I am No One
There was something odd about Molly that I just couldn't put my hoof on. Maybe it was the way her ears seemed way too long and flop-ish, or that when she caught me staring at them she immediately hid them beneath her black cowpony hat. In fact, her entire face seemed off, unlike any pony I’d seen. Not ugly, she was quite cute, just... off. Her body seemed thicker then her height would suggest, and it may have been my imagination, but her legs were thinner and more... flexible? She looked different-er than any pony I had ever seen, that was for sure.
“Tell me.” She said trotting over to her desk. With a tap of her hoof, the earth pony flicked a small pair of sunglasses from her desk into the air, making them spin majestically before landing gently on her nose. “What is a Mustang rat doing in my hotel? And please, don't lie.”
The spacious office was surprisingly under-furnished in comparison to Roy Mustang’s: the walls looked worn, the carpet threadbare, and one side was riddled with holes. Besides the desk (that was missing a leg with a stack of books substituting), the only furniture was the small chair the mare sat in, and a dirty mattress off to the side. I wanted to believe I had found the mare of the mansion, but given her room I couldn't tell. She called The Alehouse “her hotel” but her apartments left something to be desired from a gang leader.
Or maybe I was over-thinking it. That would be a first. She was clearly Molly.
Serenity squealed behind me. Snapping my head around I glared at the unicorn stallion foolishly trying to get Serenity to stand still. I took special care to memorize his face before another guard forcefully turned my head around with butt of his gun. All her guards were unicorns, my shoulder burning confirmed that, but she was an earth pony. Interesting. If I was a smarter pony I could have used that.
“Mustangs?” I took a gamble. “Not Mustangs.” I continued feeling all the eyes in the room turning to me. Defiantly a gamble. “Finishers.”
Is it bad when somepony laughs at your lie? Because the yellow-maned mare laughed far too hard for it to mean nothing. “No you're not. For one. You're ugly as fuck and smell like shit. They hire beautiful ponies only. Second. Seriously, no. Nice try. Now tell me what that ass, Roy, is bugging me about. Is he still as jealous as ever?”
So I laughed back. Well it was more of a smirking chuckle but it got across my fake derision as best as possible. “Mustang is an ass. Don't work for him. Finishers paid me.” Not technically a lie. Though I was getting tired of talking already. Even though I knew I was going to have to fast talk my way out of this situation, I really didn't want to.
“No. You don't. Stop lying or your daughter may never walk again,” The mare said with an off hand wave of her hoof.
“No.” She just stared at me bewildered through her dark glasses. “She isn't my daughter. And. You won't hurt her.” She raised an eyebrow. “Because. I am not lying.” I added quickly. “Photo Fini-”
“Is not bold. She is many things, do not get me wrong, but she is not bold, nor will she ever be. This is a bold act.” She motioned to something behind me. “Not that it matters. I have spies around The Moon. They have seen you working inside there. Little rats should not think to toy with lions.” Though her mane was as golden and... large enough to be a lion’s, she was clearly not. I wanted to say she was a pony, but there was something wrong about that idea.
“Good. I was meant to be seen.” I gulped a bit before leaning in some, much to the chagrin of the two unicorns standing on either side of me. “Do you think. Only you have spies?” Once upon a time, I met a little filly named Spitshine. She played poker with raiders, and always won, not because she was smarter, or luckier, but because she could make the other players believe her hand was weaker (or stronger as it suited her) than it was. Pearly called it bluffing, and I think I was getting the hang of it.
“Really.” She laughed leaning back. “Okay. I'll bite, tell me, little fish-turned-rat, what do The Finishers, those paragons of fabulosity and beauty, want with a stallion like Roy?” In addition to my meagre bluffing skills, I also had this plan ready in case things went horribly wrong. Because, you may have noticed, things went horribly wrong often. It was a speciality of mine.
“Him?” I scoffed. Behind me I could hear the weakened voice of Flare chuckle. To be honest I hadn't even realized they dragged him into the room too. “Nothing. His hotel. That's the prize.”
Molly, the leader of the Baises hummed, resting her head onto her foreleg. “So hard to decide. One rat or another. Still, a rat is a rat. No matter its mother. Tell me my mysterious rat, who holds your leash? You say Finisher, yet the Finishers have no reason to break in. I assume Mustang, but you deny it on threat of pain and death. Even more your leg implies you're a friend of the ever-so-mysterious Mr House. So what rat? Am I to expect a squad of Ponitrons to burst in, just so you can be linked to the Galacians as well?”
“Truthfully. I was not to be seen here. Under Screenshot's orders.” That peeked her interest. It was also part of my plan, using The Finishers second in command makes it seem like I went around Photo Finish. And before you get these crazy notions like I am not dumb as a rock, please understand that just because I am stupid doesn't mean I can't have bouts of good ideas. Also the idea for a backup plan was Flare's... he even suggested The Finishers as the patsies, and asked them for permission for me. Honestly I was just taking credit for his idea... but in my defence I really wanted it to be my plan.
If you're laughing at me please stop. That’s just rude.
“Screenshot. Is she in charge now?”
“No. Which is why. I wasn't to be seen here.” So much talking. How did ponies do this all day. It felt like my tongue was going to fall off. I made a note to myself to never let Flare plan plans ever again. “I was to come here... and verify rumours.”
“Oh. Hah. So that's it, little rat? You scurry in my walls, then crawl back to your master and tell her I plan to destroy the Mustangs,” She grinned a bit too much at that, “And then she plans to swoop in and steal my prize from under my nose, is that it?”
“Pfft” Flare said from where he was being pinned down behind me. “You don't get the prize. At least you won’t no matter how hard you try.”
“Oooh. The Enclave Carrion wishes to speak,” the mare guffawed. “Squawk for me.”
“You aren't stupid, and you know that the Galicians won’t let you control The Mustang's casino OR their assets. You're not the first to try and hold two blocks. The Galicians have always enforced one casino per gang, it keeps their enemies fighting against each other, serves to stop ponies from rioting and rebelling against tyranny, and because they want it so if they're every taken down anarchy will destroy the city.”
What? Did that make any sense to you?
“I see the remnants scavenged enough to educate their members before running from the clouds like a scolded puppy.” I could almost hear Flare seething. “It’s a shame. You are right. My grandfather tried not long after wrenching this casino away from its previous owners. Lost his life for it. I am not one to make the same mistake, and underestimate the Ponitron army.” She gave a quiet smirk to my right where I assumed Flare was standing.
“So.” I was getting close. I could feel it. All she had to do was take the bait. The delicious bait. “You need a puppet. Somepony. Someponies. To take over The Moon. While being in debt to you. Right?”
