• Published 6th Feb 2014
  • 890 Views, 21 Comments

Merry Stewed: An Equestrian Fallout - TundraStanza



Tells the tale of an alicorn rendered effectively powerless after losing her horn in the wastelands of Equestria. She'll pick up a gun, a blade, and a few companions. But really, what is the point of telling the tale of a Mary Sue?

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Ch. 8: Pull Out of Retirement

Pull Out of Retirement

"It's always too soon to quit." ~Norman

---

I'm about twelve steps away from Wingless before I realize that I have no idea where to start looking for the bastard that sold out Mrs. Baane. I guess I could try to ask ponies around town. But would anyone be willing to say anything beyond grunting and turning over in their bed at this hour? I'm not so sure. While I'm wondering how to go about this impromptu investigation, I find myself trotting aimlessly left and right around tents and really worn houses.

FRED-E chatters his audio quickly and quietly.

"Huh?" I look up to where his speaker is facing. "Oh, well look at that."

It appears to be a herd of cattle. All of the double-headed cows seem to be napping while standing. There isn't anything unusual here. Er, scratch that. I find something out of the ordinary and trot toward it.

"Hello," I mutter, "What happened to you?"

This particular cow is down on its side. One spot of its hide looks like it was tenderized by something spiky. Though, the marks look uneven and crudely applied as if the pony responsible didn't know what she was doing. There's a slight pool of blood that looks like it's had time to dry.

FRED-E lets out a few strained beeps of concern.

"Movement?" I perk up and look around. Though, I don't see anything other than cows. "Hmm." I close my eyes.

"Laas... Yah Nir."

I take a quick look around. I still see nothing other than the red auras of the dairy animals, FRED-E, and that huge red blob coming closer at an alarming rate.

"Flipping Tartarus! What's that?!" I can't help but shout as I flap my wings and back away as quickly as possible.

In less than a second, K.R. is in my grasp and popping half a round into this giant.

*Pow* *Pow* *Pow*

Whatever was keeping this entity invisible disperses just before my aura vision fades. It's some kind of giant blue monster with a makeshift sledgehammer. FRED-E plays some clip of battle horns while firing laser shots at the newly revealed enemy. The giant either isn't phased or flat out doesn't care about the burning energy because he keeps charging in my direction. I fly about ten feet higher just before he swings across where I was standing.

*Pow* *Pow* *Pow* *Click* *Click*

K.R. is empty, but at least the giant can't hit me up here. He somehow places his sledgehammer in a way that it can rest on his back. He then proceeds to pull out a larger weapon in both front hooves.

My left eye involuntarily twitches. "How does one pony carry a mini-gun?"

I quickly fly around in an unplanned pattern of loops. All the while, it sounds like a jackhammer in bullet form is ringing in my ears. I want to just get in and knife him, but if I let even a little of that bullet swarm hit my sides, it's going to take more than Doctor Prickard and Add-A-Stress combined to put me back together. His aiming is slower than his running speed, but just barely.

I hear a few more laser shots eat the air. The giant lifts his hoof to his face in pain. It looks like FRED-E hit his eyes. I dive in with my dagger in grasp. The first pass draws blood, but it feels like my knife was repelled by his skin. I spin around and slice his neck again. There's still some bouncing off. He wildly flails his front hoof around and I spin around his reach for two more passes. On the fourth strike, it feels less like bouncing and more like penetration.

The giant falls forward, blood spilling out like a small fountain. FRED-E fires another laser shot at the open neck for good measure. Somehow, this sets the giant's head on fire.

"I think we got him," I say between breaths.

FRED-E rambles a bunch of beeps very rapidly.

"I have no flipping clue what that was," I admit. "I mean it kind of looks like Saddle Rager if she took blue potion steroids, but I really don't know."

FRED-E clicks his speaker three times.

"Spotty memory really sucks," I say in resignation and sigh.

I trot around this monster's corpse and examine his weapons of choice, specifically the sledgehammer.

A cinder block with three long metal rods stuck into it? I think while blinking in confusion. Well, now I can see what made those uneven marks on that cow from earlier. I reach out toward the mini-gun with one hoof. As soon as contact is made, however, the pieces of metal fall apart into an unusable pile of parts. Sweet Cadenza, this thing has seen a lot of use in such a short time. I wonder how old it is? I take a look around and see a shack in the distance with a light still on. I should probably let somepony know about the giant blue thing that attacked.

Without another word, I'm off and galloping.
---
Note: Big guns fall apart faster in the hooves of an alicorn, so no rocket launchers for you.
---

The door slides shut behind me. I find myself a bit preoccupied by the mannequin holding up a rifle fairly close to eye level in my direction. Slowly, I wander to the side and around the makeshift wall of sandbags on the floor. There's an old, twitching stallion in the back. It looks like he's wearing a sack with holes in it for a shirt. Sweat and dirt marks are layered all over the thing.

