The door in the back was unlocked just like the clerk said. You both go inside and notice how roomy,snug,warm it was. And it was well stocked with some drinks and food. The driver's window was closed. But it did have a slot you could slip the chip in. "Hello?"
"Hello there! Ya sound young there, son, Is anypony else back there with you?" A stallion with a southern voice says....it...almost sounded familiar. At least he sounded cheery.
"Just my royal assistant" You answer
"Just your...what now? Where are your parents?" He asks, you couldn't see him. And he couldn't see you. But you decide now is a good time to slip the chip through the slot in the window.
"Not here, I'm on a visit to see the Kings on my own. I'm Prince Anon of Buenos Aires. I have one of those card things and everything..so..who are you?" You do your best to sound cheery and innocent, hoping this guy wasn't an asshole....but that voice...you know you heard it before.
"They call me Audit. It's a fine name I think. Prince of Buenos Aires though? 'fraid I never heard of such a place...But I can't argue, if you have the card then it's gotta be true." He says
"You'd just trust us just like that because we have a card? From what I've seen from this place, everypony seems suspicious and rude" Chrysalis questions. Finding the driver's demeanor odd.
"Not about trust these days. It's just that the Kings want to meet anypony who are still independent and rich. And it's my job to drive these kinds of ponies to Canterlot." He starts the limo, and starts driving. You note his voice was a little hesitant in anything having to do with Flim and Flam though "Though, if you want my honest opinion, I'd get outta here if I was you."
Hmmm? Now he was being ominous and confusing. "If you'd want us to get out, why drive us to Canterlot then?"
"I can't say anymore than that son, I already said too much. If you're gonna see the kings then it ain't my place to say anything bad about them. I could lose my job"
Wait...were you being recorded? No, then he wouldn’t have said anything at all...But still "...are we being watched? Is somepony recording this?"
"What?..no, it's just there was this other driver, I think Derpy was her name. She said some things and well...I don't see her anymore. The passengers reported her. Look, I don't want to talk about this anymore. I mean, hey, I don't usually talk at all. Passengers usually don't like to hear the drivers talk."
Chrysalis could sense something coming off the driver, a hint of love somewhere, as if he wasn't a lost cause. "But you're comfortable talking that much with us it seems. Is it because of our age?"
"Well, maybe, the young'uns were usually easier to talk to,not anymore these days. But I can already tell you both seem a lot smarter than you look. ahh, now look, ya got me talkin' some more....you don't want to hear me talk" He says as his tone becomes a little meek and worried
Holy shit, you didn't need to be a changeling to know this guy was lonely. Poor fella. It was also pretty clear he didn't like Flim and Flam either "No no, I don't mind talking. To tell you the truth, I've run into these kings before..."
"Ya have? Now that is mighty odd. They don't usually leave their castle these days unless it's important...What did ya think of em? We're they the bee's knees every other pony thinks of them as?" Audit asks. Seems he truly has never met them
"No, they are stupid con artists. And I want to deal with them personally, and find out what they are up to" You say bluntly, maybe that will get his trust.
The driver started to laugh at that "Now aren't you a little fireball? Look son, how about I just drive ya back if you feel that way. Even if you're a prince, that's not a good thing to do. All I can suggest is stay out of any deal they want ya in, it's nothing but trouble. whew....feels good to relax though.. always usually gotta watch my mouth"
.....No, that voice...you had to know what he looked like. "Mr.Audit...do you think you can lower the driver window so I can talk to you face to face?"
He let out a gentle chuckle "I haven't been asked that in many a moon, sure son, why not?"
For Audit, his driver window was actually a one way mirror. So he can keep an eye on the passengers without them ever seeing his face. It was placed so the drivers would never be a bother. But for this one time...he'd lower it.
And as the window lowered and the limo slowed. You saw that face looking at you. That once rich and classy stallion who, despite the name, was not a greedy fuck. He was now wearing a simple driver's hat, his mane was a little messy, and he had a bad mustache....but that was him. ".....no....way..M-Mr.Rich?!"
The limo suddenly stops to a screeching halt. "Audit" Looked at you with dead seriousness. "....What did you call me?"
Chrysalis took a deeper look herself and came to the same conclusion "Hrmmm, It is Filthy Rich...."
"....." Filthy took a deep breath, and turned his head to the side, looking through the outside of the windows. "How do you two know who I am?"
...oh shit...was he hiding who he was? What the fuck happened?!
And...you needed a lie. And quick.