“Right.” Yes! She agreed! Plan successful, this called for a drink. “But.” Celestia please stop fucking me around. “I don't really trust you. This is all good in theory, and under the assumption you're really working for The Finishers, and they really want me to tell them how to run their shit if I get them a Casino on the strip. However it is still far more likely you are a Mustang rat.”
Lies. Lies and slander.
“Well.” I nodded my head towards the door. “Check out our ride. A sky-wagon. In fact. Photo Finish's sky-wagon.” She hummed , and hawed. Apparently I made a good argument.
“Okay.” She nodded, standing up off her chair. Hah. That was easy. Wait, last time I thought something like that my whole plan nearly imploded. I mean Flare's plan. “On one condition.” I blame my intelligence chip for giving me bad luck. “You have to fight for me.”
“You see, while the Mustangs have hookers and drugs to keep guests entertained The Alehouse tries to appeal to a more base natural instinct. The love of violence. To that extent I turn trained dogs against each other, and ponies place their bets. Very lovely to watch. It is never to the death, of course, but accidents happen and blood is spilled.”
“Good. Because you don’t have a choice, as I planned to make you fight anyway. since maybe you're being honest with me I'll only make you fight once. Against the current champion, Torr. He's a lovely pet, truly, and gentle too. Outside of the ring.” She walked right up to me and reached up to pet me on the head. Really. One of these days I swore to end her. “If you win, you and your daughter.” I winced. “Can go back to the Mustangs, and find a door near the back of their casino. This door will lead to a small alley beside The Moon. You need to unlock it, and tell me when that is done to complete the plan. If you don't, I'll kill you, but only after my stallions have a turn at your daughter.”
Can you set somepony on fire with a look? I tried. I bet if I was a unicorn it would have worked.
“And that’s if you beat Torr. If you don't, I keep your daughter here, and you complete my quest, anyway. Got it?” Yup. That was totally going to happen. “Nopony can't say I didn't give you a fighting chance? Besides even if you are just a Mustang rat, I have more than one way to skin a cat, so if you attempt treachery it'll still fail.”
Survive, I whispered under my breath. I had to remember that.
“You won’t survive!” Flare flailed around gesturing wildly. He either knew his tail was on the line too, or he suddenly cared about me. Probably the first. “Did you see him? I mean for fucks sake-” I saw him.
We were hidden just off of a theatre-stage-turned-arena. What was once a classy playhouse, complete with glass chandelier, had turned into a fighting pit. The stage had been refitted with a large steel cage in which, I assumed, two ponies entered and one left. Dramatic, right? In the seats, ponies watched two of their brethren pummel each other into surrender, all while placing bets. The whole setup was made all the more classy by the blood stains -everywhere-, and the remains of the chandelier smashed upon the centre of the complex.
And, on the other side of of the stage, hidden from the crowd but not from me, was Torr. Now I have gone on and on about how large a pony I was, but this Pony made me look like a foal. He was over a head taller than me, and so bulky I had to wonder if his mother was minotaur. It'd be like if I started taking Buck, and didn't stop for the rest of my life. And even then he would have been bigger.
“Fillies and gentle colts!” Molly's voice erupted over the loudspeaker as she trotted back and forth in front of the cage, “Are you ready for a fight?!” The cheers of the crowd were almost deafening. “Today, it's our reigning champion, the slow but steady Torr, set to take on his toughest challenger yet!”
With that, the lumbering brute slowly walked his way onto the stage. It may have been my imaging but the ground seemed to shake as he walked. Either that or it was shaking from the massive roar that erupted from the audience.
“And his opponent!” She really did know how to put on a show.
I gulped and turned to my companions. They weren’t heroes, I realized, they were simply ponies, who for one reason or another were stuck with me, following me. Even though I didn't understand why, I had to appreciate it. They were the closest things I had to friends since stable 42. “Hired Gun...” The small pink unicorn trotted to me, determination in her deep grey eyes.
“Yes,” I said, partially drowned out by Molly.
“The mysterious mare without a name!”
Serenity looked down at her hooves, before turning her eyes back on me. “Don't die.”
I nodded, and turned, and exited my hiding spot. To the roar of the crowd. The entire theatre was only half filled, but it was more ponies than I'd ever seen in one spot, at one time. And they were cheering for me. Against my better judgement I smiled. And even waved my metal hoof menacingly before being rudely shoved into the cage.
I turned and saw him.
I don't know how to explain the sensation as the yellow stallion glared down at me. The way he flicked his blood red mane out of his eyes, and whisked his tail as if about to charge. It made my chest... tight, almost. It made me want to turn and run back the way I came. It made me almost feel as if i was falling all over again. Then, it hit me. This sensation.
I was afraid.
I'd been afraid before: of falling, and I was afraid of getting Serenity hurt. But this was... something new. For the first time in memory I was unhindered, uninjured, and facing another pony. And I was scared of them. Fearful that they could actually beat me. I... I cannot explain how unnerving it was. That sensation tingling up my spine making my mane stand on end. I gulped visibly as Molly spoke.
“The current odds are 9:1 for Torr. Bid carefully and bid often, gentlecolts. Who knows how long this match will last.” Thanks for the bout of confidence. I realized then, as Torr lumbered above me, that Molly never intended me to win. This was just an act to beat up a rat.
“Let the fight... begin!”
The crowd cheered one last time. Then they were gone, and the world shrunk down to me and Torr. Molly, Serenity, the crowd, hell, even the cage vanished from my sight and mind. Slowly I strafed right, and the lumbering oaf followed. “Me.” He said slowly as we circled each other like Chimeras circling our prey, “Me Torr. Who you?”
“I'm Hired Gun.” I took a step back as my heart started pounding against my chest so loud I could hear it.
“Me Sorry. Hired. Sorry. You go. Bye bye.” His first swing was slow and clumsy. But I couldn't move. My head started panicking and yelling but I couldn't get my thrice-damned hooves to move. It was as if I was glued to the stage. Paralysed by fear, what was I coming to. Then I heard a voice in my head say, Survive.
The blow gazed the top of my head. Pain flashed as I jumped back, but the sensation melted away. I couldn't even feel the blow. Not when he was coming at me again. Rearing up he lashed out but I danced backward. Dropping back down to all fours he charged me. Big as he was, he was slow, and it was the easiest thing in the world to roll sideways away from him.
That was, until my metal leg didn't know the drill. The damnable thing got tangled up under me as is tried to get back to all fours. It took a precious second for me to get my foot back under me. Too long.
I didn't feel the blow.