In the firefly lit night, he slowly cranes his neck up to see me. At least, I think he sees me. His pupils seem to be growing and shrinking more rapidly than should be possible for any pony. I open my mouth to speak, but he cuts me off with a rapid hoof wave.

"Don't need to tell me," he says all quietly, "I can see it in your eyes. You've seen that chupacabra too."

"Chipper-what?" I ask.

"They didn't believe me." He shivers as he talks. "No pony believed All-Bite when he told them, but it's true. It's all true."

"Well, I wouldn't go that far," I say while patting my neckerchief slightly. "Not until I know what 'all' you're talking about." I try to contemplate parts of what he just said. "Is All-Bite your name? Why is that?"

"Because everything I ever say has bite to it," he explains, "even if there's no bark in the words."

"Uh-huh," I say while FRED-E floats up beside me. "Well, as long as I'm here, mind if I ask you a few questions regarding Baane's wife?"

"I saw rat-ponies," he whispers, "They were going through the safe behind the motel's lobby desk... or maybe they were just going in to use the toilet. Mighty interesting either way."

I slowly say, "Rrrright."

"Stay out of that rocket factory outside of town if you know what's good for you," he says, "Ghouls and goblins will take you down into their green pits of purgatory, unless you blink them out of existence."

I turn around and trot toward the door. I half-heartedly say, "I'll get right on that."

"If anyone asks, we never spoke!" he hollers.

---

FRED-E finally decides to beep up.

"Not much," I admit, "Though, considering how nasty some of the wildlife gets, rat-ponies sound pretty tame." I trot back up the street. "That All-Bite fellow did mention somepony going to a safe behind the lobby desk. It's oddly specific enough to be worth looking into."

My sprite-bot buddy chirps and twitters.

"Legal?" I echo. "Hell if I know. I vaguely recall some parchment that once outlined how killing jerks was illegal, but that hasn't stopped the Powder Gangers, the N.C.R., the Empire, or me. Why would looking through private savings come back to bite me? It's not like there's some Equestrian deity taking away karma points every time I screw up."

FRED-E clicks a few times.

"I'm more concerned with how I'm going to sneak past Bay Crawdad. Something about her strikes me as a twenty-four/seven hawk-owl."

---

I look around the motionless lobby, save for the old two-bladed fan hanging from the ceiling.

"Or not." I trot around the desk without any interruption. "Isn't there supposed to be someone on active duty at all hours in case of potential travelers? Granted, she said that tourists hardly ever came by, but that's no reason to be lax on basic motel procedure." I step on a slightly higher section of floor than I am expecting. I look down to see a black door with a combination lock. "Ah, here it is." I stare at it for about five seconds. "How am I going to get into this? I don't know the combination or have a key."

FRED-E beeps a suggestion.

"Bobby pins?" I raise my eyebrow at him. "Do I look like the kind of girl that cares about keeping her mane out of her face?"

Another series of different beeps is produced.

"Force the lock?" I squint at him. "At least that last one made sense for a certain group of ponies. That doesn't even begin to make sense. Are you saying I could just take the lock against my hoof...?" I hover my hoof just to the right of the lock's protrusion. "... smack it hard enough, and just watch the door open by itself? That's-"

The black piece of protection flies to the side. Tumblers click into place. The safe opens to reveal a few cap pouches and a rolled up scroll.

I blink at my unintentional handiwork. I look up at the sprite-bot. "You are the smartest orb of bolts I've ever met."

FRED-E chirps abashedly.

"All right, let's see," I pull out the scroll and hold it open against the floor. "The Empire Imperial Captain Re-Gate hereby accepts the... yada yada... in doing so... yada yada... for the price of seven hundred bottle caps, completes the purchase of the slave..." My eyes widen. "Charcola Baane?... and an additional one hundred for the unborn foal..." I blink several times, but comprehension eludes me. "Understand that you have accepted these non-refundable terms, Ms. Bay Crawdad."

I lift my hoof to back away slightly. Doing so allows the scroll to roll back up to its original state.

"Well, that's all sorts of flipped up," I say.

Sighing, I reach down and place the scroll into my inventory for future reference. Meanwhile, FRED-E beeps in an upper pitch.

"I need to go have a word with the manager," I say darkly.
---
Note: Depending on your allegiances, lower karma can actually affect your Luck. Though, death seems to be an absolute consequence for any pony that decides to wander the wasteland.
---

"Do house doors not have locks or something?" I ask as I enter the home of Bay Crawdad. The lack of decor compared to All-Bite's place does little to comfort me as I wander through some empty doorways. Eventually, I find the mare spread out on a sheeted mattress. I'm a little surprised that she waits until just now to get off the bed and look at me.

"Awful late, ain't it?" she asks, "What seems to be the problem?"

Monarch, don't let me down, I think before clearing my throat. "Yeah, I was taking a look around the area when I noticed a really bad spot on the front of Wingless. I'm not entirely sure that it's structurally safe anymore. Could I get a second opinion on it?"

