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Jasper ran harder, pulling himself up one later rung then the next, each time slapping the hatch doors with frustration. ‘DAMMIT, THEY'RE ALL LOCKED!’ Jasper thought to himself, he squealed as the door came down smashing into his head, as he fell, he caught a glimpse of a berserk machines foot as the door came crashing down onto him as he hit the floor, Jasper held the hatch door tightly to him as he lay with his nose bleeding on the cold floor, gripping the hatch door as gunfire could be heard from up above.
“Hey, he’s probably gone this way, he’s trying to ditch us!” Yelled the strange voice from before.
“Dammit,” Jasper hissed to himself, the dangerous gunfight above was better than dealing with the goons below. He tried to climb the ladder with the hatch in tow, as to by himself more time, but thought better of it. “I’d happily trade all the skill with fire magic in the world for a little bit of illusion,” He sighed as he scampered up and out. He ducked down quickly to avoid a crate that had been tossed at him. He took stock of his surroundings, normally emerging from a maintenance hatch in the middle of the station would have raised suspicion if not for the machine going berserk on the platform, Jasper ducked to avoid a ricocheting bullet and hissed as one bit into his leather armor, “Dammit, that’s gonna leave a bruise,” He snarled as he ran for cover, moving to join the group of fleeing goblins.
“Over Ere’ quickly now!” One of them said, beckoning him forth. “If the watch can’t stop that thing we’re gonna try and shut it down with some concentrated firepower, try and slag the metal or blow the boiler before it kills someone,” the engineer said as Jasper was pulled into cover.
“Now hold on, I’m not gonna risk my skin for those I don’t know,” Jasper spat, these were members of the true blood clan most likely ‘. . . Idealistic fools!’ Jasper thought
“We can’t just let that thing stay on the loose, it’ll hurt someone, or worse!”
“And I might lose my job!” Cried another, eliciting a few glares from some, chuckles from others.
‘Well not all of them are like that it seems,’ He thought snickering to himself along with the others.
“You look quick on your feet, what say you rush up there and pelt it while we get into position?” Pleaded the lead engineer. Jasper paused thinking it over for a moment, then he had the most marvelous idea.
‘Can’t touch a hero, the guilds hench men aren’t stupid enough to attack if I’ve got the watch backing me somewhat,’ Jasper grinned. “I’ll do it!” His grin spreading ear to ear, ‘this is worth it just to see those engineers freak out,’ he thought.
“Good luck!” One of them said, as Jasper nimbly climbed up onto a stack of crates, and was immediately thrown by the barreling charge of the monstrosity.
The guardsman was knocked out of the way by a blur of yellow, she turned to glare at Fluttershy, “I SAID GET OUT OF HERE, YOU’LL GET HURT!” With that she rushed for cover, dragging the butter yellow pegasus with her with a free arm around her midsection, Fluttershy gaped at the women's surprising strength. They cringed as the steam powered hulk of metal barreled through a stack of crates and continued to rush down the platform, tossing foes merrily as it’s gremlin pilot took it for a joy ride.
A chorus of gunfire began to ring out as various guards began to unload into the rogue machine. Ponies, humans, and a few wayward goblin mechanics scattered as the thing let out another screech, the Gray Goo was beginning to boil and the machine was starting to lean a bit to the left, as exposed hydraulic cables were burned through, eaten by the goop. The large mechanical servant shuddered, letting out one last sigh, a dying breath of billowing steam that obscured the platform, and fell with a resounding thud to it’s knees.
Jasper screeched as he and the crates were thrown well off the platform, as he pushed himself up from his prone position he noticed an unconscious dwarf with a rather nice mace lying underneath a crate, “Hey. . . beard face. . .” He said politely trying to wake the dwarf as he poked him in the face with his boot. “Hmm, you're knocked out real good huh baldy? What’s this?! My luck isn’t so horrid after all!” He smiled as he scooped up the parcel and badge that had slid a little bit aways, He pondered tucking it into his sack that was still tucked into his belt, but thought better of it. as he scooped up the badge to pocket it. He felt a cool chill sweep across his body, as goose bumps raised across his green skin.
“Ima, no. never bein late mum,” Mumbled the dwarf.
‘Good gods, and gracious devils in hell!” Jasper thought to himself, ignoring the mumbling dwarf as his leather armor”s color changed to blue, brown with a white trimming. ‘ I look like an officer of the law!’ his moment of shock died as he saw the two figures stand up from the tunnel exit, his eyes felt itchy for a moment and he raised a clawed hand to his mouth as he saw a thin silvery outline of the weaponry the men were carrying. ‘MEAT HOOKS! What sorta sadist carries around meat hooks?!’ he thought before examining the badge he held, he paled a bit as he realized he held an prefect's badge in hand, a real one, heavily enchanted to assist an officer in the line of duty.
“It’s busted, it’s not beepin no more!” Jasper barely heard the strange, large nosed man call out from across the platform, with a wistful look at the downed dwarf, Jasper walked towards the platform with the machine. Intent on playing his part, the prefect would arrest him for impersonating an officer, but it beats being a toy for some sick mad man.
"Fluttershy are you ok?" Twilight yelled out as they rushed over to her." What was that thing?"
The Guard turned to them with her eyes narrowed, and Dash frowned as she muttered something or other about tourists. "That, was a gremlin, they flock to the city and love to cause havoc by disabling machines. They come from the blighted lands to the southeast, but with the recent effort of the guard, the watch and various other organizations we've managed to cut down on how many of them can get into the city. . . it would appear they've learned to hitch rides on the trains now." The guard sighed as she holstered her, only mostly, ruined weapon.
