Morality of Property
By Sir Leadhead
Prologue > In which a visitor makes an extended stay
“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. How I Wonder What You Are.”
There was a collision. Rocks and ice crystals spewed forth from the impact of the two stars above the roiling gray clouds that covered most of Equestria. In the olden days, before the war, this event would have been watched by thousands of ponies. Both professional astronomers and groups of friends out for a picnic under Luna’s beautiful night sky would have gazed up into the heavens at the sparkling collision and wondered… just what was out there?
Some questions are better left unasked.
Before the war, such a collision in the night sky would have been watched with not a small amount of trepidation, and even perhaps panic in the Zebra lands. Zebras in small towns would batten down the hatches and prepare for storms to come, and those in great metropolitan areas such as Roam would gather together, praying for safety in numbers. For when the stars fought, surely nothing good could come of it.
Today, even through the majority of the planet below was covered in an endless blanket of clouds, ponies still looked up into the sky and wondered just what was going on up there, albeit the only ponies asking were pegasi. And frankly, they had enough worries going on down here on the clouds, so not many pegasi wondered what was going on in space for long.
Just because you don’t watch your enemy though, doesn't mean that they aren’t there.
From the collision, a blue sphere shot forth, headed directly for the cloud-covered planet below. The light of the sun glinted off of the metallic sphere, reflecting a blood-red sheen off of the edges as it plummeted through the atmosphere, igniting as it sped for the clouds below. Luckily, no pegasi or pegasi buildings were around as it punched a large hole through the cloud cover, vaporizing the clouds into nothingness and opening a window onto the war-torn nation that was Equestria.
From above, it was mostly brown, although there was a line of green depicting where the Everfree forest, ever tenacious in its untamed growth even after the world ended 200 years ago, started. The red-hot falling star piece was headed directly for this line. From above, its impact looked like a little poof of dust. When the dust cleared, a small brown crater was visible just inside the edge of the forest, small lines of smoke drifting away from the fires along the edges. No doubt the sound of the impact made somepony curious. Somepony must have asked, ‘What was that big noise just then?’ or ‘What’s that big plume of smoke on the horizon?’
Some questions are better left unasked. You might not like the answer.
Chapter 1 > In which property is managed and damaged
“All the world's a stage, and all the stallions and mares merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one stallion in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
I was swiftly running out of patience with these ponies… and I use that term loosely. Now, I can appreciate the odd head-on-a-stake-used-as-intimidating-decoration as much as the next mare, but this… this was bloody ridiculous, no pun intended. These Ponyville raiders seemed to take perverse delight in stringing up dead cats wherever there was room, splaying open rotting carcasses and just leaving them on the street, and pinning decapitated bodies to walls as though they were the new art-deco… yeah. In my personal opinion, it was a little over the top. And don’t get me started on the stench. Dear holy Celestia, the stench. At least the smell of desiccated flesh overpowered the horrible stink these unwashed raiders had following them around. Barely. We were standing outside one of the… buildings. Again, a term I use loosely.
“Now, look…” I said, attempting to restrain the rising anger in my voice. “While I really appreciate the repeat business, I go to a lot of effort to capture these goods. I don’t appreciate coming back a week later and seeing all that hard work carved up and splayed open! If you want these slaves, you’re going to have to promise me that you’ll actually use them for SOMETHING ELSE besides EFFING WALL ART!!” The two raiders in front of me, a unicorn mare and earth pony stallion, flinched, some of the fleas they were carrying falling off in front of my hooves.
Yeah, so I have a short fuse. Bite me.
“Y-y-y-y-y-y…” the mare stuttered. The stallion next to her gave her head a good smack, and she continued her sentence. “Yes… we won’t carve up this batch… no matter how good it… FEELS…” she said with an altogether too happy look on her face. Seriously, did this mare actually get off on the stench of rotting corpses or something? Not that I would put it past these raiders…
The stallion continued while the mare kept looking like somepony was giving her nethers a good once-over. “We actually have a use for them more than just entertainment this time, Coin Slut.” He said, giving my Cap-Going-In-A-Slot cutie mark a leer that made me unconsciously stand with my legs closer together.
