Fallout Equestria: Misfits

by DancingOnTheAshes

Chapter 6: You cant go back.

Fallout Equestria: Misfits

By DancingOnTheAshes

Chapter 6: You cant go back.

Alicorn... Abomination... Monster... Mare...  Somehow the last stung the most when it shouldn't.  Maybe it was because of my love for flight that I could accept my wings but not... that place, the place between my haunches that told the world that I wasn't a stallion anymore.

Some part of me wondered why?  There are a lot of ponies who had gotten worse off.  Especially after being dunked in a tank full of taint.  I was alive, healthy, I could fly and my magic had improved considerably.  So why did it annoy and bother me so?

I'm such a fucking mess.

But I had my priorities; Find Traders Caravan.  Return home to see my sister a last time.  Find stable 10 and hopefully some answers as to why I had briefly been so damned important to The Goddess.

I sat on the floor just beside the huge armor of the mercenary leader; his body was liquefied and poured out of the neck of the suit.  I was tired, the adrenaline tidal wave from the fight was receding and the pain started to creep in.  I was fairly certain that my breastbone was busted, because I had trouble breathing.

Then cold sweat started to flow down my back and sides as horrible realization dawned on me.  I just attacked somepony who was using a bloody minigun!  I yelled in my own head as I started to hyperventilate.  My heart beat like a jackhammer and I felt like I was going to faint.  Pain speared my chest and I almost fell over.

~~Calm down right now before you have an aneurysm!~~  The same voice that taught me the raven spell ordered.  I stopped breathing altogether in shock.  ~~You're alive, that's what matters.  While taking on that big bastard was stupid, he didn't give you any choice.~~

That last part was true at least, the mercenary had seen me as a prize, a trophy.  A pair of wings and a horn he could nail to the wall and brag about.  I just stared at the emptying suit of armor as I tried to breath calmly again.  "Who are you? Another alicorn?"  I asked out loud as I started to breathe again.

~~Hardly.~~  The voice chuckled and I felt the black egg wiggle pointedly in the back of my mind, almost making me panic again.  ~~That should answer your question.  Now I need to get back to sleep.~~  The voice actually sounded exhausted.  ~~Teaching that spell took more out of me than I like to admit.~~  Now the egg settled down and seemed to grow slightly cold.

"Who ponee talk to?"  Geri asked behind me.  Of course, nopo...one else would be able to hear whatever lived in my head talk.

I groaned to myself and held my head in my hooves.  Great, now I could add multiple personality disorder to the list, even if the voice was planted by somepony else.  Add to that Sparkle, and my head was starting to get really crowded really fast.

"I'm not talking to anyone, just rambling."  I started to go over myself slowly, not wanting to strain my aching horn any more than necessary.  Then my breath caught.  "Runs Wild!"  I had for a moment completely forgotten about her.

"I'm okay."  She stepped up beside me, silent as a ghost and almost gave me a heart attack.  "I'm not as well protected as you and you seemed to have the situation in control so I stayed back."  She sat down heavily as I took out bandages and disinfectant, they were light enough that I didn't need to worry about straining my horn unduly.

"Is the last merc alive?"  I asked quietly while I worked, her wounds were all superficial; one graze was close to her throat and I took care about that one first.  I didn't like to waste potions when only few meters of healing bandage were needed.  Geri had been another matter since his bruising and small lacerations earlier in the alley had been so extensive that the bandage needed would have cost more than a potion with the same effect.

I myself was just worn, the earlier potion had me at relative health even if I felt shaky.  I had a lot of heavy bruising and a broken breastbone.  Nothing that a few minutes of careful magic can't fix, Wild was more important.  Besides, the bruising would be mostly gone by tomorrow anyway.

She nodded.  "Yeah, stiff as a board but alive."

Geri came up to us and started to inspect the battered steel ranger armor while taking out his tools.  "Geri sealed the door, only open from inside now."  He said before unstrapping the minigun battle saddle, I saw that his artificial paw jerked erratically while doing so.  It had probably taken a hit during the battle.  It was no wonder, not with those visible hydraulics.

"Geri,"  I asked softly, not looking up while I worked on Wilds neck.  She was stripping off her armor meanwhile so I could get to the remaining wounds later.  "why did they come here?"  I strongly suspected that Geri had known that the mercenaries were on their way.  Had he been jumped by the junkies when he tried to rush back home?

