Fallout Equestria: Viva Las Pegasus

by S3rb4n

Chapter 24: Renegade

Chapter 24: Renegade

“Good night, mares and gentlecolts, and thank you for being there with me through the dim hours of the very early morning! You are listening to the best radio station in Neighvada, New Pegasus Radio, and I am your host, Miss New Pegasus, taking you through the darkness and into the light of a new day! That sounded good, I’ve got to note it down, haha! Anyway, what you just heard was one of those timeless classics that we never get tired of playing every now and then. You’ve just been listening to Sweetie Belle, singing ‘a capella’ in the grand Auditorium of Manehattan, a very, very long time before… well, before the events that changed the face of the world forever. I always love to hear these songs, they have a true soothing power, or so I think. How do you see it?

Let’s move on to the news, shall we? Although, by the looks of things, these are more rumours than news. It appears that something is going on in the City Council, and when I say something, I mean something not good. We lack any sort of confirmation, but it seems that the former unity of the members of the Board has broken down. Some speak of disarray, some others mention the word rivalries, and there are some that overtly talk about treason! Could it be that the strong Government who has brought us to an age of prosperity and growth has finally broken under the twists and turns of fate and politics? What will happen next, if the Council is dismantled? Will we be affected in some way?

There are other strange rumours dancing about too. Some mention having seen a team of pegasi flying into town and there are voices that say that one of them was carrying a mysterious device that glowed with an eerie light. We haven’t seen pegasi since… well, most of us had never seen a single pegasus, so you can imagine how odd this looks. Who are these strange beings, and what are their intentions towards New Pegasus? Does the City Board have any knowledge of their existence, or have our governors welcomed them into our community?

Also, we have been hearing stories lately about Farsight, the head of the Council, having been seen wandering the streets wounded and dressed in rags, as if he had escaped from the dungeon of a maniac. I know this sounds unbelievable, but many witnesses say they saw him walking down the Strip at midnight. Some even say that he was apprehended by a member of the NPPD and driven into custody, but that just makes the story harder to believe. Naturally, this station will do the utmost to find out the truth behind all these rumours.

Now, moving on to the state of the ongoing conflict between the forces of the New Equestrian Republic and the Tsardom. Believe me when I say that the resistance of the NER forces in the East Bank is becoming heroic! The last report aired by the Republican Army states that the remaining Rangers were able to repel an attack in terms of five to one inferiority. Five to one, mares and gentlecolts! We have to be thankful for letting us live another day without the threat of the ruthless barbarians of the Tsar coming to pillage our homes, but the truth is that things are starting to look grim for the interests of the twin unicorns. Their best troops, their Elite Rangers, are being slaughtered en masse by the forces of the Tsar, which, even if less prepared, keep pushing forth with the intensity of a tidal wave, threatening to break through the NER lines; and if that were to happen, those troops guarding the West Bank wouldn’t be prepared to handle what is coming to them. With all due respect to the honorable soldiers of the Republic, they’d better mobilize all their might to contain the Tsar’s attack, or we might be overrun very soon. I’m no expert tactician, but I’m just calling out to whoever is responsible.

Anyway, that was all for this hour in the news, let’s return to some music, shall we? In times as dire as these, we need powerful tunes to boost our morale and get us ready to do our jobs, and I have exactly what we require. Get ready to move your body to the beat of Vinyl Scratch, mares and gentlecolts. There is nothing better out there to start the day with energy and high spirits! Enjoy the music and remember that we’ll be back in an hour; and don’t forget that you’re listening to New Pegasus Radio, and that I am your host, Miss New Pegasus, speaking directly to your hearts!”

History seemed to run in circles. Eight years later, I was sitting in the same dull grey cell that I had been thrown into the day I was banished from Stable 188. The same concrete walls who could use a layer of colored paint, the same concrete floor that could use some tiles, the same concrete ceiling that could use… well, nothing really, since it was a ceiling after all. The place hadn’t changed a tiny bit, apart from the occasional writing on the wall, done by a bored prisoner who had nothing to lose. I had been sitting there for some hours, but I didn’t feel like wasting my time noting that I had been there. It’s not like anypony would care about it anyway.

Besides, there were other matters that kept my mind occupied while I sat on the cold concrete floor, namely, the cowardly accusation of the City Council. Treason? How dared they speak of treason? In which way had I betrayed my companions? I doubted they could be called friends anymore, after what they had done to me. A true friend doesn’t stab you in the back like that. I guess that my younger self would have expected such a maneuver, as each one of us worked for our own interests, and we owed little loyalties to each other. However, eight years of prosperity and good manners had made me believe that the rest of the City Council had finally bowed down to me.

I was wrong, although I didn’t understand what had driven the Council to label me as a traitor and a conspirator. Could it have been because of Avro? It’s true that I incurred many risks because of that lovable liar, but the City had overcome the situation without suffering any damage or casualty. I would have expected a cold welcome, a session of chastising delivered by Rose and Dee, but I would never have imagined ending imprisoned by those who I had helped into the lead. Even if they had perfect reasons to lock me up, I would have been a bit less rash, for old times’ sake.

I felt really bitter and angry at all of those who I had mistakenly called friends. Those ponies who, for eight long years, had been standing beside me, each and every one of them cooperating with me in the task of making New Pegasus a better place. Despite having all that behind us, at the first sign of trouble they turned my backs on me and left me to rot in the darkness of a prison cell. It was outrageous! I fumed at the thought of Dee, Ampera and Saddle deciding to take me out of the picture, because I simply couldn’t believe that Rose had supported that decision.

Or had she? Something in the very deep of me remembered her irate reaction to my decision of helping Avro in her fight against the Communists. Could that have sparked a will of vengeance in her? I should have taken her words into account. I should definitely have listened to her… she had always been my voice of reason, my guiding light, and I had left her aside because of some beautiful flank. How stupid had I been! I felt the tears flood my eyes and I lowered my head in bitterness. Even my dearest friends, those who had been with me for all my life, were leaving me aside.

“Farsight?” A voice spoke. “Is that you?”

I looked up to see Brass Badge looking at me from the other side of the bars that kept me locked from freedom. He seemed worried and tired, and he was taking sips from a smoking cup of coffee. An old pony never leaves his habits, I guessed.

“Yes, it’s me, Badge.” I sighed. “Broken, battered and almost dead, but it’s me. Oh, yes, and did I mention that I have been turned into a pariah?”

“Boy, you don’t look good.” Badge mumbled and sat beside the cell door. “What happened to you?”

“After all the business with the pegasi, I crashed an airship in Tsardom territory.”

“You did what?” Badge blinked in disbelief.

“I know it sounds hard to believe, but that’s what happened.” I groaned. “I got out of the Red base in an airship, like the one Avro and Nadyr used to get back. However, somepony attacked me from the ground and I was forced to crash-land the damned machine in Lake Honeymead. However, I couldn’t stop it soon enough and I ended up on the other side, in the territory of the Tsar. One of the patrols found me stumbling around and captured me.”

“Sweet Celestia.” Badge gasped. “And how did you manage to get out of there?”

“It wasn’t easy.” I laughed in dismay. “I had to endure torture, I had to fight for my life in a barbaric Arena, killing three NER troopers in the process, and I was taken to see the commander of the Tsar’s army, who happened to be none other than Delvio Ferratura!”

“Delvio Ferratura? Are you serious?”

“Does it look like I’m lying, Badge?” I grumbled. “It was him… and it’s because it was him that I am here now.”

“I can’t believe he let you go, after all you made him suffer.”

