• Published 29th Jun 2012
  • 3,404 Views, 375 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - Wasteland Bouquet - Cascadejackal

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

  • ...

Chapter 20: Two of A Kind

---CHAPTER 20: Two of A Kind---

"Don't tell me. You- you tied yourselves up?"


All I could see was Rose's rump, but my ears weren't covered by filly flank... unlike my eyes. And my nose. And my mouth, which, thankfully, had been closed when she landed on me. I still got a real good look at things I hadn't wanted to see again, though!

"See, Ibis?" I heard Rose say from her seat on my face. "I told you we'd find Lily out here. All we had to do was blow up the wall."

Ibis groaned. It sounded like he was hurt. Good. I gave Rose a few seconds, to see if she'd get off my face on her own... then poked her butt with my hoof when she didn't.

"Gmff rff ee!" I tried to tell her to get off without moving my mouth... it didn't work so well, especially when she shifted a bit, presumably to look down at me. There were bits rubbing on my face!

"Lily, what are you doing down there? That's where Ibis' thing goes, not your face."

Merciful Celestia, I didn't need that image. Bad enough I was muzzle-deep, but thinking about freaky griffin dick being up there first?!

With a scream I shoved her off and sat up, gasping for breath and staring straight ahead, doing my best not to picture Ibis' pointy penis poking Rose's perky pony parts... and failing miserably. Images ran through my head, matching themselves to the sounds I'd heard way too often. I could practically see Rose being buggered, could hear her whinnying in pleasure, the big grey bastard hunched over her and violating that soft, pink, wet, tasty-

Something blew in my brain, and all I could do was stare at the horizon, wondering where my life went wrong and what I'd done to deserve everything that had happened to me.

"You're being strange again Lily," Rose declared after a few moments of relative silence. Slowly, I turned my head to stare at her, my eye twitching. The things I wanted to say just wouldn't come out. Most of it would've been swearing. She blinked at me, then turned and started poking Ibis, who was slumped over the other mare in a duster. "Ibis, wake up. Lily is being scary."

"Gmmf..." With a start, Ibis leapt to his paws, birdy head twisting and turning every which way as he reached for where Garden was slung on his back. "Rose, are we..." He stopped, looking from Rose, who blinked at him, to Bourbon, out cold underneath him. "What the fuck?"

I took a deep breath, then let it out, thinking calming thoughts that had nothing to do with Rose's rear, before plastering a massive smile on my face. "Perverts, meet Bourbon Rose. She's the one the bounty hunters are after."

Ibis and Rose stared at me for a second, then Rose started poking the unconscious Bourbon. Ibis frowned. "What-"

I cut him off. "Rose, bring that-" I pointed at Bourbon "-with us. We're getting out of here." The gunfire and shouting from inside the mall was growing louder, so I shook myself off and hopped to my hooves. "Now, Rose!"

Rose blinked at me, then slipped under Bourbon and stood so that the bounty head was draped over her back like a sack of caps. "Lily, where are we going?"

"Fucked if I know," I declared. "Away, that's all I care about."

Another blink, and Rose started trotting off, presumably to somewhere her freaky thing said was safe, but not before grabbing Bourbon's gun in her mouth. Ibis came up beside me, strapping a dinged-up rocket launcher to his back. At least that answered the questions of what had happened to the rocket launcher Rose took from the pricks that blew us up, and how she'd blown up the wall to use me for a seat. "Told you they weren't looking for Rose."

"Go fuck yourself," I muttered before quickly trotting after Rose and her cargo, the griffin giving a quick glance backwards before matching our pace.


After an hour or so, the warzone of a mall had vanished behind us in the urban sprawl and, between my Pipbuck and Rose's thing, it looked like we were in the clear.

Stepping into the shade of an abandoned building, we all settled in for a break and I finally relaxed a bit... until I looked at Bourbon Rose, dumped unceremoniously to one side of our group since she was still out cold. My eye started twitching again. The source of all our misery was right there in front of me, and it was time to get some answers.

A few minutes later, Bourbon was stripped and hanging upside-down from a street lamp, all four legs tied together and her body supported by what I could only describe as a rope harness. There was no way she was getting out of it, especially since the suppression ring I'd taken from the first bounty hunter was secure on her horn. The way she was tied up made me curious, though.

"Rose," I began, staring at the bound, unconscious mare dangling overhead, "just where the hell did you learn to tie ponies up like that?"

Rose blinked at me, looking up from the pile of Bourbon's stuff she was investigating. "My books."

I gave her a suspicious look. "What books, exactly?"

Another blink. "Bit & Bridle magazine."

I groaned. It sounded like a perverted magazine. "Rose, why do you read that stuff?"