That little stiffening of his body that I picked up from the corner of my vision told me plenty.  He didn't slow in his work on the battle saddle as he unslung the shoulder bag and tossed it at my hooves.  "Big pocket.  Ponee deserve to know."

I gave Runs Wild a look and she stopped in her task to open the bag.  The inside was a mad bombers toy chest.  There was a multitude of homemade explosives and parts for same, I was no expert but I had watched Tripwire enough to know what parts might be useful, even if I didn't have a clue as to how to put them together.

In the big inside pocket, closest to the body, was a thing of beauty.  A wonderful collar in thick red leather and studded with gems in a rainbow pattern, it had a tag hanging on the front that read 'Accalia'.

"Who..."  Wild started to ask but Geri broke her off.

"Was mothers."  Was all he said.  Geri had finished removing the battle saddle and laid it aside, the heavy minigun still looked like it had more than enough ammo to take out a small town.  He then swiftly got into the task of dismantling the suit.  Examining servos, arcane components and armor plates and dividing them into piles.

The raspy tisk of the matron came as a small surprise.  "I found him as a young pup in the wasteland, his mother and kin dead.  The only thing to name him was a small copper plate with 'Geri' engraved on it."  She simply stood, somberly surveying the devastation as a few of the oldest orphans started to clean up.  Geri didn't say anything as she explained.  "I didn't notice her collar at the time and eventually it found its way here, to The Don's collection."

Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  The Don.  The merc leader had mentioned him.  The Don was a sadistic collector of curios and the stallion that ran Red Light.  If Geri had stolen from him, no matter how noble a cause, The Don wouldn't stop at anything to see the youth's head stuffed and mounted on a wall.  And rumor has it that's not a hyperbole.

Her voice took on a sad tone.  "I'm sorry Geri, but after this I cant let you stay here.  You'll just endanger the other children."  Geri simply nodded to this.  He was well on his way into dismantling the armor and had started to work on his artificial paw, stripping it of damaged hydraulics in favor of the more advanced Ranger servos.

The matron turned to the two of us, I was finished with Wild's wounds and was very slowly mending my sternum.  My horn had regained its usual blue glow.  "Thank you young ladies for protecting the children.  I hate to ask of you, but can you take the bodies away as soon as you are able?"  I nodded in agreement.  Then I caught sight of the remaining merc.

He still stood like a statue in the corner he and Wild had fought.  Right, I had promised to throw him naked into a pit of zombies earlier and I wanted to follow up on that... but couldn't, I was still going to strip him to his underbarding though.

"Wild, can you strip that guy down please?"  At her shocked blush I clarified.  "I just don't want to leave him with any weapons or gear as I kick him down Manestreet."  As she went to work I proceeded to strip the dead, using my mouth just as much as my aching horn.

First my gaze fell upon the minigun battle saddle Geri had put aside.  The long weapon was chrome plated and looked in excellent condition, it had a plate on its motor that read: 'Ironshod Firearms CZ-57 Silver Sword'.  I was lousy with saddles but I could ask Geri to strip the minigun out of it.  A minigun would be a nice deterrent even if I wouldn't be able to hit a barn door.

"You want to keep this?"  I asked Geri, it was as much his as mine or Wild's.  He shook his head as he hunched over his work on his bionic limb.

The battle saddles and all ammo except the 5mm I left with a zebra youth who would sell them for food for the orphanage, I did the same with most things me and Wild, either had no use for, or interest in.  So far Geri had only taken interest in the tools from the Unicorn and as much parts he could salvage from the old Ranger armor, he left the rest to us.

One thing caught my eye though; the dead unicorn had a rather nice copy of The Big Book of Arcane Science.  Only ten pages lost.  Yoink.

After making sure that all the kids were okay, me and Wild shoved the corpses outside the door.  Geri had taken it upon himself to dispose of them as soon as his left paw functioned.  I didn't argue.  I was tired enough and I had more work to do.

*** *** ***

I now stood before the single surviving earth pony.  Only the merc's eyes moved around and he looked rather frantic.  We had dragged him outside into the sewer, well away from The Cistern and just under a pony hole leading up to Red Light.  The chrome minigun was strapped to my back and we had left Geri and the orphanage matron alone to talk, they had thanked us for any help but would handle the situation with The Don themselves.  I wanted to protest but was shot down.