Nor did I notice I'd been thrown across the arena, slamming into a cage wall before slumping onto the ground.
Next thing I actually remembered I was opening my eyes to see Torr standing above me. One hoof raised. I was going to fucking die, even a stupid pony like me could understand that. I tried to move but pain lanced through my chest burning and stinging like I’d been shot with daggers on fire. I rested my head back down, and accepted my fate. Until I caught a glimpse of serenity standing beside the cage, tears in her eyes. “Don't die.” I could almost here her say.
Torr’s hoof came down.
I managed to squirm myself under him, his hoof slamming through the stage, temporarily trapping him like a rat. The raging pain snaking through my chest didn't even pretend to go away, but I gritted my teeth. Monster or not, everypony had a weakness. And under him I was in the perfect spot to exploit his.
I squished his naughty bits like I'd squish a bug.
He screamed and fell.
I dodged his falling body, and scrambled onto my hooves. I stood wobbly as he dropped to his knees. There was blood on the floor, but I didn't know who’s. I was going to win though. I had to. With all the strength I could muster I lifted up my hoof.
And he kicked with his foreleg.
I had to jump back to avoid it causing pain to spike through my chest. It almost felt like my heart was exploding. Twice. Still I kept on my hooves, even as he too struggled to his. Somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear the crowd cheering, but they vanished just as quick. In a fight there were only two ponies, everything else was just a distraction.
“You...” The hulking pony said. “You cheat. Me no like. Cheat.” No such thing as cheating in a fai-SHIT. He charged full force at me faster then a pony that size had a right to. Without even thinking I stepped aside and lashed out with my metal hoof on his leg. The vibration of the hit sent shock-waves through my body as he tumbled and rammed head first into the cage.
I turned to face him. My whole body was shaking in pain and I could feel sweat drip down my face. I needed to end this I realized as I circled around him, but I didn't know how. I couldn't risk getting close as he was too strong by far, but I couldn't very well attack from a distance. For once I felt what it was like when regular ponies fought me. I didn't envy them one bit.
He charged forward again. Quickly I pivoted my body, and bucked. The feeling of my hoof striking his face with a crack was nearly orgasmic. Until, of course, he grabbed my other legs with both forelegs. I felt the strange sensation of lift as my connection to the earth was severed, and I was tossed. This time I felt the pain surge through my body as it slammed against the cage with an audible snap.
I think I broke the damn cage.
My body fell, but seemed to hang in the air, not falling the whole way. My eyes panicked, searching wildly as my whole body throbbed. If I was in a joking mood, I'd have asked somepony to get the number of the tank what hit me. Instead my thoughts consisted mostly of. Fuck, fuck, fucking shitty ass fuck. Celestia hoof fuck me with with the moon or something, fuckity fuck.
My skeletal metal leg was caught in a prong of metal jolting out where my body broke the steel cage. Tug as I might the thing wouldn't break free. Worse yet: I could hear Torr stomping up. With my heart racing, and my whole body throbbing Torr reared up behind me.
And I pulled free.
The hoof missed. Instead it struck the hole where my leg was stuck. Instead of being caught the metal ripped and tore at his flesh like the cage was a monster gnawing at its prey. Score one for fake legs. I reared up, and felt a tinge of pity as my hoof slammed into his face ripping his cheek to bloody shreds as his eye already began to swell. By the time I hit him again his eye was already swollen shut and blood flowed from his wounds turning his muzzle into a bloody mask. I reared up again.
And waited. I was done. I had won. By luck, or chance or skill I had him at my mercy. All he had to do was give up and let me have my victory. Instead he stared me in the eyes. “No. Me Torr. Me no lose.”
The next blow rendered him unconscious. His hoof still stuck in the fence as the metal bit his leg so deep I could see the slight glimpse of white bone through his wound. I turned to the crowd, and saw them for the first time.
Ponies of all different shapes and colours. Pink, and red, and blue. Unicorns, earth ponies, and even a pegasus or two. They were all watching Torr and I fight each other to bloody pulps. And they were cheering. These ponies didn't care about their brightly coloured coats, and manes. The only colour they cared about was red. How could I have ever thought that these ponies were worth fighting for? They were worse than monsters.
I gracefully strode out of the arena, a scowl on my face.
Except, that didn't happen. I tried to be all victorious, and epic, but the result was more like me falling face first into the floor with an echoing thud and a resounding “Oooooo,” from the audience.
“That is, Fillies and Gentle colts,” The weird-looking earth pony said standing above my resting body, giving me a nice view of her rear.
I mean her... uh... not nice, more like pleasant? That's no good either. What about, her tail. Her odd looking tail, I didn't get a good look at it before but now I did. It seemed to be tightly braided with a little poof ball at the end or something. That was definitely what I was looking at...
“It seems that the Mighty Torr has been bested for the first time. An Impressive feat, even for a cyborg,” That had nothing to do with it. My stupid leg got in the way more than it helped me. “Bet chits can be cashed in at the Box office in the back of the theatre, the next fight is between THE Batmane and Crazy Thunderhoof Facecracker at Eight AM. Be sure to come early for the best seat! In the mean time feel free to enjoy our many amenities. The White Tie restaurant is open until midnight, and of course the buffet is open 24/7. “ She took a deep breath as I slowly squirmed my way over to the cage entrance. “Have a good night, everyone.”
Finally the stage’s curtains swung closed hiding my stupid mangled body from the gaping eyes of the crowd. “Well.” Molly turned to me with a smile as Serenity took a tentative step forward. “You horribly injured my best fighter. You owe me, you little shit.” Blinking I stared at her my mouth agape. “I'm just fucking with ya.” She turned her head and gave a slight nod to Serenity who quickly charged forward.
“Ow,” I winched as she hugged me, pain spiking through my chest stinging all the way down my spine. “Not so hard.” With a squeak she jumped back and stared at me, a sad smile on her muzzle. “Your face is leaking,” I said slowly. For some reason my head felt all wibbly-wobbly. “I won. Didn't die. Tolda ya I would. Need a drink.” She quickly wiped the tears out of her eyes... and smacked me.
“You've got a head wound: drinking is the last thing you needed to do!” I uh... No I didn't.
“No I don't... ,“ I said doing my best to struggle past the pain and rise to my feet, and failing horribly as the effort sent spikes of pain into my chest forcing me back down gasping and wheezing. “Need a drink. Forget about, pain.”
“Alcohol is a blood thinner.” So... I just sort of stared blankly at her. “Argh. It's just... no drinking!” She said with a pout digging into her bag.