"...We're uhm...super big fans. The Rich name was always so profound to me. You always made so much money but you were never greedy or mean. You were of true class among the elite. A pony I really respected and really wanted to meet. I could tell who you are just from looking at you." ...and that wasn't exactly a lie either. Now you just had to hope he suddenly didn't go berserk.
"......." He looked forward, away from the both of you "......So is this the part where I get taken in?"
what? "What do you mean by that? Mr.Rich, I'm telling you the truth."
"hrmmmm" Chrysalis was being less emotional, and more observant "Hiding in plain sight. If you haven't been caught yet, it means you were long forgotten. And yet...these "Kings" want to see you regardless. Interesting, sorry to disappoint you Mr.Rich. But we tell the truth. We have no interest in turning you in."
He stopped, and then sighed in relief. "Well, heh...I don't think I would have been able to see them anyway. I thought my heart really would stop right there and then. So, if you’re not gonna turn in this hasbeen pony and you ain't turnin' back. Then what exactly do you have planned? I'd reckon a couple of foals can't do much, but it's amazing just to see you want to try"
.....god...what happened to him? "We don't know yet, we don't even know how any of this happened. Mr.Rich, I know it sounds really sudden, but we really REALLY need to know how this all happened, and what happened to Celestia....and..even what happened to you. What happened to your family? Your business?"
Filthy sighed, and leaned back onto his driver's chair, moving the driving wheel with his hoof a little has he lamented. "Son, there's a lot to tell. And normally, I wouldn't be inclined to tell anypony. But I haven't had a chat with any decent folk for so long that I don't think I really care to keep anything a secret anymore. So, do you want me to start from the beginnin' of what I know?"
You nod "Yes please...if it isn't too much trouble."
"It ain't" Filthy slouched a little and looked into the now night sky. "A long time ago, two unicorns came to our faithful town of Ponyville. They had this machine nopony had ever seen before, capable of making delicious apple cider at double the speed of any Apple family member. Anyway, the Apples ended up challenging them to a cider making contest to try to get them out of town. They were trying to move in on their business you see....well, they managed to do just that anyway when they won the challenge and Sweet Apple Acres became theirs. The Apple family had to move to Appleoosa. From then on, Our soon to be kings were making some real cash, real fast. But at the time, it didn't seem they cared about profit. That's what they told me when they came to me with a deal. I distribute their cider across Equestria and I see fifty percent of the profit. How could I say no? So we drew up a contract and it was good to go. And that was probably my biggest mistake...." Filthy shook a little with those words. Feeling large amounts of regret. He felt he was the one that started the chain of events that led to Equestria's fall.
"That's confusing. If you took that much profit from them, then how could they expand so rapidly?" Chrysalis asks
"...Well, that's the fifty thousand bit question...Ain't it? Well, with their speed and my distribution. They were making good money just the same. And since we were doin' the distribution work. They never had to leave Ponyville to sell cider. They used that time to make all kinds of new fancy gadget and gizmos and started to sell them and show them off from place to place. And just like their cider making machine, it was all a success. They sold them at high prices and barely if ever had a complaint. Nopony would come to realize that the profit they made was only one part of their plan. The machines they were making were replacing many of the old ways ponies did things. Even replacing jobs. I tell you, the corruption may have been slow, but it was happening and nopony took notice. Ponies just started relying on these doodads as they became more available. Demand was very very high after a while."
.....there had to be something bigger to cause all this though "Enough to cause this whole mess? Did nopony notice?"
Mr.Rich shook his head. "Not yet, especially when they opened yet another business in pest eradication. Again, it seemed simple enough. They used their personally made machines to get rid of a few annoying pest problems. Then started hiring pest ponies out of their regular jobs to take care of it. Causing many employers to lose their best exterminators and close down. But then, somehow, it went from pests to monsters. The more profit they made, the more they took over, the more elaborate their machines got and the more powerful they became. Chimeras, Manticores, why...even changelings were no match for their army of exterminators"
"Hold on!" Chrysalis's interest was piqued "...what do you mean not even changelings?...what happened?"
"Not too sure, they hired and equipped nearly every exterminator in Equestria and sent them right into the changeling hive with the promise of a huge reward. Not a single changeling made it.....And their queen? Well, I haven't been around for quite some time. So I have no idea what happened to her"
Chrysalis's right eye began to twitch in anger "WHHHHHHAAAAATTTT?! I WAS DEFEATED BY A QERFRGRE-" You jump at Chrysalis and keep her mouth closed.
