• Member Since 6th Jun, 2013
  • offline last seen April 2nd

Distant Gaze

  • MSmoke
    Sombra wasn't destroyed cleanly. When some of his power is inherited, how many ponies will fall under its control?
    Distant Gaze · 192k words  ·  546  41 · 11k views

More Blog Posts116

  • 280 weeks
    Closure: Full plot spoilers for Smoke here

    Consider yourselves warned: this whole post is a spoiler. We're well past the point that the only realistic thing is that Smoke is done, so for anyone who wanted to know what had been planned, well, may this post provide you some closure. I'm certain to have forgotten things or misremembered them. It's been a while. But Smoke has only relatively recently stopped attracting new

    Read More

    20 comments · 881 views
  • 283 weeks
    Tumblr porn ban

    As most of you know, Tumblr's banning porn on the 17th of this month. Since Smoke is pretty well dead in the water, I won't be bothering to relocate any of the images or other content from the Smoke Tumblr. If you came upon this story after I quit working on it and weren't aware there were images, here's your chance to see them before they're gone. Otherwise, it's your chance to archive them

    Read More

    3 comments · 387 views
  • 358 weeks
    Cut content

    So, about a week ago, while naked and wet (just a shower, sadly...), I actually felt a little like working on Smoke again. I haven't yet, and don't know if I will. Let's start off with the honest disclaimers: if you've been here, you know not to get your hopes up when I say anything, and I know not to make any promises. Which is why I didn't post anything that night--I had to dig

    Read More

    12 comments · 887 views
  • 387 weeks
    Still not dead.

    I received a PM from Rozen Knight letting me know that some of you were worried about me. That's flattering, but I'm okay. If you followed me two years ago, you know that I'm coming up on a terrible time of year for me emotionally, but that's not why there's been radio silence. It's just that there's been nothing to say. No progress, and I assure you that I'm as tired of making empty promises

    Read More

    8 comments · 558 views
  • 419 weeks

    Current chapter is progressing terribly. Can't claim burnout since I've not put out a chapter in months, but something's not working. Chapter's going on the back burner while I put together a piece that builds Smoke's events in parallel with the main story. Style will be different, trying to shift gears. Sorry for the abysmal rate of updates, guys. Once that's done, I'll pick up the

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    3 comments · 440 views

Cut content · 6:04am Jul 3rd, 2017

So, about a week ago, while naked and wet (just a shower, sadly...), I actually felt a little like working on Smoke again. I haven't yet, and don't know if I will. Let's start off with the honest disclaimers: if you've been here, you know not to get your hopes up when I say anything, and I know not to make any promises. Which is why I didn't post anything that night--I had to dig Smoke's Scrivener file out of cold storage, it was late, and what if I didn't get around to it the next day? Yet another broken promise. So I canceled the post until I at least took Smoke from archives. But why post now, if I only just pulled it off the shelf? I'm posting a little cut content for anyone curious about where Smoke didn't go. If there's still interest after all this time, I may also post the incomplete draft of the chapter that stonewalled me. (Or may not, since I could still use it.)

The following was originally to have been part of Nine Stitches, chapter 11--when Done and Bruises make a move on the Trotties and take down the boss to make peace with Rose. His attempt to sneak over to Rose in the dark was originally to have been interrupted before he even got close. Note that this was never proofread or even given a once over by myself, much less Fable.

Distracted by thoughts of home, the screech of a scared filly caught me by surprise. When I heard it a second time, I cursed my luck, but bolted in the direction of the sound as fast as my hurt ankle would carry me, slowing far enough back my rushed hooves on cobblestone to go unnoticed, I hoped. Once again, I clung to shadows that made it hard to see, and strained for a better look. At an intersection of back alleys, I found a soused stallion and four or five foals. One filly was on her side, sobbing. I grit my teeth, and assumed she was the one who’d been screaming a moment before. Another filly stood between the furious stallion and the other foals, head lowered like she meant to fight, but I could see the shine of tears in her eyes. Whatever she hoped to accomplish, she wasn’t going to. Not that way. Not with a boozed up brute after her.

“It’s bloody fucking simple! You’re ta bring me the coin I tell ya to, and ya don’t get beat!” The drunkard raised the pitch of his voice, mocking the foals “‘Oh, ‘ow are we s’posed ta get any bits in this part of town, Mister Trestle?’ The mimicry over, he roared louder than ever, and still his voice crescendoed as he went on. “I don’t fucking know, and I don’t fucking care! You urchins bring me wot I need for me drink, or it’s the hoof for all of you!”

