• Published 3rd Jul 2013
  • 900 Views, 20 Comments

Fallout: Equestria: Close Call - ZIAT



Change is as inevitable as it is exciting. Dangerous too, which a young pony named Close Call finds out after he sent to learn of the world around him.

  • ...
6
 20
 900

10: In Which Roles Are Reversed, and the Innocuous Turns Imperative

Chapter 10: In Which Roles Are Reversed, and the Innocuous Turns Imperative

“Qui si convien lasciare ogni sospetto; ogni viltà convien che qui sia morta.”
"Here must all distrust be left behind; all cowardice must be ended."
-Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

”Well hoooooo-eeee, children, do I have some news for you!
Remember Little Miss Hellion? Scourge of Raiders, Bane of Evildoers, Avatar of All That is Good and Decent? Remember that Egghead I told you about? Companion of Sunny, Harbinger of the Twins? Well turns out…they’re related! Brother and sister! You can’t make this shit up! The only reason the good little colts and fillies of Whinnyapolis can knock raiders off their ‘Shit That’ll Kill Me Before I Get My Cutie Mark’ list is because their savior was out looking for her troublemaking brother! And no sooner did they find each other than they were seen heading right back to their comfy little stable. It’s lookin’ like it’s time to batten down the hatches again, Whinnyapolis; at least y’all had a month of safety. More than the rest of us can ever expect. This is DJ PON-3, giving you the truth, no matter how bad it hurts.”

* * *

I awoke in what some time ago had been my room, looking into the deep green eyes of my father, Admiratus. “How long have you been there?” I asked, wary of his stare.

“Not long.” He replied simply. “Close…we need to talk.”

Please don’t be another trial… I thought, sighing. “About Deduc?”

“She is a part of it, yes…”

“Ad rem. Get to the point.” I cut in. Between coming back in the first place, my mother getting murdered in front of my very eyes, murdering Stable 81’s leader in turn, I was in no mood for games.

“You, your sister, and your friends have been declared persona non grata. We need you to leave as soon as you can.”

My mouth dropped open. I just stared at my father for a few minutes while my brain reset itself, trying to process the information it had just received. “Quid est hoc?” I whispered, unbelieving.

“After the…trial, the remaining department heads met to decide what to do next. Among other things, it was decided that You, your sister, and your friends’ presence only served to further destabilize the situation, and that it would be best for the stable as a whole if you left.” He explained. I had to hand it to him, at least he looked me in the eye as he kicked me out of my own home.

“Haec mea sedes, this is my home…Non potes facere illud! You can’t do this!” I countered, my voice rising. A small part of me was able to reflect on the irony of the situation: I could hardly be bothered to speak Roaman when my mother was alive, and now that she was dead I was hardly able to snap out of it.

Admiratus took a step back, and although his face upheld that stoic mask, the step told me enough: he was afraid of his own son. The Great and Powerful Admiratus, constantly a shining example of what a pony working in Stable 81 should be, was afraid of his own son. Afraid enough, it seemed, to agree to permanently exile his children. No amount of fancy wording could mask what was behind this; Stable 81 was scared of us.

He left without another word. No more needed to be said; we would get one more night here before they stopped asking so nicely. I wanted to rage, to show them something to be afraid of. I wanted to tear apart my room, my parents’ room, Parum’s room…just tear our entire housing unit a new one. I wanted to march up to each and every department head and show them just how persuasive the wasteland had made me. But I didn’t. My father’s proclamation had been the straw (or rather, the two-ton brick) that broke the camel’s back; after that, I was just too tired to do, well, much of anything. Anything, that is, except to gather my friends and leave the place I’d once called home.

* * *

I’d barely walked out of my family’s housing unit when I ran into my sister, Parum. “Hey, I just passed Dad…” She said, looking back behind her, “I said hi, but he wouldn’t answer me…he wouldn’t even look at me. What’s going on?”

“We’ve been kicked out of the stable.” I said flatly, “Apparently we’re destabilizing, so it was in everypony’s best interest that we leave.”

Parum’s ears drooped as she looked to the floor. “Oh, okay…” she muttered, “I’ll meet you…I’ll meet you at the entrance then, I guess.”

I nodded without saying a word, not even looking at her as I passed by. I found Butcher as I passed the medical bay. “Fuckin’ stable-ponies…Oh, hey Close! Since when did you wear glasses?” She greeted me with a surprised cheeriness. She was blushing, probably knowing that I’d heard her. What she may not have known, is that I could really care less by now. At this point, “fuckin’ stable-ponies” summed up my sentiments exactly.

