and pound as many rounds as possible into the being before me, but I couldn’t. This thing had my friends, and I was going to whatever it took to make sure they survived. Be unwavering. I just had to be. I looked to the stack of chips and levitated one of them, placing my first bet, trying to be smart and make a good square bet to cover as many numbers as possible. It felt like the only possible way I had to beat this game. Personally I only knew a little of roulette from what I had seen at casinos in towns that were lucky enough to still have working gambling equipment. I certainly couldn’t claim I was good at it, because I definitely wasn’t. The only numbers I cared about not betting on were the ones my friends were on.
Discord sneered at my obvious bet and waved his hand, dropping the ball into the swirling chaos of the wheel below us. A thunderous crash rang out from the board as the ball struck home and began clattering from space to space as the wheel spun. The wheel began to slow down as the ball struck wood. I was amazed that the ball hadn’t crushed my friends as it moved across the wheel. Discord must have taken measures to prevent that. No point in having a game if my friends were already dead. There would be nothing stopping me from finding Stargazer and ripping the god of Chaos into shreds of god-flesh. The wheel slowed to a dead stop and the ball landed on its mark.
Luna, give me patience, I thought as I stared at the roulette board. I had managed to win two of the three required to win after a rousing disappointment on the first round. Not once had the ball landed on the squares my friends were on. The spirit of Disharmony was truly unhappy I managed to win any at all, but sneered confidently at me all the same as we entered the last round. I placed my bet just as confidently and stared at the god, smiling as I did.
“Spin it,” I said. Discord merely nodded, as the pleasantries of small talk had worn off after our initial encounter. The wheel began its spin and the ball made its same thunderous clash with the board just as it had the other five times. I watched the ball intently as it migrated around the wheel, clacking and clattering against the wood panels as it did. I lost myself in the spinning of the wheel, watching the silver ball click and clack about like it had no purpose in life other than to do just that. It looked almost peaceful in its own existence as it waited for that existence to come crashing to a staggering halt when the wheel finally stopped and the ball landed into a space. The wheel began to slow and so did the ball, cruising along on a course with the complete annihilation of its purpose in life to meet with the wooden panels beneath it. The ball landed on one of the wheel spokes and teetered. It was going to land on one of my numbers! I cheered silently inside, and then my gaze turned to horror as the ball flipped the other direction and landed in the adjacent space. A flash of movement beside me indicated that I had missed something. I had been so engrossed in pondering the existence of an inanimate silver ball that I hadn’t been paying attention to Discord. So it was that I did what anypony would do in this situation. Facing down the devil, I made my move.
I turned to wild accusations as a means to win.
“You cheated!” I shouted at the god of Disharmony, whose eyes widened as I turned to face him. “You moved the ball at the last second!”
“Please… cheating is boring. Besides, didn’t you know? The house always wins,” Discord said, his tongue slithering out of his mouth like a snake and letting his words float over a small chuckle. A dirty rotten cheating snake that cheated me out of winning! No fair! I resorted to even more underhanded means, in the form of childish-name calling and rhyming.
“Liar liar Celestia’s plot on fire!” I spat at the beast. “You’re just a big meanie meanie pants who lies and cheats! I won that fair and square!” Discord laughed again. I suppose it was kind of funny in hindsight. Arguing with a centuries old god and calling said god a liar was kind of hilarious. “Now give me my friends back!”
“Ugh… friendship. Fine! You caught me at my own game. I cheated! Woe is me,” Discord moaned dramatically before snorting. “But don’t think that I’m done with you yet. You may have won the game, but you haven’t beaten me. Not by a long shot. We’ll see each other again, and when we do… you’ll be mine.”
“And I’ll be waiting for you,” I growled back at the god. “I do have one question though. What do you know about the Twilight Society? Where did they go?”
“I wondered when you would be edging around to that question Twilight. You always were the ever-inquisitive one. Here’s a question in return. Where do you think they went? Hmmm? Do you find it strange they disappeared as soon as you changed? Perhaps they are the ones responsible. Perhaps not. It’s much more fun to theorize don’t you think?” Discord mused, chuckling evilly. He was right of course. I had thought maybe the Twilight Society was responsible for my transformation. Was it possible? If so why were they content to sit in the shadows and let me get caught like this? If they were aiming to create a Goddess, why not protect that investment? Or were they waiting to see if I would allow the transformation to become complete?