“That’s Coin Slot to you, moron.” I replied. He was one of the smart ones, as far as raiders went, but that only made him a smart-ass. I wonder if he had any donkey in him. Wouldn’t the least bit surprise me. “Only my dear ol’ mum ever called me Coin Slut, and you certainly ain’t my dear ol’ mum. Now that will be 100 caps for the stallion and 200 for the mare. That’s 300 total.” I added, to spare myself the embarrassment of watching him try to add. I said he was a smart raider, but that’s not exactly setting the bar high.
My prospective customer looked behind me at the ponies… goods I had on a chain lead, explosive collars adorning their necks. Best jewelry ever, in my opinion, they always make me lots of caps. I had the detonators in my saddlebags, if the goods left a 200-foot proximity around me, their heads would pop like overripe melons. I hated it when that happened though. Those collars are hard to come by. “They don’t look like they’re worth 300 caps…” he said, giving me his best bargaining grin. It was rather pathetic.
“Oh? So you don’t want ’em then, very well. C’mon, you two, lets get out of this reek.” I replied, levitating the end of the goods’ lead with my horn and making to leave. Wait for it… wait for it… I thought as I started to trot away from the two raiders.
“Wait!” the raider mare cried out. Bingo.
I turned around slowly. “Yes?” I said, giving them my best bargaining grin. Much more convincing. I had them in the sole of my hoof.
They exchanged a look. “Fine.” the stallion said. “300 caps.”
“Sorry, no sale. This place stinks.” I said, offhoofedly, turning to leave again. If my guess was right, whatever they needed these slaves for was something they either couldn’t do themselves or didn’t want to do. I shudder to think of something raiders like these don’t want to do.
“Wait!” they both said in unison this time. Heh, I had ‘em right where I wanted ‘em. “What… what about 400 caps?” the mare offered.
Now, this was more my speed. I held my hoof out expectantly. The mare levitated a bag of caps out to me, which I took in my hoof and gauged by its weight. Seemed legit. With payment secured, I deftly levitated the keys to the collars up and unlocked the slaves’ fancy neck adornments, putting the collars back into my saddlebags. The first time I sold slaves to this particular gang of raiders, they complained that they didn’t get the explosive collars with them. I told ‘em, with no uncertain terms, that collars are expensive and hard to find in this area, but they are welcome to buy them if they wish. Since I personally price the collars at 300% of the price of the slave, they opted to keep an eye on their goods with more conventional means. Smart raiders. Or poor, doesn’t matter to me. In all honesty, the collars are comparatively easy to come by or make if you know where to get them (or the parts for ‘em), but since I don’t really like going to Fillydelphia, unless I absolutely have to, I try to hold onto my collars.
I levitated the end of the chain lead to the raiders, where my own light blue glow was replaced by the raider mare’s red one. The goods followed their new masters into the dilapidated and smelly (did I mention the stench?) building for whatever new fate awaited them. It used to be that I wondered what happened to ponies… goods after I sold them, but you don’t make it in this business with thoughts like that.
As I trotted away from my latest sale, I heard a shout behind me. Great… what now? I thought… then I felt the sharp stab of a bullet piercing my rump. “OW! Son of a…” I shouted in pain, almost forgetting the promise I made to dear ol’ Ma to not swear. Almost. Ma put the fear of Celestia in me, and Celestia don’t like fillies that swear, she said.
Why do I always think of my Ma when I’m being shot at? It’s happened a lot.
I quickly drew my trusty lever-action cowpony rifle, using telekinesis to make the satisfying ‘ka-chink’ sound of the action sliding another bullet into the chamber. Ignoring the burning pain in my rump, I turned around just in time to see the two slaves I just sold to those raiders running right past me. The raiders were shooting at them, and missed. Hitting me.
Screw it; these customers aren’t worth the trouble they cause me. Ignoring the panicked slaves, I drew a bead on the earth pony stallion raider. Never did learn his name. Oh well. He wasn’t paying me any attention at all when I shot him once, twice, three times. First shot missed, but the next two sunk into his chest, dropping him like a sack of flour.