“Well, that’s his wretched plan of vengeance.” I shrugged. “He told me that he would destroy all what I had achieved, that he would kill everypony I cared about, and once that was done, he would kill me himself. Still, he wanted me to experience what he felt, the futility of trying to defend myself from his unstoppable attack.”

“That’s horrible.”

“Yes, but that’s a mistake. He’s given me a chance.” I grinned. “Although I have been stabbed on the back one more time. I think the Council is doing Delvio’s dirty work for him.”

Brass Badge smiled sadly. He and I had many things in common, beginning from our origins, and I think he showed a special empathy towards me. My current situation had to be a tough spot for him, there was no doubt about it.

“I don’t understand this move either.” He shook his head.

“You won’t happen to know how or why I have been accused of conspiring against the Council, will you?”

“Sadly, no.” His face showed regret. “I have been relieved of my duty. The Council hasn’t got the guts to say that I’m fired, that’s why they try to compensate by giving me a meager pay and letting me walk around the station as if I was retired. Standoff is the one managing the Department right now…”

“And I assume he’s acting like a stupid foal.” I replied.

“Right on the spot, my friend. You keep being as observant as always.” Badge smirked. “As you can see, every pony who has shown any kind of sympathy towards you is slowly being moved away from the positions of power. The Council wants to leave you without any ties, it wants to sever all your connections to influence and image.”

“They are afraid of me.”

“Exactly.” Badge nodded. “I don’t have a clue why, but their behaviour shows that they fear what you might do to them.”

“I… I don’t know, Badge.” I sighed. “They were my friends… we’ve been through so much together that it’s hard to believe that they would do something so vile.”

“Friends are an illusion in the Wasteland, Farsight.” Badge grunted. “I thought like you until I got expelled from the Corps. As soon as Standoff took the lead, all the agents who had been my friends and colleagues wouldn’t even give me the time of day. I’m starting to think there is no such thing as friendship in a world as unforgiving as this.”

“You know what hurts me the most, Badge?” I asked bitterly.

“What is it?”

“Rose.” I bit my lip not to start crying. “I saved her from the Wasteland, you know? She was about to be raped by three raiders, and I put my life on the line to take her out of the situation. I raised her as if she had been my daughter or my younger sister, and look at her now. She’s the spokespony for the Council, and she’s turned her back on me, just like the rest.”

Badge shook his head and looked to the floor. I swear I saw tears rolling from his eyes.

“This world is a horrible place, Farsight. No matter how hard we work to make it worth living, our lives are bound to be miserable and disgraceful. I never thought Rose would betray you, to be honest. I could see Dee Cleff or Ampera sidestepping you in their way to power, but Rose? No, that wasn’t even in my wildest fantasies.”

“I agree with you, Badge. Eight years of hard work and dutiful service, and look at me. I’m sitting in a prison cell, waiting to be executed, or banished, or whatever they choose to do with my sorry hide.”

“There should be a trial.” Badge frowned.

“I admire your idealism, Badge.” I grinned. “However, this is a political issue. No law would consider me guilty. The Council wants me out, and this solution is more elegant than shooting me dead in a gutter.”

“That’s just despicable, but I guess you’re right. Experience has taught me to trust your judgment, Farsight. Anyway, is there something I can do for you?”

“I’m afraid there isn’t, Badge.” I shrugged. “You can’t get me out of this cell and clean my name, so there’s little you can do to help me. Still, I thank you for being there. You’re a good pony, Badge, a very good one. Don’t let anypony convince you of anything else.”

“Thank you, Farsight.” Badge let go a subtle laugh. “You’re a good pony too, even if you don’t regard yourself as such.”

“Now it’s my turn to thank you, Badge.” I nodded and smiled sadly. “Now get going. Don’t waste your time talking to this loose end.”

“Goodbye, Farsight.”

“Goodbye, Badge.”

The former police officer turned around and left me alone in my cell, once again. What the Council was doing to all the ponies who had been somehow connected to me was simply repulsive, as they had little to do with my choices and my past mistakes. Badge couldn’t be held responsible of whatever action of mine that could be considered a betrayal to the City, but if he had been ostracized, others would have been as well. I began to worry about Nadyr, Avro and even Rose, as they were the closest ponies I had in New Pegasus. Maybe Rose had been set apart as well, and that would imply that she had had nothing to do with the accusation. I really needed to know if that was the case.

I needed to know, because I wanted it to be like that. If Rose had been separated from the Council, that would mean that she didn’t support the idea of accusing me of treason. It meant a great difference to me, as her support and her presence beside me was one of the very little things I could count on to get me through the bad times. Knowing for certain that she still trusted me would be a true morale boost to face whatever was coming to me.

“Oi, Farsight!” Standoff walked into the cell block roaring at the top of his voice.

“I’m awake, dickwad.” I groaned. “No need to make me deaf.”

“Who are you calling dickwad?” He fumed.

“You, because that’s what you are.” I frowned. “What the fuck do you want?”

“It’s time for your trial!” He roared.

Oh, so there WAS going to be a trial. Probably, it would be nothing more than a stupid masquerade, a mock act of justice to have me shot at the break of dawn, or something of the kind. However, it was fairly surprising for the Council to bother in making such a show, when the outcome of it was clearly decided before hoof. I shrugged and got back on my hooves as Standoff opened the barred gate and waited for me to come out.

“Wait, don’t I have the chance to tidy myself up?” I asked.

“What do you want to tidy up for?” He laughed coarsely.

“It’s a fucking trial, for Celestia’s sake!” I stomped the floor in anger. “At least, let me dress up properly!”

“My orders were to get you to the trial immediately, so there’s no time to change clothes. Get moving!”

“One of these days, Standoff, I’m going to make you regret what you’ve done to me.” I mumbled.

“I’d like to see you try.” He replied smugly. “Now march!”

*** *** ***

I was driven through the Strip, under the looks of every single pony that walked past us, towards the Council Hall. Having me dragged to my trial, without having been able to put on a decent suit, was something despicable and vile, but I realized that it was all part of one same strategy. They wanted to have me discredited, disgraced. They intended to put the common pony against me, so that when they decided to get rid of me, nopony would raise his or her voice in my defence. By turning me into the evil pony who sold New Pegasus to Celestia knows who, they would avoid a popular revolt when the time of dealing with me came. My bitterness grew more and more as I heard the population whisper, seeing how low I had gotten after having been so high.

“Look at him!” A stallion mumbled. “He looks like a beggar…”

“What has he done to be like that?” A mare hissed.

“Is he really Farsight?”

“Yes, look at his Cutie Mark!”

“It can’t be! He’s wounded and dirty! Farsight would never walk around like that!”

“I tell you it’s him. Look in his eyes!”

“Oh my goodness, it’s him alright! Do you think that he really betrayed the Council?”

“He was too smart to be trusted… Those ponies always want to prove they’re better than the rest.”

“But what about all the good things he’s done over the years?”

“That is true, but I am sure that there are a lot of things we don’t know. You know, dark things.”

“You’re out of your mind.”

“Trust me, the higher they get, the more devious they become.”

“How do you know that?”

“I know it, period.”

I sighed and kept on walking. They had their reasons to mistrust us, after all. We had been so deeply entwined in our own politics and plans, that we had lost contact with the everyday pony. When things were good, nopony would bicker, but once the world began to crumble beneath our hooves, the whole population would be out for blood. I could expect no sudden benefactor rising from the shadows in this one. My game was definitely over.

