• Published 29th Jun 2012
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Fallout: Equestria - Wasteland Bouquet - Cascadejackal



There's a lot of stories in the Equestrian Wasteland, and they all need to be told.

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18
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Chapter 18: On The Road Again

---CHAPTER 18: On The Road Again---

"Mmm, juicy!"

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I focused on one of our saved bags of gear, levitating it up and towards my dad, shifting a little at the unfamiliar feeling of my new many-pocketed jacket against my coat.

We'd had to wait a few days for my parents' rounds to bring them back to the town we'd been staying in, and it was only thanks to Rose being ruthless at poker that we'd had enough caps to stay in a hotel. She was also the one that made me buy the jacket; apparently, I'd been ranting and raving the entire walk back from Prospect, and in her funny little brain she'd decided that, to calm me down, I had to go shopping.

Not that I remember much about the trip back, other than being really pissed off and my hooves hurting from walking for days, but I did like the new jacket. I'd already stashed pouches of caps and snacks in all the pockets! Rose's wierd logic aside, arguing that merchant down on the jacket's price did make me feel better...

Rose said it was something to do with Cutie Mark Disassociation Disorder. Frankly, I think she just wanted to use big words.


"How are you going to find him, again?" Dad asked, taking the bag from my magical grasp with his own aura and floating it into the old wagon I'd practically grown up in.

"With my Pipbuck." I replied, pulling a few bottles of soda from a bag before passing it to my dad to put with the rest. The bottles were deposited in the saddlebag I was actually taking with me. "Rose showed me how to work the job tracker thingy on it," I paused, raising my hoof and switching to the screen I wanted, "and it says that little thief will be riiight..." A bit of fiddling, and I got the map to show up, "here."

Dad looked at my Pipbuck, and the town it said we had to go to. "Huh. You sure he'll be there?"

I nodded, then shrugged, slightly less sure than I'd like to have been. "Um, probably? Rose said Pipbucks are meant to be good at stuff like this, and it's the only lead we've got, so..." I gave my dad a sheepish smile. "I mean, what do we have to lose?"

Dad frowned. "Not much. He already got your wagon, and your brahmin."

I winced. "That's why we're going after him, dad. To get them back."

"I'm just saying be careful, sweetheart." Dad rubbed my mane, smiling a little. "He stole your wagon, and you didn't leave that place on good terms. If he's not alone when you find him... I don't want you getting into danger."

"Dad, we'll be fine." I pulled away, smoothing my mane down with a smile of my own. "He didn't get our guns, y'know, and he wasn't that big... if he tries to run away, or doesn't wanna give us back Serenity," I smirked and lit my horn, pulling out my shifter, "then he gets to meet Mr Smacky."

Dad raised his eyebrow at the sight of me brandishing the instrument. "Lily, you said he was just a colt. I raised you better than this."

"Aheh... um... I'm not gonna hurt him. Much." Feeling a bit embarassed, I tucked the shifter back into my bag. "Just send him home with his tail between his legs. And a sore butt." At my dad's skeptical expression, I bristled. "Hey, he deserves it! He stole my wagon, and he stole our caps! If we hadn't had some spare caps on us and Rose wasn't so good at poker, we'd have been sleeping on the street until you got here! A bruised backside is the least he deserves!"

Dad just shook his head and sighed. "Don't go overboard, okay?"

I frowned. "If you say so... you will tell the other companies about Prospect, though, right?"

He nodded. "Of course I will. Now, help me load up the rest of this stuff, sweetheart, then I'll help you plan your route, okay?"

I nodded and passed him the next bag. "You'll keep our stuff in the usual place?"

Dad smirked. "Thought we'd just dump it in a ditch. Save room."

I rolled my eyes at him. "Very funny, Dad."

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My mum fretted over me, checking my saddlebags and pockets. "You're sure you have enough caps? Food? Clean water?"

I rolled my eyes. "Yes, mum. Rose won us a bunch of caps, and we didn't lose our supplies."

Mum sighed and shook her head. "Lily, are you sure you want to do this? It's a long way, and he might not even be there."

I groaned. "Mum, he took our wagon! And the brahmin!"

"Sweetheart, I know how much it means to you, but it's just a wagon. We can get another."

I scowled at her. "It's not just a wagon, it's my wagon! It came out of my share of the company, and it's my job. I'm not gonna let him keep it, not while there's ponies depending on the Silver Trails!" I drew myself up to my full height during my little speech. It might've been more impressive if I was taller, but hey, passion counts.