“She's right you know.” I gave my head a half-turn to see Flare hanging upside down in the air snickering at me. “You're tough, you know that? I think I've only seen one other pony take a direct buck from Torr and live, never mind actually getting up.” I did not feel tough. “And that pony didn't even beat him. Only other pony whatever beat him was Sleekhoof of the ShadowBolts, and that was more due to Torr being slow as shit. Yup, you're going to be famous for this, for at least a week. A week! I'm jealous, truly.” he laughed doing, a quick flip.
“Let me guess,” I groaned, “You could beat him?”
“Hell no! Are you bucking nuts! He'd have torn me to pieces... Don't give me that look. Just because I'm arrogant don't mean I am stupid, and besides I'm an explosive expert. You know, things that go BOOM. Not all this messy hitting and kicking, and, just no. Besides I couldn't stand being caged like this. Gotta be free you know.” I'd no idea.
“Ek!,” I squeaked as something warm and wet splashed on my head without warning. And it stung. Like fire. “What the-” I looked up to see an empty healing potion glowing above my head, “Ow. Why. Couldn't I drink it?” If it was any pony other than Serenity I would have glared. Pouring things on ponies heads just isn't polite unless you warn them first. Already I could feel the wound I didn't know I had start to stitch itself together on the top of my head.
Serenity smiled at me in a slightly patronizing way. “Cause your ribs are all screwy,” No they weren't-
“OW!” She poked them to show me otherwise.
“And they might be poking your lungs.” I had to use my usual, 'what the hell does that mean look' before she continued. Flare just laughed. “It's like... the healing potions don't move your bones around or nothing, so if they healed in their wonky positions then they'd be poking into your lungs for the rest of your life... and that's... it's like deadly. I'm not sure though, but you should see The Watchers, they'll be able to fix'em up right good.”
“Can I break up this little love fest?” Molly snickered, leaning against the cage, her black hat slipped to the side, letting one of her long ears poke out. “You're not going anywhere until you talk to Mustang and make up some bullshit to appease him. And don't think I wont know. You got lucky this time.”
“Kind’a hard.” I said before biting my lip, and forcing myself up, “When. I can barely stand.”
The yellow-maned pony just smiled at me, “I've gone through worse. Stop whining like a bitch.” Obviously I glared at her, prompting her to wink under her dark sunglasses. “Find some way and get the fuck out of my casino. You know, before I regret my decision. I've killed ponies for smaller offences than breaking into my casino.” She snapped her head and barked at the unicorns tending to the broken and battered Torr. “Hurry up already.”
“Right...,” I groaned as Torr was levitated out of the cage. Molly followed with a wick of her tail. “Serenity. I need... something.” I wasn't quite sure what. Something for the pain. No what I was going to be walking out of her of my own strength without it. Then I remembered the two syringes of Med-X I confiscated from Flare back before the drug dealers base. “Med-X.”
Serenity sighed, before levitating it out of my saddle bags that I'd given to Flare to hold as I fought. (A huge mistake obviously considering he was an addict and I hadn't found the time to sell the drugs I nicked off him.) There was a sharp pain as the needle stabbed into my shoulder, a few seconds of nothing, then sweet relief. The pain washed away from me like the tide, leaving a lingering soreness, but nothing I couldn't handle.
Flare led the way like he knew the place, which he probably did, taking us through a series of back hallways before emerging in the theatre lobby from a door marked, “Employee Entrance Only.” Serenity, for the first time in a while, opted not to use me as a taxi, given my current condition.
The lobby had been beautiful once, with bright red carpets, gold inlaid wallpaper, and a marble staircase with gold railings leading up to the theatre balcony. Of course most of that had been destroyed; the carpet stained, the wall paper ripped. Though the staircase was reasonably intact. I couldn't help but wonder what the place looked like in its prime, no doubt it would have been a sight like no other. On the wall there was a slightly worn poster behind shattered glass. On it was a single grey mare with a dark grey mane, and some sort of... large guitar thingy leaning against her. I tried to imagine I was here to see her, walking in with a fancy dress on, and sitting to watch a musical performance in a swanky theatre. I tried to imagine I was in the past, in a place where were still able to sit down and enjoy something other than mindless violence and sex.
Which was stupid. The past was never coming back, and imagining it never helped nopony. The Med-X must have been messing with my skull. Moving on.
The rest of the hotel was set up in a similar swanky fashion. Red carpets, yellow-gold walls, with lots of lighting seemed to be the theme. It was honestly a nice change from The Moon (which seemed determined to make everything as dark as possible). I noticed at least two active restaurants, and the main casino floor had its own separate buffet table. I really wanted to ask what was with all the food, but chanced are I'd just be called an idiot.
“Congratulations on your victory.” A voice said as I attempted to leave the Celestia forsaken casino. Turning I saw a cute orange little stallion with an overlarge cowpony hat. “You're great.” He said with one of the brightest smiles I had ever seen.
“I uh...” Was I blushing? Oh for fuck’s sake this was not the time for hormones. “Thanks. I guess.”
“I mean really! It was just... amazing. Anyway,” He scratched the back of his head with one hoof as his voice sorta of trailed away. That was until the other pony manning the desk shot him a look and nudged him, “Eep. I mean. Thought if you had time, wouldn't mind, you know, getting a bite. Sometime. Maybe. With me” Gulping, I did my best to force my stupid cheeks to stop burning.
“No.” I quickly trotted out of the hotel pretending I was not just asked on a date by a cute stallion. I definitely did not run head first into a door labelled “pull”. I did not try two more times to push the door open. And without a doubt I did not blush furiously and storm out when I realized what just happened. If anypony tells you differently they are a liar. And a cunt. And a liar.
I needed a drink.
Which of course meant I was not going to get one for hours or days because Celestia hates me and likes to laugh at my stupidity.
“I guess I was wrong.” Flare said as I stormed northward up the main Dise street. While The Moon, and The Ale House were technically on the different sides of the same street the Ale House bordered the Dise fountain near the centre of the city, while The Moon was the first thing you saw entering the north gate.
“Wrong about?” I asked, as Serenity just giggled beside me. Clearly she knew something I didn't.
“Here I was thinking you were a fillyfooler,” wait for it, “when in truth you'll just fuck anything. I bet if I prettied up a Minotaur you'd-” There wasn’t any hope of ever getting respect.
So to make my point I kicked out Flare's front legs sending him face first into the ground. “Hate you.”
Flare just chuckled, “Where would you be without me?” Not here, and I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing. I really needed to change the topic, before ponies got on my case on how uptight I was. So as Flare jumped back to his feet, I asked the first thing I thought.