Rose stared at me for a second, cocking her head to the side. "Because I like it. There are lots of things that sound fun." She looked at Bourbon, pointing her hoof at the suspended mare. "Like being tied up." This time, she turned to Ibis, who was doing something to the rocket launcher. "Ibis, will you tie me up for sex?"

Ibis looked up from the launcher, glancing between the two of us in surprise. "Uh, what? What are we talking about?"

Rose blinked at him. "I want you to tie me up." She stuck her face in her saddlebag, pulled out a magazine with her teeth and, with a flick of her head, tossed it to Ibis. I only got a quick look at it as it went by, but I saw enough to confirm what I'd thought before: It was a magazine for perverts.

What other kind of magazine would have a slinky unicorn mare with a riding crop in her mouth on the cover?

Anyway, Ibis snatched it out of the air and stared at the cover for a second, his eyes going wide before Rose spoke again. "Page eighteen. It has pictures." The griffin flipped the magazine open, his wings springing open with an audible fwoomp!


Ibis just stared at the pages, his beak hanging open. Rose blinked at him. "I like number four, but we don't have a bridle." She paused as Ibis' wings twitched, then turned to me, her expression hopeful. "Lily, can you help us find a bridle? You're good at buying things, and we want one for sex."

"NO!" I yelled, a shudder running through my entire body. "You- I- Just, no, Rose!" Grimacing, I shook myself, trying not to think about Rose tied up with a bridle on. "Ugh... leave me out of your pervert stuff, you... you pervert!" I shook my head, looking away from my disappointed sister and towards Ibis. "MY EYES!" I screamed, covering my face with my hooves. "IBIS! PUT THAT AWAY, YOU FUCKING PERVERT! EW EW EW!"

He'd stopped looking at the magazine and was watching Rose instead. Only, now his wings weren't the only thing on display. The sight of that thing was burned into my brain, and no amount of rubbing my eyes was getting rid of it.

"Lily, we're safe right now," I heard Rose say, completely ignoring my distress, "and Ibis really liked my idea, so we're going to go inside and have sex. Don't worry, there's nopony near us and Miss Bourbon is still sleeping." A pause, then "We're taking some rope."

There was the clattering of hooves on concrete, a muffled squawk and the sounds of Ibis being half-dragged by Rose, then the crunch of a door being yanked off of its hinges followed by silence.

I risked taking my hooves from my face and glancing around. Except for the pony pinata hanging from the streetlight, I was alone, the broken door to the building we were next to a clear indicator of where the two perverts had gone. Rose and Ibis' stuff had been piled up beside Bourbon's gear, including their guns and Rose's duster.

Those two were unbelievable. With a groan, I shook my head and turned my attention back to Bourbon, getting to my hooves and circling around the hanging mare.

The bounty head wasn't a dead ringer for Rose, but there was enough of a resemblance to be creepy. She was a bit bigger than my sister, and her dark red mane and tail were even less cared for, if that was possible. A big, ugly scar ran across one off-white flank, cutting her brahmin skull cutie mark almost completely in half, and I could see smaller scars where her coat hadn't quite grown in enough to cover them.

Frustratingly, she was still out cold. "Hey, wake up!" I jabbed her side with my hoof. All that accomplished was making her sway a bit.

I growled at her, then slumped. I was alone in a city full of bounty hunters, watching over the cause of all our problems, while Rose and Ibis were getting it on. Life sucked.

A couple of minutes later, a groan interrupted my misery wallowing. When I looked up, I realised Bourbon Rose had woken up, the bound mare groaning and shaking her head, blinking and trying to keep her eyes open.

"What the fuck hit me?" She managed to grumble, her voice raspy and harsh.

"An overgrown buzzard," I answered, moving to where she'd be able to see me and plastering a big grin on my face. I was going to be civil, I was going to be polite, and then I'd decide if the half-million caps were worth the hassle of dragging live cargo across the wastes.

Bourbon managed to open her eyes and peered at me for a second. "You!" Her eyes widened in recognition and she started thrashing around, only to look up at her bound legs when all she managed to do was sway a bit, like a pony pendulum. For a moment, it looked like she was concentrating, then she went cross-eyed, trying to look at her horn.

Figuring she was trying to use her magic, I smirked. "Like the suppression ring? Took it off a bounty hunter that was looking for you."

Her ears plastered back against her skull, she looked back to me and let out a snarl."Fucking bounty hunter scum! I'll fucking kill you!" She started struggling again, accomplishing absolutely nothing. Perverted or not, Rose had done a good job tying the bounty head up.

Frowning, I waved my hoof at her. "Hey! I'm not a bloody bounty hunter! Weren't you listening?!"