Standoff pushed me into the Council Hall Building, shooing the ponies in the street with a wave of his baton. The trial would take place without audience, with doors and windows closed and with no recording devices enabled. My suspicions were confirmed when I heard that. They didn’t want anypony to know what was going to be said in the Hall, apart from the official statement of the Spokespony. Would Rose be the one delivering the news to the townsfolk?

I walked into the very Hall where I had dictated the fate of New Pegasus in so many occasions. In this one, however, I would be shackled and at the rest of the Council’s mercy. Frankly, I didn’t know what I would be facing, or who would be the one I would have to speak to, nor did I care. I knew enough about Wasteland politics to understand that it was no fair trial, and that the decision was already taken. The only thing I could expect to do was to leave the room with my head high, having proven that all their accusations were plain junk.

I found myself staring at four ponies, whose faces denoted their will to bring me down at all costs, and who I had called friends before. Friends that had stabbed me in the back and were about to rip me apart, figuratively speaking. Dee stood in the middle, looking solemn and cold, dressed in one of her signature white suits that made her look imposing and enthralling at the same time. She gazed upon me with a mixture of feelings, despise and respect in equal terms, as if this situation was something that she didn’t want but she had to do for a greater good. Such behavior was typical in her.

Beside her, Ampera looked at me with a face of utter disappointment. Somehow, I had the feeling that she had grown to appreciate me over the years, but her Ranger backdrop didn’t seem to have handled too well that I welcomed the pegasi into the city. My gut told me that she was behind all the scheming, as she believed that I was going to undermine them and substitute them for a new order. Saddle sat close to the former Ranger, looking at me with a grin of smug satisfaction in his face. He had never grown to fully like me, that was for sure, and now he couldn’t help feeling good while seeing me toil. I still knew he was nothing more than a mere puppet in Ampera’s hooves, but he was dangerous when left free.

The last pony almost hid in the corner, as if she didn’t really want to be there, while looking at me with a neutral expression. Rose didn’t break eye contact with me, even if she was clearly making an effort to stay hidden from my gaze. There was something odd about her manners, as if she was concealing her true intentions. Could it be that she was acting according to a hidden agenda? My eyebrows went up by instinct, and she replied with a brief but clear wink that lifted my spirits. Not all was lost.

“Finally, you’re back, Farsight.” Dee began talking calmly, as it was common in her.

“You don’t seem too pleased to see me.” I replied.

“It’s not about how I feel, Farsight.” Dee shook her head. “Personally, I’m glad to see you back in one piece, and as ironic and cutting as ever. However, we need to discuss… other matters.”

“Like those who have had me locked in jail for the night?” I shook my head. “I haven’t even had the chance to dress properly!”

“I know that, but it was a priority to have this issue solved as soon as possible.”

“Spare the excuses, Dee.” I groaned. “You wanted to drag me through the streets, looking like a bloody hobo, so that everypony witnessed my downfall.”

“That is absurd.” She replied, while Ampera nodded. “The whole city is in your debt for eight years of dutiful service. We are in your debt for that.”

“Then why all this charade, Dee?” I roared. “Why do you flag me as a traitor and a conspirator, if I have been of great value to New Pegasus?”

“Farsight, you don’t get it, do you?” Ampera intervened. “Your actions, your careless behaviour, has put the City in jeopardy.”

“I wouldn’t consider that a treason. It’s more a matter of bad management than anything else.”

“I have to agree with Farsight on that.” Rose nodded coldly. “Let’s not forget that we base our decisions in the limited data we have. Sometimes, we’re bound to make mistakes.”

“This is not a mistake, Rose.” Ampera shook her head. “It could have been averted by leaving Avro aside.”

“Could it, Ampera?” Rose replied. “We never knew of Ilyushin’s true intentions. Did he really just want to recapture Avro or was he using her as a casus belli against us?”

“The simplest explanation tends to be the most probable one, Rose.”

“Really… then do tell me, Ampera. How many times in History has a prisoner been demanded under the threat of an all-out war? It’s not very diplomatic, to be honest.”

“Pre-War diplomacy doesn’t apply in the Wasteland.” Ampera groaned. “You should already know that, Rose.”

“Let’s not get sidetracked here, please.” Dee said coldly. “We’re judging the decision itself, not the factors that motivated it.”

“Exactly.” Saddle groaned. “After all, the main factor was that you were completely dumbstruck by that pegasus mare.”

“So what?” I replied grinning. “Something similar happened to you with Golden Swallow, don’t you remember? We’re stallions, Saddle, and that goes in our nature. You can’t blame me for being in love, the same way that I don’t blame you for having followed the lead of that misguided psycho Goldie.”

“Whoa, whoa, don’t try to talk smart to me, Farsight.” Saddle hissed.

“Saddle, please, keep your manners.” Ampera warned her husband. “This is a trial, let’s not forget about it.”

“Ampera, while I can understand that going against the pegasi was a bad decision, I still don’t see where the accusation of treason comes from. I swear that I have been regretting the choice of following Avro for a long time, but the way I see it, there have been no notorious consequences for the good of the Council and the City. The Red Front has been defeated, some of their top scientists and engineers have joined our banner, and we’re still in good terms with the Republic.”

“Those pegasi have sworn loyalty to you, Farsight, not to the City of New Pegasus.” Dee shook her head. “We can’t trust them.”

“Is that the problem?” I replied. “I will have them bow down to you in a minute.”

“No, that’s not it.” Ampera grumbled. “We don’t trust pegasi. We never have, and we never will. They’re cowards and turncoats, and by the time we notice they’ll be leaving us behind.”

“Is that what worries you, Ampera Von Ohm?” I spat. “Your bigotry amazes me. You call me a traitor because I put my trust in ponies who have sworn allegiance to me, like I did with you? I would understand a warning, but then again, I can hardly see how this comes to qualify as treason.”

“You’re constantly putting your interests before those of the City, Farsight.” Ampera frowned. “Your recklessness is a problem for the well-being of the population, and we plan to stop it before it costs us much.”

“Recklessness, eh? So, it’s not treason, but fear?” I smiled. “I finally realize what is going on. You’re not judging me for something I’ve done. You are afraid of what I am becoming, and you’re feeling scared about your future; and instead of letting me know and talking it out like civilized ponies, you say I’m a traitor and lock me up. Frankly, I am very disappointed.”

“Don’t talk such rot, Farsight!” Dee exclaimed. “I agree with Ampera. You’re becoming a stray bullet, acting without thinking things properly and moved by your own selfish interests. One of these days, you’d bring destruction to this city.”

“Destruction?” I blinked. Dee wasn’t prone to go all dramatic on things.

“Yes, destruction. Can’t you see how difficult our current situation is? We’re caught in the middle of a storm, with the NER on one side and the Tsardom on the other! Whatever happens in that war will determine our coming fate!”

“Do you really think I’m blind, Dee? I know what the odds are!” I pointed at my wounds. “See this? I escaped out of the Tsar’s camp on the other side before I got here! I was tortured and had to fight to survive, dammit! Don’t go telling me about the complications of the war, because I have seen both sides, and I really doubt that you have!”

Dee recoiled a bit due to my retort, but Ampera took her place.

“Don’t play victim on us, Farsight!” She yelled. “We know about the pegasus device you moved into town, I checked it personally. Did you believe that I would let that pass? It’s a Celestia-damned balefire bomb! It would destroy the entire City and it would take out the entire population in one fell swoop!”

“There are engineers who know how to handle that thing. It would free us from our dependency on Hoofer Dam.”

“I don’t trust those engineers.”

“So we come to that again!” I spat. “You and your pathologic mistrust of pegasi!”

“The same could be said of your stubborn defence of their race.” Saddle replied. “Is that your head speaking, or is it your dick?”