"How many of those things are there?!" Rainbow asked, wings unfurled to her side as her friends comforted Fluttershy.
"I assure you there aren't very many, and the city is very safe. Just stick to the main streets and come in before dark and you'll be perfectly fine." The guard smiled, “Where are you and your friends headed, maybe I could give you directions?”
“We are supposed to meet up with a Prefect, he’s to escort us around the city seeing as it’s so unfamiliar to all of us,” Twilight smiled. The women smiled back at the group momentarily, before throwing a thumb over her shoulder.
“Like him over there?” She grinned, knowing what was coming next.
“Whoa, how’d you know he was over there?” Pinkie said, as she watched the goblin in leather armor walk into view a little after he was pointed out. “Do you have wiggly feelings to?” The guard paused for a long time, shooting a glance at a few other of the groups faces. They seemed exactly as confused as she did.
“It’s the badges, there enchanted to help us out, but all they really do is help augment our senses, and we always know when another officer is around,” She grinned a bit wider at the ponies mystified reactions “I know, it’s pretty neat, huh?”
“Wow, that is neat,” Twilight said mystified, so this is how humans work magic? Her smile faded a bit as the human guard women cringed just a bit.
“You mean because of our scarred nature? We’re not totally cut off from magic, just half of where we draw magic is shattered, every human has access to only a few random aspects. . . in the best of cases,” She frowned, turning towards the goblin who was currently kicking at the downed machine. “YOU, GET OVER HERE. . . YES YOU!” The women yelled, beckoning the confused goblin towards her.
‘Dam, burnt straight through. . . where do humans get these wonderful toys? Imagine the locks I could burn through with this goo.’ Jasper pondered, relaxing, perhaps a bit too much. He was startled by the guards woman calling him forth. ‘Shit, this is going to be tough, ’ He gripped the parcel in hand and as calmly as he could, began to stroll over to them watching the two strange men who were after him shake a poor hafling before dropping him roughly to the ground, rushing out the door as a guard chased them. ‘Good, that’s one problem out of the way for now.’
“What is your name?” The women asked, standing in between him and the ponies, Jasper cocked an eyebrow at the small dragon riding the back of the purple one,
‘I thought ponies didn’t like it when you rode them?’ He thought to himself. “Jasper, my name is Jasper,” He facepalmed mentally, ‘Never had much a gift for coming up with stuff on the fly.’
“Prefect Jasper, why are you here this morning?” The women asked , arms at their sides.
“Um. . . I’m, uh. . . I was sent here for this?” He smiled sheepishly, handing the guard the package. He sneered as it was pulled out of his hands before he could let go. The women’s eyes scanned the package quickly before smiling slightly.
“Well, then. . . here they are, and it’d be best to look out for them. You must be something special for the Magistrate himself to trust you for this.” She seemed to relax a bit more.
“Wait, what the magistrate?!” Jasper asked confused, terror filling his eyes even as the purple pony trotted up to introduce herself, having perked up hearing her escort had arrived.
“Why hello, I’m Twilight Sparkle prized student of Celestia and one of the bearers of the elements of harmony. These are my friends Fluttershy,AppleJack Pinkie Pie,and Rainbow Dash.”
“Nice to meet you!” Said the bubbly pink equine, who was beside him in a flash.
“Thank you for meeting us. . . I hope it wasn’t to much trouble.” Jasper strained to hear the buttery pegasus speak, even with augmented hearing she was hard to hear.
“Yeah, nice to meet you. Why’s your face all green and junk, are you sick? Rainbow asked hovering around the now very nervous Jasper.
“RAINBOW, STOP THAT! He’s a goblin.” Twilight said, already becoming annoyed at her dense attitude.
“Woah, woah. . . what am I supposed to be doing?” Jasper said throwing up his hands in defense. The prospect of being kicked to death by pastel ponies did not rest well on his mind, neither did angering the magistrate.
“You're going to be escorting them around the city, and making sure that they are safe. These documents contain all of your passes and locations for your hotels, money for expenses, and everything else you’ll need to make sure the sun goddess favorite student is happy and safe. . . Remember guard her with your life, or face the wrath of a god. If you're really unlucky she’ll just hand you over to the magistrate.”
“Oh, right. . . easy peasy.”
“Lemon Squeezy?” Offered the pink pony, with a grin.
“Sure.” Jasper half forced a grin.
“. . . are you sure that you're qualified to do this?” Twilight frowned, looking to the guard for an answer.
“. . . well, he’s probably new, or. . .” She smiled, “Maybe he lost his comfy little desk job, after making someone mad?” She snickered as Jaspers mind raced, latching onto what she had said.
“Yep, well sort of, I had a desk job for the most part, wanted to stretch my legs. . .” He paused, deep in thought for a moment, “It’ll look better to the superiors when time for review comes up?” He offered.
“So your green in more ways than one,” She chuckled punching him lightly in the shoulder.
“Yep, so where do I take you guys first?” Jasper smiled ‘Oh, ha ha. this is just wonderful. I’ll just get these guys to their hotel or wherever and ditch them there, playing the part of babysitter isn’t going to be hard at all,’ Jasper sighed in relief as he was handed the packet once again. He smiled as he looked at the little suckers that we’re going to help save his hide for now, for some reason he felt a bit guilty looking at all those innocent eyes. . . and the scowling rainbow maned one.
“Alright, girls let’s head on out,”
“Bout time, my legs were getting stiff,” Applejack chuckled
‘This has got to be the greatest luck I’ve ever had!’ Jasper thought to himself as he followed the ponies out the door.
“Pfft. Newbies,” Chuckled the guard as she went to help the clean up crews removal of the scrapped machine.