My mum wiped a tear from her eye and smiled at me. "My little girl's all grown up. Oh, I'm so proud!"

"ACK! MUM! LEGGO!"

My mum pounced on me, crushing me in bonebreaking hug. I flailed around, trying to escape the sudden display of motherly affection. Ibis looked over from where he was talking to Magpie and snickered, before getting a wing to the back of his head and a hug of his own. Rose was busy talking to my dad, nodding to whatever he was saying, so they didn't pay any attention to us.


Eventually, my mum put me down, straightening my jacket and dusting me off while still giving me that proud, tearful look. "You're turning into a responsible young mare, Lily."

---------------------------------------------------------------

We'd made a good start on the journey, and it showed. Our parents and the town were far behind us, just a speck on the horizon, by the time the fading light forced us to make camp.


"Gah!" I struggled free of my jacket, the thick cloth getting caught on my horn and tearing before I could free myself, but I had more immediate concerns. Twisting awkwardly, I spotted what I was looking for, and used my magic to pluck the irritating little bur from my coat. "Little bastard. How'd that even get there?" With a glare, I threw it off to the side and away from me. Damn thing had been driving me nuts all day.

Rose went trotting past with a mouthful of sticks, spat them onto the weakly flickering fire Ibis was building and turned to blink at me. "You picked it up when you pushed through those bushes to save time. I got some too. Ibis didn't, because he flew over."

I gave her a flat look. "Who asked you?"

She just blinked again, looking a little confused. "You did, Lily. Just then."

"Whatever." I snorted and went to pull my jacket back on... only to have my head pop out of a hole that wasn't meant to be there. I blinked and looked at the torn fabric for a moment, then scowled. "Fuck." I tugged it free again and levitated it over to Rose, who was still staring at me. "Here, fix this while I check the route."

She blinked at me, grabbed the jacket in her mouth and trotted over to our bags, rummaging around for her sewing stuff. "And use proper thread!" I called out. "Not the stuff you use on your duster."

One of her ears twitched, the only acknowledgement that she'd heard me as her head began to bob up and down over the garment, the needle and thread obviously held in her mouth instead of her magic (Earth pony with a horn, I swear it), and I rolled my eyes before looking to my pipbuck and pulling up the map.


"Where to next?" I almost jumped out of my skin when Ibis spoke up from behind me. I whirled and glared at him.

"Don't sneak up on me like that!"

He snorted and rolled his eyes. "I wasn't sneaking. So, what's the plan?"

I glared at him some more, but he just gave me a flat look, so I huffed and raised my pipbuck, letting the featherbrain see it. "A couple of days from here, there's a town we can stop in for supplies. I've been there before; nice enough." I scrolled it out a bit. "Then, we're headed to Fetlock."

Ibis examined the little green map. "Fetlock? Never heard of it."

I blinked at him. "Seriously? Outskirts of Manehattan?" He shrugged, so I kept going. "Y'know, Manehattan? Where Friendship City is? How about Tenpony? You've gotta know about Tenpony!"

He shook his head. "Nope."

I was stunned. "Tenpony. Ten. Pony. Tower. The richest, most exclusive settlement in Equestria? Home of DJ Pon3?"

He shrugged. "Everyone knows about DJ Pon3. Only decent radio out here. Tenpony, though? Never heard of it."

I shook my head in disbelief. "You- I- Seriously... okay, right, not a caravaneer. I get it now. Just, wow, Ibis..."

He shrugged again. "Um, sorry? Is it really that impressive, though? Sounds like a bore to me."

My eye twitched. Did he just say Tenpony wasn't impressive? "I know you've never heard of it, so I'm gonna let that go. Tenpony Tower is so exclusive, almost nopony gets in, but anyone who does... I've heard things, Ibis." I leaned closer to him, lowering my voice. He reared back a little, so I leaned even closer. "I hear they're so rich, they wear clothes all the time. And not stuff like my jacket or Rose's duster. Actual clothes. Like, dresses and stuff. They have a shop for just cheese, nothing else. And best of all..." I reared up, grabbing his head and whispering in his ear before he could pull free. "They've got a spa."


With a squee of delight at the very thought, I let Ibis go, hugging myself. He scooted back a bit, rubbing his earhole."A spa, Ibis! An actual spa! With massages and everything! Ooh, I wanna go so bad!"

"Well, why don't you, then?" Ibis glared at me, still rubbing his ear... thing. Griffins don't have proper ears. Just holes in their heads. They're wierd.