“Pack up whatever you need and grab Sunny. We’ve been asked to leave.” I responded blankly, ignoring her question, “I want to try and make Sukawaka by nightfall.”
She blinked, confused and a little abashed. Her wings fluttered as she asked, “Why there? Why’re we leaving? Was it because of-“

“Don’t worry about it, alright?” I snapped, “The Twins started all of this, I just know it, and I’m going to find out why. Now come on, the sooner we’re out of here, the better.

“I’m done with this place.”

* * *

We left without fanfare; me silent, Sunny mumbling under her breath, Parum quietly weeping, and Butcher watching all of us with a worried eye. I didn’t even look back as once again the great steel door of Stable 81 closed, shrieking, plunging me (us) once again into the darkness.

“Well so much for hot showers the rest of my life.” Sunny groaned, “At least I’ll be able to drink again. Worth it.” She levitated a small bottle of Wild Pegasus out of her saddlebags, keeping it beside her an d taking a sip ever now and then while we made our way through the entrance tunnel.

“Do you ever care about anypony other than yourself?” Butcher snapped viciously at her, “These two have seen their mother murdered and been kicked out of the only home they’ve ever known, and all you care about is booze and a fucking shower?!”

“Fuck you, harpy!” Sunny spat back, “I know you’re probably still used to that paradise in the sky, but down here a mare’s gotta take what she can get. Shit happens, boo-fucking-hoo. Ya pick up and ya move on. Get off my fuckin’ back.”

“You first!” Butcher screamed. She unslung her massive rifle in a fluid motion and prepared herself for a swing-the thing was too big to fire in such close quarters, so she’d elected to just beat the unicorn to death with it. Sunny magically drew both of her pistols, and they joined the Wild Pegasus floating near her head. I coiled myself to spring at either one of them-if this is how it was going to go down, I wasn’t going to just be a bystander. I’d been one my entire life, and I swore I was never going to be one again.

“Stop it!” Parum yelled. Even faster than Sunny and Butcher, her Zebra spear was out, and she smacked all three of us with the flat of the blade before we knew what was happening. “Just stop it…” she repeated, dropping her spear and collapsing in a fit of sobs. I gaped at her open-mouthed, and Sunny coughed but holstered her weapons. It was Butcher who went to her and hugged her, whispering that it was going to be alright while shooting the occasional dark look at us. Eventually Parum recovered, and we set off again, silent. Even Sunny kept her mouth shut.

* * *

Although I’d wanted to reach Sukawaka by nightfall, we’d left too late in the day, and made camp in the remains of a convenience store. Sunny, per her namesake, provided a magical light for us while we foraged for materials we could use to make a fire inside. Per her and Butcher, lighting a fire inside a building made some sort of sense: it would prevent us from being seen by raiders or bandits, and since the building was half-destroyed (just like everything else out here), venting the smoke would pose no issue.

Once we were nice and settled, Butcher pulled me aside. “Can we talk?” she asked. I nodded, and we stepped outside. The wind blew cold over the hills-during the day, I’d finally been able to get a more complete picture of the area around my former home. Beforehand, I had been unconscious thanks to Sunny’s exuberance in her mission. Stable 81 was situated in a valley between two hill ranges-one north, one south. It was built into the southern hills and below, about a day’s journey south from Sukawaka. It was the northern hills I now turned away from, both to face my pegasus friend and to get my face out of the wind.

“First, how are you doing?” Butcher asked softly. I thought I could hear the pity in her voice, and it did nothing but stroke the fire burning inside me.

“Well, let’s see…” I answered sharply, “I saw my mother murdered by a pony I used to idolize and-to be honest-fantasize about for some mysterious reason, beat said pony into paste, and while I was trying to figure out what to do with my now-pointless life, was booted out of my own home by my own father. So I’m going just fantastic. Yourself?”

I expected her to recoil, flinch, look away, something, but instead she just stared at me. Although I could hardly see her face, I could sense the anger emanating from it. “You said you parents never paid much attention to you, right? How all the laurels were place on your sister?” she asked. I nodded and opened my mouth to speak, but she stopped me. “Well how do you think she feels?” she asked, matching my own tone.

That hit me hard-I hadn’t thought of that. I wasn’t going to let it show, though; I’d been weak before, and look at where it’d gotten me. “Why don’t you get some sleep,” I said, changing the subject, “I’ll take first watch.” The pegasus gave me one last look of reproach and an angry flutter of her wings before heading back inside. When I did sleep, it wasn’t well.