“Whats with Molly?” Silence. Serenity and Flare were giving me the creepiest wide eye'd expressions. “She looked weird. Her ears, they were too long. Her whole face. It was...” Silence. Flare and Serenity exchanged a look I couldn't quite decipher and I already regretted asking.
“She's a mule.” Flare said in a hushed whisper, his pace suddenly picking up. He took the time to look around to make sure nopony nearby as we trotted closer to The Moon before continuing. “A Donkey Pony hybrid.” A... what? Could they even do that? The idea just made me feel sorta sick in my stomach. Either that or the Med-X was wearing off. Pain flared up blinding me in agony for a second.
“And please.” Flare said as I bit on my lip to try and relieve the pain, “Don't talk about it in public again. She does not like ponies mentioning.” I reminded myself to keep that in mind as soon as I got some more Med-X.
The elevator stopped on the third floor. “Flare,” I groaned as the new syringe of Med-X finally started to take effect, “put Serenity to bed.” I quickly preempted her puppy eyes. “It's late. Its been a long night. Sleep.” She pouted and grumbled and agreed. Not that she was getting a choice anyway. “Then meet me. Outside. Need your help.”
“Sure, only because you didn't kill me for that fillyfooler crack.” I pushed Flare out the elevator.
“I reserve the right to change my mind.” I said as the door closed. He just sort of smiled at me.
“Goodnight Mommy,” I could vaguely hear Serenity yell as the elevator jerked upwards.
It was then I realized that me and Flare were friends. At least I think we were, because honestly I was not well versed in the whole 'friendship' thing, but if we weren't than we were the closest thing possible without quite crossing that friendship threshold. And I certainly wasn't thinking that to keep myself from thinking about the fact that the elevator at any point could suddenly stop working and plummet me to my death.
One trip down a hallway and up a gilded staircase later, I was back in Roy's Penthouse. Instead of sitting in his office Roy was sitting on one of his many lovely couches, a mare to either side of him.
I may have just interrupted an orgy. I blushed just a bit, and walked in.
“So I said to the bitch if she can take my money she can take my-Gun?” His eyes grew wide as I stood there before him, bruises spattered across my chest, and my hair still stained with blood. “Holy shit. I heard you got captured!”
“And you had to fight that monster Torr.”
“Also true.” I sighed.
“What the fuck... whatever.” He clopped his hooves together, “Leave us, girls. Business matters. Shouldn't be long.” With an over-exaggerated shaking of hips the two whores slowly trotted down the stairs, seductively shaking their hips of course. I wasn't looking. It was just, they always did.
Roy however kept his eyes on their flanks until they left down the stairs before even bothering to address me. “Shit girl, take a seat.” I did. Flopping onto the couch I leaned back sighing as my injuries stung just a little bit. Above me I just realized was a skylight. Beyond the glass was blackness, no stars or moon, just clouds and the never ending darkness. I always found the night comforting back in Marefort. Infinite blackness in all directions but the small candle at my guardhouse. I don't know why, but it relaxed me.
“So.” He said tentatively as I turned to him. His fur coat was tossed haphazardly onto the floor giving a good view of his flank. And by flank, I clearly meant cutie mark. I wasn't sure what a jewelled cane was supposed to symbolize, but it was impolite to question another's cutie-mark, or so I was always told. “What the fuck?”
I told him what happened. About how the plan failed, we got captured, the deal, the fight, and all that. I even told him how I managed to talk my way out. “So she wanted me to unlock your basement door,” I lied, “The sewer door. Then tell her. For her attack.” Now before you get on my case for lying and breaking my contract please remember his words. He told me to 'get the juice' on what Molly was planning, but did not actually tell me to tell him. I broke no contract. It's not my fault he gave a vague order.
“Hah, that ass don’t know who she fuckin' with. Mustangs will show her.” He grinned. “Go to her tomorrow and tell her you did it. I'll load the tunnels up with so many mines she wont know what hit her.” He grinned deviously, I wasn't nearly as confident. Even if the Baises had actually planned to attack from the tunnels it was still a terrible idea to plant bombs under your own casino. You know. As a rule.
“You'll tell the bitch what she wants to hear first, can't have you running off on me.” Bullshit. I just wanted my gun. Whatever there was not point in arguing, it's not like I had actually done what he wanted anyway. “Honestly, I expected you to fuck up. I mean you ain't a very subtle pony, but it's a pleasant fucking surprise.”
“If you thought I'd fail...”
“Don't get uppity with me bitch.” he stomped his hoof down, “I wanted you to succeed. But if you didn't it'd send a clear message that I knew she was up to something.” Hooray for being expendable. “but you did it. Or close enough. Mustangs aren't down yet, you can bet on it.”
I groaned stepping to my feet. My whole body was dull with pain, and even I could tell my breathing was laboured. “Okay.”
“Where the fuck are you going?”
“Watchers.” I turned my back to him. “Everything fucking hurts. If you got a Med-X...” I hated asking Roy for anything, but I knew the last dosage was not going to last me the long walk down the strip.
“Huh...” I guess he wasn't used to being asked anything. “Sure.” My shoulder burned, because I needed more pain, as he floated a couple of syringes over to me. “On one condition.” I turned and did my best not to glare. “I don't give a fuck if your filly wants to make extra cash or not. But under no condition. Do you ever fucking touch a client again. Or I'll rape her myself.”
I was not in a pleasant mood when I met Flare outside The Moon, and the stupid water fountain, and stupid whores dancing in it did not improve it. I did not like being threatened, and I did not like anypony holding Serenity above me like she was a fucking bargaining chip. And yet everypony did. I promised myself to kill them slowly when given the chance.
“Hey.” Flare said as I stormed past him, my rage and new syringe of Med-X masking the pain which still burned. “Okay...” He flew along side me as I stormed past stupid civilians as Flare zoomed beside me. “You said you wanted me. Are you okay?” No I was not fucking okay. Since sundown I'd been captured, interrogated, threatened, beat up, horribly injured, and generally treated like shit.
“No. Fucking hurts.” It was true enough. The third Med-X didn't seem to help as much as the second or first. Better than nothing, but dammit pain hurts. “Walk with me. In case Med-X runs out.” The walk from The Moon to the Watchers’ headquarters was much faster when running doped up on Dash. Walking across the city was just painfully slow, but running was just out of the question.
“Can I talk at least?” He said floating backwards in front of me.
“Sure, whatever.” I winced as a sharp pain shocked through my chest before subsiding. “Is Serenity. Asleep.”