I scoffed at him. "You don't just go to Tenpony Tower, birdbrain. You've gotta be rich, or be working for them. I mean, sure, I'm rich, and Rose is too, but you're not." I snickered, and he gave me another flat look.

"Rich, huh?" He looked me up and down. "You sure don't look it."

I snorted. "Hey, I know what I'm talking about. Me and Rose? We've got a share in the Silver Trails! We could walk into Tenpony just fine, if we ever cashed out. Which we won't."

He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right. You'd be worth, what? A couple hundred caps?"

I smirked at him. "Close, but not quite." I leaned close, rolling my own eyes as he started to lean away, and whispered a number to him. My smirk grew as his beak dropped open and he just stared at me in shock. "And that's not counting the Serenity."

His beak opened and closed a few times, before he managed to actually choke out some words. "Holy fuck, Lily." I nodded and gave him a smug grin, my eyes half-closing as I enjoyed what the little revelation did to him. "Is... is Rose..."

I nodded again, smirking even more. "Eeyup. Family business, Ibis. Equal shares means two rich mares."

He looked past me, at where Rose was holding my jacket up to inspect her handiwork. "That's ridiculous... does she know how much she has?"

I shrugged, wishing I'd taken a bottle of soda out of my bag before sitting down, but not feeling like getting up and getting it. "Probably. I don't think she cares, though. She's got me, booze, her gun, and... well, you, I guess. Caps don't mean much to her, y'know." I gave the griffin a sidelong glance; he was just staring at Rose, so I focused on my bag (which was with the rest of our gear, next to Rose) and managed to free a soda, my sister resuming her sewing as it floated past her.

After a moment of silence, which I spent cracking open my drink, Ibis turned to me, looking curious. "So... what's my share, then?"

I choked on my soda at that, the carrot-flavored liquid going down the wrong pipe and leaving me spluttering. "Y-you-" I started coughing, and Ibis thumped me on the withers. "T-thanks." Once I could breath again, I peered at the griffin through narrowed, tear-filled eyes. "Oh, Celestia, are you serious? You don't get a share! What part of family business don't you get?"

"Lily, Ibis is my boyfriend." Rose came trotting over, my jacket draped over her back, and blinked at me. "That means he's family, because griffins mate for life. Right, Ibis?"

He glared at me for a second. "Rose is right, Lily."
The mare in question just blinked at us, and I rolled my eyes.

"Oh, fine. He can have a share, then." I glared at Rose. "But not a big one! Like, a half share. And only in our group, not the company! Got it?"

Rose looked between us, then blinked again. "Ibis, what do you think?"

The big griffin looked a bit irritated, but he gave a grudging nod. "Good enough, I guess."

Rose stared at him for a moment, cocking her head, then turned back to me. "Lily, I finished your jacket." She twisted to grab it in her mouth and offered it to me; I took it in my magic, and pulled it over to myself. "I'll check your revolver later. I'm going to drag Ibis into the bushes and have sex now. Please don't throw things at us while we do it."

Ignoring my disgusted expression, she grabbed the bewildered griffin's wing in her mouth and hauled him out of sight. I watched them go with a shudder, before pulling my Pipbuck's earbloom out so I could listen to the radio, instead of their sexy time.


With the wonderful sounds of DJ Pon3's late-night broadcast filling my ears, I checked Rose's work on my jacket. I smiled when I saw that she'd used normal thread to fix it, and tugged the garment back on before heading over to the campfire to warm my hooves.

A packet of snack cakes floated out of one of my pockets, and I readied myself for the first bite as I plonked myself down next to the fire... only to jump up with yelp, twisting to see what I'd just sat on.

My eye started twitching. The damn bur was stuck to my butt.

A few seconds later, the bur was burning in the flames, I was munching a cherry-filled cake, and some prewar classics were playing in my ears so loud there was no chance I'd have to hear the horrible sounds of griffin-on-mare action.

All in all, it could have been worse.

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The next day...

"COULD THIS GET ANY WORSE?!" I screamed as we ran, windblown rain hammering down on us so hard it hurt and lightning ripping violent slashes through the night. One bolt struck so close I was left almost blinded, barely able to follow the little marker in my vision that promised safety.


"SHUT UP AND RUN!" Ibis yelled back, bounding alongside me, Rose in hot pursuit as we darted around trees and splashed through quickly deepening puddles, trying to make it to the cave my Pipbuck said was just ahead without drowning or getting hit by lightning.