* * *

There is no light anymore.

There had always been a light, outlining shapes on the wall.

But now there is none.

I can’t see anything, but I can feel. The chains still bind my hooves. They are heavy, and I don’t think I can lift them.

I can hear, too. Voices familiar, but only just. I’ve known them before, or at least part of them, but now they’re further away.

“Such a shame…” Says one, refined and proper.

“He was almost there! Look, maybe we can…” Says another, annoyed.

“No! He has t’ do it himself!” Interrupts a third. She speaks again, only this time, I think, to me. “C’mon, sugarcube, y’all have t’ do this yourself. We’ve helped all we can.”
I blink, trying to process what this phantom pony has just said. “What’s….a sugarcube?”

* * *

I awoke at dawn, feeling tired and drained. For a brief moment, the previous day was just a bad dream: we were still on our way back to the stable, and I was finally going to be home again and not have to wonder if I was going to survive the day. It was only a moment, though, before the memories cleared beyond what could have been a dream. My mother’s eyes, staring out into infinity, my father, refusing to look me in mine as he kicked us out…images this clear could only come from memory. The reality of my current situation hit hardest when, hardly a moment after I’d opened my eyes and begun to shrug off the last vestiges of sleep, we were attacked.

“Gator One, on me! Gator Two, Gator Three, cover their flanks! Nopony’s getting away this time!” Somepony shouted, followed almost immediately by battle-cries and gunfire. Thunder boomed behind me, deafening. An old gas pump erupted in sparks as Butcher’s bullet blew through it, as well as through the pony who had been hiding behind it. I looked up, and in the growing sunlight I could see a score of mercenary ponies rushing towards us. They wore shiny black armor, and carried military-grade weapons-whoever these ponies were, they meant business. I turned and opened my mouth, meaning to tell my friends to run…but I stopped myself. Instead, my warning turned into a yell as I charged their lines. No less than ten ponies in front of me, all firing in my direction; I felt the hot graze of a bullet as I slammed into the front pony, bringing us both crashing to the ground in a roll. His torso, back, and shoulders were protected by his ceramic armor-but his neck was wide open. I came out of the roll on top of him, and I savored the crunch of bone and cartilage as I stomped down hard on his throat. I left him to splutter and die, and turned to the next pony in line, this one a unicorn floating a carbine rifle. I knocked it out of her magical grasp as she swung it around to point toward me. Instead of attacking me with what she had, however, she tried to pick it back up; I used this distraction to kick at her leg, fracturing it at the joint. She screamed until I planted both my rear hooves in her face, snapping her neck.

“You’re fucking dead!” A third pony shouted. He didn’t get much farther than that-two and a half feet of sharpened spear blade through his bottom jaw and brain made it a bit difficult for him. Parum withdrew it with a wet squelch, magically launching it toward another merc, catching them in the chest, straight through their armor. I left her to deal with the remainder on that side; she’d survived this long on her own, and I still had two or three myself to contend with. Two of them rushed me, while the third hung back with a hunting rifle. I met them head on as their third lined up a shot. I felt a bullet enter my side as I grabbed one of them around the neck, using her as a shield; the third pony fired, his .308 caliber round punching through her armor. She screamed until, with the help of rage and adrenaline, I snapped her neck. I turned immediately to the next pony; a quick strike to his throat, a slide underneath for a hard kick at his undercarriage, roll out from under him as he fell, then use him as cover while his friend fired again. I leapt over him and charged the riflepony. He tried to fire, but his rifle jammed. I smiled. He dropped it and unsheathed a knife, but he was too late. I kicked it from his teeth, and used my momentum to pick it up myself and slit his throat. All said and done, I’d killed three ponies in about a minute. When I looked over to my sister, I saw her covered in blood, breathing heavily, and surrounded by the bodies of her enemy.

Goddesses help me I couldn’t help but laugh.

* * *

Sunny and Butcher cleaned up the flanking ponies easily enough; together we tallied thirty kills in just under an hour. Well, twenty-nine. The last pony, the leader, now sat in front of us. A shot from Butcher’s massive sniper rifle had taken off one of his legs, and his horn had been broken by one of Sunny’s rounds soon after; he was being kept alive and conscious via a combination of tourniquet and damn near every stim we had. Blood seeped from his wounds, staining the bare earth beneath him. If there had been any doubt in my mind (or anypony else’s) that I was the de facto leader of this motley crew, it was erased by the fact that the merc was still alive, although Butcher, and Sunny wanted to just end it for him and move on (Parum, having expended what energy she had in the fight, was helping pack up our stuff). He was alive because I wanted him alive. I needed answers, and as the old saying went, “dead ponies tell no tales”. So he was alive, at least for the time being, while I interrogated him, and my companions found various reasons not to be there.