It wasn't like I was in any condition to anger The Don anyway, I needed rest to regain my full magic and even then I wasn't anywhere near strong enough... who was I kidding, I'm a doctor not a vigilante.  I couldn't go around like an avenging angel.  Still, that strange calm I entered when I was in a fight was troubling.  I shook my head to clear it.

Now to show why I was named Snakebite Tourniquet.  Almost without having to think about it I blasted the manticore poison from his body, he collapsed in a panting heap.  While breathing was possible, I cant imagine that it was pleasant while paralysed like that.

"You took down Shining Armor."  He panted.  Well, the big guy was aptly named.  "Holy fucking Celestia you actually killed him."  He sounded disbelieving, like I had just had a punch out with Luna or something.

"So? Just another merc."  He had been anything but another merc.  Still, I didn't want to show just how amazed I had been at actually succeeding to kill Shining Armor

"Just another merc!?"  He screamed at me!  "Shining Armor was a well known and feared bounty hunter, known for taking on any and all jobs that bring enough caps."  That was news to me, it had to have been three years since I was in Red Light last and I had never heard of Shining Armor before.

"Well, not anymore. Scram."  I gave him a kick towards the ladder leading up to the street.  More to point the way than to actually hurt him and he scrambled away up it.

"I'm probably going to regret this."  I prophesied.

"What now?"  Wild asked beside me.

"First, I need to get some proper rest."  I tapped my aching horn with a hoof.  "A bar or something that rents out rooms, because a bath wouldn't be amiss either."  I smelled of blood and sweat, my feathers were ruffled and I had the distinct urge to preen my wings.  Something I haven't tried yet.

*** *** ***

We were trotting down Manestreet again.  It was dusk and the nightlife was coming awake.  The towns ailing spark generators were pumping out a low current that made the surviving streetlamps give off a weak glow.  The occasional scream sounded far off in the night.  Lights came out from bars, taverns and nightclubs, one we passed had somepony who was strangling a cat... oh wait, that's a violin... a very badly tuned one.  I was no musician but I could make better music than that.

I thought for half a second.  Nah, I couldn't remember the spell.

Drunks and dashheads were lounging in doorways and stumbling down the road.  I plowed down the street like an icebreaker, nopony wanted to be within ten feet of me and Wild.  I must look like a mess, bullet riddled duster and half covered in my own blood.  Wild looked a little apprehensive as she walked beside me, not used to the throng of ponies littering the street.

Then a voice sounded from an alley.  "Hey little ghost mare!  Wanna ditch your girlfriend and hook up with a real stallion?"  Goddesses that line was cheesy.  The gang in the alley were dirty and grubby, empty stampede packs lay around their hooves.

"Just ignore them."  I said to Wild, I was trying to do the same myself.

"Oh come on big girl.  Just let us sample your little slut."  One chuckled and felt red creep into my vision.  "Or are you jealous?  Don't be, we can give you what you want if you like."  I was fighting to keep my temper, my teeth were clenched and I unconsciously put more force in my stride.  Just walk a little further and they would be out of earshot.

Then one yelled loudly.  "You wouldn't be any fun anyway, a big bitch like you would be so loose that it'd be like trying to screw a doorway."

I snapped.

I was tired, sore, and I had just butted heads with a maniac in magical power armor.  So I wasn't going to take any more shit from anypony.

I twisted and flared my wings, practically flying back to the alley while the gang just stood with big grins on their drugged out muzzles.  "Changed your min..."  One started but got no further.  I slammed him aside with a swipe from my foreleg, the junkie I was after was backing away fast, apprehension battling with the artificial courage of the combat drugs in his system.  Sparkle automatically started S.A.T.S. and red outlines blossomed around all of the junkies.

The stupid bastards had even helped me by picking an alley with no way out.  I swatted and smashed them aside with my forelegs and the edges of my wings as I strode forward.  One large earth pony even tried to buck me to make me fall over.  He was pathetic, after being a punching bag to a manticore and getting a kick from Shining Armor I knew how to keep myself upright in a fight.  I lazily twisted, and struck him a blow straight down on his back using a forehoof, making him collapse and gasp for air.

The bastard I was after had backed into the far wall, terror starting to get a winning hoof on the combat stimulants.  I hauled him up the wall to eye level with my magic, making a supernova of pain blossom in my head.  I ignored the developing migraine as I placed a hoof on his chest and started to squeeze.  For a moment I wanted to see the light die in those eyes.