Filthy looks upon her with confusion and surprise "W-what got her goat?"
You gulp, and lie as you do your best to keep her muzzle shut "I-it's just her time of the month"
".....hooo..mercy. Ummm....do you both need a moment?" Filthy asked, unsure about the whole thing.
Dammit Chrysalis! She was still raging as you held at her mouth."P-please? Is there a way to s-s-soundproof the back?"
Filthy nods "Yes sir...let me just..." Filthy felt that whatever Chrysalis was going through was private. and closed up the driver window and closed up the chip slit.
Chrysalis shoves you back as she growls loudly "HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN!? HOW!? WE ARE THE MOST FEARED AND POWERFUL SPECIES IN EQUESTRIA! HOOOOOWWWW!" She screams out in a rage
"W-woah, calm down Chrysalis." You do your best to calm her down anyway you could. "It's a d-different world remember?"
"IT'S AN ALTERNATE FUTURE YOU IDIOT! A FUTURE WHERE MY ENTIRE HIVE IS TROUNCED BY AN ARMY OF USELESS,DRIBBLING, INCOMPETENT HANDYPONIES! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BE CALM ABOUT THAT!?"
"I...I dunno...erm. But, look. If you want revenge for your alternate self then you need to calm down. You're just a little extra agitated from lack of food. I get it, and I promise you. We're gonna smash those guys. But until the time comes, can you please try to relax? If we get found out, then it's all over" You couldn’t blame her for being so angry, but come on!
Chrysalis was fuming, steam coming out her nose. She was taking breaths, trying to calm down, but she barely could. "Anon...we better end up ruining their very lives. I'm going to hold you to that!...." She pokes you on your chest hard enough for it to sting "Understood?"
You nod, giving her a confident stance as you rub your chest. sheesh, she didn't have to poke that hard. "Trust me, we will. I don't think I can be merciful after seeing Ponk and Mr.Rich this way...and we still have yet to see Twilight,Applejack, and Rarity...if we even seen them....and then there's Celestia..."
".....good...Alright...I'm calm, I'll just visualize running them down in a car over and over.....mmmmmmhmhmhm" She gives a slight chuckle as she ruminated on the thought. Though, she was still internally angry.
With that, you knock at the window and wait for Mr.Rich to open it.
He does, and looks back at the two of you "Well now, everything alright back there?"
You nod "Yeah, can you continue please?"
Filthy Rich nods, and continues. "Well, needless to say. They were getting favor,praise, and all that good stuff quickly. Even got a blessin' from Celestia herself. Even around those times, Nopony had noticed the changes they were causing. They were secretly taking over businesses with shady deals every other day. And nopony was the wiser due to their hero status. I didn't like it one bit, they were still partnered with me and I would not tolerate just runnin' other ponies out of business like that. It ain't right, you're supposed to work together for maximum customer satisfaction...and profit" Filthy let's out a distant chuckle "Ah guess that was a bad joke. Either way, after I broke it off with them. It was already too late. They had every way and means to conduct business wherever they wanted. And I was soon losing business myself. It was a lot of pressure, the Misses...she was willing to take my darling Diamond Tiara and leave if things didn't change soon. And let me tell you.....things did change, and it wasn't for the better. How much do you know about King Sombra?"
"A friend of mine told me they somehow defeated him or something. But, that doesn't make any sense. How did they know about the Crystal Heart? How did they know how to use it? Why would they even brave going over there? They are pretty cowardly" This you had to hear.
"...You dunno the half of it. I don't know if Celestia had started to realize what was going on or not, but the sudden rise of King Sombra really put a damper on things. By this time, King Flim and King Flam were well known, well beloved, and everypony wanted their piece. Equestria was changing into a place where having the biggest and best things meant being the best. And their heroic acts made many ponies believe they could handle that nasty King. The truth is they have put out a bounty on the King. The reward was an amount of bits they'd never actually be able to pay. But posters themselves didn't say who was giving the reward out, so while everypony else assumed Celestia, I knew better. But just the same, I had to do something. My company was in ruins and I was about to lose my family. I'm no fighting pony, but I signed up to go try to get that reward. Even if I didn't get it, the praise and honor would have not only fixed things. But I'd think I would have been able to out those brothers by then....but.."