I started simply enough. “Who sent you?”

“How about you sit on my horn and spin?” He spat. His breathing was labored, and it looked like he was trying his level best to keep me in focus while attempting to look tough at the same time. He wouldn’t last much longer.

I hit him across the face, hard. “Or what’s left of it.” I said, “You know, my pegasus friend over there is a medical pony. If you cooperate, she could very well save your life.” Sure, I may or may not have been lying, but he didn’t need to know that, did he?

Butcher flew over; her ears had probably been burning. “Close, just let him die. Enough is enough, you’ve been at this for over an hour!” she protested. Sure, she could talk-her family hadn’t been murdered in front of her eyes.

“I will once I get the answers I need!” I shouted angrily.

“You stableponies don’t know nothin’…” The merc groaned, grinning a bloody and broken grin. I looked at him levelly, daring him to elaborate. He did.

“Nopony hired us…” he continued, “Everypony’s after you, Egghead. The sooner those fucking Twins get what they want, the sooner they leave. So if all they want this time is a stablepony, then a stablepony is what they’ll get.” He closed his eyes. His breathing evened, becoming less ragged. He was still grinning when he died.

* * *

We walked in silence as we trekked north to Sukawaka. What the merc had said unnerved me; why would the Twins want with me? And why was everypony so desperate to give them to me? I thought back to the first DJ P0N-3 broadcast I’d ever heard-how the enigmatic and charismatic disk jockey had announced their supposed return, as well as giving the Wasteland my introduction. We’d been shunned in Harbor because of it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the only reason anypony even looked at us in New Falmalla was because we were with my sister, aka the Hellion, Defender of the Innocent and Bane of Raiders and Ne’er-Do-Wells.

She wasn’t really being a Hellion right now, though: aside from battlecries uttered during the battle, she’d hardly said more than two words at a time since we had left the stable. She was on autopilot; if we stopped, she would stop. If she was hungry, she’d eat, although not much, and not often. Eyes that had been bright and alert were now downcast and dead. I thought about what Butcher had said, about how this was affecting her. A small part of me even worried for her, and for myself. That part was silenced, however, by the frenzy roaring through my veins. It drowned out any and all thoughts that didn’t pertain to tracking the Twins down, finding them, and putting their heads on matching pikes. Once they were dead and my mother avenged, then I could worry about the others.

But first, I wanted to find out more about them; “know thy enemy” and all. “Sunny?”

“’Sup?” The brown unicorn answered.

“Why is everypony so afraid of the Twins?”

She shrugged. “Dunno. I mean, I’ve heard stories, but they came to me offering to pay my debts, so I said what the hell. Shoulda known they’d come after me too.”

“Stories?”

“Not just stories.” Butcher interrupted, “Sure, everypony makes something up about their area’s Big Bad, but most of it’s just hype.” She explained, “But the stuff you may hear about them, if you hear about them at all, is probably true. In the time I’ve been down here, the Twins have shown up twice: now, and once, about ten years ago.”

“Before my time, that’s for sure.” Sunny interjected.

Butcher nodded. “Anyhow,” she continued, “The last time they were here was at the beginning of a small war between rival gangs. Same one that led to Falmalla being occupied by raiders. Lots of ponies died, and others…they just disappeared. A whole settlement, just up and gone. A pony once wandered into my clinic, claiming he’d been taken. I could barely understand him, he was ranting. Rape, torture, what sounded like experimental drug trials and surgeries…real fucked up stuff. I asked around about them after that, but nopony’d talk about them, like it would bring them there. What I could get is that they showed up once more about thirty years ago, and that time a plague of some sorts swept across Whinnyapolis. I don’t know why they’ve zeroed in on you, but…” she drifted off, letting our imaginations finish for her.

She definitely got my attention though. A plague? The pony in the memory orb had written something about one, hadn’t she? Were they one and the same? Perhaps… “I wonder if that raider…” I murmured.

“What raider?” Butcher snapped.

“We found a raider in a Pony Joe’s a couple weeks ago.” I explained, “She was pretty much rotting alive.”

“I thought we agreed we weren’t going to talk about that?” Sunny asked.

Butcher’s eyes went wide. “ Sores on her body, and eyes?” she asked sharply.