As he struggled for breath and beat at my foreleg, making nothing more than bruising hits that I ignored, I leaned close to his face.  My slit golden eyes reflected in his and he was trying to yell as I slowly increased the pressure.

"CURATIE!"  Wild yelled right in my ear, making it ring.  That snapped me out of it and I lost my grip on the druggie, he fell gasping to the wet muddy ground.  I turned my head.  She was standing on my back, glaring into my eyes.  "Don't you think that's enough?"

I glanced down on the offending pony.  "Yeah."  I sighed.  Goddesses I had been furious, but now I was just tired and my head ached worse than before.  I noticed that my braided tail hurt at the root and there were the drag mark of four hooves on the ground.  Had I dragged Wild all the way while she held on and tried to stop me?

I needed to get a drink and a bath before I started to break down completely.  I walked back out of the alley, balancing both Wild and the minigun on my back while I stepped over the groaning junkies.  Nopony was seriously injured; stampede made ponies notoriously resilient and I had mostly just hurt their pride.  One started to insult me but I 'accidentally' stepped on his fetlock joint, making it creak loudly as I walked past.

Then I looked around a bit.  Somewhere without stallions would be welcome.  After a moment I spotted it. 'Mare-only bar and hotel.'  There we go, and I'd be a liar if I said that I didn't want to see how the inside of an mare-only bar looked like... Probably like any other bar but hey, its the thought that counts.

As I walked up the steps Wild jumped down from my back and asked.  "Are you serious?"  With an incredulous look on her face.

I actually managed a grin as I walked inside.  "Oh give me this at least."  The bouncer at the door simply stood there, stunned, she looked like she had just seen a hellhound walk by wearing a top hat, frock coat and skull cane.  I chuckled silently to myself.

The inside lobby was much like any other hotel, flaking wallpaper and minor water damage to the roof.  At some point somepony had been ambitious and tried to paint over the walls with cheap paint to little success.  But the floor was clean, wastepaper baskets were empty and most lights worked, indicating that there was at least a little effort put into keeping the place decent.  I've seen a lot worse.

A large sign over the front desk proclaimed: 'Management would like it if any weapons larger than small mouth weapons are left at the main desk.'  Seems fair enough, I doubted I would need the minigun when ordering drinks.  Unless the bartender was going to be a complete prick.

I walked up to the clerk and started to unstrap the large weapon from my back, she was a green earth pony engrossed in what looked like a faded and sleazy romance novel.  Not until I plunked the heavy weapon onto the desk, making an indentation on the wood, did she react.

At first she was startled, then when she looked up at me she nearly wet herself.  The shocked expression and signs of hysteria was starting to become a common and very tiring sight.  I took pity on her.  "Look, I just want to go in and have a drink, then me and my companion are going to rent a room.  Two beds please and a warm bath ready, preferably a large tub."

After that I left Wild at the desk as I took a trip to the little fillies room for a brief cleanup.  I stared at myself in the mirror for the second time since I woke.  I looked like a demon of war with the bullet holes and blood.  Those slit eyes peeking out from under my hat and those female facial features was still unfamiliar.  I wondered if I would ever get used to them.

Still, after cleaning myself I had to admit I didn't look all that bad.  Sure, I wasn't by any stretch normal but I wouldn't say bad looking either.  Put aside the freaky eyes and unusual facial structure and I was actually somewhat attractive, in an odd sort of way.  I shook my head and walked back out into the lobby, then Wild joined me as we entered the bar proper.

*** *** ***

The bar was medium sized, with about a dozen and a half number of tables including a stage.  Most were empty apart for three; Around one sat two large bucks drinking beer, they were probably the nights entertainment and waited for the bar to fill properly.  Around another sat four mares, playing poker.  At the last sat an orange earth pony, drinking for herself.  Along the wall, opposite to the stage, was one long bar.  A large cracked mirror covered a quarter of the wall and it shared space with shelves filled with booze.

And of course, everypony had a shitfest as soon as I walked in.  The bucks readied themselves to charge, the poker players pulled revolvers and one of the two barmares pulled out a shotgun.  I started to crumble, it was getting too much for me.  I had nearly been killed twice today, I've had to relive the death of Bitter Drink and I had nearly killed a dumb junkie with my bare hooves because of a silly insult.

"Sweet Celestia and lovely Luna, will everypony just fucking calm down?!  All I want is to have a drink and to be left in peace!  Please?!"  I wasn't sure but I think that my voice was cracking slightly at the last part, then I sat down heavily.  My migraine was coming on strong and while whiskey wasn't the best remedy, it was what I desperately craved.