“Saddle!” Dee roared.

“Don’t tell me to shut up, Dee! I know why he’s being so reckless and dangerous. We all do! It’s that mare that fell from the skies who has him entranced, and who’s telling him what to do every time.”

“Saddle, you’re absolutely wrong there.” I shook my head. “She used me, but the last choices I made, like the one of the Enola device, were entirely mine.”

“Still, you have endangered us by doing so.” Dee replied.

“Is that all?” I grinned. “Because I see no reason to call me a traitor, mares and gentlecolts. I can accept the fact that many of my last choices were wrong or misguided, and I can also understand that you don’t trust the recently arrived pegasi. However, the most I would deserve for having done that is a little time away from office, or a fine. There are no more present dangers, if I’m not mistaken, as the pegasus threat has been dealt with. About the Enola device, I welcome you to work with engineer Petlyakov to develop a valid solution for New Pegasus.”

“You see, Farsight, it’s not as simple as that.” Ampera shook her head.

“The New Equestrian Republic contacted us yesterday, letting us know that we had attacked their allies and that they were going to consider that a declaration of war.” Dee mumbled.

“What?” I gasped. Littlepip’s words echoed in my head.

“Apparently, the Red Front had some sort of hidden treaty with the Republic.” Saddle grunted.

“That’s why they refused to help us.” Rose shrugged. “They could have let us know that we were messing with them, but somehow they didn’t want us to know that either.”

“We can’t fight a war on two fronts, Farsight.” Dee said solemnly. “We were counting on the NER to be our shield against the incoming forces of the Tsar, but now they are threatening to occupy the city.”

“We can’t let that happen.” Ampera frowned.

“That’s why we tried to reach a diplomatic solution.” Dee nodded. “They wouldn’t negotiate, but in the end we managed to get an ultimatum from them. They wanted you, Farsight, as you were the one that single-hoovedly had taken out their winged allies. We promised them that you would be extradited in exchange for defence and protection against the Tsar.”

“How dare you?” I roared. “You owe it ALL to me! Without me, you would still be fighting each other over a piece of dirty soil in Freedom Field! No fancy houses, no bulky wallets, nothing more than misery and hunger! I picked you out of the gutter! I elevated you from mere gang leaders to respected politicians! Without me, you would be NOTHING!”

“We know.” Saddle shook his head. “But with you, we’re doomed, and frankly, I prefer to be alive. I’ll deal with my remorse over a bottle of whiskey.”

“You are nothing more than a bunch of cowards.” I fumed. “I shouldn’t have trusted you in the first place.”

“If this counts for something, Farsight, I am sorry that it had to come to this.” Dee mumbled. “Had we known what was to come, we would have thought better. However, we can’t change the past, so we must prepare for our future. Standoff, take him away. We have to coordinate the extradition with the NER.”

The police pony, who had been standing silently in the corner of the room, walked beside me and dragged me out of the Council Hall, while I glared at my former friends in endless hate. I would have payback, I swore to Celestia.

*** *** ***

I sat on the hard, gray and cold concrete floor of the NPPD cell for another two hours, according to my PipBuck timer, without anything else to do than to juggle the things that I had been through in my mind. Bitterness was a massive weight that crushed my morale down, and anger bubbled in me. I had been betrayed by every single pony I had trusted, with the possible exception of good old Nadyr, but I didn’t know what had been of him, so as far as I was concerned, he could have turned his back on me too.

I felt vexed and jaded, having become nothing more than an object of trade with the NER. Praline wanted my head, that was for certain, as I had sabotaged something that only resided within her tortuous mind, and that she would only share with Harpsong and maybe with Stonetree. I could understand how Littlepip felt up in her tower, her name being used to justify each and every desire of the lunatic president of the Republic; no matter how much it clashed with all the Light Bringer had been fighting for. In the end, I had suffered her same fate. The ones that I trusted to be my friends had dumped me, as I was to serve a greater purpose: I was the response to the NER’s blackmailing campaign.

I could expect that from Dee or Ampera. After all, the first more than the second were expert politicians, and had been playing the game even before I appeared in their lives. No matter whether they were leading a gang or managing a city, they knew that sacrifices had to be made in order to achieve something that was above in the level of priorities. I would have done the same, had I been in their position; although I expected some more loyalty from them. I had, indeed, been the reason of their prosperity. It was me who had incurred the risks of getting everything together, and it had cost me the life of a beloved one. In the end, I had succeeded, and they had profited from that success… but memory tends to be short-lived in New Pegasus. Now that a greater threat loomed about, I had to be discarded to ensure the continuity of their rule. If only I had the chance of breaking out…

However, what hurt me the most was seeing Rose among the Council. She had acted in a rather quirky way during the trial, as if she was just playing a role… but I wasn’t convinced. As much as I’d love to, I couldn’t just rush to claim she was innocent. Rose had been in the Council all the time that I was away, and she hadn’t done anything to stop Dee and the others accusing me of treason and wanting to sell me to the Republic. At least, she hadn’t been able to achieve anything. Once again, I was torn between my rage and my naïve will to forgive her, as it had happened with Avro. Speaking of which, I hadn’t heard about her… what had the Council done with the pegasus?

“Farsight…” While I was deep in my thoughts, somepony walked into the cell without me noticing.

“Rose?” When I lifted my head, I found the young mare looking at me with a sad face.

“Sweet Celestia, you look terrible. Let me heal those wounds for you.” Rose sat beside me and her magic began working on the cuts and gashes I had suffered in the Tsar’s camp.

“Thank you…” I sighed, while I felt my body respond to her treatment. “What brings you here, Rose? Are you going to kiss me goodbye?”

“Shut up and relax.” She groaned. For ten minutes, we sat in silence while she worked her wonders in my damaged body. “You’ll have to wear those scars, but you’ll be fine.”

“Rose, I need to know… why are you here?”

Rose sighed and smiled.

“Farsight, we need to talk. Things have gone awfully wrong lately, and I haven’t been able to do anything about it. I tried to speak for you, but the rest of the Council wouldn’t…”

“You did that?” I gasped. “I thought that you were mad at me.”

“I was, in the beginning.” Rose nodded. “But if I have to tell you the truth, Farsight, it wasn’t because of the plan of taking on the pegasi. Not to a hundred percent, really.”

“Then what was it?”

“I was jealous.” Rose blushed.

“Jealous? Because of…”

“Because of Avro, yes.” Rose blushed harder and giggled. Despite all she had been through, she was just an old filly. “When she crashed into town… well, let’s say that I had been regarding you as something more than a friend, and suddenly, you could see nothing more than what she told you to see.”

“Really?” I laughed softly, but couldn’t think of a comeback. Rose’s confession was… unexpected.

“Yes, really.” Rose smiled in embarrassment. “I had a crush on you, Farsight, although I never dared to tell you.”

“Now you don’t, I guess.”

“I still love you, if that’s what you’re asking.” She smiled. “However, I’ve realized that you are not the best match for me. You’re much older, and I can understand that you might be looking for… other kinds of mares. Anyway, you will always have a place in my heart.”

“You will have one in mine too.” I kissed her softly in the lips, making her shiver. It was an innocent kiss, nothing more than a token of gratitude.

“Please don’t do that…” She squeed. “Or I might change my mind again!”

We both laughed. Despite the hardship of the situation, Rose managed to make me forget about my worries.

“Fine, fine. No more kisses for you.” I smiled, but then I changed the tone. “There is one more thing I need to tell you, Rose.”

“What is it, Farsight?”