Filthy’s expression suddenly went grim "It was a trap. Everypony that took the call was only used to to slow the King down. I saw so many ponies get enveloped by that darkness. I...gave up and ran into a nearby cave, taking any supplies I could get my hooves on as I ran towards it. I couldn't fight Sombra, I realized I would only lose...and then my dear little jewel would be fatherless. I only meant to hide for a little while. But there was a cave in, and yet I could hear Sombra’s ghasty wail from outside from when he was defeated. I was trapped in there for an entire month, living off the supplies as I slowly chipped away at the rocks. until finally, I got free. Cold and alone, I ventured into the Crystal Empire. And, there really isn't much left to tell. I learned that in the month I was trapped that those two charlatans now had the full support of Equestria. Many a pony had turned on Celestia, blaming her for every attack that had happened in the past. Where she only sealed, they utterly decimated. Their devices and gizmos made life easier to the point ponies felt they having things were more important than having friends. And by the time I got back to Ponyville, it was too late. My home had been sold off, Barnyard Bargains was taken, and I never even found my wife or precious daughter....I don't know where they went. And without a means to travel or make any real money. I was stuck here. I took this job as soon as it became available so I could at least travel between two towns. So maybe hopefully, along the way, I'd spot them....I haven't yet....But I ain't ever never gonna give up hope. As for how they knew about the Crystal Heart? No clue, from my understandin', all it really was was dumb luck. I have no doubt those two would have left everypony to fry if they couldn't find the solution to Sombra. It was all really just terribly dumb luck. And finally....Celestia..."
Filthy let out one more lamentable sigh as he looked upon the both of you with a painful frown. "the backlash was too much. Wars were threatened, ponies fighting everywhere whether or not she should rule. And the majority saying she shouldn't were winning something fierce. Her ideals were crumbling around her, she couldn't maintain the kingdom. Especially with those two making all kinds or promises, such as taking money from the rich and evenly distributing it among all ponies and producing all sorts of jobs for downtrodden ponies....Jobs they took away from them in the first place, well....After all that. If Celestia didn't step down, things would have gone belly up for good. So the last big deal was made, Flim and Flam were voted into royalty, and Celestia would be kept around as a novelty, and to keep the cycle of day and night goin'. Their end of the bargain would just to make things peaceful again.....well, they did it. Just not in a way anypony would have truly liked. But it don't matter anymore, nopony cares about each other anymore, they only care about their money and their things. Now the kings just go after anything they don't own, and make it theirs through their horrible practices. None of it is right, Just none of it....."
Filthy then looked to you with dead seriousness "I'm tellin' you son, Ya should really turn back. Ah don't think there's anything you can do...And you'll end up like everypony else if you try" There was no hope in that sentence. The poor guy had lost everything, even his last bid, trying to get a bounty when having zero bounty hunting skill, turned out to be a useless action. There was no happy ending for him. Not unless something is done.
"I can't just head back sir. I know it sounds impossible, and I know you might not believe me. But I think I have the means to reverse this." Did you? Discord mentioned the horn was weaker here...how weak? You didn't know. But you put your hoof on it as a self sign of hope.
"....I just want to get my hooves on those two maggots. And I won't be convinced otherwise." Chrysalis obviously just wants them dead. Her words were filled with bitter cruelty and hatred.
"Well then..." Mr.Rich starts the limo back up and starts going forward "Ah guess if I just forced you both off you'd just walk to Canterlot. I want you both to think about what I said, because what you're talking about is plum crazy."
"...It'll be fine sir. I know we may look young, but we're very capable" You reassure him
"......" Mr.Rich just pondered on it for a moment "Can't say I feel right taking you two to Canterlot if that's what you're plannin', doesn't even sound like yer gonna think about it. At least tell me you got somethin' that might give you some sort of edge, it might help me feel better"
"Do you really want to know?" Chrysalis said with a grin
.....wut? ".....Nymous...what do you mean by that?" that was worrying.
She ignores you as Mr.Rich turns his head slightly "'course I do"
"Well then...let me show you" She snickers
NOOO! WAS SHE THAT OUT OF HER HEAD?! With a flash of green flame, she changed from her "Nymous" form to that of her original. Queen Chrysalis herself "What do you think?"
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" GODDAMN IT! She’s gonna scare him off!
"What do you think? He was going to drive us away to try to "save" us. I'm tired Anon...oh so tired of this place. Well then Mr.Rich...what do you think?" She asks with a grin
Filthy Rich's eyes went wide as he stopped the limo. ".....H-how?!"
"Oh it's easy really. And you don't even need to fret, I'm actually here for the side of justice. Justice for me anyway. But I suppose it supports ponies too. Whether you run or you drive us there makes no difference to me. You'd be easy to get rid of and impersonate" She gives him a death glare
"..Y'know, these limos are equipped with a knockout gas. I coulda used it while you were in your little halfthreat. But, and this may just be my sharp senses getting all dull-like..." Mr.Rich looks to you as he calms himself "That colt you have there ain't a changeling, is he?"