I nodded. “Her tongue even fell out.” I added. “We spent that night somewhere else.”

The growing evening darkness hid Butcher’s expression from me, but I could tell this news worried her. “Let’s go, we need to get to my clinic.” She said, “Parum Sororem, have you ever seen anything like that?” Parum must have shaken her head no, because when Butcher spoke again, it was to me: “Close, we need to get back to my clinic as soon as possible. I need to examine you and Sunny.”

“Why?” We both asked – me curious, her indignant.

We were interrupted by a brisk “Halt! State your business, travelers!” We had finally come upon the front gate to Sukawaka; a slapdash perimeter of scavenged parts manned by the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Purity, or as they were more commonly known, the Gelders. Why the Gelders? Well because according to their doctrine, once all in the Wasteland have become pure in mind and body, the Princesses Celestia and Luna will come down from wherever they’ve been hiding and restore the world to what it once was; according to them, feeling horny is apparently impure, so they ritualistically remove their genitals. At least, the stallions do – I have no idea about the mares, nor do I really want to.

“Let me in, Brother!” Butcher called back, “Unless whatever pony you got to replace me is doing a better job?” The gate guards said nothing, and the gate trundled open.

* * *

“Tongue to the left…no, my left…mhm…now to the right…look, just put it on the opposite site of your mouth…and you’re clear. Your turn, slutbag.” Butcher instructed, peering into my mouth with a light strapped onto her forehead. I’d already told her I was fine; my PipBuck would’ve told me if there was anything wrong, and all it said was that there was a hole in my ear. She convinced me, and Sunny for that matter, however, with the infallible logic of “it’s either this or potentially rot away in indescribable pain and suffering”.

“What’d you call me?” Sunny snapped.

“Oh, I must’ve stuttered,” Butcher cooed, “What I meant to say was, ‘Your turn, slutbag, unless you want us to leave you here while your body decomposes from the inside out.’” Sunny didn’t move, she just opened her mouth and stuck her tongue out. Butcher rolled her eyes and trotted over to examine her. “Tongue left…tongue right…say ‘ahhh’….alright, I think you’re clean…”

“Whaddya mean, you think?” Sunny exclaimed as our doctor walked away.

“I mean I’ve never actually been able to treat an actual plague victim, so I can say that, with my best medical guess, you’re fine. If your legs start falling off on their own, we’ll know I was wrong, won’t we?” Butcher responded over her shoulder. She was digging through her desk and rummaging through her shelves, picking out various tools and potions almost at random and throwing them into her saddlebags. “It’s a good thing we stopped by, in any case; I didn’t expect to be gone this long, and Celestia knows how long it’ll be before I come back.”

I blinked, confused. “Where are you going?”

“With you, of course.” She answered offhandedly, “I mean, unless you want Sunny to take care of you when you ponies inevitably get hurt.” She turned around to look straight at me, or rather, at my ear. The hole burned, as if it knew it was being talked about. I looked at Sunny, who in turn was looking at Parum. My little sister was sitting in a corner, staring at her PipBuck, saying nothing. Since she hadn’t been with us when we came upon the raider, she got to skip the exam, although a part of me was suspicious that Butcher just didn’t want to bother her any more than she had to. I myself was beginning to worry – back home, back before all of this, it was almost impossible to shut my sister up; now I was starting to wonder if she’d ever speak again. “I just need to straighten things out here, and we should be able to leave here in the morning.” Butcher continued brightly. She suddenly looked at me. “So where are we goin’?” she asked.

I turned. Sunny was looking at me too. Her eyes were windows to a lost soul which had been cursed to eternally and aimlessly wander the wastes, yet has suddenly found direction in another. They were confused, and rightfully so: the eyes looked to me for their direction; me, who had initially been their prisoner. I turned again. Parum Sororem was looking to me as well. I saw the conflict in her eyes: she wanted to go home, more than anything, but…she couldn’t. Neither of us could. But maybe, just maybe…maybe if we solved this, we could go home. Or at least try to find one out here. I turned back to Butcher. It still surprised me that somehow, even in the midst of three ponies, all of whom were more experienced in the Wasteland than I, I had been elected leader of them. I took a breath before answering. “We stock up on what we can, and head south. Curator said there’s an old mall there that’ll give us information on the Twins.” I said.

“And if we starve to death, hey, that way they can’t catch us.” Sunny added, heading to the door. “Imma go grab a drink. You coming Pissant?” Parum looked up as she was hailed, but shook her head no. She only continued to look at the device on her wrist.