“We’re done here. Release my friends, and give me my stuff back. That includes Stargazer,” I demanded, staring down the beady yellow eyes of the draconequus, who grinned and snapped his fingers. The roulette wheel disappeared and my companions lay in the center of the drab warehouse that Discord had set up shop in. My saddlebags and weapon appeared at my feet. I quickly scooped them up and stared at the beast.
“Be careful Twilight Sparkle,” the spirit of Chaos said as he floated into the air. “I’m not the only one who’s interested in you. I’m only the most fair. Nopony else will think twice about killing you, and I want you to be all mine. So try not to get yourself killed okay? Arrivederci!” With a snap of his fingers and a bright flash, the beast disappeared. I looked down at the grey floor, where my friends were now stirring awake. I flew down to their side and grabbed both of them into a hug.
“Are you two alright?” I asked, only to be met with coughing and heavy breathing noises. I chuckled and released them as they gasped for breath.
“What happened? Where are we?” Violet said groggily, taking in the fact that we weren’t where we were before we fell asleep.
“Discord happened,” I said, earning a gasp from my pale green lover. I waved a hoof at her. “It’s alright. He’s gone now. I’m still sort of confused as to how or why he decided to leave me alone. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him for sure. As far as where we are…” I looked down at my PipBuck. The map indicator was blinking. I pressed the button and the words Ministry of Awesome – Fillydelphia Warehouse appeared on my mini map. A Ministry of Awesome warehouse? Rainbow Dash’s Ministry? I thought back to the memory of Dash and Twilight. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Did Discord plan to bring me here all along? What was his angle? Too many questions swirled around my mind as I relayed the story of what happened to my two friends. The two gasped when I told them about the giant roulette wheel and what Discord had said to me before he left.
“So what do we do next?” Violet said, looking up at me with pleading eyes. “We still don’t know what happened to the Twilight Society.”
“I know, but I’d like to look around this warehouse first. I don’t see Discord bringing us to one of Rainbow Dash’s Ministry locations based solely on it being a fun place to go,” I responded. “He had a reason to bring us here, and I’d like to know what it is.”
We began looking around the warehouse trying to find something, anything that presented a reason for us being here. There was absolutely nothing in the vicinity of the large hangar we were presently in. All of the shelves in the warehouse were completely bare. I kept an eye out for some form of an office, something that could give any idea of what this warehouse was used for or where everything went to. A large glowing sign stating Administration presented itself to us at the end of the long warehouse hall. The door below the sign had a key card lock on it. Of course! The Wasteland sure hated me when it came to doors. This was one I couldn’t even rip out of the wall! A beeping noise on my PipBuck alerted me to my inventory spell. A picture of an orange key card appeared on the display. Where did that come from? Discord, I thought. He must have planned this all along. There’s something here he wants me to see.
I pulled the key card out of my saddlebags, and slid it through the card lock. The light on the door went green and buzzed. I pushed on the door, opening it. Inside revealed several long rows of cubicles, lined with doors to several offices. Every terminal in the office was dead, and many of them were broken or destroyed. A faint glow from one of the offices caught my eyes. I pushed open the door and walked in. A terminal made entirely of clouds sat on the desk inside the office. Lines of text scrolled on the screen and finally a login prompt appeared. Violet sat down and stared at the terminal.
“I got nothin’,” she said, poking the cloud terminal. Her hoof passed through the terminal without any sort of resistance. “Well I guess this is a Ministry of Awesome building. Figures they would store any pertinent information on cloud technology.” I sat down next to her and tapped on the keyboard, trying to get some response from it. My PipBuck began beeping again. What in the world was going on with this thing? A message appeared on the display.
Try the password ‘rainbowdashisbestpony’.
I blinked. Somepony really wanted us to see what was on this terminal. I tapped in the password and the system came up in front of us. Hmmm… what now? An icon with the word ‘Systems’ appeared in the corner of the screen. Being curious, I clicked on it. A diagram of the systems in the warehouse came up on the screen, along with a manifest and an audio recording. I hit play on the audio recording.
“Thunder Lane. This is Rainbow Dash. Ugh, you’re probably out sick or something aren’t you? Look, when you get in to work tomorrow, work on getting all that stock moved out of there. The whole lot of it is being moved up to Canterlot to the Ministry of Awesome Hub there. Don’t forget the special items. They’ll be in your office by the time you arrive. I’m copying this message to your terminal at home so hopefully you get this. If you don’t, then you’re fired. Sorry buddy, I like you and all, but you spend too much time off work with the pega-pox.”