"THERE!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, our goal coming into sight, a patch of darker-than-black. We put on an extra burst of speed, hooves and pointy bits throwing mud as we ran, bursts of light painting the landscape in absolute whites and blacks, the constant roar of thunder drowning out almost every sound.

"LOOK OUT!" Ibis slammed into me, the two of us rolling as a huge tree fell victim to the storm, coming down and almost crushing us. The griffin yanked me to my hooves, dragging me forwards. "C'MON! LET'S MOVE!"

I tried to pull away, the third member of our group suddenly absent. "BUT ROSE-"

A white shape popped into view, scrambling over the tree, her eyes wide and her ears flat with terror, and Ibis dug his claw into the collar of my jacket, forcing me to keep moving. "SHE'S FINE! GET US TO THAT DAMN CAVE, NOW!"

Seeing Rose pulling herself on top of the fallen log, I relented and took the lead once more, using my pipbuck to guide us the final few dozen meters to safety, slipping in the mud as I dived inside and out of the rain with Ibis hot on my tail.

We were both panting and soaked to the bone, shaking like a pair of rattlesnake's tails, but I managed a scowl, even with my teeth chattering from the cold. "I f-fucking h-hate p-pegasuses. S-stupid cloudheads."

"P-pegasi, you idiot." Ibis muttered. "T-they're called p-pegasi." He looked even more miserable than me, all his feathers plastered down so that he looked half his size. If I hadn't been soaked and cold myself, I would've laughed.

I shook myself off and glared at him. "Y-yeah, right. R-Rose, who's r-right?" I looked at where Rose should have been, and found the spot empty. "R-Rose? Rose? W-where are you?" Ibis and I stared at each other for a second.

"S-she was right behind me..." The griffin's eyes were wide. "She must still be outside!" As one, we turned to the cave mouth


Another burst of lightning lit up the world outside the cave, and my stomach dropped. Rose was struggling, one of her saddlebag's straps caught on the tree.

I screamed and bolted to the entrance, flipping my searchlight on to show her where we were and calling to her. "ROSE! GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!" She snapped the branch holding her in place and took off running, charging towards us through the torrential rain.


Then everything went white, the world vanishing in an ear-shattering explosion.

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I staggered to my hooves, my ears ringing. A glance at my pipbuck told me I'd only been down for a minute or so, but it felt like a lot longer. Something smacked me on the withers and I turned, blinking away the bright afterimage of the lightning strike to see Ibis, his beak opening and closing silently.

I stared at him for a second, wondering what he was doing and where that horrible noise in my head was coming from, then it started to fade and I realised he was talking.

"-ap out of it! Rose was hit!"

"Hit?" I stared at him some more, puzzled. "By... by what?"

"The lighting!" He tugged at my jacket, and I stumbled, unsteady, still shaken up from the near miss. "We need to get her!"

"Get her?" Slowly, the pieces clicked into place. "FUCK! ROSE!" I galloped out of the cave and back into the storm, to where I'd last seen Rose before the strike. She was just laying there, completely still, facedown in the mud. "Fuckfuckfuckfuck! Ibis, help me get her inside!"


The two of us dragged her back into the shelter, Ibis pressing his head to her chest as soon as we were out of the rain. "She's still breathing! Help me get her gear off!"

I siezed her bags in my magic and tugged them free as Ibis unbuckled her holster. "Hell... it hit her gun!" I glanced at it; a big scorch mark was on the holster, and another was on her duster. "Like a damn lightning rod... Lily, get some water, a medkit and a potion. Quick!"

"But potions-"

He snapped his beak at me in irritation. "I know, but she might need one. Just do it!"

By the time I'd pulled the supplies out, he'd removed her duster and chucked it with the rest of her stuff, examing the smoking, charred patch on her withers. "How is she?" I floated the kit over to him, wincing at the black, burned spot on her coat.

"Alive. Unconscious, but alive. It... it should've gone through her heart." He cracked the kit open and poured some water on the mark. "Hitting her there, it should've killed her. It's right above her heart..."

I shuddered, then something occured to me. "You... you don't think it was her talisman, do you? It's next to her heart, right? Maybe it absorbed the lightning? Stopped it from hurting her or something?"

Ibis shrugged and kept cleaning the wound. "Maybe. She's lucky either way. It's... not that bad, considering."

I frowned. "Not that bad? She got hit by lightning! How is that not bad?!"

He didn't look up from his ministrations. "She's alive, Lily. A bit singed, but alive. Don't question it or-"

A snort cut him off, Rose's eyes snapping open. "Gwa?!"

I leapt forward to hug her, squeezing her as tightly as I could. "Rose! You're okay!"

