Harmony's Warriors: Flutterhulk

by Avenging-Hobbits

Act III - 15 - Homeward Bound

Act III:
“Naqoyqatsi (Life as War)”

Chapter Fifteen:
“Homeward Bound”

Once aboard the subway, however, Fluttershy regretted making that decision. It was worse than crowded, it was packed. Ponies were crammed into every available inch of space, forced to stand as the subway car rocked back and forth slightly as it rushed along the rails of Manehattan's complex underground railway.

Fluttershy bit her lip reflexively and tried to read the newspaper she had found as a particular sweaty stallion to her right bumped into her as the car shook slightly as the train briefly came to a halt at one of the many stops along the way. As if on queue, a garbled voice came over the speakers announcing the stop and some of the ponies started to move, some scooting to allow room for new ponies, and others disembarking from the train. The sweaty stallion muttered an apology absentmindedly and stood up from where he was sitting to disembark. In his place, a new pony came to sit down next to Fluttershy, with Fluttershy reflexively scooting over to allow her some room. It was a young filly. She had a dark brown coat with a reddish orange mane that had a bright white streak in it for some reason. Her mane was cut so that a bang hung over her left eye, which she would blow out of her line of sight so often.

The thing that really made this pony stand out from the rest however, was her strange attire. She wore a dark green leather jacket with yellow stripes. She wore leg-length boots on her hooves, which on the forelegs blended into the sleeves of her sweater. She looked rather sullen and hunched in the corner next to Fluttershy, making sure to keep as far away as possible from the other ponies in the car.

She all of a sudden shot Fluttershy a dirty look, "Whadda youse lookin' at huh?" she asked in an incredibly thick Bronclyin accent. Fluttershy gulped and looked away, realizing that she had been staring at the filly the entire time.

"S-sorry, d-didn't m-mean to s-stare..." she whispered in response, hiding behind her mane again. “That's a nice jacket though..." she added, hoping to at least make the filly stop glaring at her so viciously.

The filly's stare lessened and she visibly relaxed a little. "Thanks," she said, shifting to look out the subway window.

Fluttershy herself shifted in her seat slightly and decided to focus on other things. For instance, there was a very interesting message scrawled with spray paint on one of the windows. Fluttershy tried her best to figure out what the message said, but couldn't make it out. She tilted her head slightly and squinted, reading the message under her breath. Her eyes widened however and she could feel herself blushing once it dawned on her exactly what the message was saying.

"Oh my..." she whispered. Fluttershy quickly returned to her newspaper with renewed vigor. She did her best to read her own choice of papers, as the rocking of the train and the constant on and off flickering of the lights only managed to enhance her constant feeling of exhaustion. The pages she had chosen consisted mostly of economic articles discussing quote: ‘The widespread economic and political ramifications of technological icon Rarity Belle’s shocking announcement of her identity as Iron Mare.’

It was the single most mind numbingly pedantic article she’d ever read. Never in her life had she read something so out of her interest zone. She glanced over the paper towards her mom, who was sleeping peacefully. Her mother apparently had fallen asleep since they boarded, and the headlines of the newspaper she had been reading lay spread open in front of her. Fluttershy quietly reached over and gently pulled the paper out so that she could read it.

She flicked the paper open and was about set about reading the headlines when the subway jerked to a halt once more, sending everyone in the subway lurching towards the left. Fluttershy could immediately tell which ponies were natives by their ambivalence towards the subways sudden stop. The doors opened and another series of ponies (including the filly in the green jacket) made their way out of their seats.

Of course, since this was a subway, there wasn’t much empty space for long, as another mob of ponies entered the subway, and the train once more lurched into motion. There was a long silence, only broken by the clitter-clack of the train on the tracks, and Fluttershy had begun to feel tired. it had been a long day, and Fluttershy honestly couldn’t wait until they finally reached this Dr. Cheerilee and were finally able to stop running and take a break. Her train of thought was interrupted by the sound of one of the train doors opening and Fluttershy turned towards the sound to see a unicorn mare with a dark grey coat and a darker brown mane entre the car. She wore a dark grey jacket and tucked herself into a corner and settled down. She then set about reading a magazine she had brought with her.