I chuckled a bit at the message. I sort of felt bad for Thunder Lane. I briefly wondered if he ever made it to work the next morning. Still, special items? In this very office? I wondered if Thunder Lane ever managed to actually get rid of these so called special items. I looked around some more on the terminal and saw an icon for ‘Safe’. It was a safe control system! I hit the button to unlock it, and a hissing sound emitted from the other side of the room. We looked up to see a section of the wall sliding away to reveal a safe that was now opening, revealing its contents for all to see.
A squeal of delight erupted from Violet’s mouth at the sight of one of the items inside the safe. A magical beam rifle in pristine condition sat on the shelf. Several spark batteries rested next to it. Violet grinned and floated out the rifle and the batteries and began examining the gun. The words Thunder Flash had been engraved on the side of the rifle. Violet grinned and ran around the room chanting “New gun! New Gun! New Gun!” over and over. I chuckled as she sauntered around the room, flashing her new toy like a filly on Hearth’s Warming Eve. She did deserve it after all. My eyes turned back to the safe. A small blue figurine caught my eye. A cyan pegasus with a multicolored mane reared up from the pedestal it sat on, ready for takeoff. The plaque below the figurine held the words Be Awesome! I smiled as I reached out and grabbed the figurine with my magic. Instantly, I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt awesome! I grinned and stowed the figurine away into my saddlebags, alongside the Rarity figure. A note rested next to where the figure had sat, attached to a picture of a dark grey pegasus standing next to the only and only Rainbow Dash. The note said To Thunder Lane: You’re pretty awesome, even for a slacker. I turned to find Violet engaged in a rousing chorus of ‘This is my Rifle’ and laughed profusely. It felt good to see my friends laughing and being silly. It felt a little normal for once. I checked the rest of the safe over for anything else that might be pertinent. There wasn’t much, other than some packs of Rad-X and a book titled ‘Interfacing with Cloud Technology.’ I slipped the book into my saddlebags, figuring it might be worth a read at some point. I began wondering if the figurine is what Discord wanted me to find here. I thought of the two figures safely sitting in my saddlebags. When I had found Rarity, something inside of it had given me a new strength, a strength I didn’t know I really had. I couldn’t really wrap my head around why they were important, but it felt like something about them was.
I almost turned away from the safe before noticing the writing. It was faint and glowing, but sitting on the back wall of the safe. I squinted, looking closer at the glowing cursive. The glow and the style of writing were exactly the same as the writing that had appeared in the chest at Tenpony Tower.
The Path Lies Before You, Goddess of Twilight
I nearly gasped at this, trying to keep my excitement low at such a discovery. This must have been it! I had a feeling this had something to do with the Twilight Society in some manner, almost as if they were leaving me clues. But what did it mean? I made a note in my PipBuck with the message. Later on, I would try to contact Life Bloom and see if he had any ideas about what this new development meant. I briefly pondered if this meant that the Twilight Society wasn’t actually dead, a thought which frightened me to the core. If they weren’t dead, why weren’t they back at Tenpony Tower doing their job of helping the Wasteland? Why gallivant around and leave strange messages for me? None of this made any sense!
“Come on you two. I think we’re done here,” I said, interrupting Violet’s fourth stanza. She blushed and hooked her new gun onto her harness. We headed back into the dreary cubicle sea and back into the warehouse. A few rounds around the outer walls and an hour or two later we finally found the exit. We pushed open the door and stepped into the black Fillydelphia night. In the distance we could see the fires coming from the Fillydelphia Crater. Howls in the night from creatures unknown echoed off the dead buildings as we made our way into the ruined city. Based on our location we had moved nearly all the way across the city from where the Ministry of Magic Hub had been. A voice cut through the darkness at us as we came around the corner down the block from the Ministry of Awesome warehouse.
“You there!” the voice shouted, belonging to a green earth pony mare wearing security barding and brandishing a rifle. “What are you three doing in the city this late? It’s not safe out there with the gangs!” I blinked for a moment. Somepony who wasn’t shooting at us or trying to kill us? My very eyes couldn’t believe it. We waved at the mare and stepped into the light (what little light there was) so she could see us.
“Uh… hello there. Who are you?” I said sheepishly as we stepped up to the mare, who grinned widely.
“Name’s Patch. Looks like you three have been worse for wear. Run into trouble with the gangs?” she said. We shook our heads and looked at each other before chuckling profusely.
“You probably wouldn’t believe us even if we told you,” Violet said finally, giggling her little heart out. Patch laughed with us for a brief moment before turning serious.
