Fallout Equestria: Misfits

by DancingOnTheAshes

Chapter 7: He who fights monsters.

Fallout Equestria: Misfits

By DancingOnTheAshes

Chapter 7: He who fights monsters.

I was trying to get some sleep, I honestly was.

"So... who was it?"  Wild asked from the other bed.

"Was what?"  I gave up on sleep and pulled myself into a sitting position, making the weak bed springs creak.

"Well, you said you were experimenting."  That made me wince slightly but I nodded.  "Sooo... who did you picture?"  Her tone was a little mischievous and she sat up too, hugging her hind legs.  Her cheeks were flush and she was still under the influence.

"...The maid."  I answered in a low voice, feeling blood flow to my cheeks.

"You know, you get this interesting color when you blush."  She said and there was nothing but friendly teasing in her voice, I almost wanted her to rub my muzzle in it, to admonish me, but knew it would not be fair to expect that of her.

"...Not funny."  I said, but my heart wasn't in it.

"A little actually."  She countered, then she got serious.  "Curatie,"  I looked up.  "its okay, really.  I don't think any less of you and you shouldn't be ashamed."

"...I know..."  And I did, but I couldn't quite shake that feeling of having played with another's body.

"To be honest, I'm a little surprised that you hadn't taken yourself for a ride before."  Then she got a speculative look on her face.  "The maid... Was it that apricot colored one?"

"Mhmm."  She had put her hoof right on the spot.

"Cute, but a little too timid."  She waved it away, then asked me.  "...did you find the button?"

"What?"  For a moment I didn't understand what she meant until she clarified.

"Oh you know, the clit."  There was nothing in her voice but polite inquiry while she waggled a hoof tip at me.

Okay, that had me blushing quite a bit and for a moment I was speechless.  "I-I...Yeah... its not hard to locate."  I mumbled and looked down on my fidgeting fore hooves.  "I payed attention... when I was a stallion."  Oh goddesses, I'm in my early thirties and I'm acting like a post cutie mark teen.

"Oh my, a male who pays attention to his partner in bed. Catch me, I may faint."  She did a mock faint with the back of a hoof to her forehead and fell on her back to the bed.

"Drama queen."  I managed to deadpan at her.

"I'm just trying to lighten the mood."  She smirked and stuck out her tongue at me.

"Hrmph...Thanks."  And the thing was, I actually felt better.  True, I didn't feel sunshine and rainbows just yet but so far the conversation had me in better spirits.

"...how different is it?  Between doing it as a buck and a mare I mean."  She asked and at my brief silence added softly.  "You don't have to answer.  I'm just curious."

"Its... a lot different... I don't think I'm getting used to it anytime soon."  I sighed and laid back on the bed, wriggling to accompany my wings.  "And I really think you should ask me later, when I've... adjusted."

"Well, if you want any tips... just ask."  She had rolled around on her stomach and had her head in her hooves.  I just looked at her for a moment then realised.  I had been acting like she was a complete innocent, but really she was only ignorant of the wasteland at large, she has had a lot more time as a mare than I had.  Had I been slightly condescending to expect her to be the fair and innocent maiden?

I chuckled, both at my own silliness and the idea of her giving me a masturbation 101.  "Oh yeah, because that wouldn't be infinitely more awkward."

"Just laying it on the table."

~~It wouldn't hurt to ask her you know.~~  The strange voice said unexpectedly, making my face drain.  Oh right, I'm not alone in my own head.

"Is anything the matter?  You've gotten very pale."  She said worriedly.

"Nothing, just a stray thought.  I'm going to bed."  I dismissed and pulled the blanked over my head while I magically tapped the light switch.

"Night."  She said a little uncertainly.  I didn't like cutting off the conversation like that but I had an even more important talk with something else waiting.

"Good night Wild."

*** *** ***

Okay, I could do this.  While wrapped in blankets and lying on my side in the dark I prepared to speak with the black egg residing the back of my head.  "What are you?"  I thought, trying to make the words as clear as possible.

~~Just a piece of thought and memory given structure.~~  The voice said calmly.  ~~And I do apologise for butting in on your conversation earlier.~~  The tone suggested the voice was scratching the back of its head in embarrassment.

"Thought and memory?  What is that supposed to mean?"  To say that I was confused and a little scared was an understatement.

~~It means; That I'm made up of parts of your personality and parts from both the green alicorn that spawned me and remnants of Unity.~~

Cold sweat started to form.  I had parts of that horror called Unity in my head?  Once again I remembered the cold hand of that great beast stretch my mind and individuality into a thin thread.  I shuddered and asked. "Why? Why Unity?"

~~Oh, don't worry, nothing substantial.  Just enough fragments to make sure that I'm not just a carbon copy of you.~~  Okay, that makes sense, if it was just me Mark II it wouldn't make much of a teacher or confidant like the green wanted it to be.

"But you're still in my head."  What kind of privacy could I expect now?  One where something constantly peeked over my shoulder, one were every move, every action, every thought was monitored by this alien personality.  Oh goddesses could I get a break please?  Just one?

