I'm not quite dead! · 7:19pm
So for the past few months I have made zero progress in anything of importance. I blame several factors on this, including being literally broke and forced to live off of $1 bread from Wal-Mart, and having to skip several sessions in a row of my weekly D&D game, which I use for stress relief. Things are starting to turn around, though, and with that apparently comes writing ability.
I'm not a tortured artist, I write better when things are going well for me.
In any event, proof of progress: here's a preview for the next chapter of For a Few Bits More. I also am working on and plan to have two chapters of The Rime of the Ancient Pegasus ready for December. Maybe some Daleks Have No Concept of Friendship! as well, if I can manage it.
The saloon that they had ended up in was even more “disreputable” than the one that Ditzy and Carrot Top had dined in earlier, though this mostly took the form of it being smaller, with tighter seating and smaller windows that let in less light, as well as a wind-up phonograph that was currently playing the scandalous flamenco music that was popular in northeastern Caballeria, albeit not too loudly.
After getting their drinks (Ditzy stuck to a Surly Temple from the kid’s menu, and everypony else also kept to non-alcoholic drinks), Tallo and Mazorca had taken turns explaining their situation to Ditzy, Carrot Top, Big Mac, and Braeburn.
“Wait, King Longhorn?” Braeburn asked at the end, scratching his head. “The same one what attacked Tía Tarta?”
“Sí,” Tallo replied. “The same, señor Braeburn. You have heard of this?”
“Not a half hour ago,” the yellow stallion replied. “From the bison Big Mac n’ me stopped. Marshal Fetter Keys was investigatin’, but Little Strongheart – that was the bison – didn’t know nothin’ ‘cept King Longhorn was the bandit.”
“I’m gathering banditry is problem in this part of Caballeria?” Carrot Top asked.
“This part? Nah,” Braeburn said, pointing down to indicate the land beneath him. “But once you get out into the Mild West proper, yeah, you’ve got yerself a problem, from Naqah down to Alpaclan. Too much land, too few beings in it t’ keep track a’ everything, not enough water t’ make a decent fort. New Appaloosa lucked into a great big oasis, but most places can’t support more n’ a hundred ponies at most.”
“And los búfalos do not appreciate the creation of forts or large towns in any event,” Mazorca said. “And claim most oases for their tribes, who wander and do not settle. Los búfalos have no love of bandits, of course, but most bands have un búfalo o dos to navigate and allow them to avoid the tribes’ migration patterns.”
“When the tribes are not fooled outright,” Tallo added. “Who is to say if the beings you meet are bandits or merchants? Especially if they are willing to sit and trade and smoke a peace pipe?”
“That ain’t the bison’s fault,” Braeburn insisted. “The only solution there’d be to attack everythin’ they meet, or not trade with any being.”
“Or be more careful, ¿sí? I do not think that it would be so hard – ”
“Look, that’s a fascinatin’ discussion on black market economics n’ all that y’all have brewin’ there,” Applejack interrupted, holding up her hooves, “but it don’t solve nothin’.” She looked to Big MacIntosh. “Now, the way Ah see things, what Mazorca an’ Tallo need is somepony t’ help them find someponies to help them. Fighters. An’ we gots two right here,” Applejack nodded to the two Elements of Harmony. “An’ Marshal Fetter Keys surely will want t’ help take down King Longhorn, so that’d be three. Only he can’t be here by his lonesome! Surely he’s got himself some deputies.”
Applejack leaned back, smiling and nodding. “So Marshal Fetter Keys bags hisself King Longhorn, our heroines over here get t’ show Caballeria their stuff like Princess Luna wants ‘em to, an’ the de Maízes get their village saved. You an’ me an’ Braeburn an’ Bloomberg get to head on t’ New Appaloosa like we’re supposed to. Everypony wins!”
There was several long moments of silence.
“Eenope,” Big Mac said.
“That’s a terrible plan,” Braeburn followed up.
“We’re not fighters!” Ditzy objected.
“I can honestly say that ‘run away’ has been my preferred option for every real fight I’ve been in,” Carrot Top confirmed.
“If señor Fetter Keys had deputies, would they have not helped him against the buffalo cow he chased?” Mazorca asked.
“He also looks older than mi padre,” Tallo noted.