That’s when his lady friend turned her attention from the retreating slaves to me, shouting all sorts of things that would make my Ma give her hide a good tanning. She had a pistol levitating above her head, some puny 9mm, I think, although it was hard to tell from this distance. Before I could move for cover (which was hard because of the fire still shooting from my flank), she emptied her entire magazine in my general direction. About two of the bullets found their mark, all of their force absorbed by my thick leather barding. Yeah, not a high caliber pistol at all.
While she was fumbling the reload, I aimed my rifle, taking the shot as quick as I could. Her head caved in as the bullet smashed its way into her braincase… hm, I had been aiming for her center-of-mass…
The earth shook. I was tossed off my hooves, momentarily thinking that it was the raider’s exploding head that made that noise. But it had already exploded, hadn’t it? Could it explode twice? Is that even possible? Trying to get my bearings, I shakily got to my hooves, raising my rifle, ready for anything.
Nothing was around. I knew there were other raiders in the town (although they probably didn’t give two flying fleas about what happened to their fellow raiders out here), but they were keeping low. I looked around, turning to the forest.
A black plume of smoke rose from the Everfree, no less than two miles away, at most. Something had obviously exploded and with significant force if it shook the ground from way over there. But what could be in that deathtrap of a wood?
First things first. My rear was hurting up a storm. I telekinetically rummaged for a healing potion in my saddlebags, finding one and quickly drinking it down. The pain faded away as the structurally superfluous new behind was healed over. Finding things would be so much easier with a PipBuck… unfortunately the only Stable ponies I had encountered (or enslaved) either didn’t want to sell theirs or didn’t have the tools necessary to remove it. Maybe I can find one in an abandoned Stable some day…
The smoke rose above the forest, although now it turned from black to gray. This was smoke from a residual fire, not the explosion. It would probably go out soon… nothing in the Everfree stayed aflame for long. If anypony ever wanted to find out what happened there without getting totally lost, now would be the time to go check it out…
Ma said to never let poor ol’ Mr. Opportunity hang out there in the rain when he came a knock’n. That advice is part of the reason I took up slaving after the casino I worked at went bust. Something caused that explosion, and, more importantly, something was blown up. Maybe something useful still remained at whatever secret 200 year-old facility was nestled in the forest. I reloaded my rifle, checked my gear, and started for the forest. I had to be careful; the Everfree was a dangerous place before the war… now it ate ponies that were brave or foolish enough to enter it for breakfast. In retrospect, even going in just a few miles was probably not a wise choice, but at the time, it even seemed as though something was calling to me… knocking…
And I never didn’t answer somepony knocking. That’s not what my dear ol’ Ma taught me.
I forgot that my dear ol’ Ma also told me that I was a dang fool sometimes. Usually, when I was getting my hide tanned. The forest started out all right; there was even a little path for a few hundred yards. That didn’t last long though, and as I traveled deeper into the forest towards the now-fading plume of smoke, the trees got closer together, the wan sunlight disappeared altogether, and darkness encroached around me. Strange chattering and screeches were constantly sounding off around me, and every time I turned my head, I thought I saw eyes quickly vanishing before I could get a good look at them. Thorny branches and thick undergrowth slowed my pace as I tried to find the easiest way forward.
I wasn’t scared though. Nope. Not at all. Especially not by that low growling sound right behind me that disappeared whenever I looked.
“HOLY… nuts!” I almost swore, my heart pumping at obscene speeds. Somepony had screamed one of the most blood-curdling screams I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a number of them in my time. The visions of eyes around me vanished as I quickly tore through the brambles towards the scream. The branches and thorns that I had been trying to avoid tore at my skin as I pushed past them. The threat of meeting whatever caused that scream was overwritten by the need to not be alone in this blasted forest. It was seriously creeping me out. But I wasn’t scared!
I broke through into a clearing. There were embers at my hooves, and the comparatively bright light breaking through the trees blinded me for a second. The smell of smoke wafted through the air. My eyes adjusted, and I saw a… wolf-thing attacking one of the slaves that had run off from earlier! The stallion slave was dead on the ground; his throat torn out by the wolf-thing (it almost looked like it was made out of stars, but that’s ridiculous, right?), and the mare was running around the clearing, absolute terror in her eyes, the wolf hot on her heels. Why had they decided to run into the forest in the first place? Stupid meat. I lifted my rifle, and fired, aiming for the wolf’s head.