“Rose…” I felt the tears flood my eyes as my lips struggled to speak clearly. “I’m sorry… I am so sorry for not having listened to you… You were right all along, and if I had paid you enough attention I wouldn’t find myself in this situation. Rose, I have failed… I am nothing more than a big failure.”

“What?” Rose winced. “No, no, no! You’re not a failure, Farsight! Nopony knew what ties the Republic had with the Reds!”

“Anyway, I shouldn’t have… I shouldn’t have followed Avro so blindly. I used to be much more cautious… and I let myself go. Now it’s all over.”

“Over? Who says it’s over?” Rose frowned.

“I do! It’s either me or the City, and why? Just because I wanted to take a mare to bed, that’s all! I have condemned New Pegasus to destruction! I have failed you all!”

I looked at the floor and let the tears fall freely. Rose grabbed my head and forced me to look at her eyes, where tears had begun to roll as well.

“Listen to me, Farsight. You haven’t failed anypony. All of the population of this city owes you something, you are the leader that unified them! You brought peace and prosperity, and nopony can take that from you! They are proud of you… I am proud of you. We need you to stand up to the challenge once again, because there will be none other more prepared than you to face the odds.”

“Re-really?” I mumbled. “You really think that?”

“I do, Farsight. I tried to stop the decision of the Council with all my might, but there was little I could do about it. Saddle threatened to have me imprisoned as well, so I decided to shut up and see where things went. It was a moment of weakness, but I can make up for it.”


“I’m getting you out of jail.” Rose winked.

“What about Standoff? Won’t he stop you?”

“Standoff is a weakling.” She grinned. “I’m still a member of the Council and he won’t dare to lay a hoof on me. If he does, well, we’ll deal with him.”

“That’s reassuring.” I smiled.

“Besides, Farsight, no matter what the Council has said, you have got a lot of friends in New Pegasus that will back you up as soon as you step out of the building. There’s Badge, Tracker, that funny pegasus engineer whose name I don’t dare to pronounce…”


“That one.” Rose nodded. “Pet-lee-ah-cove?”

“That’ll do.” I grinned. “Call him Pet.”

“Yes, Pet. He’s a witty fellow, always with a snarky response here and there. Besides, he looks nice.” Rose blushed again. “I think he really appreciates you, and he told me to count him in for anything required.”

“I see… Well, it’s good to have so much support, considering that things will get ugly as soon as I set hoof in the street.”

“You’re going to have revenge, right?” Rose asked.

“Don’t go telling me that you don’t approve…”

“They deserve some punishment, Farsight.” Rose frowned, and I caught a trace of Lavender’s old personality. “Some of us never forgot who we were loyal to.”

“Anyway, as soon as the word spreads, we’re going to be in trouble.” I shrugged. “I’m sure that they’ll send the roboponies against me.”

“I told Pet to deal with that matter.” Rose smiled cunningly. “He has overridden the robopony control scheme. It will only respond to your PipBuck jacked into any of the terminals in town.”

“My, my, Rose, where would I be without you?”

“En route to an NER camp?”


“Sorry.” Rose grinned. “I just couldn’t leave that unanswered.”

“Hahaha, you’re as smart as always, Rose.” I hugged her. “What about Avro, though?”

“Still missing her?”

“Not really.” I frowned. “She used me, Rose. She had me dancing to her tune, assuming risks I would never had assumed otherwise, just to get to a position of power. I don’t know if she loves me or not, but I can’t just walk away and leave her behind.”

“Farsight…” Rose mumbled. “We decided to lock Avro up in the Spire, since she had nowhere else to go. She’s not a prisoner, really, but the Council didn’t want to have her messing around, considering her ties to you. She seemed very worried about something when she arrived here, though.”

“We had a terrible row in the pegasus base.”

“It’s not only that.” Rose shook her head. “My gut tells me she’s deeply hurt by something. It looked like remorse, actually.”

“I don’t believe Avro to be the remorseful kind, Rose.”

“Don’t judge her too rashly, Farsight.” Rose looked at me in the eyes. “There is something that she’s hiding from all of us, and that makes her feel bad… Give her a chance to open her heart to you.”

I blinked in surprise. From all the ponies in the world, Rose was the last one I would have expected to ask for understanding towards Avro. I would have to take that into account, considering who was the one demanding it.

“I see… Well, I will give her a second chance.” I shrugged. “Since you asked for it.”

“Thank you, Farsight.” Rose smiled. “I know you are not merciless.”

“I don’t think my issue with Avro is a matter of mercy… anyway, where’s Nadyr?”

“He’s laying low right now.” Rose mumbled. “Despite being Dee’s husband and the father to her foals, Saddle and Ampera wanted to charge him with some of the responsibility. That’s why Dee and I decided to have him ‘arrested’ at home, while things got sorted out.”

“Dee seemed a little worried during the trial, didn’t she?” I asked.

“I knew you’d notice it.” Rose nodded. “Dee is torn between two loyalties… once again. On the one hoof, she keeps regarding you as the leader, as the one meant to guide the fate of the city. On the other, the rest of the Council members have been reminding her that the NER will show no mercy when they occupy New Pegasus. That’s why she’s decided to fold to their demands, even if she was hurt by them.”

“Are you asking for forgiveness?” I raised an eyebrow.

“No, I’m not. That’s yours to decide.” Rose shook her head. “However, don’t let revenge cloud your mind. You might do things you will regret later.”

“Your point is clear, Rose.” I replied.

“I guess you’ll want to get moving, right?” Rose asked.

“The sooner we get this sorted out, the sooner we can focus on tackling the problems with the Republic and the Tsar.”

I got back on my hooves, feeling relieved both by Rose’s magic and by her support. She was one true friend, a pony in which I would be able to trust until the very day I died. I felt bad for having doubted her loyalty and resolve, for having thought she had turned her back on me; but at the same time I felt good for knowing she was there for me, and that she would back me up in any endeavour I took on.

We walked out of the cell and into the main lobby of the Police Station, where Standoff was snoozing behind the counter. As soon as he heard hoofsteps, he snapped out of his nap and began babbling.

“Do you need anything else ma’am… WHAT THE HELL?”

“Standoff, I’m setting him free.” Rose said coldly.

“What? I can’t do that, ma’am. Council’s orders.”

“But I am part of the Council, right?”

“Y-yes ma’am, but I can’t let Farsight walk out without the permission of the rest of the members.”

“You will do that.” Rose growled. “Or I will have you cleaning the streets.”

“N-no can do, ma’am.”

“Allow me, Rose.” I took a step forward. “I’ll deal with this rogue individual.”

“Watch what you’re doing, Farsight…”

Standoff readied himself, but before he could do anything, I spun and bucked him with all the strength of my metal hooves. He flew back and hit the wall, falling to the floor like a rag doll. I checked his breath to see that I hadn’t killed the poor sod and returned to Rose.

“I had been willing to do that for a looooooong time.” I smiled.

*** *** ***

After having knocked Standoff out, I walked into the NPPD warehouse and fitted myself with a bulletproof vest and a short pistol, ready to jump into rough situations. Small guns such as the nine millimeter cannon I had borrowed from the Department armory were not the kind of material I liked to work with, but my trusted rifle was now in the hooves of some Tsardom soldier or officer. I knew there was no way of getting it back, so I would have to work with what I had at hoof. Still, that was definitely not going to deter me.

We walked out of the Police Station, trying to blend in with the population as much as we could, although we knew that it was almost impossible to pull off. Rose and I were known ponies among the citizens of New Pegasus, which meant that our presence turned many heads as we advanced through the Strip. I realized that Saddle, Ampera and Dee would soon be aware of my jailbreak, and that they would send ponies to stop us in the blink of an eye. Time was of the essence.