“Dunno.” He shrugged. Apparently he didn't know how to follow simple orders... on the other hoof I actually said put her to bed, not to sleep. “last I checked she was lying in bed with her eyes closed. You don't have to be so protective of her, she knows more about the city then you do. I mean she was a slave before right? She's tougher than she looks.” She was going to be a slave but I saved her. Being knowledgeable and responsible are not the same thing, but I was too pissed to care.
“It's late. She's young. She needs sleep.”
“Yup. And you're planning something.” I hated it when Flare read my mind.
“No. My plans suck,” I groaned and stopping for a second to admire the water fountain in the cities centre. For some reason I really loved the statue of that stallion rearing in the centre of the fountain. I looked up at Flare. “However once we find out. How much surgery I need. You need to go to the finishers.”
“Wh-oh. Yeah. The Baises didn't give back the sky-waggon did they?” I shook my head. “Yeah... chances are they'll want some sort of compensation for the trouble it's going to take them to get it back. Maybe I'll have to clean up another druggie, or sort out a Minotaur family dispute. Whatever it may be I had to take the job. The Finishers were the only non-dicks I'd met since getting to that damnable city and I wasn't about to break our relationship.
“Yeah.” I said continuing south down the street. “Exactly.”
“So why couldn't your filly come for this?” he asked being careful to fly out of the way of the robotic ponitrons that patrolled in front of “The Clips And Clops” as we passed by it.
“She is not my daughter. Fuck. Is that so hard?” Seriously it was just getting annoying.
“Honestly? Yeah, it's a little hard to believe,” he said as I stared upwards at the Clips and Clops Tower. It always amazed me every time I saw it, rising up so high shining like a pink sun breaking through the darkness. Part of me really wanted to see the view from up there... the rest of me wanted nothing to do with it, knowing that it was way too fucking high and it would end badly for everypony involved. Mostly me, of course. Flare sighed snapping me out of my trance. “You treat her better than most mothers I've seen. You might as well be her mother.” He shrugged. “She wouldn't mind it.”
“How do you know?”
“What?” He smirked, “We can talk without you. I bet you I know more about Serenity's story than you because I try to learn. She lost her parents when she was a foal. Or she never had them. She doesn't even know. Watchers teach but they never gave her love, you know. Can you blame her for wanting something to stick to?”
“What. Are you a psychologist?” I growled, “I am not her mother. Pretending. Wont make it so.”
“What’s wrong with pretending?” Yeah he wouldn't mind it, being a druggie. “I mean. Fuck. Sometimes all you have is hope, and imagination.”
“What do you know?”
He stomped down in front of me.
“Where did you come from? Some magical land where ponies don't die, where life doesn't suck, where you weren't living on the edge wondering when the fragile peace would finally break down? Both my parents we're killed by raiders, my brother was shot down and tourtered by minotaurs when the fuckers first came here, and my sister was forced into prostitution by the stallion you work for. So excuse me if I want to imagine a better life. That's what hope is isn't it. Imagining something better?” His idea of imagination was playing house and getting high on drugs, so no, I didn't agree with him.
I pushed past him. “I really. Don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay. Whatever.” He sighed. “What have you got against being a mother anyway? From what I've seen foals are the only things you don't consistently want to smash into a bloody pulp.”
“It's...” Honestly I had a lot against being a mother. So I kept walking south past the apartment complex the Remnants called home, before I answered. “Difficult. I guess. Like...”
“Oh! Is it like some sorta history thing? Like your mother beat you as a child and now you're afraid you'll follow in her foot steps...” I just sort of glared at him. “What! When I was a little colt I was going to be an army doctor specializing in mental disorders.. I'm not as stupid as I look... Well I never actually went past a few classes, when I found out I'd have to go to The Flankyard to study I became an explosive expert. Also it paid more.” Explosions paid more than a doctor... okay then. “But I have a basic knowledge. Tell me about your childhood.”
“No.” The Watchers fort seemed so far away.
“Why not? You know you don't have to be mysterious all the time. I asked Serenity, and she doesn't know what you did before you found her either. So whats the deal. You hiding something. Did you used to be a raider? Or... I have no idea. It's just,” he floated upside down in front of me, “weird. You appear from no where, save a foal, then get knee deep into manure and politics in a city you've never even heard of. I just... you make no sense.”
“If I wanted you to know. You’d know.” I groaned ignoring the fading effects of the my pain killers.
“So I never get to know?”
“Yup.” To my surprise he laughed.
“Well... that’s your choice. Knowing you, it’d have to be something bad, and since you didn’t kill me when you could have, I have no grounds to argue for more special treatment, eh?” I smiled through the pain. Partly at whatever this heart to heart thing we were having, and partly because the we had finally arrived.
I trotted up to the Watcher’s Fort entrance where two ponies stood, battle saddles ready for any possible attack. Between them stood the huge hulking, ominous figure of Ginger the Minotaur. Predictably most ponies took the wide route around the fort, less the minotaur look at them! It'd be a sin. I trotted up happily. Oh there was still pain as the Med-X neared the end of its effectiveness, but I knew it would last much longer.
“Hey.” I said to the guards. One smirked so I guess he remembered me from that Dash incident. Lovely. “I need... uh... healing.”
“I Can se-”
“Is it you! No way...” I turned to see a sea-green older mare trotting up her eyes wide. “Clean Cutt. He told me. Are you...” She gulped, “You couldn't possible be Hired Gun.” I blinked a bit and nodded. “You know my daughter! I mean... you knew her...” My stomach twisted itself into knots.
“Her name was Lye. She... she went up with a caravan, Clean Cutt said you were there! When... when you were attacked.” Lye... how long had it been since that moment? I had tried so hard to forget about her. “Is it true?”
“I... yes.” I did my best to avoid eye contact, but the mare was very persistent. “We were... attacked. She died a hero, trying to protect everypony. They took me captive. She was a good mare.” The sad older mare just nodded at me. “When I had the chance. I took revenge for her. For Lye's sake.”
“What!” My eyes shot up meeting hers as she shrieked. “My baby died! And you think More killing will help bring her back! Monster!”
I stood dumbfounded as she pushed past me into the watcher camp. “So.” Flare said from above me, “More of your mysterious past?”
“So what seems to be the problem?” I blinked at the doctor as I leaned heavily on the tent's cupboards before looking down at my side. Since the kick the bruise had went from blue to red, to a mottled yellow that looked positively sickly. “Oh that.” He poked it in a very undoctor like fashion. A wave of nausea burst through me sent my stumbling to my metal knee with a taste of vomit in my mouth. “Does it hurt?”
This doctor. As Celestia is my witness...