She tilts her head but then nods. "Okay, if you're sure. Let's go take a look."

She grabs her coat and trots out the front door.

Oh, Cadenza, she actually bought that, I marvel a little before following after her. FRED-E isn't too far behind.

"And I already told that Baane fellow to get down to avoid falling with the weight under him," I say as I try to match Crawdad's pace. "I actually managed to have a disgruntled conversation with him. Any idea what's wrong with him?"

"Well, probably everything that would be wrong with a colt that lost his wife," she says, not missing a step.

"Really?" I ask in half-interest. "Tell me more."

"Well, how should I put this?" she keeps talking, "She was... kind of like a cactus flower: real pretty to look at but not in the best position to be properly picked and eaten. You could sort of tell that she was looking forward to leaving Vacuum as soon as she arrived."

"Is that right?" I ask.

FRED-E chirps several things in my ear.

I harshly whisper, "Shut up, I'm doing a thing."

I turn my head back toward Bay and raise my voice. "Why do you think she wanted to leave?" We are almost in front of the non-dragon.

"I don't mean to judge," insists Bay, "but she was a city-pony. She really wanted Ragic to go with her back to a private room in New Pegasus. It was hard for most of the locals to get along with her due to how she wasn't willing to connect with any pony."

"Uh-huh." I wander over to her right. I wonder if this spot is good enough. "Well, I don't know if you can see it from here." On the side of my body that she can't currently see, I slowly pull out a blue beret. "But I wouldn't really want to put off finding a good mechanic before the end of two more days." Nonchalantly, I raise the hat above my head. "Also, I just have to know. Why the name Wingless anyw-?"

*Splat!*

A sudden splash of warm liquid against my cheek causes me to open my eyes wide. I turn my head just in time to see a headless mare fall forward onto her knees and then into a bodily heap. A few squeaks escape my throat as FRED-E beeps wildly.

"I wasn't ready," I mutter helplessly. "I still hadn't put it on fully." The beret is now resting loosely on my head. "Baane... that was way too close. You could have taken my head off if that had been an inch wrong."

Bay's blood that splattered on my face trickles down. It squeezes between my lips. I feel my slit irises dilate. I open my mouth with sudden elation. I lean down to the open neck. My tongue greedily laps up some of the liquid iron. My eyes flutter as I grin like an evil idiot. She's delicious.

FRED-E's beeping cuts through the ignorant bliss.

"Huh? What? Who?" I lift my head and start turning rapidly this way and that.

FRED-E gives a few questioning tweets.

"I... don't know." I rub my neckerchief against my cheek. "We should probably go up and talk to Baane now."

---

Once again, I stand awkwardly in this staircase that feels too narrow for me. FRED-E courteously waits downstairs.

"So, it's done then," Baane says monotonously. "How did you figure out the one?"

I shuffle out the scroll from my saddlebag. "When somepony leaves their signature on a receipt of purchase, it tends to make the trail easier to follow."

Baane grabs both the scroll and his beret in magical fields. As he sets his hat on, he takes a look through the scroll. "Figures that they'd keep paper records of that kind of thing. That's just how sick those bastards are." He stows the scroll away and his magic surrounds another nearby item. "Here, this is all I can give you. I'd say our business is concluded."

I accept the caps, but I am far from 'concluded' with this guy. "How exactly am I supposed to cover something like this up? We just killed a well-known mare. Some pony is going to ask difficult questions."

Baane shrugs. "Ponies die from time to time. Most would rather just forget about it than try to waste resources mourning." I think I see him smile, but the moment is very brief. "Besides, I was on break when it happened."

"Smug bastard," I mutter before clearing my throat. "So, what will you do now that you've gotten your revenge?"

"I'm not entirely sure," he admits. "Maybe I'll wander... like you."

"Like me?" I echo. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea. I tend to have to fix my own leg with less than adequate medical bag supplies." I mull over the gravity of his suggestion. "Besides, snipers don't usually last a long while without orders to cover him." I almost hate to ask. "Would you like to come along with me?"

"That's probably a bad idea," says Baane.

"Oh, okay," I hang my dead down dejectedly.

"Though, the more I think on it... maybe I could use a little company," decides Baane. "But this isn't going to end well." He levitates a suit of heavy leather barding to his worn attire. "Fine, let's go."

"Okay, cool, but where can we go to hide low for a bit?"

FRED-E suddenly sparks dramatically before a loud beep.

"What in Tartarus is a Helium Two?"

---
-Your "Scavenge-lick" has been promoted to "Collar Bone Blood-gasm". While you still won't loot bodies that you did not personally kill, you will now feel an overwhelming desire to lick the blood of any pony who has lost their head. It'll be harder to resist if their blood splashes right into your mouth. This does not, however, alter your refusal to drink non-pony blood.

Author's Note:

I know it's a bit shorter than my usual update for this kind of thing, but it felt like a good place to stop for now.