Fluttershy couldn’t quite place it, but something felt…off about the mare. Something was strangely familiar about her. She could have sworn that she saw her someplace before and also thought she caught the mysterious mare glancing towards her every so often. However, she shrugged it off.

Just you being paranoid again, Fluttershy; that mare isn’t watching you, you’re just being really paranoid. Just relax, and everything will be fine. Probably just a coincidence.

She glanced up at the map above the doorway. They were on the “R” line heading towards the Upper East Side of Manehattan. Fluttershy hoped the next stop would be theirs, since the idea of missing the stop and being forced to find another way to get to this Dr. Cheerilee her mother had spoken of was certainly unattractive.

She let out an absent minded sigh as she returned to reading articles. Most of them, unsurprisingly, concerned the much lauded Rarity Belle and her announcement. Fluttershy now felt a slight sense of relief however at the massive media blitz directed towards the unicorn. At least this meant that most ponies would be too distracted to notice her presence.

And besides, it’s not like the government knows I’m here…


Hoofcuff strode through the subway station, a Fluttershy adorned wanted poster and badge held aloft with her magic. “Excuse me, have you seen this mare?” she was quick to ask basically every pony she passed, to which most of them greeted her with a raised eyebrow, but a quick wave of her badge in their face was usually enough to get an answer out any pony who actually decided to stop. Most of the time however, they usually answered something along the lines of “I’ve never seen that mare before in my life.”

By the fiftieth pony however, Hoofcuff lost much of her resolve and had sat down on a bench, resolved to instead carefully scan the crowd, hoping that she might catch a glimpse of her target. However, another, slightly more selfish reason had factored into her volunteering to go on the street herself. The overall atmosphere of the zeppelin Iron Will used as a base of operations.

Although they had been searching for days of any sign of her, it seemed that Fluttershy had once more disappeared into the mist. Hoofcuff had quickly realized, that, unless Fluttershy had some sort of public meltdown and destroyed seven city blocks in a wild rampage, they had effectively lost her completely.

And that meant that, quite honestly, they had managed to, once more, completely waste her time. Also, on top of the wasted time, the whole environment of the zeppelin had become...unsettling. Everyone seemed edgy and generally even more shut in and tight lipped then they had been already. One pony in particular however, had done more than anyone else on the ship to make Hoofcuff feel unsettled.


Ever since his injury, which had been surprisingly minor considering the force the beast had flung him into the ground, he seemed to become even more shifty and off kilter. Every sound seemed to put him on edge, and he constantly watched everyone around him with a visible paranoia, his red eyes always darting from pony to pony, as if they were all plotting and scheming against him. Hoofcuff herself couldn’t help but think that Snowflake might not exactly be all that stable, and could possibly explode at any moment. Not to mention that General Iron Will himself seemed to be especially grumpy, going through cigars like a beaver through wood, often locking himself in his cabin for hours.

So, when the completely unexpected news that a mare matching Fluttershy’s description almost verbatim was spotted boarding a train from Tree Branch to Manehattan, Hoofcuff was quite eager to get away from the increasingly strange and odd mannerisms of the two, and finally be outdoors. Of course, as soon as this news of Fluttershy’s location had been heard, the entire zeppelin exploded to life, with crew members running about, scampering through the bowels of the airship, all to get the ship ready for it’s lightning paced trip to Manehattan International Airport.

After a rushed flight and landing, Hoofcuff had been chosen as the agent to go on the ground along with a small unit, with the express purpose of finding Fluttershy at all the major train stations in the city. And, as much as Hoofcuff dreaded having to go to train station after train station, asking around, hoping that one of the at least one million ponies within the city had seen Fluttershy….it was still a better prospect than sitting around, doing nothing on the zeppelin.