I hit the mare’s rear left hoof. Oops.
She stumbled, flopping over in a painful-looking fashion onto her back. The star-wolf-teeth-thing dived onto her, its jaws clamping hard around her stomach, then ripping upwards, disemboweling her in a grisly manner. Ouch. Unfortunately for my ears, she was still alive, her howls of pain and fear ripping through the air. I took aim and ended the noise with a bullet to her head as the wolf went for her neck.
The star-wolf looked up at me when I killed its prey for it, finally noticing the other pony in the clearing. Well, crud. It abandoned the dead mare and started to stalk around me, growling a deep, vicious growl that spoke to the primeval pony in me, telling me to run as fast and as far as I could, preferably into an open field where I would have a wide clear view of large toothy death headed my way. I decided to do just that, although instead of running with my back turned (which would have been suicide), I slowly backed towards the center of the crater, where no matter what approach the wolf took, it wouldn’t have any cover. I kept my rifle trained on it, hoping that if it charged I would actually hit what I was aiming at. It continued circling me, almost as if it was herding me into something…
Wait. Weren’t wolves pack animals?
Quickly, I spun around. Two more silently approaching wolves were waiting to strike quite close to the center of the crater. SH….oot! This was not going to end well! Think, Coin Slot, think!
Out of the corner of my eye, in almost the exact center of the crater, something blue, spherical, and about the size of an apple glinted in the sunlight. A grenade! So something did survive the explosion! I quickly yanked the sphere up with my magic, tearing it free from the blue leaves wrapped around it, bringing it closer to me…
‘Thou hast been chosen, thou cannot choose again…’
What the hay? A deep, almost sub-sonic voice reverberated in my head, and the sphere started to bubble in my magical grip! Afraid it was going to explode in my face, I tried to let my telekinesis go, but I somehow couldn’t get rid of it!
The three wolves were now encircling me hackles raised, drooling and growling, waiting for their leader to give the signal to tear me into pony kibble. Trying to concentrate, I lifted my rifle and fired in a feeble attempt to defend myself, but holding the bubbling, shifting blue sphere and my gun was something that was difficult for me (What? Multi-target telekinesis is hard work!), and so my shot went wild. The wolves tensed up, ready to pounce. I closed my eyes, hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful. At least I could see dear ol’ Ma again… I hope she will be proud of me…
*TkTkWhoop!* *TkTkWhoop!* *TkTkWhoop!*
Three strange noises emitted from my immediate right. Howls of pain then surrounded me as I opened my eyes just in time to see the star-wolf directly in front of me paw desperately at its head, which seemed to stretch in a clearly unnatural way…
*Splich* *Splich* *Splich*
Well. That was… gross. I was now covered in wolf brains and bits of sparkly skull that looked like stars. The three heads of the wolves had exploded in a violent manner. I looked around curiously, wondering who had come to save me… surely nopony wanted to save a slaver?
Floating in my telekinesis was what looked to me for all the world like a small terminal attached to a gun stock, made primarily out of shiny blue metal that glinted with a red sheen in the sunlight. On the side, a little sticker read, “GA,” and under that, the word “Mesmetron” was embossed in the metal in a fancy pants font. I stood there for a while, examining my apparent new toy. Was this thing where the voice came from? “Uhh… hello?” I said to it, feeling stupid. Of course, it didn’t say anything. Well, it had a trigger… I aimed in a random direction and fired.
That noise! It came from this gun! And it was a gun; some sort of weird magical pulse had burst forth from what looked like the ‘screen’ of the terminal-shaped ‘barrel.’ Magical energy weapons come in all shapes and sizes, but this was the weirdest I’d seen. It was the same color blue as that blue grenade… or what I’d thought was a grenade. Could you store a magical energy weapon in a small sphere shape? Whatever, I had apparently fired it at the wolves instinctually… with my eyes closed… and it made their heads explode! Neat!