Bourbon snarled at me again. "Not a bounty hunter, huh? What, you one of Midvalley's lackeys? He get tired of using the wannabes, send you after me? Go fuck yourself, bitch!"

"Hey!" I stomped my hoof and interrupted her. "I said I'm not a bounty hunter, and I don't even know who this Midvalley is!"

She sneered, pausing her struggle for a second. "Sure. And I'm the Queen of Prance."

"Look, I just want to talk!" I snapped, stomping closer to the bounty head and glaring at her. "All those bounty hunters think my sister is you, dammit! What the hell did you do to get a half-million bounty on yourself?!" This made the upside-down mare snort.

"Yeah fucking right. You expect me to believe that shit? You knocked me out and tied me up, then expect me to believe you just wanted to talk?!" She swung her head forwards, trying to headbutt me, but I managed to pull back just in time to avoid a horn to the face. "Go fuck yourself."

I groaned. "For the love of... no, you know what, Rose can deal with you." I half-turned and yelled towards the building, "Rose! Get your plot out here!"

Bourbon scoffed. "Oh, this'll be good. You playing hardball, calling out your sister?" She sneered at me. "I'm so scared." She thrashed around as much as she could, mocking me and laughing. "Come on, tough mare!" She called out. "Come talk to me!"

Suddenly, she stopped struggling, looking past me. Her face changed, going from rage to disbelief in seconds. "What the fuck? Is this some kind of sick joke?"

I turned to see what she was looking at and facehoofed. Rose had just emerged from the building she'd dragged Ibis into, the griffin limping along right behind her, his wings half-erect. Rose's tail was hiked right up and an absolute mess, while the feathers on Ibis' chest and underside were roughed up, like something had been rubbing against them. No prizes for guessing what!

On top of it all, Rose was wearing a crude halter and bridle made of rope.

I could only guess what Bourbon was thinking, seeing her apparent twin looking like that.

Taking a deep breath and getting my smile back in place, I turned back to Bourbon. "Bourbon Rose, meet my sister, Whiskey Rose. Say hi, Rose!"

"Grfl mmble gmph," Rose stated. I facehoofed again.

"Ibis, get that out of her mouth."

While Ibis freed Rose from her bridle, and Bourbon just stared at them with a 'What the fuck' look on her face, I took the chance to set the record straight.

"You two sure look alike, don't you?"I kept on smiling. "See, we've been getting held up, chased, shot at and blown up-" My eye twitched a little, but I didn't let my pleasant expression slip, "-because bounty hunters can't tell the two of you apart. That half-million caps on your head-" This finally got Bourbon's attention, getting her to look back to me, "-is a giant fucking bullseye. Right, Rose?" I glanced over my shoulder, seeing that Ibis had finally got the halter off my sister.

Rose champed at the air for a few seconds before blinking at me and Bourbon, running her tongue around her lips. "Yes?"

Fighting the urge to sigh, I continued, "We're not bounty hunters, we're just ponies-"

"-and a griffin," Rose chimed in. This time, I did sigh.

"-and a griffin," I affirmed, rolling my eyes, "who don't want to get killed because of some stupid mistake. You understand, right?" I didn't wait for the pissed-off looking mare to answer. "So, who the hell is this Midvalley, and just what the fuck did you do to make him put a half million bounty on your head?!"

I'd dropped the grin and started yelling at that point, but took a deep, calming breath. Getting mad wouldn't solve anything.

Bourbon sneered at me. "Why the fuck should I tell you anything?"

Ibis stepped up beside me, lowering his big beaked head to eyeball Bourbon. During my little interrogation, he'd managed to smooth his feathers down a bit, but I could still smell Rose on him. My muzzle scrunched up at the scent. Bastard.

He clacked his beak. "Because if you don't, we're leaving you for the bounty hunters to find." Wait, what?! I stared at him in shock. Since when was he willing to do that sort of thing?! Even I wouldn't have threatened her like that! "They get you, they stop hunting my mare." Oh. Well, that's a reason, I guess. "So go ahead," he pulled back and sat down beside me, Rose coming up on his other side and leaning against him, one of his wings wrapping around her and pulling her close. "Give us a reason not to just hand you over to them."

Bourboun let out a bitter laugh. "Go ahead. They'll kill you fuckers and drag that mare of yours back to Midvalley anyway. You think they care she's not me?" Her eyes narrowed and she glared at Ibis. "That bastard'd pay for her, just for the fun."

She turned to Rose, who just blinked at her. "He'd fucking love you. Him and his entire gang." The twins stared at each other, one passive, the other defiant and agressive.

"Why the hell's this Midvalley want you so bad, anyway?" I asked, butting in and trying for answer yet again. Bourbon just sneered at me again.