“Where should we head first?” Rose asked.

“Frankly, Rose, I don’t care.” I shook my head. “Right now, my only worry is to get payback.”

“I know, Farsight, but don’t lose your mind yet.” Rose warned. “We might be facing heavy resistance.”

“How heavy, Rose?” I mumbled. “Do we know how many ponies remain loyal to the Council?”

“Not too many, but I know that there are individuals that have sworn to protect Saddle, Ampera and Dee, probably because of their past as gang goons.”

“It is logical.” I nodded. “After all, some ponies have been serving them their entire lives.”

“Anyway, let’s be careful, OK?” Rose mumbled. “Should I call Pet?”

“For what?”

“He could send us some backup… roboponies, for example.”

“No.” I shook my head. “I want this to be personal. It’s an issue between me and them, and I don’t want the entire city to burn because of our quarrels.”

“How thoughtful of you, Farsight.” Rose grinned in irony.

“There’s a perfectly good reason for that, Rose. I don’t want the forces outside of town to know that we’re having a bit of a breakdown.” I growled. “I think the NER is about to jump on us, and frankly, I prefer them not to be aware of our discord.”

“I understand that.” Rose nodded. “We should keep things silent, then.”

“As silent as possible.” I shrugged. “I know that some things will filter to the press, but the less the radio knows, the better things will go in the future.”

“The population will find out, Farsight.”

“As long as they do it once everything is settled, I don’t mind. It’s just a matter of time.”

“I see. Anyway, where to now?”

“I think I’ll go pay old Saddle a visit. He’s the most violent one, and if he finds out that I’m enacting my revenge upon them, he’ll come out guns blazing. We need to surprise him.”

“Fair enough.” Rose smiled. “Let’s go, then.”

We doubled our pace as we advanced towards the Diamonds. Saddle had refused to move into old New Pegasus, and had preferred to maintain his venue in Freedom Field, although he had done some notable improvements to it. I felt Ampera’s guiding hoof behind all the layers of paint and wallpaper that had been applied to the formerly murky Casino, which now gleamed like an off-Strip jewel who preyed on locals more than on traders or tourists. We were frankly surprised when we found no guards standing at the gates. It seemed as if Saddle wasn’t inside, or didn’t care about us coming.

When we entered the Casino, we found ourselves in the old restaurant hall, now cleaned and repaired, but there was nopony to be seen… except for an ageing stallion in a black suit and an Appleloosan hat, who leaned against the counter with a bottle of whiskey, just as he had said. He smiled when he saw us walk in, just as if he had been waiting for me to arrive.

“Farsight!” Saddle groaned. He wasn’t fully wasted, but he was drunk. “I knew you’d come.”

“Watch out, Farsight…” Rose whispered. “It could be a trap.”

We both advanced cautiously towards Saddle, who took another gulp of the bottle and smiled distractedly. He looked desperate, as if he had realized his fate.

“Come on, you two! I am not hiding anything from you.”

“You look… bad, Saddle.” I mumbled.

“Yes, that’s because I feel terrible.” Saddle moaned. “I have fired every single guard that remained here… I knew you would return, wanting revenge. Because that’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Saddle, it is.” I groaned. “Although I can’t help feeling a little bit of compassion towards you now, seeing you in such a calamitous state.”

“Don’t.” Saddle blabbered. “I don’t deserve compassion.”

“Why?” Rose asked, looking sad.

“B-because I am a t-total sellout. I bowed down to Goldie, I bow down to Ampera… and now, I’ve s-sold myself to the Republic!” Saddle stuttered and took another gulp of whiskey. “I-I-I knew that R-Rose would…”

“Release me?” I blinked. “How?”

“C-can’t you see it, Farsight? S-she’s pure, untainted by corruption and greed. Not like you and I. As soon as we sent you to jail, I realized that she would free you and that you would come asking for revenge.”

“How wise of you, Saddle.” I snickered.

“W-wise, me?” Saddle laughed, making a bubbling sound. “I’m definitely not wise! I’m a loser, a wannabe leader who gravitated around more capable ones to ensure his position. Y-you were right, Farsight. We’re nothing without you. Maybe Ampera hasn’t noticed yet, but she would still be a d-disgruntled g-gun seller if you hadn’t appeared.”

“Too bad you realized that so late, Saddle.” I frowned. “You could have done something to stop them.”

“A-as soon as the R-Republic gave us the ultimatum… A-Ampera had already decided what to do with you. I c-couldn’t stop her.”

“Wrong, wrong, wrong, Saddle!” I stomped the floor. “You had a choice. Everypony has a choice! You just need to accept the consequences, and you simply chickened out. You didn’t dare to confront your wife!”

“Y-yes.” Saddle mumbled, about to cry.

“You know, Saddle, I always thought you were close to braindead, and that you needed somepony beside you to guide your raw instincts.” I spewed. “It turns out that there was something working inside that big head of yours. It’s just too bad that you neglected it over and over again.”

“I-I am not b-braindead!” Saddle groaned.

“No, you’re just drunk to a point of no return.” I grunted, letting the anger fill my body. “Saddle, you are right in one end. You are a total disgrace, and you have failed me. You have failed the City, because you bowed down to everypony who put you in a tight spot… but you didn’t bow down to me when you had the choice.”

“S-sorry, F-Farsight…” Saddle whined.

“Too late to apologize, old buck.” I shook my head. “I’ve suffered for my mistakes, and you will have to pay for yours. In the end, that’s how the world works. Some ponies call it karma.”

“K-karma is a b-bitch.”

“That’s the wisest thing that has come out of your muzzle since I met you.” I grinned. “Don’t say anything more… you’ll ruin it.”

Saddle looked into my eyes, trying to make me feel bad about what I was about to do; but that train had already left the station. My resolve was unbreakable, and I had no incentive to let him live. Traitors had no place in New Pegasus… real traitors, that is. I lifted the pistol and aimed it between his eyes, which tried to keep contact with mine, although the amount of alcohol clouding his brain was starting to ruin his focus.

“Goodbye, Saddle.” I mumbled, and pulled the trigger.


The Appleloosan hat flew away and landed some meters behind, while the body of the stallion tumbled and fell to the floor on a pool of blood. I holstered the pistol and stood looking at the corpse for a moment. I didn’t feel any better after having killed him… revenge was not a pleasure for me, it was something I had to do. It was my duty.

“Poor old sod.” Rose mumbled.

“He asked for it.”

“I know. Still, it makes me feel sad, seeing him break down the way he did.”

“He chose that ending for his life. He could have resisted, he could have tried to reason with me, but he preferred to drink himself dumb and cry.”

“He was desperate.”

“I don’t get it, though.” I groaned. “If he knew this was going to happen, why the despair? Why didn’t he act before?”

“I don’t know, Farsight… Ampera dominated him, the same way that Goldie had done before. I think that was what made him disgraceful.”

“He chose to live that way.”

“I suppose he didn’t know what he was choosing.” Rose whispered.

“If he did, he was stupid.”

“Mhm.” Rose nodded.

“Let’s get moving.” I grumbled. “I doubt that Ampera and Dee will make things that easy.”

We left the empty Casino and walked out to the streets, where nopony seemed to have noticed what had happened inside the Diamonds. The activity of locals kept going on, up and down, apparently unaware of Saddle Buckmare’s breakdown and death. My next target would be Ampera, as she had been the alleged responsible for the decision of taking me out of the picture. Besides, dealing with Dee would have me confront Nadyr as well, and I still needed to figure out what to do about him. He kept being my friend, and I wasn’t going to become another backstabbing scoundrel just because of my desire for vengeance.