I holstered my new… Mesmetron, I guess, alongside my rifle. I had never had a magical energy weapon before, so after I had trotted out of the Everfree (with little trouble, apparently something had scared off all the watching critters that were watching me on the approach, must have been the sounds of the fight), I took it out and examined it more carefully. On the back of the terminal-barrel-thing there was a little pen drawing a zig-zag on a tiny scroll mounted inside the gun, with the label “EKG” below it. Dunno what that means, moving on. I test-fired it again, and although it seemed as if there were some moving parts on the inside that made the clicky noise, the gun didn’t have much in the way of recoil, if any at all. I had heard that one of the tricks to using magical energy weapons was getting used to that, but recoil had always thrown off my aim, even the low recoil of my lever-action rifle (which has been customized to have a low recoil, by the way). Test firing the Mesmetron… too long a word, I’m just going to call it the Mezzer. Test firing the Mezzer was a blast! Although it didn’t seem to do heat damage like most magical weapons I’d seen, since it didn’t scorch or melt any of the rocks I was shooting at. But I was hitting those rocks way more consistently than I did with bullets! I must be a natural with these fancy-shmancy guns, and I just didn’t know it. No wonder, they’re usually way out of my price range, one good beam pistol with a decent amount of ammo cost the price of three slaves, and that was if I made good sales on them! Since I worked alone, I usually only captured one or two slaves at a time so I could keep an eye on them without worrying about being too stretched out. The overhead of feeding them until they were sold kept my profits modestly low, but still a livable wage. No way I could afford magical weapons, though, so a free one was the neatest thing ever!
Speaking of ammo, I’d been firing this thing for a while now, and I didn’t see any sort of ammo compartment to re-load it with spark batteries or magical energy cells or whatever… did this thing not need ammo? I looked around. The sun was setting, and I needed to find shelter for the night, I had wandered into the wasteland wilderness, and the beasties out here are mainly nocturnal. I’ll test the Mezzer’s ammo capacity out tomorrow.
After wandering around for a while more with no real direction other than ‘northwest’ in mind, I found a cozy-looking cave nestled in a crag sticking out of the flat wasteland. Carefully, I checked inside for anything that might have already called this little place home. However, this ‘cave’ only went in about 16 hooves, and all I found on the inside were a couple ancient eggshells and an empty metal box. Somepony had obviously been here before, as well as some creature, but both had moved on long ago. I settled down for the night, using my saddlebags as a pillow.
“Ma!” I cried out. I ran through the casino my Ma and Pa ran on the Big 52, just outside of Broccoli. It was a little place, no bigger than three game rooms and seven rooms-for-rent, although we did have a little stage in one of the game rooms and a kitchen Pa was always cooking in to serve any guests the finest non-broccoli-based food around. Since we were among the only ones around this area who didn’t use a copious amount of that icky stuff, we got a fair amount of customers just for our food, and they sometimes took a spin on the roulette or slot machines. My parents had two employees as well, Fiddlesticks and Lucky Shot. Fiddlesticks was our dealer, and Lucky was our showmare… or at least that’s what Ma told me. She must have been our waitress as well, because she always talked about serving our guests in their rooms. Pa laughed when I asked him if that was the case, and Ma told me that good fillies don’t ask questions about their employees, and I’m a good filly, so I stopped with the questions. But this time I wasn’t running to Ma with a question, oh no, this was so much more exciting!
I had just gotten my cutie mark!
I ran into the back room next to the kitchen that was my Ma’s office, where she did all the bookkeeping for the casino. Normally, I wasn’t allowed in there unless it was really important, but this was important! Ma looked up at me, already opening her mouth to tell me to leave, when she saw the bottle-cap-going-in-a-slot mark on my flank. “Ma!” I said again, showing off the mark against my light purple coat. “I got my cutie mark! I was helping Fiddlesticks with the modifications to the slot machines, you know, so that they’ll accept and dispense caps instead of chips, and he told me to try modifying the detection spell matrix in the anti-cheating systems, and I tried it out and did it and this came up and look, Ma!” I said in practically one breath.