This was also what stopped everypony cold.  Apparently the big bad alicorn wasn't supposed to have a nervous breakdown when you point a weapon at her.  The bucks looked at each other in confusion and the collection of guns lowered.

"We've had a bad day."  Wild simply said as I tried to make my way to the bar top.  Wasn't that an understatement.  I sat down on a worn pillow and rested my nose on the lacquered wood, staring straight down.

"A bottle of whiskey and a glass please."  I leaned my head to the side and asked Wild.  "What do you want to drink?"

"Some cider please."  She said as she sat beside me.  Wise move, she wasn't too young but if she didn't have any drinking experience, going slow was the smartest choice.

"R-right."  Stammered the barmare before scurrying off.

Then the second barmare walked up as the first fumbled with a bottle.  "This is a first.  Not only do you walk in only desiring a drink but you are also fully clothed."  She leaned on the bar, crossing her forelegs.  She was a pretty fuchsia with clear blue eyes.  "I guess the stable dweller did some good when she took out maripony."  She then cocked her head as the other barmare placed the bottles on the bar and hastily found something else to do.

Wait... didn't Littlepip kill The Goddess?  Or were they one and the same?  The fuchsia barmare continued as Wild flicked the cork out of the cider bottle.  "Of course, those Enclave a-holes claims maripony was their work.  Hrmph."  She snorted the last part.

"Huh?"  I gave her a questioning look as I poured my glass of ambrosia.  "Sorry, but we haven't had access to a radio.  What was that about the Enclave?"

Then she explained to us that the Enclave had taken credit for the bombing of maripony, scattering the alicorn forces and turning them into a leaderless mass of vermin.  (Enclave words she assured me.)  Then she explained further that they had taken hold of Tenpony tower's broadcast system, sending DJ-P0N3 on the run pretty much as soon as they arrived and as soon as they had control of Tenpony they started to broadcast their own goose stepping, marching band swill.

There was a high note though; P0N3 was still broadcasting and had managed to get some of the truth out while evading the forces of the enclave.

I'm slightly ashamed to say that what I was most annoyed about wasn't just that P0N3 had been shut down, it was that he had been shut down just before I had gotten the opportunity to listen to the dozens of new songs that had arrived at the station.  Just my luck, I manage to get kidnapped and mutated just when DJ-P0N3 gets his repertoire of music quadrupled.

I groaned as I tossed back the fourth glass.  It wasn't doing much, you'd think that drinking whiskey on an empty stomach would get you sloshed pretty fast, but not me.  Probably my freakishly fast metabolism and greater body mass that messed with the alcohol content in my blood.  Now I was getting really depressed.

"Don't worry,"  The barmare said.  By now most of the patrons ignored me and Wild as we sat by the bar. "we still have some of the new songs recorded.  We'll start playing some just before the entertainment."

"Entertainment?"  Wild had gotten slightly tipsy by now and at the fuchsia mares gesture to the two bucks asked.  "What?  Are they going to dance or wrestle or something?"

This amused the barmare to no end.  "Something like that young lady.  Something like that."  She chuckled, then she gave me a knowing wink that I failed to decipher.

I ordered another bottle and then we relocated to an out of the way table to make way for some of the more timid guests that started to trickle in, many new mares got quite intimidated by me and didn't dare order drinks until I had moved away from the bar top.

*** *** ***

About an hour later the music started playing in the background.  Soft tones that reached down through my ears and down past my throat to squeeze my heart.  Velvet Remedy was an amazing singer.

After about another hour, which me and Wild spend talking about everything and nothing, the bar was full.  The lighting started to dim and the music stopped as an ash colored mare wearing an old tailcoat, worn purple bow tie and frayed top hat walked onto the stage accompanied by several spotlights.  The two bucks had moved backstage long ago and I had finally started to get a buzz, it only took two bottles of whiskey and three quarters of a large tequila bottle.  Yay.

"Fillies and mares,"  Granted, her proclamation wasn't all that flowing but what could you do with a mare-only audience.  "soon we will get to the main entertainment,"  Half the room hoof stomped in excitement.  "but first I would like to draw your attention to a very special mare that has decided to grace us with her presence tonight."  Oh no... please don't tell me...