"Yibbles," she responded, and I pushed her back a bit so I could see her properly.

"Rose? Are you- YAAH!" I shoved her limp form away in shock, Ibis catching her and glaring at me. "What's wrong with your eyes?!"


Rose stared at me... or I think she did. Her eyes were pointed in different directions, and were completely different sizes. It was freaky. "Blarghle yip." Her tongue flopped out of her mouth and she blinked a couple of times.

Ibis gave her a shake. "Hey, Rose! C'mon, stop playing around!"

"Bottersnikes and Gumbles!" Her ears wiggled a little, and Ibis frowned.

"I think the strike scrambled her brain." He waved a claw in front of her face; one eye focused on it, the other crept towards the roof. "I don't know what to do, Lily. Rose is the one that fixes heads." She burbled a bit, blinked one eye, then the other.

"I've got an idea!" I rifled through my sister's bags and pulled out a bottle of whiskey, uncorking it and shoving it in her mouth. "Here you go, Rose. Nummies! Drink it all up, there's a good filly."

Ibis raised an eyebrow at me while Rose chugged the alcohol down, the bottle secure in my magical grip. "Foal talk? Really?"

I shrugged. "Hey, it worked. Look, she drank it all! She's already looking better!"


Rose blinked, both eyes coming to focus on me as she spat out the now empty bottle. "Platypus." Her tongue flopped out again, and she kept staring at me.

At Ibis' skeptical look, I gave a sheepish laugh. "Um... at least she's looking at me now. Maybe she needs more whiskey?"

---------------------------------------------------------------

All three of us were miserable, huddled together in the back of the cave for warmth as the storm raged outside. My Pipbuck was the only light we had, since it was too wet to get a fire going.

According to the hoof-mounted gizmo, we'd been in the cave all day and evening was already on us. I was starting to think the storm would never end.


Rose let her latest empty bottle drop from her mouth, a clink coming from the small pile at her hooves as it landed, pulling me from my thoughts. I smiled at her. "Feel better now?"

She squinted at me through bleary eyes. One blue-grey orb started to drift off to the side. "My head is all fuzzly. Lily, why are there two of you?"

"You did get hit by lightning, you know. Hang on." I wiped my muddy hoof off on her flank and raised it to her face. "Stay still, okay? Just... don't... move..." Gently, I pushed her eye until she was looking straight at me again. She stayed perfectly still, like a statue, the whole time I was playing with her eyeball. "There." I lowered my hoof, ignoring the squelchy mud it landed in. "How's that?"

Rose blinked a couple times and stared at me for a second. "Better. I like having one Lily. Two is too many."

Ibis shuddered. "Don't even joke about it, Rose. One idiot's enough."

I snorted. "Oh, go fuck yourselves. Rose, you sure you're okay? Nothing hurts or whatever?"

She stared at me a little longer, then blinked. "My chest aches and my hooves and horn are tingly."

I stared at her. "So... nothing major, then?"

She blinked again. "You feel wubbly."

"I feel... wubbly?" I raised an eyebrow, and she nodded.

"Uh-huh. Wubbly. You feel wubbly, and Ibis feels wubbly, and I think I need more whiskey to fix it."

"Maybe the lightning messed with her empath thing?" Ibis suggested. Rose blinked at him, and I shrugged.

"Maybe. Rose, use your magic."

She blinked at me. "Why?"

I sighed. "So we can make sure your horn's still working. Just do a light spell or something."

She blinked again, and started to concentrate. A second later, a ball of flickering white light rose from the tip of her horn, illuminating her head. I studied it for a bit, then nodded. "Looks fine to me. You can stop now."

The light died and she stared at me without saying anything. "Uh... why are you looking at me?" She blinked and opened her mouth, then closed it. "You okay?" She went through the motions again, opening and closing her mouth repeatedly. "Ibis, I think she's broken again."

The soggy griffin poked Rose's side. "Hey, c'mon, Rose, spit it out."

She gave me a pained look, so I leaned towards her with a reassuring smile. "Whatever's wrong, you can tell me. Go on, let me have it."


Rose stared at me for a moment, opened her mouth... and sneezed.

Right in my face.

"Sorry, Lily. My sneeze got stuck." I just stared at her blankly, trying to pretend that what was covering my face wasn't what I thought it was. Ibis' guffaws weren't helping matters. "Lily? Are you okay? I have a hanky if you'd like it." While my sister blinked at me, waiting for me to answer, I just stared straight ahead, wondering if there was some spell I could use to go back and warn myself to at least close my mouth in time. There probably wasn't. The Goddesses didn't like me that much. "Lily, your eye is twitching."