* * *

That night, at my insistence, Butcher told me everything she knew about the Twins. Parum and I were late to the game, and Sunny hadn’t yet made her way this far north the last time they showed up. Butcher, however, had been around for the end of it. Where she was beforehand, she wouldn’t say; when I asked, she merely coughed and became deaf until I changed the subject.

As she’d said before, the Twins (there was no other name for them – nor did there need to be; if somepony said “The Twins”, others knew who you were talking about) had just…appeared in Whinnyapolis about a decade ago. Where they came from, or where they went when they were finished, nopony knew. What they did know, however, is that the Twins were death.

Back then there were four major gangs operating in Whinnyapolis: The Maudes, The Serpents, The Deadeyes, and The Reds. Who they were, or what they each did, didn’t matter. They each controlled their own sectors of the Whinyapolis Ruins; sometimes fighting each other, sometimes working with each other, sometimes just operating separate of each other.
“I remember I’d just come down.” Butcher explained, “I hadn’t set up shop in Sukawaka yet; I was more of a wandering medic. I was squatting outside of Falmalla –“

“Wait, the place infested by raiders?” I interrupted.

“Not ten years ago.” She answered simply, fixing with a gaze which advised against further interruptions. "Anyway, I was doctoring out of an old school when these two ponies came in. Twins.” I took a breath. “Yep. They looked fine, at least as fine as anypony down here can look, but I asked them if they needed help anyway. They could’ve been addicted to mentats or something. Anyway, they said they were looking for ponies…”

~

”We’re looking for ponies.” The Twins say in unison, straight-faced and unblinking. A young Butcher shifts uncomfortably on her hooves. Her flank still hurts her on occasion, and she doesn’t like the way they’re looking at her flyer’s jacket. There’s nopony else in the derelict schoolhouse, and hardly anypony else in town. Raider attacks have increased over the past few months, and most residents have opted for the relative safety of the city ruins. These two are actually her first customers in almost a week. They look fine, but who knows, maybe they’re addicted to some chems or something?

“I’m sorry, but there’s quite a few ponies. World’s full of ‘em.” Butcher responds offhandedly.

“You misunderstand, Sergeant.” The twin on her left says.

“We’re looking for specific ponies.” The one on her right echoes.

“Ponies like us” Left.

“Twins.” Right.

“Sisters.” Left.

Butcher hears them, but isn’t listening. They…they know her, somehow. She doesn’t know how they know, and she doesn’t want to know. The pain in her flank flares, and she takes a step back. “I…I haven’t seen any.” She says slowly, “You might want to check the new settlement in the Ruins, or the one east of here.”
The twins seem to mull it over for a moment before nodding simultaneously. “Thank you.” Is all they say before leaving.

~

Not two weeks after that visit, Whinnyapolis was at war. All four gangs, for seemingly no reason at all, were embroiled in a free-for-all of bullets, bodies, and burning. What parts of the city had survived the balefire bombs were aflame. At the same time, Butcher, following the unspoken advice of the other ponies who used to live in Falmalla, packed up and moved to Sukawaka, which had been recently occupied by the Gelders. In the light of the war in Whinnyapolis proper they had begun to fortify it, and Butcher now had more than herself to worry about. When I tried to ask about that, she became mysteriously deaf again until I let her continue.

It was while in Sukawaka when Butcher saw her first plague victim. She wasn’t as bad as mine and Sunny’s raider; she had only just begun to lose parts of her mane, and only one eye was showing even a hint of infection. Butcher treated her as best she could, but there was only so much postwar medicine could do. Butcher sent feelers out to the few other ponies she’d known at the time; there were seventeen more plague victims they knew about at the end of six months. And at the end of six months, three old mares were all that was left of the four largest gangs north of Manehattan. To the ponies of Whinnyapolis and the surrounding area, the Twins were Death. And somehow, for some reason, I had been the one to bring them back.















Level Up!
Perk Added – Terrifying Presence: You’ve lost that pretty clean mask of innocence, and the rawness of cynicism and hate shows clearly. You can intimidate ponies just by talking to them, even making them run away!

Author's Note:

Hey everypony! Sorry for the wait there, I hope y'all haven't abandoned me yet! Anyhow, per usual, I'd like to thank Kkat for inspiration, and all of you for reading! I'm still looking for an editor/ghostwriter/helper in any sort, and please please PLEASE leave a comment and tell me what you think! I can only get better if I know what I'm doing wrong! Happy reading, and I'll see you in Chapter 11!