“Well, we’d better get off the streets regardless. I work security for a hotel up the street here. Nothing fancy but it’s a job. Somepony said they saw ponies out here that didn’t look like gangers, so I came out to investigate,” Patch replied, leading us up the street towards her place of employment.
“A hotel? Really? In this city?” Steeljack asked. “Aren’t you worried about the gangs yourself?” Patch shook her head.
“Nah, they don’t bother us really. We’re backed by the NCR, so they tend to stay away from us,” she said as we turned another corner. A large hotel building, surrounded by a makeshift wall/courtyard loomed in front of us. “Ah… home sweet home.”
“Pardon my ignorance, but what’s the NCR?” I asked, confused. I had never heard of such a thing before, silently hoping that the NCR wasn’t some sort of raider or slaver group. The green security mare didn’t seem like the type though. She seemed rather… nice.
“New Canterlot Republic. Bunch of ponies gettin’ together to form a consortium of a sorts. Make the Wasteland a better place for everypony, yadda yadda yadda,” Patch said.
Violet groaned. "You know what the NCR is silly. Ignore her, she isn't too bright sometimes."
"Hey! I'm bright. I just don't pay attention sometimes," I exclaimed, prompting a chuckle from Patch.
The green mare led us up to the gate of the hotel. “Welcome to the Ponee Inn folks.” I smiled warmly at the mare. Finally someplace to sleep where there was an actual bed! I made a mental note to ask Patch later more about this whole NCR business, as it was interesting to me, but I figured I would let the mare do her job first.
Patch led us into the hotel proper. Ponies everywhere milled around the lobby, forming a small makeshift market and selling wares left and right. A sign just inside the doors proudly proclaimed ‘Protected by the NCR. Remember, we’re all in this together!’ as we passed by it. Several groups stopped and stared at us as we passed by on our way to the desk at the end of the lobby. Several ponies in military garb stood guard next to the desk where a unicorn stallion sat keeping watch over the scene at hoof. Patch saluted to the old buck as she approached.
“Sir, found some civvies wandering around outside. Permission to put them up for the night?” she said, addressing the stallion.
“Permission granted soldier, at ease. Not often we get your type down this way anymore alicorn. I thought all you moved out of Fillydelphia after what happened with Red Eye,” the stallion said.
“We’re just simple travelers sir. Working for the Followers of the Apocalypse,” Violet said, prompting a snicker from the unicorn.
“Thought as much. Well, we’ve got room for you here if you need to spend the night. Patch here will show you to your quarters. If you need anything, come see me. Name’s Major Kirby. I’m in charge here of this little shindig,” the military stallion responded.
“Thank you sir, but how much do we owe you for the room?” I asked shyly. Kirby waved a hoof.
“We firmly believe in helping everypony sweetie. Besides, the fewer caps we take from you now, the more you can spend down here in our marketplace or our bar. All we take is a flat tax on what is sold, nothing more and nothing less,” he replied. Patch waved at us to join her as we bid our host good night and thanked him for his hospitality. The green mare had a beaming face as we made our way up the stairs.
“So… what’d ya think of the Major?” she said, trying to engage in some sort of conversation with us as she led us to our room.
“I’m… intrigued to say the least. He seems nice,” I said, smiling at the green mare. “We appreciate the hospitality for sure.”
“Glad to hear it. Hey, I know you guys must be tired and all, but you’ve been really nice to me and I was wondering…” the security mare said, trailing off. “Would you three be interested in hitting the bar with me after I get off my shift later? It’s just… I don’t have many friends around here, nopony wants to hang out with a security mare and most of my colleagues on the squad are sooo uptight.” I snuck a glance at Violet, who nodded enthusiastically.
“Iffin’ you don’t mind, I think I’ll pass,” Steeljack said with a yawn. “No offense miss, I’m just a little too tired is all.”
“How are you tired? You didn’t do anything but get tied up and knocked out,” I said flatly, poking the buck in his side. He glared back at me. If looks could kill, I’d have been a pile of ash on the ground by now. I grinned sheepishly. “Fine, be a party pooper. We’d love to join you Patch.”
“Great! My shift ends in about an hour. Just meet me downstairs on the ground level. The bar sits off the lobby,” Patch replied as we finally arrived at our room. “It’s not much, but its home.” I thanked her again and we entered our room, Steeljack immediately making a break for the nearest bed and plopping into it. A few moments later snoring could be heard from the buck as he fell fast asleep.
New list time. I decided that in addition to keeping a list of things that suck (curse you dreaded stairs!) I would also keep a list of things that don’t suck. And right now, smack dab at the top of that list is alcohol. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’ve never been one for drinking too much, but after a little insistence and prodding from Patch and even Violet, I decided to give it a try.