---------------------------------------------------------------

Something poked my side and I pulled my head out of the deep puddle I'd been trying to drown myself in to see Rose staring at me in the dull morning light. The storm had lasted well into the night, but everything was still drenched and muddy, with plenty of fallen trees and scorch marks showing how furious it had been.

"Lily, what are you doing? You aren't a seapony, you can't breathe underwater."

I shook my head, getting as much of the water off as I could (and soaking Rose, who just blinked at me), and glared at her. "First, seaponies aren't real." She opened her mouth to speak, but I cut her off. "I don't care what your books say, they don't exist. They're like breezies, or flutterponies. Stories for foals."

She pouted at me. "They are too real."

I ignored her. "Second, I'm still trying to wash your goop out of my mane. Seriously, Rose, it's disgusting." I pointed at the puddle and the gelatinous globs of green gunk floating in it. "That crap's like glue!" She at least had the decency to look embarrassed. Ibis snickered at me again and I shot him a dirty look. "I can't believe that came out of your face... ugh." I shuddered.


Rose blinked at me, her ears wilting. "It was an accident, Lily. I said I was sorry."

I sighed and waved my hoof at her. "Yeah, yeah. Your sneeze got stuck, I know. Just, don't do it again, 'kay? Aim at Ibis or something." She blinked at me, and I decided to change the subject to something less gross. "How's your back?"

She blinked again. "Itchy.

"And your feeling thing?"

"Still wubbly. Lily, can we go now? I want to check my gun since the lightning hit it, but it's too wet out here."

I rolled my eyes. "Fine. After last night, I want to stay in an actual bed for a couple days, and we're not that far from town."

Rose blinked at me and let out the flattest sounding "Yay" I'd ever heard in my life.


As we prepped our gear, I gave her a look. "Geez, Rose, calm down. If you get any more excited, you might hurt yourself." She blinked at me again.

"But I am calm."

I rolled my eyes. Again. "I was being sarcastic."

She blinked at me, looking confused. "Oh. I get it... I think."

I sighed. "You're not a clever pony, are you?"

She stared at me for a bit, one ear twitching. "Um... yes? No? Lily, I'm confused."

I shook my head in mock dismay. "Rose, Rose, Rose. Whatever will I do with you?" I pulled a bottle of whiskey from her bag and shoved it in her mouth before she could answer, then smirked at her. "C'mon, get that in you and start walking."

She blinked at me, and we started on our way, the alcoholic steadily and happily draining the bottle.


As we walked, I noticed Ibis looking at me and chuckling. "What? Do I have something on my face?"

With a grin, he nodded. "Yep. A little something, right there." He raised his claw and pointed to my forehead. I almost went cross-eyed trying to see what he was talking about, but sure enough, there was a green glob stuck to my horn.

Using my magic to pull the crud off, I smiled sweetly. "Thanks, Ibis. You've got something on your wing, by the way." He twisted his big birdy head to look, and I chucked the goop at him. Laughing at his squawk of dismay, I broke into a gallop, passing Rose with a shout of "Race you to town, slowpokes!"


Needless to say, with me running for my life from a grumpy griffin and Rose topped up with her favorite fuel, we made it to town in no time at all.

---------------------------------------------------------------

I tugged my still-damp jacket off and started to wring it out with my magic, grumbling all the while and ignoring the small puddle it left on the floor.

"One room. How can they only have one stinking room? It's an inn, for crying out loud! And just one bed, too! You two better not get up to anything tonight!"

Rose ignored me. She'd taken over the sole bed in the room and was stripping down her rifle with a frown. Ibis snorted at me and went back to running his beak through his feathers and puffing himself up.

I watched the griffin for a minute before curiosity got the better of me. "Okay, I give. What in the name of Luna's Teats are you doing?"

He didn't bother to look at me, just tugged a feather out and examined it. "Preening."

I frowned. "What the hell is preening?"

He dropped the feather onto the small pile at his claws and stretched his wing out to start inspecting it. "Straightening my feathers, cleaning them, getting rid of broken ones."

I stared at him. "Why?"

He sighed and pulled his wing back against his body, looking irritated by my questions. "I have to take care of my wings, you idiot. Hard to fly when they're messed up like this."

I huffed. "Fine. You don't have to be a jerk, I was just trying to talk. What about you, Rose? How's the rifle going?"


Rose sat up and blinked at me. "Good."