"Cut me down, bitch, and I'll tell you."

I looked at Rose. "What do you think? We trust her?"

Rose cocked her head to the side, meeting Bourbon's glare with her usual blank expression. "Miss Bourbon, do you promise to be nice if we let you down?"

Grimacing, Bourbon rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I fucking promise, now let me down!"

After a few more seconds of staring, Rose blinked. "Okay." With that, she trotted over to the base of the lamp post Bourbon was hanging from, took the rope in her teeth and gave it a tug.

"Oof!" Bourbon hit the ground with a thud, all the ropes going slack at once. Rose moved to help her free of the tangle, but as soon as she was loose Bourbon grabbed Rose in a headlock. The bounty head gave me a cruel smirk. "Wanna know why Midvalley wants me? Too fucking bad! HEY!" She barked, tightening her grip and glaring at Ibis. "Drop it, catflank, or I break this little bitch's neck." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ibis, who'd dived towards our piles of stuff and was now aiming Garden at Bourbon, a scowl on his beak.

"Miss Bourbon, you promised to be nice," Rose said, looking completely unconcerned by the headlock except for a small frown creeping onto her face.

"You're not dead yet," Bourbon snarled, giving Rose's head a jerk and moving my sister between us as a mare shield. "That's as nice as I get. Now shut up, or I might change my mind. HEY! I said drop it, buzzard!"

"Better idea," Ibis replied coldly, Garden still trained on the mare. I was starting to think pulling out my revolver might be a good idea, but this was already too crazy! "You let Rose go, and I don't kill you."

"Hah!" Bourbon let out a short laugh. "Kill me?" She tightened her grip on Rose, who just looked mildly irritated by it all. "Fat chance." She looked to me, keeping Rose between herself and Ibis. "Hey, bitch, get this fucking ring off my horn." When I didn't immediately move to do it, she scowled and gave Rose's head a harsh twist, pulling it into a painful looking position. "I said, get it off my fucking horn! Now!"

"Miss Bourbon, you aren't being very nice," Rose stated before I could move, her frown growing to something that anypony could've noticed.

"Didn't I tell you to shut up?" Bourbon snapped, glaring past Rose's head at me. "HEY! What're you-OOF!"

Suddenly, Rose reared up on her hind legs, dragging Bourbon along for the ride before throwing herself backwards onto the ground... and onto Bourbon.

The bounty head wheezed and coughed, struggling to breathe after being bodyslammed like that. She lost her grip, Rose pulling free and rolling to her hooves. After giving herself a shake, Rose blinked at the stunned Bourbon. "Sorry, Miss Bourbon, but you broke your promise."

"Rose, don't let her get up," Ibis said, approaching the pair with Garden slung on his back once more. Rose just blinked at him and put one hoof on Bourbon's barrel. "She didn't hurt you, did she?"

Rose shook her head and Ibis relaxed a little, but still glared at Bourbon. So did I. You don't take my sister as a hostage, Luna dammit!

I joined them in staring down at Bourbon, who was starting to breathe normally again. "Now, I think it's time for us to talk." She just weezed at me. I took a deep breath and put on my most reasonable smile. "You tell me what I want to know, we let you go. Deal?"

"Go... fuck... yourself..." She gasped out.

Ibis scowled. "Let's just hand her over to the bounty hunters, forget we ever saw her."

I stared at him for a second in surprise. He was really pissed off. "Or we could do that." I turned back to Bourbon. "Up to you, really. So, what'll it be?"

"Like I... have... a choice?" The bounty head wheezed, trying to move but pinned by Rose's hoof. "I'll... answer... your fucking... questions... bitch. Just... let me... up."

Me, Rose and Ibis all looked at each other. Ibis cocked his head to the side and Rose blinked. I took that as a yes. "Fine. Rose, let her up."

Rose withdrew her hoof and sat down beside Bourbon, the winded mare shakily getting her hooves under her and giving me a look that could kill. "The fucking ring. Get it off."

Ibis spoke up, his eyes narrowed. "Answers first."

Bourbon sneered. "Fine. You wanted... to know about Midvalley?" She paused, taking a few seconds to get her breathing under control, then spat in front of my hooves. I took a half-step backwards, muzzle wrinkled in disgust. "Midvalley... is a fucking psycho." She bared her teeth at us. "Fucker's been hunting me for years. I killed his limp-dick brother. Did Equestria a favor, too." She let out a short, harsh laugh. "That answer your question, bitch?"

I frowned. "All this because you killed his brother? A half-million cap bounty?!"

Bourbon laughed again. "Killed him, and his whole fucking gang. Shot them dead like the dogs they were."

"Why?" Ibis asked.