Rose guided me towards the Council Hall building. Ever since New Pegasus and Freedom Field became a unified city, she had left the Tesla Bar aside and had begun spending her time in the government facility. Apparently, she had become fed up of her old job, selling energy weapons to goons and traders, and had accepted her “elevation” gladly, becoming a full-time politician. She had a strong will and a cold mind, and she was fit to lead; but I simply couldn’t let her get away with her despicable move.

We walked into the very place where I had been accused of treason and sold to the Republic in exchange for protection, ready to face the former Ranger and her personal guard, but we were welcomed by a Council Hall attendant, who gallantly told us that Councillor Von Ohm was waiting for us in her office.

“Watch out, Rose.” I warned. “Ampera is very smart, and this has all the looks of a perfect trap.”

“I know, Farsight, but we have our own tricks up our sleeves.”

“Still, be careful.” I mumbled. “This is becoming more and more incoherent as we advance. They know I would be out for blood, and yet…”

“Saddle had accepted his fate.”

“No, Saddle had surrendered without fighting. That is a mistake.”

“You can’t win all the time, Farsight.”

“That doesn’t mean that you mustn’t try, Rose.”

We were taken to a small room, painted white and carefully furnished, where Ampera was waiting; sitting behind a large wooden desk. I couldn’t see if she was concealing any kind of weapon, and besides, she had two bodyguards standing behind her, heavily armed and ready to open fire at the former Ranger’s command. It was a sticky situation, since the little space that the room offered gave them the advantage in a firefight.

“Farsight, Rose, welcome.” Ampera waved. “Do sit down, please.”

“What is all this, Ampera?” I smiled malevolently. “I expected a rougher welcome from you.”

“My dear Farsight, has the Tsar turned you into another barbarian?” The former Ranger grinned. “We must be civilized, no matter the odds… everypony must be given the chance to speak.”

“That sounds very coherent, Ampera, considering that you threw me in jail without even letting me defend myself!”

“True, that was a mistake.” Ampera shook her head. “We’re working under pressure here, Farsight. The Republic stands on one side, the Tsar comes from the other side, and we are caught in the middle.”

“That hasn’t changed recently.”

“I know, but you had to come and shake things up for your own good.” The former Ranger grumbled. “By allying yourself with that whore DeHavilland, you jeopardized the security of the entire city.”

“Do I have to remind you that I had your personal support in the operation? We didn’t know what sort of viper’s nest we were messing with.”

“Certainly, I remember having backed you up.” Ampera nodded.

“Then how can you be such a hypocrite, Ampera?”

“You talk to me about hypocrisy, Farsight? You’re the master of that particular field, my blue friend. You’ve been spreading lies and pulling strings every day since the one we met, and I didn’t complain about your ways. Would you mind explaining me what entitles you to chastise me for playing your own game?”

“Ampera, when I acted like that I was a nopony.” I shook my head. “I tried to take advantage of the things around me, because I owed nothing to anypony in town. You, on the other hoof, owe me your status.”

“Do we?” Ampera grinned.

“Yes, you do!” I stomped the floor. “I was the one who shook this place to the ground! I was the one who took Goldie out of the picture by setting up the smear campaign! I was the one who took over Full House’s business and destroyed the Ferratura Family! And most importantly, Ampera, I was the one who chose to unify the two cities and the one that gave you your position as a Councillor. I had no obligation to do that.”

“Your point being?”

“That you owed me loyalty, Ampera. You needed to know your place, and you should have disregarded the Republic’s claims.”

“So, we should have gone to war. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Ampera, the Republic has too much to worry about, apart from occupying New Pegasus. It’s the same thing that happened eight years ago. The Tsar is a necessary enemy, they clashed and there is nothing they can do about it. We, on the other hoof, would be a wasted ally.”

“So what?”

“It could be a military victory, but it would be a political defeat.”

“You’re telling me that we would have to surrender to the NER? Please, Farsight, don’t make me laugh.”

“On the contrary, we would have to resist. Cause them attrition while the Tsar breaks their front, and they will begin to reconsider their position towards us.”

“Farsight, don’t try to give me lessons in military strategy. I’m a Ranger, remember? I was taught how to fight, and I had my baptism of fire before you even got your Cutie Mark! It wouldn’t be that easy, so we had to give in to their demands. It’s as simple as that. However, I had the feeling that you wouldn’t last long in jail.”

“Rose is the only one who has shown me true loyalty.”

“How noble of her.” Ampera laughed disdainfully. “She’s got you under her skin, there is no denying that. Too bad she’ll have to suffer your same fate.”

“Rose has nothing to do about this.” I groaned.

“She has, Farsight. The same way that your winged lover or your striped friend. They all stand beside you, and they all are a nuisance for the well-being of New Pegasus. The Council will do better without them. The Triumvirate will…”

“Triumvirate?” I grinned. “You’re one member short.”

“What?” Ampera blinked.

“Saddle is lying on a pool of his own blood at the Diamonds, Ampera.” I clenched my teeth while giving the former Ranger a menacing gaze. “He was drunk and torn apart by guilt, the poor disgrace.”

“You killed him?”

“Does that surprise you, Ampera? What do you think I’m here for?”

“You… damned… son of a BITCH!”

Ampera roared, and I heard the detonation of a large shotgun, but I didn’t feel the pellets tearing my flesh apart. Rose had deployed a shield spell just a second before the attack, and the fired ammo was lying on the carpeted floor of the office. I lifted my gun and got ready to fire as soon as the impasse forced by the shield spell came to an end.

“I knew that you were going to do that, Ampera.” Rose grinned. “You’re getting old.”

“There is no way you’re getting out of this alive, you fools.” The former Ranger spewed. “As soon as you lower the shield, my bodyguards will tear you apart.”

“Really.” Rose nodded. “Who says I have to lower the shield?”

Suddenly, Rose’s horn glowed brighter and the pink screen of the shield spell advanced through Ampera, stopping between the Ranger and her bodyguards. I aimed the pistol at her head and smiled while the confused mare tried to realize what had happened.

“So much for your strategy, Ampera.” I winked.


The body of the mare stumbled two steps back, then fell to the floor with a gaping hole in her head, while the two bodyguards wondered what to do next. Their confused faces and quick looks at each other showed that they hadn’t expected such an outcome.

“Relax, you two.” I smiled. “I have nothing against you. If you lower your guns, I will lower mine, understood?”

“Fine.” One of the bodyguards nodded.

“Perfect.” I replied, holstering the pistol and watching them deactivate their battle saddles. “Now, if you don’t mind, we’ll be leaving.”

The bodyguards shrugged, and we galloped out of the room, just in case they changed their minds a moment too soon. Two of the three Council Members were dead, and only one remained. However, that one would be the most difficult to kill. There were many ties between her and us… ties that couldn’t be severed without causing greater damage.

*** *** ***

Things were starting to stir up in the streets of New Pegasus as we walked towards our last target. Apparently, the corpse of Saddle Buckmare had been found, and our little fight with Ampera at the Council Hall had not gone unnoticed. Dee would be waiting for us, and it wouldn’t be easy to get our job done… even if it wouldn’t have been easy anyway. We walked towards the former Freedom Field Town Hall, where Dee had her workplace and home established for over eight years.

Guards were out on the streets, and many of them looked at us with a puzzled face. They knew what was going on, but they didn’t know who to root for. Even if Dee would have issued clear orders, forcing them to stop me in sight, the majority of the guards was in doubt. Some of them had conflicted loyalties, and some of them would be pondering which side was the most prone to reaching the final victory.