“I'm kidding. Yeah you got fucked up something fierce.” I stumbled to my feet glaring at the black coated doctor. “Hum... wait... shit! Are you that mare that fought Torr!” Seriously? I nodded hoping it'd make this stupid conversation shorter. “Mr New Haygas was talking about that. Shit. I mean... sorry.”
“Are you sure... you're a doctor.” I growled between my teeth.
“Y-yeah. Well, mostly.”
“I mean I'm getting full doctorship in a few weeks,” He slicked back his long plain white mane, “Since I'm the new guy they make me take the overnight shift. Shitty I know, but hey it's a living. So. Torr. Damn. You know they're still working on him,” I raised and eyebrow. “His leg got fucked. You did it, or was it when they tried to move him. Way I hear it somehow he lost a huge chunk of bone. Healing potions can't fix that shit, and we don't got the supplies. Best case scenario he gets an augment, or becomes a cripple.”
So on top of all the other ways I fucked up I managed to cripple a slow pony, thus stopping him from ever making a living. Well done Silver, you're a real class act. Should go burn down a orphanage next.
“Oh.” That reminded me of something. “In my, urgh.” Pain washed over me, but I fought through, “Saddle bag. Some drugs. For payment.” I was lucky enough not have bet away the drugs I confiscated from Flare during my drunken binge. Hopefully that would be enough to pay for whatever surgery I needed.
The doctor nodded and my shoulder burned as his magic rummaged through my bags. “Wait.” A container of something was suddenly floating in front of me. “Is this hydra?”
“The label thinks so.” The doctor blinked before looking at the glowing container to confirm. Laughing he patted me on the shoulder.
Sending spikes of pain through me.
That time I actually did vomit.
“Sorry..” he said as I spat and wiped my mouth. The taste of vomited permeated every breath, and made me want to puke more. “But, seriously. This hydra, it's very rare. The last shipment we got from Hoofington was over a month ago, and not a single word on why it has been delayed.” Okay... honestly I didn't even know what it did. I only took it because it looked drug-y.
“Whatever.” He just sort of laughed. I really hated my doctor.
“Okay! You first. Looks like you have come shattered ribs, we're going to have to remove them.”
“Why not? Heal?”
“Trust me. I'm a doctor.” The black coated doctor gave his very best smile... and I wanted to vomit again. This day was not going well, and it wasn't over yet.
Gentle winds blew across the field, making the flowers dance between the vibrant green grass. It was a cool breeze that just barely tussled my pink and white mane and tail. Sighing, I rested my head backwards and lets the breeze wash over me. Above me, the clouds glowed such a vibrant yellow, they looked like they were on fire. Like the sun was back. It took me a full minute of basking in warm rays of the beautiful afternoon before I realized I was resting my head in another pony’s lap.
Rolling I left my hooves sink into the grass, before climbing to my feet. Before me was a pony with a red mane and red coat. She gave me the same fiery look she always had, her green eyes burning with passion. “Good morning,” she said. I had always wondered what heaven felt like. As I lay back down, resting my head on her, I think I got my answer.
Drip drip drip.
My eyes jolted open as something splashed on my forehead. Just in time for whatever it was to splash directly into my eyeball. Squeaking I sat up and shook the liquid out letting the tiniest bit of it to splash on the ground. “Blood.” I realized what the red droplet was. Against my better judgement, I looked up to the pony whose lap I was sitting in. It was still Wildfire only...
Drip drip drip.
“Don't you still love me?” Wildfire asked, half of her head a bloody crater from a sniper’s bullet. The corpse gave me a grim red smile, “I didn't mean what I said. I only meant... it wasn't your fault. Don't blame yourself. I'm sorry.” Her mouth moved slowly but her voice seemed detached from the movements. “Just wake up, please,” her voice whispered in my head but the corpse’s mouth didn't move.
“Heh.” I stepped back as memories of her voice poured through my head. “Yeah, this is not happening.”
While I wasn't looking, the plains had turned into a deep forest like the ones I had seen in books. Sunlight streamed through the thick canopy dancing on the green red and yellow vines. But the corpse of Wildfire stood in shadows, and when the many forest bugs moved too close they dropped to the ground and caught fire.
“Why can't you just talk to me!? Why must you always hide?” He mouth was still but the voice rang through the forest like a wave. Light burst forth as the trees around her caught fire. The smell of smoke and burning flesh filled my nostrils.
Backing up I hit a wall of trees I could not pass. “Wake up,” a tender voice said. “Wake up.”
“Pleasant dreams?” My eyes burst open to see Flare's pink eyes right in front of my face. “you were blushing in your sleep... were you dreaming about me?”
I shoved Flare's face away. “No. Creeper.” He nickered as I slowly rolled off the bed, landing on the ground with a thud. A dull throbbing sensation shook through my chest and back, but it wasn't that bad. “Did you see. Finishers?” I took a look around the hospital room. It was the same tent as before only now a pile of bloody rags were thrown in a corner beside a bin of similarly stained scalpels. On one of the counters a few empty healing potions were strewn haphazardly.
“Uh.” He flapped his wings a bit before tucking them back in, “Don't you want to check with the Watchers. See if you're... fit to leave?” I shrugged.
“Well.” I said stretching a bit, feeling the strain on my tense muscles. Those healing potions really were a thing of beauty. “I am walking. Surgery was success. Removed ribs. I think.” I turned to where the bruise had been but it was completely gone now save for a small off coloured patch of my coat. Magic, who would have thought? You couldn't even see the scars. “Been out too long.”
“Like four hours total, considering you just had surgery...”
“Too long. Some Med-X. I'll be fine.” Just a bit to remove the pain. “Still have work to do,” I said under the assumption The Finishers did in fact have work for me. I just sort of assumed ponies were going to get me to do their dirty work.
Flare looked at me with a pained expression before rolling his eyes and looking away. “Whatever. Clean Cutt came here personally to tell me to stop you from doing something stupid, but whatever. Not like I could stop you if I tried.” Nope. “You're popular by the way. Since I got back from The Finishers, Clean Cutt came to visit, then that mare that flipped out at you in front of the gate, and then some pony who heard you were a mercenary and wanted you to take a job in some fucking desert to the north west.”
“You told him to fuck off, I presume?”
“Course.” He bowed elegantly, his out stretched wings knocking over a IV rack. “Meant to do that.”
“Totally.” Suddenly, and without warning my head was swimming with stupid emotions. “Listen,” be prepared for something stupid, “about before. I'm sorry for getting mad. At you.” That’s right I just apologized. Seriously.
“W-what,” he looked at me his eyes wide in shock, almost as if he couldn't believe it. “Right. Me too. Don't worry. C’mon,” he said flying out of the tent, “The Finishers wanted you as soon as you're ready, and, fuckit, you say you're ready so you're ready.”