Tapping her hoof, Hoofcuff glanced up at the timetable, scanning and hoping that the train from Tree Branch would be displayed. To her knowledge, there were no stops from Tree Branch to Manehattan, which meant that, whichever train coming in from Tree Branch, would most likely be the train on which Fluttershy was boarding. The garbled sound of an announcement caught Hoofcuff's attention and her ears perked up, her eyes tracking the rush of arriving trains and their respective places of origin.

Finally, She thought, taking delight at the sight of Tree Branch as one of the towns on the list. Time to finish this...

She started towards the lower levels where the actual train ran, once more holding out her badge and the wanted poster. She held each in front of every pony she passed, muttering a constant stream of angry expletives as each pony was quick to answer with either a “No,” or with a “Get that stupid thing outta my face ya kook.”

She was about to reach the end of her rope and throw in the towel when she bumped into someone, sending her tumbling to the ground, papers and badge spilled over the floor.

“Hey! Watch where’s youse is goin’!” came the angry voice of the young filly she had bumped into, who glared at her while she adjusted her dark green and yellow jacket. Hoofcuff meanwhile concentrated on picking up her papers and badge, scooping them up in her magic.

“Sorry,” she muttered, clipping her badge on her jacket and starting to fold up the wanted posters so that she could better stuff them inside her jacket.

“Hey, you dropped one,” The filly said, picking it up and looking it over. “Hey, I think I saw this pony…”

Hoofcuff’s ears instantly perked and she looked towards the filly. “Really? Where?” she asked, not really noticing how desperate she must have sounded. The filly gave her a funny look.

“Um...yeah I did. On that train there,” she said, pointing towards the subway train, which was already filling with new ponies and closing it’s doors. Hoofcuff bolted towards the train as fast as her legs could carry her, leaving the filly behind.

She tugged at her walkie talkie with her magic, lifting it to her mouth. “This is Marshall Hoofcuff. I think I know where Fluttershy is,”

Where?” Came the fuzzy response over the walkie talkie. Hoofcuff quickly glanced up at the station identification.

“E-Street Station, R line!” she barked, already shouting her name and rank over the crowd of ponies that had either just left the train, or were waiting for the next one in order to clear a path.

Roger that, sending backup.” came the response.

“Too damn late the train’s already moving!” she replied, “And I’m not missing it.”

She finally broke through the mob of ponies just as the door of the train closed and the train began to chug forward, it’s wheels clattering and sparking. Hoofcuff increased her pace, swearing under her breath, hoping against hope that she could at least hop onto the back of the train before it left the station. With only seconds to spare, she made a flying leap towards the rear of the swiftly departing train and landed, her hooves instantly grabbing onto the handles as if her life depended on it. She let out a loud sigh of relief as she regained her footing, and tapped at the window, where the stunned engineer gawked at her.

She cast him a quick glance before levitating her badge at the window. “This is NEIGHS Agent Hoofcuff! Let me in!” she ordered, and the engineer quickly nodded, opening the door for her.

“Why in Celestia’s name are you riding the back of my train?” the engineer asked, completely baffled. Hoofcuff simply gave him a blank expression.

“I’m selling vacuum cleaners.” she deadpanned, ignoring his attempts to ask any further as she left the caboose and entered the next car, quickly pinning down the small flaps of plastic to cover up her NEIGHS decals. She smoothed her mane slightly from the wild ruffle that it was currently in, and popped her collar, doing her best to disguise herself as inconspicuously as possible. She ignored the odd whispers and pointed glances from various passengers, instead intensely scanning the car, hoping that she was in fact on the right train and that odd filly hadn’t been mistaken. She felt herself smile when she caught sight of a bright pink mane through the dirty subway window that belong to whichever pony was in the next car. She was quick to crossover, ignoring the burst of noise that came with the open door and the clattering of the subway beneath her hooves as she crossed the empty space between cars. She discreetly closed the door behind her, and inwardly cheered when she was greeted by the sight of Fluttershy, who seemed more concerned with the newspaper she was reading. Next to her was Tree Flower, who was fast asleep, looking like a living breathing greeting card. Hoofcuff clamped her mouth shut, instead focusing on finding a good place where she could both watch Fluttershy and also not be noticed by the pegasus.