"They deserved it," came Bourbon's reply, accompanied by a twisted grin. "Saw them burn a homestead to the ground. Dragged off the marefolk. I tracked 'em, killed 'em all. One. By. One." She laughed again. "Made their boss scream like a fucking filly when I gutted him, too. Bet they heard him down in Tartarus."

"What about the ponies they took?" Ibis again.

"Who fucking cares?" Bourbon sneered. "Weren't there when I caught up. Sold off as slaves, probably."

"What is wrong with you?!" I cried out, scowling. "You talk about it like they were nothing!" Bourbon just spat at me again.

"Fuck off. They were nothing. Less than nothing. They should've fought back or killed themselves, they didn't." She sat back, giving me a bored look. "There. I told you what you wanted to hear, now get this fucking thing off my horn."

"You're a fucking psycho!" My disgust was clear in my voice. What was wrong with this mare?! "Why the hell-"

"Lily," Ibis said suddenly, staring at Rose. "Look." She was looking around, her ears twitching, on high alert.

"What is it, Rose?" I asked, dread creeping up my spine.

"Lots of ponies," Rose stated. "Angry ones."

"After us?" Ibis asked, drawing Garden again and checking it, looking this way and that, like he'd be able to see what Rose was tracking.

Rose blinked, her ears panning, searching. "Maybe? They're coming this way." She looked around, then blinked at him. "We should leave now."

At this, I grabbed our gear in my magic and pulled it all over to us, getting my bags on and tightening the straps on my jacket, Ibis and Rose following suit. Bourbon looked at us like we were all crazy.

"What the fuck is going on here?" She demanded.

"We're getting the hell out of here," I replied, pausing in my packing for a second. "Rose says leave, we leave. Speaking of..." I met Rose's eyes and tilted my head towards Bourbon. My sister glanced at her twin, then nodded at me. "I still don't like you, but you told me what I wanted to know, so..." I pulled Bourbon's gear over and dropped it at her hooves. "Here."

She looked at me in disbelief. "What about the fucking ring?!"

"Rose, get it off her." Rose, fully dressed and armed once again, hooked Bourbon's head with one hoof, pulling the bounty head's head down and biting her horn. Bourbon let out an outraged cry and pulled away as soon as the ring was off, held securely in Rose's teeth.

Before Rose could swallow the ring or break it or whatever she was planning to do, I yanked it away with my magic and tucked it into my bag. Rose blinked at me, while Bourbon rubbed her horn with a hoof, glaring daggers at my sister.

"Fucking freak."

"Shut up and get ready to run," Ibis replied coldly.

"Why the fuck should I listen to you, buzzard?" came Bourbon's retort. I noticed she didn't hesitate to pull her gear on, though. Her horn lit up and she pulled her rifle from its holster on her back, working the lever and loading it without even looking, her glare still focused on Ibis.

I looked between Bourbon and Rose. They looked a lot more similar with their dusters and guns on... except that while Rose had her usual blank expression despite how she was looking every which way, Bourbon was staring at Ibis with obvious distaste.

Ibis just cocked his shotgun, giving Bourbon nothing more than a quick glance. "Stay here, then. You're the one they want, after all."

Bourbon spat on the ground. "Fuck you."

"We should go now," Rose declared, interrupting the argument. "They're getting closer."

At that, we all shared a look and, as soon as Rose started trotting away, we followed. Nobody wanted to get left behind, not even Bourbon.

That didn't stop her from muttering insults under her breath as we went, though.


Gunfire raged outside, screams and shouts coming from everywhere, their words lost in all the noise.

Me? I was cowering in a trashed building, desperately praying I wasn't noticed and watching the three green marks on my Pipbuck moving through the sea of red.

Why was I hiding under a desk in a ruined building? Sorry, I'll start again.

We'd been trying to escape from the 'angry ponies' when all of a sudden, Rose stopped dead in the street, me and Ibis coming to a halt right behind her. She stared at the buildings around us for a few seconds, then "More ponies coming."

Bourbon scoffed and looked around. "I don't see anything."

Rose blinked at her. "They're not here yet, miss Bourbon. There's lots of them though. I think we're surrounded."

"Yeah, right. Hey, bitch!" Sneering, Bourbon waved her hoof at my Pipbuck-clad leg. "Use that fancy bracelet of yours. See if the freak's onto something."

While Ibis looked like he was considering cracking Bourbon over the head and leaving her for the bounty hunters, I rolled my eyes. "Fine, but Rose is never wrong." I stomped, bringing up my E.F.S, then paused, turning slowly. "Um, Rose... How many ponies did you say there were?"

Rose blinked at me. "Lots."