I don’t know how he didn’t hear my teeth grinding where I hid. I wanted to get my hooves around that bastard’s neck and just choke the asshole out of him, but if I couldn’t handle the punk back at The Tall Tail, I had no hope here. It was fairly thundering in my veins, but using the smoke on that filly wouldn’t help a thing, and who even knew if I could use it on the stallion? Without a sound, I cursed bitterly.

The drunk struggled to focus his eyes on the brave filly out in front as I hid in the shadows, tearing my mind apart for a plan. “Right, you li’l twat. You think you’re the brave sort? That you’re tough? You’ve got fuckin’ tears in your eyes right now, bitch. But not like you’re gonna ‘ave. Oh, no, not even close. I’ll bloody well see ta that.”

My time was up. One plan had come to mind, and by Celestia I wished I had any other, but I pulled the smoke up in great torrents, swirling it around, and blocking out the moonlight all around me. Gouts of smoke leapt up from my body, clouds of it rolled across the ground, and around me I swirled it so fast I thought my eyes would spin. With an incoherent roar, I took one step toward the drunk.

“W-wha?” Startled, Trestle took a step back, but didn’t quit the alley. “Stay the fuck away, wotever you are! Get back!” Trestle snatched up a bottle from the alley with his teeth, swinging it blindly in my direction. I advanced again, with the loudest roar I could muster, and the bottle dropped from Trestle’s mouth as he turned and ran, screaming profanities as he went.

The filly who had been guarding the rest bore down on me now, just as determined to keep her friends safe. I let the smoke dissipate, and watched with some amusement as she and the other foals stared in disbelief at the smoke monster suddenly turning into a handsome stallion. A stallion, at any rate.

The first questions were obvious. I knelt on the filthy cobblestones so I wouldn’t tower over the foals and tried my best to sound gentle. “How’s your friend, and how are the rest of you?” I had no idea how they’d react to a stranger after what I’d seen, but good deed or not, I couldn’t stop at chasing off that bum and not at least ask. The filly who’d been trying so hard to be brave glared at me suspiciously, then look back at her friend, then to me again. For a moment, I thought she’d refuse to talk—and then the dam broke, tears pouring fast enough to give my most emotional dancers a run for their money, on their very worst nights.

“S-she’s good as dead! Nopony gets up, wot’s been stomped! Lookit ‘er! Lookit ‘er side!” The filly gesticulated wildly toward her friend, who’d quit sobbing some time ago. Thin as she was, it was easy to see her ribs—and to see where they went awry. Her side still moved, but shallowly, and a trickle of blood led from her mouth to the cobblestones. With their brave leader in tears, the other three foals began to sob as well. It was more than I could take.

I looked the one who’d spoken straight in the eye and growled. “I am going to find that motherbucker. And when I do, there won’t be enough of him left to hurt anypony ever again. But right now, I’m getting your friend to a hospital. I rose and waded through the foals to reach the hurt one. Moving her was foolish, but she’d never last long enough to bring somepony back for her. “You foals come with me. I don’t know what I’ll do with you, but it’ll be better than this. Get her on my back, and one of you climb up and keep her still. Moving her is dangerous.”

The foals just stared at each other in the moonlight, forgetting for a moment even to cry, at a loss for how to handle somepony trying to help. They didn’t deserve my anger, but I was fresh out of patience. “Now, unless you want to watch her die!” Two started to cry again, and if the brave one thought she was fooling anypony by crying quietly, she was gravely mistaken, but she stepped up where the others didn’t. When I knelt again for them to put their friend on my back, she shoved unhurt ponies toward me. “Move, you gits! Didn’ you ‘ear im! No time for layin’ about!”

Shocked, the foals did as they were told, lifting their hurt friend with the greatest of care, and placing her straddling my back. The poor thing groaned in pain, and I felt something wet drip into my fur. I begged Celestia for it to be only tears as the leader of the pack climbed up onto my back. “Right, I’ve got ‘er! Now go!”

I struggled under the weight of both foals. None had a cutie mark yet, but all were ten years old or more—not babes to be carried in twos. Some idle corner of my mind wondered if I’d have any teeth left after all the grinding I was doing that night, but I rose up without losing either foal, and managed a canter—the perfect speed for the foals following behind to match at a gallop. Moonlight guided us, and I didn’t waste time finding shadows anymore. The shortest route wasn’t the best route; it was the only one. Nothing else was an option. Past broken doors and cracked walls, all six of us rushed as fast as the weight would allow, back to streetlights and gleaming storefronts. Back to the Manehattan I knew. Murmurs of doubt rose up from the foals from time to time as we ran, questions of paying for the doctor, whether or not I was trustworthy, how they’d find their way back, but nopony ever slowed down, not until we reached the lights of Manehattan General Hospital. I didn’t even have the door all the way open when the screams for a prepped operating room began.