We just stared at each for a second, so I waggled my hoof for her to elaborate. She just stared at me blankly. I sighed. "Nothing interesting? Not broken? Melted? Secretly possessed by the spirit of whoever owned it before the war and they woke up when it was hit by the lightning? Char mark that looks like Luna's butt? Something? Anything?"

She just blinked at me. "Lily, you're strange."

Ibis piped up, spitting a damaged feather out. "Total nutjob."

I frowned. "Hey, I'm bored! This is boring! You guys are boring!"

Rose stared at me. "Lily, why don't you clean your revolver if you're bored?"

"Ah... hehe..." I blushed. "Um... I kinda... don't remember how."

Rose didn't look impressed. "When I'm finished with my rifle, I'll teach you. Again. And I'll write down how to do it, as well."

"Yeah, fine." I waved my hoof. "But after that, we're going out."

Rose stared at me for a second. "To a bar?"

I shrugged. "Might as well."

She stared a bit more, then nodded. "Okay. After we fix your revolver, though."

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We staggered out of the bar at close to midnight, if the blurry numbers on my Pipbuck could be trusted.

Between my natural charm and Rose's poker skills, we hadn't had to pay for any of our drinks, and that meant all three of us were... well, I'll be honest. We were blasted.

"Oh, Luna's moon is big and bright, and she-" A hiccup interrupted my off-key singing, "she likes to show it everywhere, all throught the night! Take it away, Ibis!" I waved my hoof dramatically and staggered sideways into Rose, who barely seemed to notice, so I draped myself over her back while Ibis picked up our made-up song where I'd left off.

"It's big and blue," The grey griffin sung, sounding even worse than me, "and shiny too; I sure do like a full moon, it's such a wonderful view! C'mon, Rose!"

Rose didn't say anything at first, so I whacked the back of her head. I got the feeling she rolled her eyes, but since I was practically riding her my view was limited to the back of her head. "Nope... not gonna..." She hiccuped. "Not gonna sing. Luna... Luna'd be off... uffo... upset. She might-" Another hiccup, "-spank me!"

Me and Ibis burst into laughter. While he bumped Rose's side, I poked the back of her head again, teasing her. "Aw, widdle Wose scared of spankings?"

"N-no!" She protested, weaving a bit as she struggled to look over her shoulder at me and walk in a straight line at the same time. "Don... don't wanna upset the Goddesses. Spank... spanking's for bad fillies! I'm... I'mma good pony!"

Ibis chuckled drunkenly and threw his arm over Rose (and me, since I was on her back) with a dirty grin. "Good ponies can get spankings too."

"R-really?" Rose staggered, shocked by the news. Her face was bright red and her tail was swishing around.

"Uh-huh." I giggled and jabbed the back of her head with my hoof. "Hey, hey Rose... want Ibis to spank you?"

"N-no..." She stuttered, looking away from us. I could barely hear what she said next. "M-maybe... just a little..."

I cracked up. "Oh, oh wow. You're a... you're a pervert! Rose is a pervert! Rose is a pervert!"

"Lily!" She whined at me.

From my position on her back, I could see her ears turning bright red, so I kept up my sing-song teasing. "Pervert! Pervert! Rose is a pervert! Smack her buns and spank her flank, Rose is a pervert! OW!"


Something hard smacked my head, knocking me off Rose's back and onto the hard, unfriendly ground. I landed on my back and lay there, staring up the spinning world before Rose's blurry face hung over mine. "S-sorry, Lily. We... we're at the... the thing... Ibis, where are we? The out?"

"The inn, Rose." I could hear Ibis, but not see him. Rose blinked.

"Right... the inn... you bumped your head on the... the thing around the door... I'll... I'll get you, hang on."

There was a sharp pain at the base of my butt as something started tugging on my tail, and I managed to raise my hoof and shout out "Goodnight, everypony! Rose's gonna be spanked!" before I was dragged into the inn by my rump. As the door swung closed behind us, I could've sworn I saw somepony watching us from across the street, but I couldn't be sure since the damn door smacked me in the face so hard I blacked out.

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I woke up slowly, staying in that blissful state where you're still half asleep and the world's got that dreamlike quality where everything is warm and soft, especially your pillow and blanket. Unfortunately, I was also hungover with a headache the size of Celestia's cake-loving flank and the worst case of cottonmouth since the time I mistook a box of cotton balls for marshmallows.

So, I rolled back over and shoved my head into the soft warmth of my pillow with a groan.