The streets of Freedom Field were not very crowded, since the population already knew what was going on, and they avoided being close to possible areas of conflict. Indeed, that made our job easier, since having to meander through bystanders would make things much more cumbersome. The door to the Freedom Field Town Hall was guarded by a bunch of armored ponies who tried to stop us from getting in in the first place; but as soon as they saw our determination, they moved and let us in. Once again, I didn’t know if it was a matter of fear or a matter of loyalty. The only true thing was that Dee had no more shields to hide behind.

We walked into the large office, where Dee was waiting for us behind her desk, filing papers and typing in a terminal. Always calm, always cold. Nadyr was sitting on a couch that stood on the corner, while Atreid and Harko, their two twins, played around in the floor. Our arrival was like a thunder breaking the peace of a blue sky.

“Took you long enough.” Dee whispered.

“Bro…” Nadyr got up. “Is that true? Have you killed Saddle and Ampera?”

“News sure do fly around here.” I shook my head. “Yes, I have. What did you expect?”

“I guess you’re coming for me, right, Farsight?” Dee shrugged. “I don’t blame you, you know. It was a despicable move from our side, but we were forced to make it. It was either you or us.”

“What about your loyalties, Dee? I thought you had a high concept of them.”

“I do, but loyalty is worthless if you’re dead.”

“Bro, please.” Nadyr mumbled. “Think about it for a second.”

“I have thought about it many times.” I groaned, taking out my gun.

“Uncle Farsight?” Harko looked at me. “What are you doing?”

“Sorry, Harko, but it is something I have to do.”

“No!” Atreid galloped and put herself before her mother. “If you shoot her, you’ll shoot me!”

“Atreid, honey, get out of the way.” Rose said calmly. “Please.”

“Listen to Auntie Rose.” Dee brushed her daughter’s curly mane. “This is something I asked for.”

“No, mom!” Atreid roared. “I’m not letting you die!”

“Uncle Farsight, you’ll have to shoot me down too!” Harko put herself in the way.

“Atreid, Harko!” Dee ordered. “Move!”

“NO!” The twins cried.

“Bro, don’t do it.” Nadyr was aiming at me with his pistol. “If you shoot her, I’ll shoot you.”

“Nadyr, what are you doing?” I groaned. “You too?”

“No, bro. Dee deserves some punishment, but she doesn’t deserve death. Please. Don’t make me kill you. Not after all we’ve been through.”

“Nadyr, darling, lower the gun.” Dee said calmly. “We knew what we were assuming when we decided to betray Farsight.”

“Hell no!” Nadyr roared.

We stood looking at each other for two or three minutes, our guns lifted and aiming at their respective targets. Nadyr was about to cry, while Dee had accepted what was coming to her and smiled calmly, while trying to soothe her foals. For once, I felt my resolve break. I realized that the retribution wouldn’t justify the pain I would cause, and I lowered the gun.

“I… I won’t kill you, Dee.” I shook my head. “What you did was terrible, but as Nadyr has said, you don’t deserve death. I would cause too much pain and sorrow.”

“Thank you, bro.” Nadyr whispered and lowered the gun.

“Farsight, I… I am sorry.” Dee walked to me and lowered her head in defeat. “I have broken your trust, and yet, you have spared my life.”

“Dee, listen to me.” I mumbled. “I will not let this pass. Nopony betrays me and gets away with it, understood? I shall find a suitable punishment for your actions… one that lets you keep your dignity while repaying your debt with me.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Dee mumbled.

“Then don’t say anything, Dee. You’re a fine mare, and I can understand your feelings. I know that you’re torn between two loyalties, and I can even grasp your reasons. It doesn’t mean that I forgive you, but at least, I can see the world through your eyes.”

“Thank you.” Dee turned around and walked back to her desk, while Nadyr came by and hugged me.

“It’s so good to see you alive, bro.” He smiled. “Oh, and thanks for sparing her life.”

“I couldn’t just kill her and leave like that.” I groaned. “I would hurt you, Atreid, Harko… I simply wasn’t able. As soon as I saw the implications of taking that shot…”

“Thank you so much, Farsight.”

“No problem, Nadyr. Things are going to get ugly soon, though.”

“I know, but we’ll get through them, won’t we?”

“We’ll try.” I mumbled. “We’ll damn sure try.”

*** *** ***

Everything was back in its place, all the loose ends in New Pegasus had been sorted out. All, but one. The most painful and sad one, who waited for me on top of the Horseshoe Spire. The source of all my problems, my condemnation and blessing at the same time. I wondered how I would face her while I walked down the Strip, heading towards the bright lights of my home, wounded, tired and broken; but at peace. Almost at peace, at least.

The elevator ride seemed to last forever, as I was eager to see her once again. Such was the paradox of my existence. She had taken me to the verge of death many times, she had put me in a situation that left me caught in the crossfire, she had played me like a puppet; and yet, despite all those facts, I still wanted to be near her. According to Rose, she was shaken because of our last argument, but she could perfectly be lying. The elevator beeped and the doors opened, leading me to the place that had been my hideout for the last eight years.

“Who…?” I heard her ask. “Farsight!”

Avro galloped towards me and embraced me in a way she had never done before. I felt it to be stale and fake, like everything she had told me, but her eyes were red because of the hours she had spent crying. Tear marks were all over her cheeks, and she had a terrible look.

“Hi, Avro.” I said coldly.

“I… I am so glad to see you! When Pet told me that your airship had…” She started sobbing again.

“Well, I’m fine.” I groaned.

“Farsight, I…”

“We need to talk, Avro.” I sat down on a couch. “Your lies have put me in a situation of no return, you know that?”

“I am sorry, Farsight.” Avro cried. “I am being honest when I tell you that I am really, really sorry.”

“You know, Avro, the problem is that I can’t trust you. You say that you’re sorry, but how do I know you’re telling the truth?”

“Does it look like I’m lying?” She sobbed.

“No… well, I don’t know. You’re the only pony I simply can’t read through.”

“Please, Farsight, you have to believe me.”

She walked beside me and caressed me. It was a different type of caress, though. She wasn’t trying to seduce me… it felt like an apology, like a goodbye kiss. Even if I couldn’t discern what she was up to, her body language seemed to be sending another signal. She appeared to be feeling remorse.

“Avro…” I sighed and kissed her gently in the lips. “What am I going to do with you? I simply can’t trust you no more…”

“Farsight…” She replied to my kiss with passion, begging for forgiveness. “Do you still love me?”

“No, I don’t love you anymore.” I said coldly. “I can’t love a pony who constantly lies to me and uses me for her own purposes. However, I simply can’t let you go either. I can’t live with you, but I can’t live without you either.”

Avro lowered her head in sadness.

“Do… do you want me to leave?” She asked.

“No.” I shook my head and sighed. “I… it’s complicated. I want you, I need you, but there’s no way I’m ever going to love you, Avro. Still, that doesn’t mean that I want you out of my life… it only means that we need to figure things out.”

Avro hugged me while crying.

“Hey, don’t be sad.” I smiled. “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

“Yes… I guess you’re right.” Avro smiled. “There is one more thing, Farsight.”

“Oh, yes, I remember. What is it?”

Avro giggled cunningly and whispered into my ear.

“I’m pregnant, Farsight. You’re going to be a father.”


Note: Reputation Change
New Pegasus: Back in the saddle. You’ve crushed the opposition within the Council and have returned to your position of power. What consequences will your actions bring, though?