Dealing with the city guards had been the hard part. The doctors didn’t care about me past getting the dying filly off my back, but the guards had a thousand questions for each foal, and wanted to hear every answer twice. No, I don’t know them. Yes, I was in the bad part of town after dark. No, I don’t have a good reason. Yes, I saw the pony who did it. Yes, I could identify him in a lineup. No, I wasn’t out to make trouble. They knew as well as I did that the last was a lie. Yes, I know I saved a life tonight somehow never came up.

By the time I was allowed to leave, gray light was filtering through the cloudy morning sky, and I dragged myself, dirty and exhausted, back to The Tall Tail. Bruises was still guarding the door, and rushed out to greet me, demanding to know where I’d been. Pirouette, looking as exhausted as I felt trailed out behind her, eyes narrow with anger. She fairly hissed as she slipped between Bruises and me, leaving the big mare awkwardly looking elsewhere to pretend she wasn’t part of the conversation.

A small hoof poked me in the chest. “Where in Equestria were you all night, Done? Dammit, Parapet was beside herself all night, I was sick with worry in the first place, then she goes and tells me about this crazy idea of yours to go fight a gang, and I’m fit to be tied! For all we knew, you went off to pick a fight alone!” Pirouette was backing me away from the door with pokes to my chest, and showed no signs of backing down. I let her have her scream. All I could think about was that crushed filly.

“Well?” Pirouette was nearly muzzle to muzzle in my face when I heard hooves dashing toward me. Exhausted and slow to take notice, it was almost as if the brave filly from the night before appeared between us magically. As soon as she was there, though, she reared up and pushed Pirouette back a pace.

“Oy! You leave ‘im be! ‘e saved my friends and me last night, and wot’ve you done? Sat in this fancy pub all night and yelled when ‘e came back!” The feisty filly was just as ready to fight Pirouette as she’d been to fight Trestle the night before, but after her dressing down, Pirouette could only stare.

Bruises broke the silence, sounding unhappy and hurt. “You went without me, boss?”

I sighed. There was no happy ending to this mess. Best to pick a bad one, get it over with, and move on. “Everypony inside.” I looked down at my small defender. “You too if you want. Soft cider on the house in it for you.” The filly looked confused, but followed me in with Bruises and Pirouette. I had all three of them take a seat at one of the club’s tables and went to fetch a pair of ciders, soft for the filly and hard for myself. After a pull on mine and second getting the cap off for the newcomer, I sat.

“Yeah. I went out to deal with the problem alone. I’m sorry, Bruises, but if I took you, you couldn’t guard the girls, and if we waited for today, I thought we’d blow our chance. It wasn’t about trust; it was about needing you here. You understand?”

Bruises nodded. “I get it, boss.” She smiled and stretched, apparently already completely satisfied. “Everything’s okay!”

I let my head rock back, staring at the chandelier on the ceiling. “Everything’s not okay. While I was out there, I ran into some drunk kicking these foals—well, only she’s here right now, but there were five.”

Taking a break from her half-guzzled drink, the dirty filly belched loudly enough to make Pirouette wince. “I’ve got a name y’know! Swift Zephyr!” She didn’t wait to be acknowledged before returning to her drink, hooves playfully turning the bottle around as she drank.

I took off my fedora and scratched my head. “Swift Zephyr? Sounds like a pegasus name, but you’re—”

That was as far as I made it before Zephyr’s wings popped open, scattering dirt around the table. It was my turn to wince. The filly was so filthy her wings hadn’t even been distinguishable from her sides, and that was so normal to her she didn’t even stop drinking for a second when dirt flew around? I’d had her pegged for a murky red, but after that display, opted not to make any guess at all until Zephyr had been through a bath. Or ten.

“…anyway. There were five, and the drunk had actually stomped one. I managed to scare him off without a fight, but—”

Swift Zephyr finished her drink and slammed the bottle down on the table. “Ahhh… I needed that. Oy, ‘ow’d you do it, anyway? The thing with all the smoke everywhere? I was fine, but it ‘ad me friends fit to cry!” Zephyr’s stare was completely innocent, and completely attentive. It was my turn to wince.