My head was quiet for a while then the voice said.  ~~You know, it really doesn't have to be that bad.~~  A feeling of being cuddled enveloped my mind, like somepony was hugging me tight from behind.  ~~We're kind of in the same boat, in more sense than one.  So it wouldn't hurt to try and get along.  You can call me Shade, nice to meet you.~~

I sighed.  Well, Shade had a point.  "Nice to meet you too Shade."

Then.  ~~You know, giving it another try wouldn't hurt.~~  A chuckle followed and I got the feeling that my ear was nuzzled.

"Giving what another try?"  Oh hell, how much access to my... Celestia!  Spectral hooves ran down my back and settled just above my rump before going back up to start circling my wing joints.  Shade could actually touch me?  I shuddered and pulled the blanket around me tighter, making the ghostly hooves stop moving.

~~Not ready huh?  I wont pressure you.~~  The nature of the hooves motions changed from suggestive to a purely platonic back rub.  ~~Go to sleep.  It'll do the both of us good.~~

Once the feeling of immense discomfort had faded I asked.  "Shade?"

~~Mhmm.~~  It was continuing to rub my back and my sides; where the big flight muscles were.  Boy were those tense, two straight days of flying had done me good but left me too stiff for even a warm bath to soften me up completely.

Okay, lets get this over with.  "Were you watching while I lay in the bath?"

Shade was silent for a while before it answered.  ~~I tried to give you what privacy I could... but I still have access to the memory.  To you it would be like remembering something that happened yesterday.~~

"No privacy huh?"  I thought miserably.  Then before I could wallow further I felt a mental hug envelop my mind that would have been bone crushing if Shade had been physical.

~~I'm sorry about that, but I am part of you after all and while I bossed you around earlier I do care about your well being.~~  Shade's tone was soft as it continued to work the tension out of my back.

I didn't say anything after that, I just let Shade massage me to sleep, glad that I at least had someone besides Wild who knew what I was going through.

*** *** ***

I woke up some time around sun up, feeling the need to pee.  That was the only real bodily function I felt was somewhat regular.  Then again, I did drink Sparkle Colas regularly.  I still had a faint headache but now it was like the headache from drinking the evening earlier, my horn felt fine.

Shade was dormant again and I was glad about that, I could at least be alone when I went to the bathroom.  As soon as I was done I washed up and re-braided my mane and tail (It gave me a sense of identity, that I was different from other alicorns), I simply sat by the window, surveying Red Light.  The dull throb of the still struggling nightlife and the odd scream in the night was familiar music.

I was still a little melancholy from last night but not much.  My back felt good and relaxed and I was properly rested in a normal bed.  That alone was luxury enough to make me feel better.  My mind wandered to what had happened last night.

I would probably adjust somewhat to being a mare... eventually.  And I had to admit; touching myself, while discomforting, wasn't unpleasant.  I probably just needed to get over the feeling that I was touching somepony else's body, familiarity with myself and my new private parts would be something that needed time.  I started to blush and shook my head to clear it.

A soft tapping on the wall beside the window drew my attention.  I opened the window, ready to throw up my shield in case this was something preparing to jump at me, and peeked out.  On the ledge that ran the entire length of the building balanced a zebra filly, standing on her hind legs in that easy way zebras did.  She held a paper in her mouth and gestured from it to me.

"To me?"  I asked and she nodded.  I levitated a hoof full of caps from the saddlebag that hung on my bedpost and exchanged them for the paper.

"Thank you keeper."  She said silently and ran back along the ledge on her hind legs.  Keeper?  What was that supposed to mean?

I shrugged and closed the window before opening the piece of parchment.  I spent some time staring at the words before panic overcame me.

Oh we were so fucked!  How could I have been so stupid!?  We should have killed the merc or at least left Red Light asap.  Leaving him alive alerted The Don that his little pest clearing squad had been destroyed and now he was going to come down on me and Wild like a ton of bricks.

Sure I hadn't been at the top of my game yesterday but I must have lost all sense of self preservation to think that somepony like The Don would have just ignored us.

"Wild! Get up now!"  I yelled, causing Runs Wild to fall out of her bed as she flailed in sleep addled panic.  I was already pulling on my duster and hat.  If we hurried we could take off from the roof before his hit squad got to us.

"What what?  What is happening?"  She was struggling out of the grasp of her blanket, sleep muddling her face.

"The Don knows.  We need to leave now, before his thugs get here."  I had already gotten my arcane revolver strapped to my leg and was working feverishly to sort out Wilds armor and pony shoes to get her clothed quick.  Moping around could wait and I could feel Shade stir in the back of my head, reacting to my panic.

"So what?"  She said sleepily as she defeated the blanked and stood.  "What's he gonna do?"

"Nail our heads to the wall."  And at her disbelieving frown I hoisted her in the air with my rejuvenated magic to dress her like a mannequin.  "I'm not mucking about, he'll try and kill us for messing with his plan to regain that collar."