Ma closed her mouth, smiled, and said, “Well, today’s a special day, isn’t it? After all, only good fillies get their cutie marks. Could you go get Fiddlesticks for me? I need to thank him for letting you work with him. Have you shown your father yet?”
I beamed. This was the highest of praises from Ma. “Nope! I came to you first! Is Pa around?” Sometimes Pa went to Broccoli or even Tunnel Town to buy things.
“He’s in the kitchen, dearie.” Ma said. “Send Fiddle in first.”
“Ok Ma!” I shouted, buzzing with excitement.
“And stop shouting, good fillies don’t shout.” Ma said, turning back to her ledgers. That’s my Ma. Always working hard to make sure I didn’t starve out in the wastes. I tried to calm down as I walked out, but I was still practically bouncing on my hooves as I quickly got Fiddlesticks and told him Ma wanted to thank him. A big grin appeared on his face and he quickly got up, smoothing his brown mane down as he headed for the office.
As soon as I walked into the kitchen, I said, quieter than I wanted, “Pa, Pa, look!” He turned and immediately broke out into a giant smile, dropping the wooden spoon he was using to stir some sort of sauce and reaching out with his forehooves, scooping me up in a great big hug before giving my light-blue mane a noogie.
“That’s fantastic honey!” Pa said. “I’m so proud of you! How’d you do it? I want to hear all about it.”
So I regaled the tale of my cutie mark to him, in greater detail than I had to Ma, because he said that he didn’t care if there were hungry customers out there. His little pumpkin had gotten her cutie mark, and he was going to celebrate it with her, and by ‘her,’ he meant me! He looked around in a sneaky fashion and motioned for me to come to the back of the kitchen, where he pulled out two Twinkie Pinkie cakes and a bottle of champagne. I gasped. “Twinkie Pinkies!!” I said, super excited. They were my favorite, and there weren’t many of them around this area, so they were super-duper expensive.
“Shh! Not even your mother knows I got these, I was saving them for a special occasion like today.” He popped open the champagne and poured two glasses, and cut one of the Twinkie Pinkie’s in half, giving me the one and a half and taking the half-cake for himself. He also passed me one of the glasses.
“Don’t you want all of your Twinkie Pinkie?” I asked, even though I was thrilled he was giving me the manticore’s share it still didn’t seem fair. “And Ma says that good fillies don’t drink alcohol…”
“Today’s your special day, honey.” Pa said, smiling down at me. “Go ahead and take the cake. And the champagne.” He winked at me conspiratorially. “What your mother doesn't know won’t hurt her.”
I grinned the biggest grin I had in my entire life. Pa was the best. Ma kept us cozy in our casino. I knew there were a lot of foals out there far worse off than I, and I thanked Celestia and Luna for what I had before digging into the cakes just like Ma taught me to do. This was truly the best day ever. While I savored the creamy, buttery, chocolaty, pinkity goodness that was a Twinkie Pinkie with my Pa, I heard from Ma’s office Ma crying out, “Yes! Yes!”
“Huh. Your mother must have found us some unexpected money in the ledgers.” Pa said. “I’ll go in and see what’s up, you finish your cake and drink, and then we’ll celebrate some more as a family, alright?” I nodded, my mouth full of awesome.
The stove started to hiss. Wait, I don’t remember that…
I woke up from my dream of the day I got my cutie mark to a hissing, rattling noise. Cautiously, I opened my eyes, looking for the source. It sounded like a snake, but I didn’t see any snakes… I didn’t see anything…
A shimmer in the shadows, barely visible, rippled towards me before winking out, revealing a gigantic rattler head! It was crouched low, attached to… the body of a dog? A Nightstalker! It’s tail was vibrating, the rattle on the end making the threatening rattling noise. Its long sharp fangs were bared, and it crouched in the opposite corner of the cave I was in, ready to pounce… hold up, why wasn’t it attacking? They usually don’t give any warning, if I had stumbled upon a Nightstalker den, I should be dead before I awoke.
And speaking of den, aren’t these pack animals too? I shifted my eyes around, looking as hard as I could in the shadows, but I picked up no more shimmers of invisible snake-dogs in the cave. Why was this one alone? I gave it a closer look, not moving a muscle besides my eyes.