"Lots sounds about right." Ibis gave me a questioning look. I ignored him and just kept looking around, trying to count the red marks and failing. I lost count when it hit double digits, and more were showing up all the time.

With a sigh, I turned to Ibis. "We're surrounded."

"No way out?" He asked. We both looked to Rose; she shook her head. Immediately, Ibis readied Garden, his head twisting this way and that, watching for anything moving that wasn't us.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rose rear up and draw her rifle, aiming down the street. Bourbon gave her a disgusted look. "What's with the fucking zebra walk, freak?"

Rose ignored her, peering down her scope and tracking something none of us could see, so I answered Bourbon's question with one of my own. "What are you on about? It's an earth pony gun, so she uses it like an earth pony."

Bourbon sneered. "No earth pony uses a gun like that." She drew her own rifle with her magic, indicating Rose with a jerk of her head. "That's zebra shooting."

The only sign that Rose was paying any attention was one ear twitching in our direction. I scowled at the bounty head. "Earth pony shooting. She learned it from her father."

"Then he was a damned zebra lover." Bourbon spat to the side, defiance in her eyes. "No self-respecting pony'd shoot like a fucking stripe."

I could see Ibis puff himself up, his crest raising as he glared at Bourbon. There was no telling what Rose was thinking, since I could only see her back, but I bristled at the insult to my uncle and sister. "Listen, you-"

A sudden gunshot drew all our attention to Rose, her hoof working the action on her rifle as she took aim again. Where she'd been aiming was a dead pony, slumped against the red-spattered wall.

With that one shot, all Tartarus broke loose.

Ponies wearing badly made barding painted bright colors came pouring out from the buildings ahead of us, screaming, whooping and shooting wildly. Rose fired again and again, cutting them down one-by-one, but there were too many for her to manage.

Behind us, ponies in armor, the bounty hunters. They took cover, unlike the rushing raiders in front of us, sending a hail of lead towards us and making me hit the deck to avoid getting shot up. Ibis did the best he could, Garden roaring like the undersized cannon it was and tearing holes through ponies, armor and wrecked carriages alike, but there was only so much he could do.

Bourbon was snarling, her magic-gripped rifle spinning above her and firing almost without aiming, sending ponies on all sides tumbling to the ground.

Then both sides reached us, and it was chaos. The crossfire turned into a frantic melee. Rose barely got her rifle holstered again before leaping into the fray, kicking and punching. I heard a screech as Ibis took to the air, firing down into the thrashing equine mob. Bourbon completely vanished, but I could hear her screaming abuse and threats, her rifle providing punctuation.

Me? I fucking legged it, screaming my head off as I ran between ponies, jumped over bodies and even ran along the backs of ponies where the crush was thick enough!

One of the ponies in barding almost took my head off with an axe, but a red-and-white mare knocked them out of the way a loud crunch before charging back through the crowd, buying me enough time to bolt, heading out of the mob and for the safety of the nearest building.

Which brings us back to where we started. With me cowering in a graffiti filled building that stank of piss and filth. Lovely.

I don't know how long I was in there, but eventually the commotion outside started to die down, with just sporadic bursts of gunfire instead of the non-stop shooting and screaming.

Hesitantly, I stood up and poked my head out of the room I was in, looking up and down the hall. It seemed clear, but another set of shots from outside almost made me go back to hiding.

I found myself wishing Rose was there, or even Ibis. They had guns and...

I facehoofed, finally remembering my revolver.

Using my magic, I tugged my gun out of my bag, almost spilling the box of snack cakes it was wedged under. I tried to remember what Rose had drilled into me. "Right... make sure it's loaded... yep, bullets are in... next, safety off... check..." I tooked a deep breath to calm my nerves, held it for a second, then let it out. "Okay. And here I go. Any second now. I'm leaving the room and finding Rose. Right now."

Realising I was putting it off, I took another breath and stepped into the hall, my revolver at the ready.

The next few minutes were spent creeping down dirty corridors, their walls painted bright colors, just like the ponies who'd attacked us. I figured we must've stumbled into their territory, but didn't think too much on it. There were more important things to worry about, like getting the hell out!

Outside, the gunfire had almost completely died down, leaving me in relative silence.

So, when I heard hoofsteps approaching, I almost jumped out of my skin. My E.F.S only showed a few red marks in that direction, the three green ones moving in the corners of my eyes. Fearing the worst, I dove through the nearest doorway... and found myself in a janitor's closet, if the mop and bucket were anything to go by. Unfortunately, the door itself was missing, leaving me wide open and fully visible.

I held my breath as the hoofsteps got closer, floating my gun up and aiming at the door. Please don't see me please don't see me Celestia I'm begging you don't let them see me.