"Curious, that fact alone makes you not fear the situation?" Chrysalis says, eyeing him closely
"It just makes things more curious. The fallen queen partnered with a regular ole colt. That's gotta be the strangest pairing I ever did see. I'd think I was dreamin'...but I only have nightmares these days. No point in being scared if there ain't no real hope." He stops for a moment as he starts up the limo again "So, are you going to try to save us? or enslave us? Because I can't imagine you havin' any kind of good intentions yourself unless that colt convinced you otherwise. And that colt." He takes a look back at you "..you Mr.Anon, I can see in your eyes that you want to do some good. If I still had a fortune, I'd put it all on that bet."
"...So you're gonna take us to Canterlot...and not gas us?" You ask with a gulp
"I am, ya mind if I say one last thing? and ask ya one last question?" Filthy says as he looks forward.
"S-sure" This was so damn awkward. Chrysalis is right in the limo, and he's just ok with it. You can't imagine what is really going on in his mind if that's the case. He drives the limo in hopes in running into his daughter, yet doesn't really worry if he would be doomed in the process. You even wagered that ponies in this future....no, it wasn't a good thing to think about.
"Bring Princess Celestia back to us. In anyway you can.....It's a lot to put my faith in a colt. But if you got the Queen of the Changelings with ya, then I'm guessin' that horn around your neck ain't a prop...right?" Filthy asked, seems his senses didn’t dull after all.
You look down at your Horn pendant, and back to Filthy Rich. You give him a nod for confirmation. "You're right. It's a powerful horn that goes beyond unicorn magic. I can only use it once a day. But once we come up with a plan. It'll help us get it in motion"
"Then I guess I really am the craziest stallion alive. Deliverin' an ole Equestrian enemy and a little dynamo straight into the capital. Treason at it's finest" Filthy laughs "......Maybe after this is all over I could ask Princess Celestia for some help...." His joy and laughter dies nearly immediately "...with somethin'"
You knew what he meant....you pop open your saddle bag and spill over a good chunk of bits through the window. "How about you get started right after you drop us off? I heard these old bits are worth a lot of cash. You could sell some for some new bits and keep some of the old ones just in case."
Filthy Rich turns his head to see the bits fall. "............"
He doesn't even say anything, but you can see him shiver, and whimper just a little.
You look to Chrysalis, who has since changed back to Nymous, yeah...she seems to be feeding. She's sitting back and relaxing. letting it all unfold.
"..l-look son, I'll be takin' you both to the luxurious "FlimFlamFortune" Hotel and casino.....but if ya rather m-me drop ya off somewhere else instead...." Filthy Rich says, crying,whimpering joy in his voice.
"Just drop us off in a regular hotel, someplace out of the way. I'd rather not have to deal with a place like that" You didn’t want to see ponies being at their finest in being assholes.
"Gotcha....and thanks Mr.Anon....thanks a million" Filthy Rich was working so hard not to burst out crying. god....geez...you wanted to reach out and give him a hug.
There wasn't much left of the ride at that point. Upon driving up the mountain side and into Canterlot. The only thing to see was the spectacle of it all. Canterlot was bathed in light as if it was a hot summer day. Posters, statues of the brothers, different colored lights, and every spot basically telling you to stop and spend money as far as the eye could see.
God...It was Las Vegas. Which was funny because you could have sworn Equestria has a Los Pegasus or something like that. huh...
"Eghh....why so many lights?" Chrysalis covered her eyes, she hated it.
"It's the way things are now. Welcome to Canterlot, where the richest and scummiest come to waste their cash." Filthy Rich announces in a half sarcastic way. "You two must have really not been around Equestria if you don't even know what happened to it's capital city."
"You can say that..sheesh. How does Anypony get any sleep?.....y'know, don't answer that. They probably just don't." christ...
"And that'd be the right answer....Well, it's a good thing for you two then that we're headin to the darker side of town. If I can say one thing, at least you don't gotta worry about too much crime here. The place is crawling with the Kings' enforcers." Filthy Rich says as he turns on a dark street and heads towards a rather old looking building. "course that means you two gotta make sure not to do anything nasty yourselves, that includes you missy."
"Oh of course, No need to worry. You should know changelings best asset is to blend in" Chrysalis says with confidence