My poor head... I thought to myself, burying my face against the squishy softness. And what's that smell? Smells kinda like... something good... meh, I'll figure it out. Later.

Somewhere outside, a rooster cut loose with its head-splitting crowing. I grabbed my oddly heavy pillow and rolled onto my back, bringing it with me and keeping it on my face so I wouldn't have to confront the day quite yet.

I know that smell... what is it? Gah... I fought back a yawn; getting a mouthful of pillow was gross. Smells kinda like Rose... but better. Sexier. I groaned. Oh, Goddesses, I think there's still some of Ibis in me. I'm thinking Rose is sexy! I pressed my pillow to my face as tight as I could. Stupid griffin feelings, making me think about my sister like that... I mean, we're not actual sisters or anything, but we're still best friends! I can't think of her like this! Besides, I'm straight! I like stallions! I like dick! I like Rose- NO! Bad Lily, no liking Rose! Rose is with Ibis, and you're both straight, so no thinking about her flank, how cute she is when she's confused, or- GAH!

I shook my head, trying not to yawn again. There was a small sound from next to me that sounded like Rose, but I ignored it. She was probably having a dream or something. It's too early for this shit. It's all Ibis' fault, anyway. Him and his stupid feelings, and Rose's stupid freaky magic. I snuggled into my pillow as much as I could as the damned rooster sounded off again. I should just... just...

With sleepy, hangover weakened hooves I lifted my pillow up so I could yawn... and dropped it right onto my open mouth. Bleagh, tastes like... like... huh. Doesn't taste like pillow. Tastes... good. My sleep-addled brain wasn't working right, so I gave an experimental lick. It's damp. Warm, too. And what's that sound? Is that... moaning?

All of a sudden, I had a really bad feeling about my pillow.

Oh, Goddesses. Please don't tell me...

Praying, I forced my bleary eyes open and stared in shock at the warm, soft, moist thing I'd been rubbing my face and horn against for the last few minutes. The very thing I'd just licked.


My brain chose that moment to wake up and take stock of my situation. Our gear? Where we'd left it, in the corner of the room. Me? All bits intact, no strange piercings, splitting headache. Ibis? Behind me, splayed out, still asleep. I'd been using one of his wings for a blanket. Rose? In front of me. Sleeping. Upside down. With her hindlegs straddling my face. Because I'd been using her mare bits for a pillow. And I'd just buried my face in them. And she was winking. At me. And not with her eyes.

I couldn't decide what was worse: That I'd essentially just made out with Rose's bits, or that I'd liked it.


I lay there for a minute, staring at the damp, winking thing just in front of my muzzle and tried to decide what to do.

Pretend it never happened? Nope, I'll never be able to look Rose in the eye again. Talk to her about it? Fuck no. Pick up where I left off-WHY THE FUCK AM I EVEN THINKING THAT?!

My eye twitching, I settled on hysterical screaming. It seemed like the smart choice.

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We made our slow way way to the edge of town, continuing our journey instead of staying another night. We walked slowly, all of us still suffering from the night's binge. I kept a disgruntled Ibis between me and the red-faced, twitchy-tailed Rose, unable to look her in the eye.

My face was sore from how much I'd scrubbed it, and my mouth burned from the vodka I'd gargled, trying to erase any memory of what had happened or how much I'd liked the taste and smell. It didn't work very well.

Ibis tilted his head to stare at me. "I can't believe you did that."

"Shut up. Accident. Your fault." I kept my response short, eyes focused on the path out of town. "Rose, tell him."

Rose didn't say a thing. Ibis snorted. "My fault? How the hell's it my fault?"

I growled and glared at him. "Because it is! Now shut up and walk, so we can get to the next town and get seperate rooms this time!"

He puffed himself up. "Idiot."

I growled at him again. "Jerk."


After that, we carried on in silence. Not long after we left the town, though, there was a sudden gunshot from right behind us, followed by a male voice. "That was just a warning shot. Turn around, slowly, and don't try anything funny, y'hear?"

The three of us turned and found ourselves facing a unicorn buck in body armor, his floating gun aimed straight at us. He stared at Rose for a second, then grinned. "I've got you now, Bourbon Rose."

Author's Note:

I promised myself I'd have this one out last week, but Dark Souls 2 came out and kinda ate my free time. :twilightblush:

Thanks to KKat, for making the wonderful world of FoE and letting us play in it, and to all the wonderful authors who have given us such great stories. :twilightsmile:
Extra thanks to Midnight Stalker and Genghis for being my prereaders, and Winter Storm for making me the writer I am today.