The hoofsteps stopped and, for a few seconds, the only sound was my heart, beating so loud I was afraid the pony outside could hear me. Then a head poked around the door and I slumped in relief.

It was just a colt.

He stepped fully into the doorway and I got a better look at him. He was an earth pony, so young he didn't even have his cutie mark. Bright slashes of color covered his coat, a crude dye job; probably to fit in or something. He was wearing a tatty leather band around one foreleg, but other than that was completely bare.

"Hey there," I said with a smile, keeping my voice low. "What are you doing here, little guy?"

He grinned at me, his lips peeling back to show off his yellowed, rotten teeth. "Hey, pretty mare..." He lowered his head to his foreleg, coming up with a small piece of sharpened metal in his teeth. "Gonna cut'cha, pretty mare. Get me a cutie mark." He took a step towards me, and I took one back, suddenly a lot less confident than I had been.

"Um, can't we talk about this?" I asked, going over my options in my head. He was in the way of the door, and the way he was looking at me, swinging the makeshift knife, I didn't like my chances of jumping over him without getting stabbed.

"Gonna cut'cha," he mumbled around the bit of metal. "Big bro ain't let me have no mare to myself before... gonna cut'cha, make him proud..." A strand of drool dangled from his mouth and he laughed. "C'mere, pretty mare..." He kept coming towards me.

I backed up as much as I could, holding my revolver between us. "L-look, just, go away, okay? I-I don't want to hurt you!" He ignored me, coming closer still, ignoring my gun and mumbling about what he was going to do to me. "Please?!" My gun was shaking, and so was I. "JUST STOP!"I cried out as he came face-to-barrel with my revolver... and stepped past it.

My magic failed, the gun falling to the floor with a clatter. I let out a sob; I couldn't do it! The colt laughed again...

And everything stopped.

The colt slumped to the ground, a dazed, empty look in his eyes. I followed, everything going numb, even my mind. I couldn't bring myself to move, but I didn't care. I wasn't even bothered by what was happening, or what had just happened.

Another pony came into the closet. Dimly, I recognised it as Rose, bloodied and limping, her horn glowing, the white light broken by sparks of bright green.

She paused for just a second, looking down at the prone, drooling colt, then drove her hoof into the back of his head. There was a crunch, the colt's eyes going dull, and she stepped over him without another look. She bent down and sniffed at me, then nuzzled me as her horn stopped glowing.

"It's okay, Lily. You're safe now."

Slowly, everything came back to me. As I got control of my body back, I sat up, leaning on Rose and looking down

The colt hadn't moved, hadn't gotten back up. He just lay there, completely still.

I realised what had happened, several seconds passing as I stared blankly at the small, limp body in front of me. Slowly, I started to feel again. "Rose... you killed him."

Rose pulled back and blinked at me. She was dishevelled, one ear had a notch missing, and she was favoring her hind leg.

"You... you killed a colt..."

She blinked again. "He was a bad pony, Lily."

My feelings were rising, building up now that Rose wasn't doing her thing anymore. "He was... he was just a colt... Rose, he was just a colt! He didn't even have his cutie mark yet, and you killed him!" I started hyperventilating, all the fear rushing back into me at once as I yelled at my sister. "You don't just kill colts like that! What the fuck, Rose?!"

Rose backed up, frowning. "Lily, he was going to hurt you."

"I don't-" I was panting, having trouble breathing. "I can't- can't- you-" Freaking out, I moved for the door. "R-Rose, don't- you- never-" I stumbled, tripping over the colt and sprawling on the filthy floor. Kicking wildly, I tried to get back up, darkness creeping into the edges of my vision, my breath catching in my barrel as everything went black.

The last thing I saw was Rose, frowning as she stood over me.


"Ugh..." Slowly, I sat up, looking around. It was night, the ground hard underneath me, a camp fire burning low nearby. "Where..." I licked my lips, trying to get some moisture in my mouth. "Where am I?"

Movement caught my attention and I turned to see Ibis, his eyes reflecting the firelight as he stared at me, his wings flexing. "You passed out. Bourbon ran off. We got out of the city. Rose carried you." He let out a low hiss of displeasure. "She told me what happened."

"Where is she?" I asked, looking around. Another hiss drew my gaze back to Ibis, who looked pissed off.

"Sleeping." He shifted slightly and I spotted a red tail poking out from under one wing. He gave me a dark look. "She's hurting, and not just her body."

"But-" I started, but he interrupted me.

"You hurt her again, you idiot." He clacked his beak at me; he was definitely pissed.

"She killed a colt!" I cried out, stomping my hoof. He scowled at me.

"A colt that was going to do who-knows-what to you."