It was covered in bite marks. One of its legs looked seriously wounded, and blood seeped from shallow wounds all over its body. In fact, if I wasn’t mistaken, those bite marks looked like Nightstalker bites… could this be an outcast of the pack? No wonder it wasn’t attacking, what with being injured and I’m betting quite recently kicked out of its home, it probably wasn’t up to even ambushing a sleeping pony.
“Don’t worry now. I won’t hurt you…” I said, trying to sound as sweet and non-threatening as possible. The hissing picked up a notch and the Nightstalker tensed up, its three good legs ready to spring into action if I moved a muscle. This wasn’t going to end well. I telekinetically reached for something in my saddlebags, anything, ready to fling it at the Nightstalker’s face. Maybe if I could stun it I could get enough time to run away or draw my gun. My horn flared, and something flew out of my bag at high speed, right for the mutant animal’s face.
A healing potion. I had just flung a healing potion at a Nightstalker’s head.
As quick as lightning, the Nightstalker whipped his head and snapped at the potion, like a snake striking a mouse as it jumps away. I heard the glass bottle the potion was in break, and the abomination started to cough, spitting out glass shards. I quickly stood up, telekinetically fumbling for my rifle.
The Nightstalker stood up fully as well… its wounds were healing! It must have actually swallowed the healing potion, cr..ud! Even its beat up leg looked like it was mostly good to go. Before I could raise and cock my rifle, the Nightstalker leaped right for me, closing the short distance between us faster than I could blink. I shut my eyes, waiting for the poison bite… that would end me…
A scaly head nuzzled under my mane, making a weird sound that sounded like a combination of a hiss and a whimper. I opened one eye, then the other, and looked down. The Nightstalker was sitting there, rubbing its head against my neck and… oh sweet bucking mother of Celestia, was it wagging its tail? Small rattling noises came from the tip as it wagged back and forth…
Ahh! I just took the princesses name in vain! I'm sorry Ma! I'm sorry, Celestia; please forgive me! Nightstalker forgotten, I quickly put my hooves together and said a quick prayer, begging forgiveness and deserving just punishment just like Ma said I should when I was a bad filly. As I did, the Nightstalker curled up under my raised hooves, plopping down on the ground in front of me and leaning against my belly. It gave a wide yawn, a small dog-like whine emitting from the back of its throat. Was it… going to sleep? I looked down. Was this the just punishment from Celestia? She wanted me to be responsible for a pet?
“Well…” I said quietly to myself. “I’ve always wanted a puppy, but Ma said no pets in the casino… I think I’ll name you… Hiss. Short, easy name that says all I know about you right now.” I nodded, curling up around Hiss. He (and a curious check proved he was indeed a he) was quite warm, better than any blanket… yeah. Yeah, I could get used to this. If Celestia decided that Hiss was to be my pet, I’ll take him, train him, and the two of us will be unstoppable! Not only that, but I had the testing of my new gun to look forward to in the morning. And I was 400 caps richer than I was yesterday. All in all, pretty good day, even though I was attacked twice. Still, that’s life, in the wasteland.
Level up! (Lv. 2)
New Perk: Magical Matrix Mare: Your natural aptitude with magical matrices makes devices that use them pretty easy for you to pick up and use right away, even without prior knowledge of the device. You get +10 to Magical Energy Weapons skill, and can modify their effects, along with the effects of other magical matrices, fairly easily due to your special talent.
New Quest Perk: Enchanted Weapon: <Error: Cannot read perk data. Analyzing…>
Character Profile: Coin Slot
Tag Skills: Magical Energy Weapons, Survival, Barter
Author’s Note: HUGE thanks to Kkat for writing Fallout: Equestria and giving us sidefic writers a great big sandbox to play in. Also thanks to ErrantIndy and Shimmercoat for help editing and proofreading this slog to make it something enjoyable. And thanks to all who hang out at the Sidefic Compilation doc for providing feedback and inspiration to write my own story. Also thanks to Bethesda and Hasbro for two great franchises. Hope you enjoy!