I think I may have tried a little too much, but once again I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Patch was a great mare, born and raised in a Stable and out into the open world when the thing opened up to the Wasteland. She was a trained security mare when she was in the Stable, and quickly found work in that area in various different towns. She had finally managed to become a soldier for the NCR when she was assigned security detail in Fillydelphia. I silently thanked Celestia she had been; otherwise we’d have run into gangers or worse trying to escape the city. We opted to not tell Patch about Discord or any of the crazy shit that had happened since we arrived in the city. It was all a little too out there to share with just anypony. The warning Discord had given me about other parties being interested in me also gave me great pause at telling anypony about what was happening to us. Still, it wasn’t like we were unknown thanks to DJ-PON3’s continual ranting about the Ministry Mare.
“So you two are from up north? How are things up that way? It feels like so long since I’ve been around up there,” Patch said, swirling a glass of whiskey around in front of her before downing it in one gulp.
“Decent enough. Still a lot of work to be done. Every day we’re getting closer to getting more emissaries into towns and letting the Followers help them,” Violet said, taking a swig of her own drink. “And of course, there’s Glyphmark. They’re still working on coming up with some way to turn alicorns male, so they can procreate on their own.”
“Interesting. Sounds like things are on the up and up then,” Patch replied, grinning. “Maybe one of these days I’ll get up there again, stretch out and see the country. For right now though, I’m content.” I chuckled as I downed another drink, something the girls had called a ‘screwdriver.’ It burned down my throat as I enjoyed the conversation we were partaking in. Another drink slid my way, courtesy of my green friends. Huh, that was kind of funny. Why were my friends both green? I giggled a bit as I contemplated the implications of this. I began poking Violet in the side, watching her get highly annoyed at my hooftacular intrusions. I giggled more as I continued to poke her.
“Star, what is wrong with you?” Violet said, groaning in annoyance once more as she stopped my hoof from poking her again. I stared at her, my eyelids drooping into a seductive stare as I reached out and licked her face, causing her to turn beet red in front of Patch, who began roar with laughter at my silly attempt.
“I think she’s had a bit much,” the green security mare said. “She’s a little out of it.” Violet’s face was still red as I sidled closer to her.
“Hey there,” I said in a very seductive undertone. “Wanna come to my room tonight?” Violet facehooved.
“Of course I’m coming to your room. We’re rooming together, remember?” my little green love ball said. I grinned, trying to be cute.
“Well then, that sure makes it easy for me then doesn’t it?” I replied, trying my best to maintain my undertone. Violet’s face turned red again as Patch continued laughing at our predicament. Violet grabbed me by the hoof.
“If you’ll excuse us, I think somepony needs to be put to bed,” she said angrily, pushing on me to move me out of my chair. She was so cute when she was angry, why was she so cute when she was angry? Oh my I think I may indeed have had too much…
Radiant Star: Level Up! Gambling skill increased by 20%!
New Perk! Do the Dash: Just like the Best Flier in Equestria, nopony can touch you once you get moving. You are 20% faster in combat.
Violet Iris: Level Up!
New Weapon! Thunder Flash – Magical Beam Rifle
Steeljack: Level Up!
New Perk! Tragic Backstory: The revelation of your tragic backstory has strengthened your resolve and hardened you against the terrors of the Wasteland. Your DR is increased by 5 regardless of the armor that you are wearing.
Wow…. What a chapter to get through here. Busy weekend combined with little sleep and the painstaking amount of time I spent working and re-working the beginning of this chapter. I spent a lot of time trying to tweak the fight with Discord, to try and follow up the cliffhanger I left on the last chapter. Discord’s little game was fun to research. I’m not a huge roulette player by any means, so I had to do a little research to get the numbers right and the concept of ‘square betting.’
And yes, I killed Shining Armor. I’m a bad person, I know. I put Twilight through emotional hell in this chapter, in flashback form no less. It felt natural however, that if Twilight were to be targeted in an attack that he being the big brother would put his own life on the line to protect her. I certainly hope that is what you took away from this as the reader.
I greatly appreciate the support from everyone who’s commented on this. It’s given me a lot of drive to try and make this as best as I can make it. If you really enjoyed it, don’t forget to toss me an upvote and leave a comment.
Once again, I would like to thank Kkat again for giving us this sandbox to play in. It’s been a wild ride sofar, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Oh and Wirepony: You totally don’t have security clearance for anything. Just paint it red my friend. Just paint it red.