She swept a hoof grandiosely across the room and finally it landed on me.  Of course it landed on me!  What is next?  Torches and pitchforks?  A spotlight swung around and landed on mine and Wilds table as the ash mare continued.  "our fair lady not only took out Shining Armor, the vile mercenary known for taking on the most abhorrent and vile tasks if the caps are good enough.  She did so while protecting the orphanage known as The Cistern.”

The entire room had turned to stare at me and my friend.  Some were disbelieving, others showed a faint admiration and a few showed open animosity.

"Don't believe me?"  The mare on the stage said then addressed me.  "If you'd be so kind as to go fetch the Silver Sword please, we wont take offence."  Of course, it has to have been that merc I left alive.  I was right in that I was going to regret it.

Bugger, I didn't have much choice in the matter now.  I rose on slightly unsteady hooves and walked out into the lobby to get the minigun, eliciting worried mutters from some in the audience.  "Did she really?"  "Cant have, he wears ranger armor."  "Even alicorns cant be that powerful, can they?"  etc.

In the lobby the clerk had already taken out Silver Sword and laid it down on the counter with the ammo cage empty.  This was so planned.  What were their angle?  Just as I took the big handle in my mouth and supported the weapon magically as best I could without aggravating my migraine, the mare behind the counter whispered.  "Our mistress grew up in The Cistern.  The room and bath is on the house."  She gave me a tenuous smile and handed me back the bag of caps I had used to pay for the room.

When I returned I sat Silver Sword down on the floor and leaned it against me.  Many of the mares started to whisper to each other excitedly.  The orange earth pony I had spotted when I walked in, still drinking alone, looked particularly happy and gave me a wink.

The stage mare called our attention again.  "You see, even among these creatures, many of whom we have feared as evil monsters, there are those few who are noble of heart.  Those who would keep the weak from harm."  She was clearly getting into the spirit of things and wouldn't be stopped by anything short of a half-brick.

Turns out that a soft cough from the right pony was enough.  The orange mare that I was now convinced to be the owner waved a hoof.  "Get on with the show please."  She said in a voice that dripped with dark chocolate.

The mare on the stage gave a indignant huff at the interruption but bowed deeply to me.  "Very well."  I returned the bow before going back out into the lobby to return Silver Sword to the clerk.

Then as I was halfway to our table I got interrupted, I was passing a table with a collection of particularly boisterous mares when I felt a hoof smack me on my flank, hard.  I froze.  Cold sweat flowed down my sides and I almost felt like screaming.  Luna's lacy lingerie I could feel my rump jiggle!!!

"Good job mate,"  A grinning puce mare, reeking of spilled beer slurred at me.  "taking down that bastard did us all a favor."  I just stood there for a moment, fighting the urge to flee... and to shake her like she owed me caps.  I could still feel the minor tremors.

"No... problem..."  I managed, Wild had seen everything and was fighting paroxysms of laughter.  I got moving again and thankfully didn't encounter anypony else eager to thank me.

I didn't catch the names of the two bucks on stage as I returned to my seat but my bets were on a wrestling match or pole dancing.  Neither of which I was interested in at all,  but the audience was clearly exited as the collection of mares hoof stomped and wolf whistled loudly.

Wild was clearly interested as well as the two well muscled bucks started to oil one another.  I ignored the stage as I attacked the tequila with vigor, trying to desperately drown the memory of my butt jiggling.  With little success.

Wild jabbed me in the side.  "Oooh oooh.  They're start... oh my."  Her hooves shot up to her face and she started to blush furiously, turning an interesting shade of pink.  I noticed that while she was covering her eyes, she wasn't covering them enough to miss anything.

Oh my indeed.  "Huh?  Well, I guess they are wrestling... in a sense."  I said as I tilted my head.  Then I shrugged and stood up.  "I'll be going up to our room to have a bath.  Have fun."  She nodded mutely while I stood and walked to the stairs, the cat calls and cheering of the audience almost, but not quite, overpowered the grunts.

The stairs creaked slightly and about halfway up, as I avoided a loose board, I was met with a midnight blue mare that was simply gorgeous.  Her mane was long and black, her eyes a seductive rose, and those flanks had just the right amount of bounce.  I was a lost cause as I stopped and ogled her openly.  She gave me a seductive wink as she strutted past me down into the bar.

I turned to watch her and was startled when one of my wings swept a picture off the wall, apparently my wings had flared all by themselves and it took conscious effort to fold them back down.  I hastily continued up to our room.

We had been allotted room five, it was in fair shape.  The mattresses were decent and it didn't smell of mold.  Off to the right was a door that opened to a bathroom and I could see that the tub was in my size.

I started to strip down, taking off the hat, saddlebags, duster, holster and goggles.  I almost felt a little naked, not that ponies usually had any compulsion about clothing.

There was a knock on the door and an apricot colored, unicorn maid shyly walked in, followed by several levitating and steaming buckets of water.  She was obviously dressed to gain attention in that faded but cute little outfit.  I sat down in the middle of the room to let her do her job while I took the ribbons out of my mane and tail.  I slowly tossed my mane and flipped my tail to get the braids out.

I felt an interest in the maid creep into the back of my mind like a thief in the night.  Goddesses how long ago was it?  Three months?  More?  I could remember that Trail Mix had an offer on the table if I left her cooking alone, now there was a mare that was sexy beyond compare.  I felt things happen down below and my heart stopped.

I shook my head to clear it, I wasn't ready for anything like that, not just yet.

"Finished soon?"  I asked the maid and she gave a high pitched meep.

"A-a-almost."  Oh, this was not fair, this was torture.  That short skirt that showed off frilly underwear and her shy attitude combined to make me more frustrated than ever, and this body was making it deeply discomforting.

"Do you mind fetching a cold bucket of water when you are done please?"  I asked conversationally and she nodded.

I started to go over what I knew about the water purifying systems of Red Light to distract myself.  They were simple earth pony things, deep in the sewers and hailed from before the war and before water purifying talismans became commonplace.  The best water was completely rad free and made for decent drinking water if you could afford it.  The slightly less rad free water that came from the less preserved facilities made for good bathwater as long as you weren't planning on a seven hour bubble bath.

"Done."  The maid said timidly as she sat by the door.  I snapped out of my reverie and looked up into the bathroom.  The bath tub was filled with steaming, hot, dirt scouring water and a couple of buckets stood beside the tub, hopefully holding cold water.

"Thank you."  I said as I stood and started to make my way to the cleansing paradise that awaited me.  I looked sideways and the maid was still sitting by the closed door.  I stopped.  "Oh, sorry.  Did you want a tip?"  I had some caps to spare so it wasn't a problem, especially considering the room was free courtesy of the owner.

She shook her head mutely and started to shakily undress.  My heart pounded at the arousing sight.  "I-I-I was sent to help you wash and... u-unwind."  I could feel myself craving the company, and dreading it.  She looked scared and I wanted to calm her, to soothe her, tell her not to be frightened and by Celestia I wanted to hold her close, hold her tight, kiss her slowly down that soft apricot coat and run my hooves down...

I felt my body react further to my arousal and steeled myself.  "That won't be necessary, I can wash myself."  I said brusquely as I turned and continued towards the bathroom in a clear indication that I wanted her to leave.  "You can let yourself out."  I also didn't want her to see on my face how much I desperately wanted to take her up on the offer.

As I stepped over the threshold into the bathroom, I heard the door to the corridor close with a click.  I gave a brief glance to make sure that she had left and magically turned the lock.  Wild had a key of her own.

Then I sat down heavily and took deep shaky breaths for a couple of minutes to calm my nerves.  I felt like crying.  Goddesses I wanted the intimacy, that feeling of connection.  The big problem was that I wanted it as a stallion, not as a mare.

I started to smell my own privates at work, my legs didn't want to stand.  I grabbed a bucket in my hooves and upended the cold water over my head.  That calmed me down somewhat, but far from enough.  The second bucket met the same fate and now I felt secure enough to stand at least.  This day was getting worse and worse.

I slipped down into the warm embrace of the bath and laid on my stomach with my legs folded beneath me, in here my body could do whatever it damned well pleased.  I started to relax, my muscles started to unknot and tension left me slowly.  I lazily unfolded my wings and laid them on the edges of the tub as I did the same with my chin.  I just soaked for a while, the hot water was slightly tingly but I assumed that was because of the old soap.

After soaking I spent several minutes wondering how the bloody hell one went about preening.  Did I just go over each feather with my mouth or should I try and scrub first or something?  Not for the first time I felt that my new body should have come with an instruction manual.  I decided to go with the former option first, it felt right as I slowly let feather after feather slip between my lips.  I also felt my saliva take on an oily feel.