The camp was silent as death. We tip toed our way to the gate, and slipped past the guards with nary a nod. Now, I could bore you with a long, painful description of our walk north from The Watcher's fort to the main Dise gate, into Parasite Mound and The Finisher's headquarters. Hell, I could even give you a word by word of Flare's thrilling recount of the Battle Of The Song (a name apparently made up by a guitarist ten years later I should add) where the Baises took over the Ale House in the middle of a concert.
But I am far too nice to make you suffer through that. To keep things short, and your mind focused, let us say it is not important. After the long walk past the creepy Ponitrons, we made it through the Dise Gate, through the blackened streets of Parasite Mound (where I could feel eyes watching me from the darkness, piercing my coat and making me shiver). How I hated Parasite Mound.
Also the name. Such a fucking stupid name.
There it was, The Finisher's headquarters, shinning brightly through the dark town like a miniature sun. Nopony would dare attempt anything close to Photo Finish’s eye. Groaning my teeth fumbled with my saddle bags before pulling out the last Syringe of Med-X and stabbing it into my shoulder. There was a sharp pain, and then sweet relief. Flare gave me an odd look before pushing through the doors of their office, blinding me with light.
“You, are late. De Photo Finish, she does not like to vait,” said a red pony, dolled up in the Finisher's usual striped dress and sunglasses.
“Screenshot.” I nodded politely. “Sorry. My chest was opened up. And bones were removed.” There was a split second of revision on the ponies face, before she shooed it away.
“How... horrifying. No matter. De Great Photo Finish Awaits!” She lifted a hoof into the air! “We Go!” And was off like a bolt of lightning. Now last time we went through this I had to chase her up three flights of stairs. This time she burst through the nearest door.
I followed in a slow canter, walking into what appeared to be a small theater. Strange music blared over the loudspeakers, and various circular tables were scattered across the room. Starting at the far end and striking outwards was a long crudely made catwalk half covered by carpet with a single sultry mare trotting down the runway, spinning in front of Photo Finish at the tip of the catwalk. She sat with a stern face sipping on some sort of pink-y drink. I really hoped it was alcoholic and I was allowed to have some.
“Sit,” she commanded. “Dese recruits...,” she shook her head as I pulled up a chair. “No. It's just. No.” Her magic flared up as she levitated her drink to her lips. “No class. No style. No no no. Where is da magicks?” As the next sultry mare trotted down down the catwalk wearing what could only be called a dress by the strictest terms, I really didn't see much of a problem. “Drink?”
“Yes.” For some reason Flare chuckled beside me. Not unsettling at all.
“Now, now. Hired Gün. Ve are nice ponies, ja? We help ponies and moreover we do our utmost with all out strength to keep da streets safe. Ve have been nice to you, I, Photo Finish, have been nice. Now you get us into tricky situation, a tricky dangerous situation, so what do you say?”
“Yes. Dat, it is a start. Not enough.” Was it ever enough? Sighing, I leaned back and kept my eyes focused on the Stallion sauntering up the isle in a skimpy dress. Par for the course for The Finishers, I was just trying to make myself seem calm during the negotiations. “Sorry is not enough, compared to negotiating with the Baises for our Stupendous and marvellous flying machine, and having to pretend to work with those... ugh.” Visible disgust was on her face.
“You don't like the Baises?” I said as my pink drink finally arrived. I quickly picked it up and downed the sweet tasting nectar with great pleasure. It was fruity with just the barest hint of alcohol but that hint was enough. Especially when they poured me a second.
“You know nothing. They... A dress is only as dazzling as its wearer. Molly. That Molly, she, is the problem.” I raised my eyebrow and she just sighed. “It matters not, what matters is that ve cannot become her thrall. I, Photo Finish, cannot allow it. If she kills those despicable mustangs and lifts us upon his seat, den our power vill exist not for real but as an imagining. No. Ve cannot.”
“And you can't tell her no.” We both shot a glare at Flare who was leaning back in his chair his yellow mane messily covering his eyes. “What. It's true. Molly don't like being told no and The Finishers would not stand her wrath. I heard when she first got the job one of her underlings had the gall to call her a mule like she is and sh-”
“Shutup.” I turned back to my drink. The third one, I couldn't remember when I finished the second one but it was delicious. “So. What do you need?”
“The Galicians need to be informed. Alas, it cannot be I who tells them. They have no love for The Finishers and the hag would not trust The Great Photo Finish. So I need another, one who can be believed.” The music stopped as the last model disappeared through the curtains at the end of the stage.
“You. I, Photo Finish, said you will be out shining star across Dise, and Photo Finish does not lie. You are know to have fought against Torr, you are known to work with the Mustangs. You are believable... And frankly you look not smart enough to lie.” I could so. I lied all the time.
“Okay... so I have to speak... with...” I'd no idea who was the leader of the Galicians. I knew Roy ran the mustangs, Molly the Baises, and House was House. But the Galicians were a mystery.
“Grannie Dynamite.” Really? Her name sounded even more fake than mine. “But first.” She clapped her hooves together.
Suddenly at the end of the stage the curtains pulled open with a blare of music and a flourish. On the end of the stage surrounded by the models was a brown wooden circular structure. When a model tapped it, it swayed and drips of water splashed over the top onto the stage. Soapy water.
My face paled and I turned to Photo, “What is this.”
“A bath.” What. “Your friend, Mr Flare, thought you might not go willingly.” Serious, what. “You are to go as my envoy. A disciple of Finish, to speak with my, Photo Finish’s, voice under Screenshot's guidance.” No. This could not happen. “You must be clean.”
“No fucking way!” I tried to lift my hoof at her. Tried. Blinking I looked down at it as it wobbled and did not respond. My eyes darted around the room landing on the three drinks before me. “Did you... drug me...?” Photo Finish gave the daintiest of nods.
Around me the ponies surged. Tugging and pulling me closer to soapy doom.
“Take off her cybernetic.”
“Yeah, not supposed to get wet.”
“Ew, what did I touch? There's something living on her.”
“Is it supposed to be that colour?”
“Maybe her cutie mark is dirt she never scrubbed off.”
As I was dragged closer and closer, the one word I could think of was: Survive.
But there was no way I was surviving this.
No New Perks Or Stat Milestones. Wow you suck.
((Well, here we are again. I’d like to thank Kkat for making this beautiful world for me to play in, and thank her again for all the work she has put in as FoE nears to a close. I’d also like to give a special thanks to my editor, theBSDude, for making this chapter readable. And of course to Sidefic proto doc. ~No One~))