She squeezed herself into the first empty chair, being sure to tuck herself behind the large stallion who stood between her and Fluttershy. Without saying a word, she made do with closely watching Fluttershy, quickly focusing her attention elsewhere when Fluttershy glanced in her direction.

Fluttershy meanwhile, refocused her attention back on the newspaper, paging through it to find an article that was a little more inside her interest zone, preferably something involving animals. Her eyes were drawn to a rather bizarre little story involving a chicken, two weasels and a crocodile, and how their owner had somehow managed to get them all accidentally inside the local supermarket, where they caused quite a stir. Fluttershy couldn’t help but giggle slightly at the mental imagery of dozens of ponies all running about in a wild frenzy trying to catch all those animals.

She felt a stirring next to her, and turned to see Tree Flower blinking tiredly, yawning and stretching. “Oh hi Mother,” Fluttershy said, scooting in her seat to allow her mother a little more room. Her mother nodded, rubbing away the last of her sleep.

“Wow I really needed that,” she said contently. “That today’s paper?” she asked, and Fluttershy nodded, handing her mother the newspaper.

“Thank you dear,” Tree Flower said, giving her a gentle hug and taking the newspaper from her and already beginning to page through it, eventually settling on a random article on the recent local news. Fluttershy looked up at the map of the subway system that was pinned over the door.

Just one more stop, she thought, a thin smile on her face. And this nightmare is going to be over.


General Iron Will sat in his office, a thick billowing cloud of smoke ebbing from his cigar. He had finally been given a blessed windfall, and had been able to discern Fluttershy’s location. It seemed that fate was going to be especially kind to him, as Agent Hoofcuff had been unexpectedly eager to actively trail Fluttershy.

Figures...mares do tend to get skittish. he thought, already having received a message from Hoofcuff that she was at the train station and on the lookout. Now just to wait, and hope that the train hadn’t gone cold again.

There was a sharp knock at his door and he shifted in his chair.

“It’s unlocked.” he said, taking the cigar out of his mouth and putting it out in the ash tray. The door opened to reveal a tan earth pony with a paper in her mouth.

“Message for you sir,” he said around the paper, trotting up to the desk and placing it in front of Iron Will. Iron Will nodded, saying nothing and reading the note. A satisfied grin spread across his face. Even with her constant complaining and defiance, Hoofcuff had proven useful once again.

“Get everyone ready, Spring Seed. We have found our mare.”


Fluttershy and Tree Flower made their way out of the bowels of the subway, with Fluttershy glad to finally distance herself from such a mass of ponies. They came to a stop on the street corner, with Tree Flower reaching into her saddle bag to pull out a street map they had bought in the station on the way up.

“Alrighty then…where to next…” Tree Flower muttered, scanning the map. “What was that address again…ah here it is! 1973 SW 103rd Street, which is….” she looked up from the map, squinting to read the addresses of the buildings around them. A bright smile appeared on her face. “RIght down this block! Well...what are the chances of that.” she chirped, tucking the map back in the saddle bag.

“Let’s go Fluttershy.” she said, starting across the street with Fluttershy silently tailing her from behind.

Completely unbeknownst to the two ponies, another pony was following close behind. Her ruffled brown mane blew in the autumn breeze and she once more popped her collar up, following a good three or four paces as not to attract their attention.

“This is Agent Hoofcuff...I’m on their tail. They’re heading for one of the brownstones on SW 103rd Street.”

Roger that,” came Iron Will’s response. “Just don’t make a move until we get here. That’s an order.

Hoofcuff rolled her eyes and let her shoulders sag. She could quite logically just notify the local police herself, and therefore save tons of time and finally be free of all this, but once more, General Iron Will had INSISTED that she stay behind. Just go along with it ‘Cuff, she thought, biting her lip. You’re too close to the finish line to screw up now….so close…

“Roger that…” she replied darkly, stuffing her walkie talkie in her windbreaker and continuing behind her targets.