"Yes yes I get it, set me down."  I did so, and took the opportunity to run down to the lobby to get my minigun.

While down in the lobby I explained to the clerk that The Don's thugs might pay a visit and that they should keep their heads down.  Then I strapped Silver Sword to my back and got back up to the room, where I spent a minute or two to explain the situation to Wild.

"Now, lets get going."  I said hurriedly as I opened the door, ducked my head and walked out.

Straight into a large mare dressed in what looked like a very well preserved pre war suit and sunglasses.

"The Don would like to invite the two of you to breakfast."  She said in a stern voice that told me that this was not a request.  The four bucks in heavy, full auto battle saddles on either side of the corridor indicated that she meant business.  Shade whistled softly in admiration.

I reacted instantly, my horn turned obsidian as I filled the corridor with a dark cloud of ravens.  Then I ducked back in through the door and slammed it behind me, shutting the swearing thugs outside.

"Brace yourself!"  I yelled as I grabbed Wild in my fore legs and, running briefly on my hind legs, covered the length of the room and smashed through the window.  I had managed to create a cone shaped shield just in time to avoid the worst of the cuts but my flanks still got shredded on the window frame pretty badly.  Wild swore and struggled in my grasp as I flared my wings and took into the air.

The adjacent roof was just high enough that I struck my hind hooves on the edge, messing up my balance, nearly dropping Wild.  This wasn't good, as I caught the air current and lifted I scanned the rooftops for snipers, I saw one or two track us as I turned in the rough direction of the town wall and fled.

"Bloody hell!"  I swore as several bullets zipped past us.  My cuts were bleeding badly and I swiftly levitated a potion bottle out of my pack to treat the bleeding.  I was starting to run low, I had lots of other stuff but nothing that worked as swiftly or as good.

I threw up my bubble shield to avoid getting shot as I aimed at the small switching station that Geri had mentioned in the letter; The letter had stated that Geri would flee Red Light with the red collar visible, this was to distract The Don's attention from The Cistern and onto him instead.

My concentration was broken by a small explosion on my shield.  I looked to my right and saw an earth pony in a gray duster, equipped with a .50 caliber anti-materiel battle saddle.  My heart caught in my throat.  He was using explosive ammunition, if he changed his ammo to armor piercing we were screwed.

But instead of firing again, he just got a puzzled look on his face and studied me through the scope... wait.  Was he checking out my flank?  As I continued to fly, keeping an eye on him, I caught sight of a very curious thing.  The duster he wore were of the same color and design as mine.  Coincidence?  Nah, cant be, but I have no idea why he didn't fire again as we left the town walls behind us.

We didn't get far, after only half a mile or so from Red Lights walls the report of a rifle was heard and I felt my body jerk.  It wasn't the report of a .50 cal, but a brush gun.  As the ground came up to meet me I felt myself loose consciousness, shock was setting in and the big bullet had torn right though my body.  I desperately held onto my shield to avoid splatting on the hard packed earth below.

The hard slam of the grounds impact against my shield and my subsequent short fall to the dirt when the bubble disappeared made me drop from the world of the living.

*** *** ***

~~WAKE UP!~~  Shade yelled in my head, jerking me awake.  I didn't hurt, which meant that I wasn't injured anymore, somepony had healed me while I was unconscious.  I opened my eyes.

The room I was in was dark and grubby, likely a cellar of some kind with a surprisingly tall ceiling, the walls were damp and moisture dripped down them.  The only suitable word for the room was 'Dungeon'.  But what really caught my eyes were the large table and wall covered with torture instruments and... other items I could only describe as 'of an erotic nature'.  This did not bode well.

I struggled briefly but settled down when I found myself crucified to a table.  I was naked and without any of my gear.  My front and hind legs were spread to all four corners of the table.  I felt vulgarly exposed to the empty room and tried to cover myself with my wings but they were also spread out with heavy clamps and chains.  My braided tail was held up to the ceiling with a piece of rope.  Giving anypony behind me an unobstructed view.

I gave an experimental tug, the chains didn't seem very strong, just heavy.  I prepared to try and wrench the spikes holding them out of the table.  ~~NO! DO...~~  Shade's warning got cut off as I magically grasped the chain and prepared to pull it from the heavy wood of the large table.

But no sooner had my horn started to glow than blinding electricity shot through my body and both me and Shade screamed in pain, my body jerked and I painfully tore open my legs around the shackles.  The pain was unbearable and originated from around my neck, where a heavy metal collar rested.

The shock treatment ceased and my body stopped its spasmodic dance.  I collapsed panting to the rough surface and just lay there.  When I felt that I had control of my body again I tried to examine the collar and the wires that lead from it up to my horn.  It wasn't easy, but from its feel and the effect that I had felt when I had used magic it meant only one thing.  Magic suppression collar.

~~I tried to tell you.~~  Shade chided me.  ~~We have been fitted with a collar tha...~~

"That prevents me from using magic."  I cut Shade off.  Okay, I was a little testy but being electrocuted does that to you.

"Wild!"  Goddesses, how could I have forgotten bout her.  I twisted and turned, but she wasn't here.  I was all alone on the big room, that didn't comfort me at all.  She could be anywhere.  The sound of voices cut into my awareness.  I looked towards the doorway, it lacked a door and the sounds from the hallway echoed down to me.

"I cant imagine why she would be of any interest to you."  The voice was... portly, it spoke of a buck with way too many jowls and probably of a girth that would put the average walrus to shame.

"She was wearing one of our dusters.  That is unusual and I'd like to know why and how."  This voice was gruffer, speaking of the kind of pony who could subsist entirely on whiskey and not even get really drunk or even hungover.  That distinct rasp that spoke of a lifetimes consumption of whiskey in the last fifteen years.

They arrived around the bend and I finally got a good look of them, one of them was certainly the unicorn known as The Don, his massive bulk stopping by the door... eventually, as there was a lot of him to stop.  The other buck was gaunt and thin, but had the deceptive sort of movement that said to anypony experienced that he certainly had the muscle power and skill to take someponys head off if he felt so inclined.  I assumed the latter was the one with the whiskey voice.

He strode forward as I glared at him.  "Leave us, please."  He told The Don and the sadistic fuck left us alone.  The gaunt buck sat down, he was dressed in the same type of duster I owned and I could see that he had the same image that adorned mine; the image of a grinning pony skull minus the pink butterflies that I had added.  He also looked to be the earth pony that had shot at me from the rooftops.

My angry glare met his calm gaze for a few minutes until he looked away and studied my bindings.  I felt naked, very naked.  With my normal clothing gone there were nothing between my female body and other ponies stares.  Being spread out like a bondage victim didn't help.  Shame and humiliation battled for supremacy.

He sighed.  "I didn't shoot you, if that's what you are angry about.  It was one of the fat bastards hired griffins."  He shrugged and brought out a whiskey bottle in his hooves.  Why wasn't I surprised about that.  "Now, what were you doing with an Undertakers Duster?"  I could hear the capital U.

"I'll only answer that if you answer one of my questions; Where is Runs Wild?"  I was working desperately to keep my voice calm and to not betray the feeling of mounting dread.

"The little mare you were carrying?  Honestly, I have no idea.  She wasn't there when you were found and dragged in."  That was a relief, if Wild wasn't there she had survived and gotten away, hopefully safe and relatively unharmed.

I drew a big sigh of relief.  "Right, as for who the... wait?  Did you say Undertakers?"  The buck nodded.  I froze as I lay there on the table.  The Undertakers were a group of bounty hunters operating around Trottingham and Neigherra Madre, there were twelve of them normally.  They wore gray dusters above whatever armor they usually wore and were highly regarded as skilled professionals.

Celestia horn-fuck me where the sun don't shine.  "Eehhehe."  I laughed weakly.  "That was one of yours?"  I really wasn't aware that the skull was a hallmark of theirs, gray dusters were common enough.  "Well, I found it in a shack out in the desert, in the vicinity of Old Appleloosa to be precise."

The buck thought for a moment about that.  "Hmm, Old Appleloosa.  Musta been that big bastard that retired twenty five years ago."  He shrugged.  "No wonder it fits you, big gal like you."  Then he stuffed the now half empty bottle away and rose to his hooves.  "If you survive this, look us up.  We're down one member and an alicorn would be an interesting addition to the team, I'll even leave the duster here."

As he started to walk away I called after him.  "Cant you help me out now?"

Just before he rounded the entrance he looked me straight in the eye and said.  "If you cant survive something like this you don't deserve my help."  Then he vanished.

Great, I was fucked... scratch that.  In fact, never ever think that thought again.  I told myself.

~~So, I hope you've got any ideas.  Cause I've got nothing.~~  Shade sounded beaten, resigned.

"I thought that you were supposed to help me?"  I countered.  In fact, if Shade couldn't help me, what good was it?

~~Well, we cant do magic, we aren't facing another alicorn, and I don't have any memories from an escape artist.~~  Shade's tone suggested embarrassment.

Then I heard hoof steps.  Okay don't panic... screw that, PANIC!  I struggled as much I could, pulling on my cuffs and chains and drawing new blood where the old had dried but to no avail.  They were built sturdier than they looked and I suspected that they had been sharpened too.

"Well well well."  The portly voice of The Don interrupted my struggles.  "There's still a little fight in you, I like that."  The fat bastard was waddling around me, inspecting me from all angles.  My face burned with embarrassment and shame when he stood behind me and took a deliberately long time to visually inspect my privates.

I haven't even taken a real look at them yet and here was this big tub of lard treating me like a prize brahmin.  To be honest, I wouldn't even treat the dumbest of brahmin like this.

"Now, I spent a lot of caps and most of the day to get you healthy again.  So I'm going to take my time with you."  Now the fat unicorn was walking up to the rack on the wall.  "I rather liked that collar, and I was very annoyed when I heard that some bitch decided to disturb my plans.  I was especially annoyed to hear of the death of Shining Armor.  The brute was as dumb as a bag of hammers but very useful."

I kept silent as The Don went over several whips of varying length.  So far he hadn't actually asked me any questions and the pair of ball-gags hanging next to the whips waved away any illusions as to what he might do to me if I started to speak out of turn.  He selected a short whip with a wide tip.

"Now I'm going to start asking you questions and every time you lie, don't answer, or when I just plain feel like it, I'm going to whip you."  The lecherous grin on the big bastard made me shudder.

As he started to walk around me I fought rising panic.  When he stopped by my flanks and levitated the whip into place I was almost hyperventilating.

"Who!"  Whap!  "The fuck!"  Whap!  "Sent you!"  Whap!  Each lash of the short whip sent a bolt of agony through me but I sternly resisted the urge to cry out.

"Nopony sent me, just passing through."  This earned me another couple of lashes.

"Wrong answer!"  Whap!  "Was it Red Eye!  That asshole has always had a soft spot for the little shits in that orphanage!"  Whap!  I was biting my lip so hard I drew blood, he was defiling me, deliberately aiming for my cutie mark to get me to crack.

"Just passing through!"  I shouted in between lashes.  He wasn't holding back at all and I found it harder and harder to keep my shrieks of pain bottled down.  Tears of pain and humiliation flowed down my face.  Shade was holding my head and whispering soft encouragements in my ear to help hold me together.

"Lying slut!"  And now he twisted the whip and aimed the tip across my rump, making it brush against my genitals.  My body gave a spasm and a small whimper escaped my lips.  I could hear his grin as he gleefully said.  "Got a reaction outta you there.  What if..."  And now he gently caressed the outline of my privates with the tip of the whip.  I shuddered in revulsion.  "I'll ask you once again; Who sent you?"

I was crying on the inside as I clenched my eyes and teeth.  "Nopony sent me."  I managed to croak out.  Then I braced myself for what I knew was coming.  My breath came rapidly and my heartbeat thundered in my ears, sweat from the ordeal lay thick on my coat as I awa... WHAP!

"Aaaaaaahh!!"  I howled and arced my back as much as the chains would allow.  The pain was unbearable as I lost my grip on my silence and then collapsed to the wooden surface.  I was openly sobbing as I lay on the table for all of Equestria to see.  Then I heard the fat asshole chuckle as he walked over to the wall of torture instruments and in that instance I swore that I would kill him.

"A tough one, been a while since last."  I opened one tear encrusted eye to watch him.  "Noooow, what do I have that could make this interesting..."  He was tut tutting as he walked the row of instruments.  "Aaah."  He made a pleased sound and his horn glowed as he brought out the biggest phallus I have ever seen.  "This is a bit big, leaves most mares bleeding and shell shocked, but I figure you are big enough to take it."

Now I was hyperventilating, I couldn't avoid the look of horror that settled on my face like a toad in a stone.  "Please... don't."  I whimpered.  "I really wasn't sent by anypony."  I was pleading now.  My body was shuddering from my fear and I was instinctively trying to crawl away.

Then the sound of a small explosion was heard and the lights went out.

"Goddesses dammit!"  The Don swore in the tiny corona of light from his horn.  "I swear, I'm going to collect that repair bucks spleen for this."  Then he wandered away out the door, discarding the phallus into a corner and simply lighting the way with his horn.

I lay there for a minute, savoring this reprieve.  I knew that at any moment as soon as he had fixed the lights he would return and follow up on his sick games.

Then I heard the voice of an angel.  "Curatie?"  My tears of pain and humiliation became tears of relief and gratitude.  Wild was alive and she... wait.

"What are you doing here?"  I asked of the darkness. "Its not safe."  Being here only put her at risk of being discovered.  Then my muddled brain retroactively caught the tears in her voice.  "You okay?  They haven't hurt you or anything?"  A lamp lit up and Wild stepped into view with it in her teeth, I recoiled at the pain in her eyes.  "How much did you see?"  I asked her.

"All of it."  She replied softly as she put down the lamp and started to pick the locks of my shackles.  Tears were streaming down her cheeks and landing in the dried blood around the shackles.  "I arrived just ahead of the fat one but didn't have time to do anything else but hide."

She started to shake as she worked and nearly broke the pin before the lock clicked open.  "Shhhhh, its okay."  I soothed.  "Did Geri blow the fuse box?"  I asked her to keep her mind from what she had seen.  She nodded.

"I went to get him as soon as we crashed and two griffins flew in."  She started to shake again, probably from shame.  "I wanted to fight, but they were wearing armor and.. and..."  She strangled a sob.

"Wild"  I interrupted and she looked up.  "Just get me out of here and I promise everything will be fine.  You did everything you could."  Wild nodded mutely and returned to picking the locks of my remaining limbs.

Soon she had freed me and cut the rope holding my tail to the ceiling.  I tried to ignore the pain in my legs as I walked up to a box by the door.  Opening it revealed my gear.  All of it was accounted for and I drew a sigh of relief.  "Thank goodness."  I started to dress as fast as I could without magic.

The collar I wore around my neck and horn couldn't be opened by anything other than the right key, anything else would electrocute me to death.  I gave my hat a sad look as I stowed it in my saddlebags, I couldn't wear it with the rings and cables around my horn.  Silver Sword was a no go, I couldn't operate it without magic and thus the minigun was useless unless it was affixed to a battle saddle.

Thankfully my arcane plasma revolver was still usable.  Using the mouth bit wasn't what I was used to but I'd have to make do.

I felt in my head for Shade, it was shaken but alert.  Good, now I could focus on important matters.  I walked up to Wild on shaky legs and very carefully sat down.  "Come on, we need to move."

She was weeping silently and the sight was making my heart break.  I wrapped her in my wings and forelegs and started to rock her silently.  "I couldn't do anything as he... as he..."  She made a strangled sound and clutched at me.  "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"  She pleaded.  "I'm sorry for not helping earlier, I should have done something."

"Its okay, really, no permanent harm done."  That was wrong in every respect but a lie that needed to be true for a little while.  Then I grabbed her head in my hooves and kissed her on the forehead.  "Thanks for saving my useless hide once again."

She gave a weak chuckle.  "Your mane is dirty again."

I laughed a little.  "Lets get a move on, Geri is waiting."

*** *** ***

We were in the basements of the only mansion in Red Light.  The sole residency of The Don himself.  Wandering the well preserved and oft repaired corridors was harrowing, it was tight and claustrophobic.  Having to fight The Dons goons didn't make things better but the outline from my S.A.T.S. made thing a little easier.

We had met up with Geri a while earlier and were fighting our way up.  Apparently he was quite the digger and had taken the both of them inside of the mansion via the sewers by bypassing the walls at weak spots.  He had taken one look at the collar around my neck and shaken his head.  We needed the key The Don had to open it.

I hated to fire around corridors with the gun in my mouth like this but it was mediated by Geri's occasional home made grenade.  I also took the opportunity to teach Wild what I knew of conventional firearms.  We had picked up a snub nosed .357 that I was orientating her around.  It wasn't my speciality, as I have said, but I knew the basics with simple guns like these.

We finally arrived at a small clinic.  I drew a sigh of relief when I saw the medical cabinet and it wasn't long before I had downed a healing potion, fixing two gunshots and taking care of the bruising from The Don's whipping.  I sank to my now mended haunches.  "Are the two of you okay?"  I wasn't, I felt like shit and I had to constantly fight the urge to curl into a ball and whimper but I was channeling the feeling into rage, into a burning star of fury deep in my own chest, it kept me going but for how long I couldn't say.

I had plans, plans for what I was going to do when I found the fat walrus.  I was going to make him pay dearly for whipping me.  So far I had collected a grenade, a ball of string and some needle and thread.  But first I had to pay a little visit to his collection, I hoped that I would find the last thing I was looking for.

Wild nodded morosely.  She was still not over what she had seen in the cellars and would not be okay for a while.  Geri waved his metal paw to show he was alright.  The bionic limb had been fitted with a steel ranger shoulder plate on the back to protect the delicate innards, this also served as an impromptu shield when needed and could, according to him, be removed when he needed to work with something that required dexterity.

"Right, lets get moving."  I had looted the place of the tings we needed.  I missed using magic but I liked my nervous system intact.

*** *** ***

"Woah."  Wild said in amazement.  I had to agree with her, as long as you didn't look too closely at the things that hung from the walls.

I entered the big museum and took a look around.  Ancient paintings and statues shared space with old weapons and miscellaneous rare objects.  I soon found what I was looking for.  The wide box lay almost forgotten next to two marble busts of Celestia and Luna.  I bowed to the effigies of the goddesses before I took the box and put it into my pack.

"What is that?"  Wild asked.  Geri just stood watch at the door, the youth had some serious communication problems.

"Its a box filled with hoof-made buffalo beads.  Trader sold it to him a while ago."  I answered, then I ignored her questioning expression, some things she did not need to hear about.

Then we got moving again.  Slowly making our way to The Dons office.  The way was difficult and harrowing, I nearly got my hoof shot off by a shotgun blast and Geri caught a rifle bullet through his shoulder.  The power was still out but thankfully it was still daylight outside, what existed of it when the suns rays had passed through the cloud layer.

At last we were on the far end of the last corridor.  Before us was the door to the office.  I prepared to limp across when I caught a shadow on the wall and ducked out of sight of the windows.  Griffin.  Fuck, this wasn't good, the aviator outside were keeping an eye on this corridor and the big bullets from those brush guns hurts like hell.  It had brought me out of the sky like a pigeon hit by a curve ball.

"Well, shit."  I muttered while waving for Wild and Geri to keep down.  "We need to distract that griffin somehow."  I said mostly to myself.  Then I felt Wild tug on my duster, I turned my head and saw Geri walking away.  Where the hell was he going?

"Hey!"  I called after him.  "Where do you think you are going?"

"Geri distracts griffin soon, you get key."  Was all he said as he rounded the bend.  I swore to myself and prepared to go after him but Wild stopped me.

"Look."  I followed her pointing hoof, the circling griffin was taking off after something and I groaned.

"He's going to get chilled."  Well, there was no helping it.  He told us to go get the key to my collar and I was going to do just that.  Then I was going to get myself a little alone time with The Don.

I kept an eye on the sky outside as I limped forward but no more flyers were visible.  I stopped and listened with my ear to the door to try and pick something up.  I heard the fat prick chide somepony.  "Hurry you little shit!  Get that turret up and running before I feed you to a manticore!"  I smiled to myself.  That was sweet music indeed.

"Do you have your claws prepared?"  I asked Wild and she promptly took out the bottle of manticore poison.  I didn't want to get the repair pony in the middle of this if I could help it.  When she was finished I asked.  "Ready?"  And at her nod I spun and bucked the doors, sending them flying off their hinges into the big room.

"Where are you you asshole!"  I yelled before I bit down, pulled the revolver from my foreleg and briefly scanned the room.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Wild slink off to the right.  Good girl, take advantage of my entrance to get up close and personal.

The room was built like a library, with worn shelves lining each wall and a big scuffed desk in the middle, The Don was trying to hide behind it but failed miserably.  Two turrets flanked the mahogany desk on each side, both were inactive and a young buck were working feverishly to connect one to a battery.  He dropped his tools in fright and dashed for safety through a door to the side.

Two ponies, one unicorn with a levitated revolver and a earth pony with a semi automatic, double rifle battle saddle were still in the room apart from The Don.

"Get her! She cant use magic!"  The Don yelled from behind the desk.

A thump interrupted the earth pony before he could bite down on his battle saddles reins.  The unicorn mare stood still as a statue beside him wearing a wooden expression, her revolver lay on the floor, dropped when her horn got paralyzed.  "Sweetie?"  He said weakly.

"Get out of here and bring her with you, that's just manticore poison paralyzing her."  I mumbled loudly around the bit.  I could recognize a pair of fuck buddies just trying to earn a few caps when I saw them.  No need to get too nasty, I was saving that up for later.

He looked from me to The Don and decided that the pay wasn't worth it.  After hoisting the mare onto his back he ran off.

Right, lets put an end to this.  I strode forward, murder in my eyes.  ~~Is this really necessary? I can understand killing him but... doing that to him?~~

I ignored Shade, it should understand.  It shared my memories after all.

The Don brought up a shotgun with his magic.  In a flash Wild was there and raked it out of the air, making sparks fly as the bolt got bent out of alignment.  The gun got off one shot into the floor before jamming.  I didn't even change my pace as I forced the fat unicorn to backing into the shelves along one wall.

The spineless prick started to blubber in fear, here was an opponent he couldn't bully, who he couldn't hide behind mercenaries from and who wasn't going to give him any quarter.  Just like he didn't give me any quarter in the dungeon.  I raised a hoof.  And aimed at his horn.

The crack wasn't enough to break it, but enough to make him scream.  "The Key!"  I ordered.  And he rifled in his mane and brought out a small key with a gemstone set in it.  Wild immediately took it in her mouth and reared up to my throat and unlocked the collar.  Several jets of hydraulic steam shot from the collar and it clicked open, the rings around my long horn snapped open too and the whole thing dropped from my neck.

I drew a long sigh of relief as I levitated the thing from the floor.  "Now its your turn."  The Don struggled briefly as I clamped the infernal instrument to him.  Then I grunted a bit as I hauled him up into the air like a large bag of meat and hurled him towards the open door leading to a small office.

"Wild, stay here, I need to have a word with the fat prick."  I proceeded to roll and kick him into the room and closed the door behind us.

"What the fuck!  Haven't you had enough!"  He squealed.

I grinned evilly.  "Not by a long shot."  And levitated the things I needed onto the small desk.  The big box of beads, needle and thread, a grenade and a ball of string.  I then tied the string to the stem of the grenade, making sure that the knot was tight, and threaded the needle.  Then I took a minute to select the first bead to sew to the sadistic unicorns carcass.

The door opened.  "I told you to stay outside, Wild."  I did not look up as a familiar voice, dripping with chocolate, corrected me.

"I'm not the young girl in question.  What are you planning, m'lady?"  It was the orange mare that owned the bar and hotel we had spent the night at.

"He hurt me, I'm getting even."  I looked up and saw her take in the scene.  She was flanked by two mares in what seemed like battle saddles salvaged from the dead goons downstairs.  Wild peeked from behind them, so did Geri.  I was relieved to see him okay.

"Hmm well, if that's the only reason you can get in line.  You aren't the first."  She looked at the threaded bead levitating in the air.  "And I have to ask; would it really be worth the price to do what you are planning?"

Put on the spot and under the collective stares I stopped to think for the first time.  Was it worth it?  The pain, the humiliation, the shame.  Nothing he hadn't visited upon countless other ponies.  Would I be any better when I was prepared to do to him what he had done to me?

I stared uncomprehendingly at the floating needle and bead for a time, then dropped it as if it was something filthy from under a stone.  What was I doing?  I'm a medical pony for Celestias sake!  I tossed the key to the collar at the wall and staggered from the unicorn still laying at the floor.  Goddesses, what was I turning into?

I exited the office and entered the big room beyond.  The fire burning in me was petering out and despair was settling in like an old friend.  I dropped to the floor and rocked form side to side.  I could hear an argument in the room between The Don and the orange bar owner that ended in a gunshot.

Wild came up and sat beside me, stopping my rocking.

*** *** ***

It was much later and I was soaking in a warm bath, the now dead unicorn had a rather large bathroom with a large tub that could almost be called a swimming pool built into the floor, the prick had also a large cistern of pure water just for bathing purposes.  I took advantage of the opportunity, it couldn't make me feel worse about myself than I already did.

My leg was properly mended and everypony had been looked after.  At the moment the new mare in charge, who’s name was Cinnamon Cheesecake, was settling in.  I had no interest at all in running Red Light and she could have the place with my blessing, but she had insisted that I took the masters accommodations as long as I was staying.

Wild was somewhat okay and had already finished cleaning herself.  Geri was actually unhurt because he hadn’t even gotten the chance to fight the griffin flying outside.  Cinnamon had figured out what was happening pretty soon and had taken care of the aviator and met up with Geri as she entered the mansion to take it over.

I think that the main reason to my roaring rampage of revenge had been that The Don had reminded me of how helpless I had been when The Goddess had taken over me and twisted my body.  The same feelings of shame and being used had intertwined the two incidents.  Now I just felt drained and disgusted with myself because of what I had almost done.

The door opened and the beautiful midnight blue mare I had encountered in the stairs yesterday evening walked in.  My heart jumped up into my throat as she walked up the the edge of the big bath, swaying her hips and giving me a flirty look.  “I know you turned Feather Duster away yesterday,”  She said as she sat on her haunches and dragged a hoof through the bubbly water.  “but I recognized that look on your face.  Mind if I join you?”

My mind was a jumble of conflicting emotions.  I wanted to be alone, to punish myself for almost becoming like The Don and to... to...

She gave me a pleading look and fluttered her eyelashes at me.

I wanted to avoid this, to send her away.  To be alone...  “Please do.”  My treacherous tongue said.  She gave a pleased sound and slowly slipped down into the soapy water opposite me.  I rummaged around in my mind but Shade was dormant, it was as exhausted as I was and had drifted off to sleep.

“Aaahhh.”  She moaned and I swear I almost bit through my tongue.  “Do you mind scrubbing my back?  I’ll do yours next and...  oh my goodness.”  She leaned forward.  “What has that brute done to your lovely long mane.”

I just looked away.  “Don’t want to talk about it.”  I felt like a sullen foal.

Then I felt her scoot closer and take my mane in her hooves.  “I’ll have to do something about this.”  She said speculatively.  I didn’t look at her, I was still unsure about the whole situation and was almost thinking about climbing out of the large bath.  But as soon as I started to move away she tugged at my mane and kept me where I was.

“Oh no you don’t.  You’re not leaving until I’ve cleaned your mane.”  Then she started to brush with long strokes.

“Why do you care?”  I asked morosely as I sat trapped with my back to her.

“Because you are a kind soul.”  She purred.  “Saving an orphanage, helping ponies...”

“Killing guards only out to earn some caps.”  I interrupted, I had torn though the mansion guards like a meat grinder with no regard for the ponies I was killing.  Sure they were out to kill me, but I could have just fled, I didn’t have to go through the entire mansion.  Then again I did need the key to the collar.  Urgh, why was nothing ever easy.

She nuzzled my ear from behind and if I had been standing I would have collapsed.  “Not every choice is easy, but I heard you made the right one in the library.  That is admirable.”  She returned to brushing my mane and I slowly melted under her kind administrations.

It wasn’t the way I wanted it, but perhaps it was something I needed at the time.  We spent some time in the bath and eventually relocated to the big bedroom.  I didn’t feel all that comfortable with her touching me but I managed to not make it show, besides, I had always heard that it was better to give than to receive and I gave as best I could.

Footnote:  Level Up
New Perk:  Toughness  -  Certain experiences had toughened you, granting a permanent +3 DT
Quest Perk:  Novice Undertaker  -  After passing a test, qualifying you to enter the ranks of The Undertakers, any duster you wear over your normal armor grants you a +1 bonus to agility and unique dialogue options with certain ponies.

Proof-Readers:         NeverKnown AKA ThatGuyWithTheMustache
Shadowstep AKA Shirley MacBadassface