“It’s… just a trick of the light. I’d teach you, but you’ve gotta be at least my size to get it right.” I did everything I possibly could to avoid giving away the lie, which is to say, I tried to look innocent.

Zephyr frowned and crossed her forelegs. “Mm… yer ‘iding something, but ‘at just makes it more interestin’. You watch, I’ll figger it out!”

As I picked up where I’d left off, I prayed to Celestia that she’d need a good eight or ten years on that. “Where was I? Right. Scared him off, then carried the hurt filly on my back, along with Zephyr here to keep her still. You’re not going to like this Pirouette, but I’m going back for Trestle.” Thinking about it me seethe all over again. “That monster, that bucking piece of—”

I caught myself as Pirouette clamped her hooves over Zephyr’s ears. Zephyr just blinked and twisted to look at Pirouette, her earlier anger apparently gone.

“…anyway, he’s gotta go. On top of the gang thing.”

Zephyr’s head snapped around at the mention of a gang, shaking loose Pirouette’s hooves, and the innocence that had found its way to her eyes was gone. “Wot gang? You got a quarrel with Rose?”

I blinked. I didn’t want to involve this poor filly, but if she knew something useful…

“More like they’ve got a quarrel with us, Zephyr. One of theirs came in and started making trouble in my club here, and—”

Zephyr’s wings popped up again and she looked at me wide eyed. “’is place is yours? You’re not ‘avin’ one over on me?”

I sighed and shook my head. “I’m not. It’s mine. Bruises is the bouncer, and Pirouette’s both the manager for the entertainers, and our top dancer. Anyway, one of hers made trouble here, and we paid it back. Now she’s angry.”

Zephyr shook her head. “She’s not angry. She don’t give a fig ‘bout it, I promise you that. It’s the boss wot cares. She just don’t wanna get ‘im mad. I ‘ear e’s real nasty when he’s mad, even worse than old Trestle! Plus, it’s ‘im wot ‘as orphans brought from Trottin’am.”

I frowned. “Wait. Zephyr, are you…?”

“Yup. Barely remember Trottin’am.” The filly nodded as if it didn’t trouble her at all. That bothered me even more. Asking why was harder than I expected.

“Foals can get away with stuff. Trestle’s job was to get us to pickpocket, y’know? ‘e was always so drunk, though, we ‘ad to steal double.” Zephyr’s face darkened, and her wings drooped back down. “You’re really gonna fix ‘is wagon?”

I nodded and threw back the rest of my cider all at once. “Yeah. This is my damn city.”

Report Distant Gaze · 887 views · Story: Smoke ·
Comments ( 12 )

I hope you continue but hey it's your life

Ahhhh~ Smoke. I recently saw it while passing through one of my booksheves and was suddenly punched with a strange bit of nostalgia. Even then i figured you probably werent going to update it again. Sad, but i understand, hell who am i to talk i have like four fics that i need to finish..
Though it will always be the best harem fic in my heart~

Good to hear from you again!

So we just need to get you permanently naked and wet to finish Smoke? 🤔

Glad to see you're still among the land of the living.

I can't speak for the rest of us, but as long as I'm here there will always be interest in Smoke.

I'll always be waiting around in hopes of seeing the day Smoke updates, but it's still alright if you choose not to continue. I nevertheless enjoyed reading the story immensely.

Glad to see you're still out and about. I'll still be around for as long as you'll have me. :twilightsmile:

Happy to hear from you again.  I hope you’re doing well. :twilightsmile:

Thanks for posting the cut part. It’s always nice to see what could’ve been.

I’m curious about Swift Zephyr. Was she only supposed to serve as a way to introduce Done to Rose or was she planned as a recurring character?

She was to have been Done's adopted daughter.

Done adopting a filly. :pinkiegasp: Sounded like an interesting idea.

Thanks for answering my question.

Great to see you're still around. Just read Smoke about a week ago, and I wasn't really holding out hope on seeing an update from you anytime soon. Pleasant surprise I guess.

I just wanted to let you know that there are still some people interested in Smoke. I understand your reasons for losing motivation, but just don't forget that there are still people here that read what you write. For me at least, that's one of the strongest sources of motivation.

With that said, I'm planning on reading Smoke again tomorrow. I've sincerely enjoyed what you've written, and I hope we hear from you again soon.

Throwing in that I also am an avid fan. And, that I will continue to re-read Smoke whether or not out regain your muse, so no pressure, good author! *hugs*

Hmm, maybe we can hypnotize you into working on it again...

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