I stomped again. "That doesn't matter! He was just a colt! He didn't even his cutie mark!" I snarled at him. "He... he didn't know what he was doing! He couldn't have! It's not like he was going to... to..."

"He did," Ibis replied coldly. "You think he didn't? You think just because he was a colt, he was innocent? That he wouldn't have cut you open?"

I didn't have anything to say to that. I just couldn't believe that little colt would've seriously done that... or that Rose would just kill him like that... like she... like she knew what he was going to do...

"Oh, Celestia," I swore quietly. "Rose..." She would've known what he was going to do... I slumped, looking at the wing that hid my sister from view.

"She thinks you hate her," Ibis said, his voice softening. "She's scared you're angry at her." I met his eyes. "I want you to think, Lily. Think long and hard about what you're going to say to make this right." He paused, fluffing his feathers up and flexing his wings slightly, letting me glimpse Rose's bandaged body for a split second. "She won't run off, you know. She told me that she promised not to... and that she won't break her promise."

I didn't say anything. Even when Ibis tucked his head under his wing and went to sleep, I just lay there, thinking.

What could I say? Could I forgive her for doing that, for cutting a young life short? Would she forgive me for what I said to her? For making her think I hated her, even though I didn't?


The next day was spent in silence, none of us speaking on the trip to the nearest town. Rose kept Ibis between us, sneaking glances when she thought I wasn't looking, none of her thoughts showing on her face. Ibis didn't snap at me, or even get angry. He just focused on Rose.

And me? I kinda just went along with them, thinking things over.

Even when we got to town, getting a couple of rooms for the night, I still hadn't come to a decision. After about an hour of staring up at the ceiling of my room, I rolled off the bed and onto my hooves, hoping a walk would help me get my head on straight. I strapped my bags on, stepped into the hall, and looked at the door to Rose and Ibis' room before letting out a sigh and turning away.

Everything kept running through my head. The look in the colt's eyes. The rusted, sharpened piece of metal. The indifferent way Rose had stepped over his body. What could have happened, but didn't.

I lost track of time, walking aimlessly through the town, going over it over and over again, never getting any closer to a solution.

Evening found me on the outskirts and staring off into the twilight wastes of Equestria. I just stood there, staring out at the horizon. Was this what Rose had felt, so long ago? Confused, lost and hurt? Unsure of what to do, not knowing what to say?

If I took off, just ran like she had, would that solve anything?

I didn't think it would. I couldn't run away from this, from Rose. She needed me as much as I needed her. Slowly, as I watched the hazy sunset, I felt a peace settle over me. I'd apologise to my sister, at least. It was a start, but it was a step in the right direction.

"Hey, pretty mare." A drunken voice broke into my thoughts. "What's a good looking thing like you doing all alone?" I turned to see a drunken stallion approaching. "How's about you an' me have some fun, huh?" He was slurring his words and staggering, leering at me with... Celestia help me, he was hanging out!

I took a nervous step backwards. "Um, no, that's alright." I looked around, hoping there'd be somepony to help me. "I'm... I'm fine..."

"Aw, don't be like that, baby," he slurred, staggering closer. "I'm just looking for a good time... don't gotta be shy, now. I'll make you feel real good."

I backed up more and bumped into something. Risking a glance, I saw that I'd been backed up against a large rock. "Hey, um, look, I gotta go and-" He'd kept coming and suddenly I realised how close he was, practically touching me. Panicking, I shoved him and ran down the deserted streets, trying to remember the way back to the hotel.

A wrong turn put me in a dead-end alley, facing a rusted fence. A shuffling sound behind me sent terror up my spine, and I turned. The stallion was blocking the exit, panting and leering at me.

"Yer a quick one you are..." He came towards me and I felt the panic start to grow, backing up against the fence, desperately praying for somepony, anypony to help me. "But we'll take it real slow..." He laughed and staggered closer.

There was no way around him, nopony there to help. My heart pounding, I yanked out my revolver and aimed it at him. "J-just go away! Don't make me use this!" I prayed that he'd take the message and leave.

"Ooh, scary." He didn't. "Playing hard-to-get? Betcha like it rough, huh?" He shook his thing at me and laughed. "I can do rough. You and me, pretty mare, rough as you like it."

He stepped closer, ignoring the gun gripped in my shaky magic.

I shut my eyes and whispered a prayer to the Goddesses.

Author's Note:

Finally, the new chapter! Don't you just love cliffhangers?:trollestia:

The usual round of thanks. KKat, for being so inspiring and generally awesome. Winter Storm, for helping me through the early days when I was still learning, Midnight Stalker for putting up with my brahmin poo work ethic, and all you guys for sticking with the story for so long.:twilightsmile:

And, finally, happy new year to you all! Here's to another year of adventures!:pinkiehappy: