The two walked and trotted on and off through the afternoon hours. They entertained little conversation with one another, not that Lyra didn't make valiant attempts to elicit the contrary. Red’s responses however, were curt and choppy at best. At one point they had another race to pass the time after a few more successful taunts passed between them. Lyra once again beat the pegasus easily, despite Red making one attempt to take flight.
The sun began to dip below the horizon before long, casting a red glow over the clouds high up in the sky, and washing the two misplaced ponies in a pallid bath of orange light.
The first of the two ponies, the unicorn named Lyra Heartstrings, hummed a merry tune as she walked. Another target for her boredom presented itself though, and she kicked the hundredth rock found on that road for the day, out into the forest. Nailed it! Eh... Her attempts at keeping her spirits high were getting difficult as they continued to trudge forward.
Lyra looked over at the other pony beside her on the yellow striped road. Red, the second pony and the duo’s pegasus, had been a gloomy mcgloomerson all day. Sooo, she hadn't been a very cheery conversationalist for the young unicorn mare.
Suddenly, an idea came to Lyra, and she broke out into song.
“My naaame is Lyyyra Heeeartstriiiings! And I am here to saaay! I’m gooonna make you SMIIILE and I will brighten up your daaay!-”
“NO! No singing, please.” Red’s eyes were serious as she whirled her head to face the bouncing Lyra, but her expression told a different story. A smile wobbled on her face, and to the side she suppressed an unbidden snicker.
“Hah! Gotchyah, finally made you laugh again. Hardly got past the first verse too...but, "Smile, Smile, Smile" always was a favorite back in Ponyville. It's no surprise you'd find it to your liking.” Her airy look she gave Red was filled with satisfaction.
A dark shape loomed close in distance, but neither pony recognized it’s presence, yet.
“Yeah well...” Red answered hesitantly. “I’m not a statue you know...sorry, I just can’t stop trying to figure things out, I guess. You may sing if you would like to Lyra, it was kind of catchy. Just...take it easy?”
Lyra giggled and hopped twice much like another well known (to her at least) Ponyvillean. “It isn't mine! So I can’t take credit, but thank you, I love that song myself. The mare that made it is a real hoot and half, if you think I’m a hoof full, just wait till you meet her!”
Red gave a weary smile. “Oh, I’m...so very excited...I can’t wait to-”
“So you wanna hear another song!?” The unicorn skipped once, and began to sing.
“On and on I’ll sing along, search-ing for shiny thiiings! All along I’ve sung my song, pluck-ing these old striiings!” The mint unicorn leaned into Red and bumped her shoulder with her own. A look of dumbfounded irritation was directed at Lyra, but she was unperturbed and sang on, even more cheerily, too. “I’ve got my hooves and got my horn! What more could I ever neeed!? Weeell... It’s you my friend, my dearest friend, my words I hope you heeed! Hoof in hoof let’s cant-er along just seeing all there is-”
“Lyraaa.” Red was wearing a pleading look, and was giving the unicorn puppy dog eyes. That is not taking it easy! Hmph, well if I can’t win this my way, I’ll beat her at her own game! I’m not above being cutesy wutesy...or am I? Wondering if she still had her actual personality only confused her more.
Lyra stopped her song short, mid verse, then relaxed. Her head hung a little, and she smiled apologetically at the road. “Heh, sorry... Got a little carried away...I made that song with a friend, actually.” She gave the setting sun’s colors a thoughtful look. “I like to sing when I want to cheer myself up too, or play my lyre...but I don’t have it right now.”
The mint unicorn sighed, then hoof bumped Red’s shoulder. “Sorry Rusty, I’ll stop with the singing...I bet you’re a great singer though, your voice is really pretty.” Her quick exposition was ended with a sly wink, then just as quickly she was again looking forward on the road seemingly in her own world.
The incredulous stare Red kept on Lyra turned into a thoughtful, curious one after a moment. Maybe she's more than just a hyperactive loon?
Red's thoughts concentrated on walking while she thought over the oddity that was Lyra. It was strange, all of her own senses felt conflicting and just plain wrong. There was this constant niggling in the back of her head, but what it meant she couldn't say. Was the road just familiar because of the air strips Lyra had mentioned?
“Hey... Lyra." She said plainly. "Could you tell me about your friend? Maybe hearing stuff about...Ponyville or other ponies will help my memory? What did you say her name was... Bonbon?” It came out as a question since Red thought it wasn't likely to help, but she was asking out of curiosity about Lyra anyway.
Hm, had I mentioned Bonbon? Lyra’s eyes squinted at a dark shape that peered out at them through the trees. “Rusty!” She gasped, then a relieved look sprang into being on her face. “Look, I think that’s a house!.”
The pegasus pointed her head forward and held a hoof up to her chest in relief. “Oh thank goodness, my legs are killing me, I need to sit down...”
Lyra was already galloping to the home. “Come on, I’ll race yah!” The unicorn took off like a green bullet, and was half heartedly followed by her trotting friend.
Red watched her new friend thunder towards the house across its lawn. The way she liked to fool around was really uplifting...if a bit odd. I think this girl never grew out of the kindergarten stage of maturity...
Hooves thunked up the wooden stairs and she whirled around crouching, to egg on Red, who was taking her time. “Come ooon slow poke, if you don’t hurry up the timber wolves are gonna getcha!”
Red took a couple deep breaths as she approached the massive porch, she ignored Lyra’s taunting. “How do you have so much energy...” She winced and kneaded one of her sore legs with an idle hoof. Wow... Is it me or is this house’s scale a little off? Her brown eyes searched the surroundings and took in the home piece at a time. Night had begun to settle around them, the sun making its final descent behind the trees.
Lyra was already up at the door and knocking resolutely. “Hey, Lyra...” Red crept closer behind the unicorn and looked quizzically up at the tall door. It didn’t seem sized for them. The lights for the home were off and no one came to door. “Maybe we should just go Lyra...?” She was getting an unsettling feeling. Her friend set her face determinedly and pounded on the door again, but called out this time too.
“Hello anypony home!? We’re really LOST and could use a hoof in getting our bearings! Hello!?” A light clicked on from the side of the house, and a loud noise like someone falling. Lyra’s ears perked up with a wiggle and her eyes widened at the response from indoors. “See?” She smiled at Red proudly. “Progress!”
Red nodded hesitantly, and tried to return the confidence evident in the other mare’s face. She winced though, a slight headache suddenly coming on, something tugged at her memory.
The door was pulled open roughly, and in the doorway stood a tall...thing.
Lyra’s eyes opened wider, and her mouth opened a little in dreamy surprise at what she saw. I think I saw one of these in a dream once... The bipedal figure looked around above them for a second, before looking down at the two equine shapes standing on its porch.
The creature rubbed its eyes, as if in disbelief, then spoke. “What the hell are you? Wow, I gotta...gotta stop drinking so dang much during the week.” One of its hands quickly reached out towards Lyra, possibly confident it wouldn’t touch anything. Lyra was too dumbfounded to move, and Red—who was going to let Lyra do the talking—was overcome by an unbearable headache suddenly. When the limb poked the tip of the unicorn's horn though, its expression quickly intensified, then, its hand grabbed a handful of Lyra’s mane.
“HEY! Claws off, grabby!” Lyra cried out and bucked fiercely to shake the intruder off.
“Lyra...” Red jerked back and stumbled away from the chaos that had begun to unfold without warning. There was a cry of pain. The tall figure fell back into the door, and it was slammed shut in an instant in front of the two ponies. “Hey...” Red felt her voice getting weaker. Then, without warning, the night grew too black for the rust red pegasus to see anything.
“WHAT THE HAY- Red? Red!?” Lyra’s backside bumped into the porch railing. There was shouting and yelling from inside. The unicorn’s eyes shot from the shut door and back to her friend. I- What just happened? In all her years nothing like that had ever happened around her before, had that tall thing just attacked her? It had been wearing clothes, it couldn’t have been some mindless beast.
The shouting from in the big house died down suddenly as more lights sprang to life everywhere, the windows, the porch, and the yard were all illuminated suddenly. Lyra began to stare around in a panic. Okay. She thought. Time to leave. “Come on Rusty old girl, we shouldn’t stay here.” Upon poking her, she found that her pegasus pal was out cold, Lyra tried to remember if the creature had hit her... No, it hadn’t. Why’d she pass out then... Her head wound maybe? "Rusty, come on wake up-!"
The passage slammed open once more, causing Lyra to freeze.
“Nighty night, varmint.”
The beer left an awful taste in his morning breath riddled mouth, but it didn’t matter really. After seeing what he just had, the Budlight seemed like the only answer, and the cabinet didn’t have anything stronger.
A knock thudded on the front door. Hank looked up from the two multi-hued horses that lay tied together like a hat’s straws on his living room floor. That’d be animal control. He hadn’t really been sure what to do after the green one had stabbed him. He wasn’t about to take shit from no stupid forest animal, but that thing had spoken. He was sure of it.
The door creaked open slowly, the chain catching as it went as far as it would. Hank wasn’t taking chances... Still, he wasn’t entirely sure what to do now that he had the critters, strange or not, under control. Best just get rid of uhm... Those things could be worth a lot of money... He thought. Why should I just hand uhm over?
A shadowy figure stood in the bright fluorescent light of his lawn security system with his hands folded in front of him. He wore an animal control uniform, and was friggin’ tall.
“You animal control...?” Hank asked in a taciturn tone.
“Yup, name’s Smith, sorry we took so long.” The figure answered. “You called about... Stray horses?”
“Yeah, they’re in here, as crazy as that sounds.” Hank unlocked his door and hesitantly let the man in, who then gestured back towards his van. His arm quivered on the door handle from the hastily bandaged wound. Ah, dang things are likely more trouble’n they’re worth...
“Hey, Hugo!” The tall man yelled. “Get your ass outta that truck!”
“Dammit, gimme a sec!” Hugo yelled back. Hugo exited the truck and ran to the house. The three of them walked into Hank’s living room. There, the two animals were tied up on the floor. Both the red and the green one were unconscious.
“Here they are.” Said Hank. “Had to gag thissun. Wouldn't simmer down none, so I knocked it the fuck out with the butt stock on my double barrel.” He kicked the green horse’s side angrily.
The two animal control workers shared a look of pure shock with one another, not at the abuse, but at the Equines themselves. The two partners proceeded to walk over to the thoroughly roped animals and knelt down to get a better look. Both of them were filthy, and looked pretty worse for wear.
Hugo and Smith whispered under their breath to one another, so that Hank couldn’t hear them.
“I don’t believe it, that call was legit, these are definitely objects alright. Brightly colored...” Smith sighed resentfully. “Talking horses...”
“Won't be able to tell if it can talk while it's knocked out, though....” Hugo said calmly.
“Snippy little thing stabbed my arm with that horn its got there...” Hank said nonchalantly, while crossing his arms, and glaring down at the weird horse.
“Well, that settles it.” Hugo nodded his head at Smith and stood up wiping his gloved hands on the uniform he wore. “These are what we’re looking for.”
The two workers turned back to Hank, who continued to give them a suspicious look. “You fellas say something?”
“Hm? No, anywho, we’ll get these little guys out of your hair pronto alright. No charge.” Smith said with a cool smirk.
“Really? Well, thank you partner. Glad this was quick too, I got work tomorrow and-” Hank made to shake the worker’s hand, who immediately threw a right hook to Hank’s temple. The swing collided with a pulpy thud, and Hank was knocked smoothly to the floor, unconscious.
That’s it? Smith thought wryly. That easy? Christ, I’d have thought a mountain goat like him would be able to take a punch.
“I’ve got the objects, Smith.” Hugo snickered as he hoisted both ponies onto his shoulders. “You administer the amnesiac yet?”
“Almost, Hugo...” His partner replied monotonously, then attempted to suppress his own laughter.
He pulled out a syringe from a hidden pocket in his fake animal control worker’s uniform, and jammed it straight into the unconscious man’s neck. The amnesiac coursed its way through his veins. Wasting no time, he lifted Hank up and placed him in a chair, making it look like he had simply fallen asleep. After he was appropriately seated and didn’t seem like he would slide out onto the floor, Smith then ran to the kitchen and opened the fridge. He grabbed one of the beers and popped it open, then ran back into the living room and placed the beer next to Hank.
Thoughtfully, Smith took a step back for a second to admire his handiwork. Hm, just one more thing... He grabbed the TV remote, and placed it in Hank’s hand. Perfect. Satisfied with the scene that had been set, he waltzed outside to the truck.
“Are they loaded up yet!?” Smith yelled as he jumped into the truck's driver side seat.
With a final slam of the doors, the ponies were loaded into the back of the truck. “Yessir, both freaks are put away and secured!” Hugo dusted off his hands, grinning ruefully as he got into the shotgun side of vehicle. The moving-truck started and drove away, leaving the unconscious redneck to a confusing wake-up and a splitting headache.
Hugo looked over at Smith, disappointment on his face. His partner caught the look out of the corner of his eye. “What?” He asked sharply.
“I don't think he got the reference man, I told you we should've been Agent K and J..." Smith rolled his eyes and set them back onto the road. He went over the route across the roads and backwoods trails he was to take to arrive at their destination. The truck flew across the asphalt in the deep of the night, towards Site-19.