I spat experimentally in one of the little pools of water on the floor.  The glob of saliva was indeed oily.  Protection for the feathers against water and wear?  I mentally shrugged and continued on my task, preening my wings slowly as I levitated a brush to clean the filth out of my mane and tail.

Much later I simply soaked and enjoyed the water.  I knew I shouldn't because of the slight rad count but the small tingle of the water was just so enthralling.  Like having a full body massage literally all over your body.

With a start I realised that I was really, REALLY horny.  The raven maned mare in the stairs and the maid earlier combined with the drink made me wriggle in the water.

Then again.. why fight it?  A small voice in the back of my head suggested to me, I magicked the door closed and turned that lock too.  Just to be on the safe side.

I got maybe ten minutes of exploration done before I had to stop.  It was just so damned alien compared to what I was used to.  My intimate parts felt wrong, even if there weren't anything medically wrong with them they weren't... right, they just weren't really mine.  I felt filthy, almost as if I had sneaked in on a sleeping mare and taken advantage of her.  To my shame I couldn't completely stop either, now that I had started I had to get the pressure out someway before I went crazy.

I fumbled my way slowly forward.  It felt awkward and I made several wrong starts that just crashed and burned.  And by Celestia did I feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself.  Finally, after many dark curses aimed at The Goddess, I arrived at some sort of climax.  But it felt like such a stuttering and incomplete affair that I just wanted to scream.

I settled for angry and bitter tears instead.  I glared at the wall through my tears and in a fit of anger drove a hoof into the discolored tiles, leaving a clear imprint and making whoever was in the bathroom adjacent swear loudly.

Yes, the rest of my fucking life like this.  Wonderful.  Yay, lets throw a bloody party.  Another thirty years spent like a ma... hang on.

Cold horror started to flow down my veins.  The green alicorn we had encountered yesterday had been at least a hundred and fifty years old, add to that her mention of grandchildren and you could tack on another sixty or seventy.  The body itself didn't look any different than I did age wise.  A vague feeling that the pony you looked at was in some undefinable way ageless.

How long could I expect myself to live?  Another hundred and fifty years at least.  Celestia and Luna had lived for... millenia...

A sob worked its way up my throat.  I tried to fight it down but another came after it, then another, and another.  Before I knew it I was crying my heart out in the rapidly cooling bathwater.  I was never going to become normal again, and I had a long life ahead of me as a mare, as somepony else.  Snakebite was now truly dead, in almost every sense of the word.  I just held his memories and what were those worth?  Not much.

I tried to stand but my legs wouldn't support me and I collapsed, bending my left wing backwards painfully on the edge of the tub.  I just didn't have any energy for anything else than lying here and wallowing in grief.  Maybe that would be better, lying here until the low rad count ate my insides and killed me.

I raised a hoof to wipe some of the tears away and felt that my bruises from the fight in the alley had vanished.  This wasn't fair!  Did the radiation in the water affect me like radiation did ghouls?

Now I did scream.  A sobbing wailing temper tantrum that had me banging my hooves against the edge of the bathtub, cracking the already stained enamel.

"Curatie!  Whats wrong?"  Wild shouted outside the bathroom door.  Then she opened the door with the same key that opened the door tho the hall.

"Don't.  Please, just go away."  My voice was terrible to hear, a broken and miserable thing best left to die.  Just like I felt.  I shielded my face with my right wing to avoid her having to look me in the eyes.  But she walked closer, I could hear the slight unsteadiness as she stepped carefully over the wet floor.  She was probably slightly tipsy.

She was relentless, placing a hoof on my wing and gently sweeping it away.  "Please, tell me whats wrong."  And the gentleness in her soft voice broke me completely.

I explained it all, my frustration, my fumbling attempts at relieving myself and how vile they made me feel, and my realisation that I had a long life ahead of me as something I simply wasn't supposed to be.  I poured it all out into her gray mane as she sat at the short end of the tub and hugged my neck.

After a while I ran out of steam and she helped me out of the tub, then wrapped me in several old towels.   I felt like a joke; the big and fearsome alicorn cries her heart out like a filly without her ribbons and then has to be helped out of a bath tub.

"I cant pretend to know what you are going through, but I'll try to help as much I can."  Wild said after a while as she leaned up against me, wrapped in one of my now dry wings.

"Thank you."  Was all I said.

Footnote: Level Up
Proof-Readers: NeverKnown and Shadowstep AKA Shirley MacBadassface

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