Of Steam Gears and Wings

by RavensDagger

Noble Games and Stinking Taverns

Click on image for link to artist


Of Steam Gears and Wings -Chapter Four and Five- Noble Games, Stinking Taverns

Blueblood smiled at the guests as they spun on the central dance floor of his castle’s great hall. He was quite proud of the hall, not a thing remained from his auntie’s era; the symbolism didn’t go unnoticed by the upper nobility present. The mood was a clean mix of jovial and formal as rich ponies that made up the elite of Canterlot and Equestria enjoyed themselves in a way that only the noble-blooded could: with class. The hall was filled with their banter and chit-chat. Blueblood smiled thinly from upon his throne. The mood was going to change, but not yet.

The light within the room shifted as a black form blotted out the sun from above the great glass dome that was the hall’s ceiling. The guests slowly stopped their dancing and enjoyment in favour of staring at the black form above. Many turned to each other and mumbled their confusion but, upon seeing his confident smile, they calmly carried on with their dancing and eating; this was just the preparation to the main attraction after all, and if it was going to be half as grandiose as the party that was already going on it was truly going to be the event of the decade.

The large black tarp slowed to a stopped just as more lights were lit; the guests were patient, they would have to wait for the unveiling later to see his newest creation.

Rising from the throne at the top of the staircase, Blueblood trotted down the steps, flanked by his two burly unicorn guards dressed in livery and wielding sharp swords upon their backs. As he reached the tables set with delectable foods and expensive cutlery, he began to mingle with the various guests. Nobles, officers and merchants; old blood and new. All bowed and made shows of respect. Some, those that owed him, went beyond and offered praise or wise advice, all the while shifting their eyes nervously.

Blueblood loved these little parties. Especially when held on his own terms in his own castle. Every chandelier, every chair, every little detail was hoof picked by him, the extravagance and overflowing richness of the event was quite apparent in the eyes of many of his guests.

Everypony tried to act their best. Everypony also wore their best, from elegant dresses to smart suits. The officers of the Navy in the crowd stuck out with their trim grey suits and many badges of honour. Conflicts and fights were put aside in favour of appearances and nopony dared to break any of the unspoken social contract. But, as with all good things, there were exceptions.

In this case it was the bright pink pony chatting loudly with a dozen nobles, merchants and high ranking officers. She laughed and roared at the slightest joke and constantly shifted on her hooves to the beat of the orchestral music. To his great discomfort the pink pony’s eyes turned and locked onto his own. “Hi, Emperor Bluey!” shouted the mare from halfway across the colossal room.

She quickly gave up any conversation with those around her and literally skipped her way over to him. “Hello, Miss Pinkamena.” He gave her a polite half-bow knowing that the hundreds of eyes were on the pair.

“Aw, I told you call me Pinkie!” The mare tapped him on the shoulder. His guards made to move forward, but with a slight wave of his hoof, they backed away.

“How do you enjoy my little inauguration, Miss Pinkamena?”

“Well, it’s not a Pinkie Pie party, but it’s not bad.” she said, as if trying to console him.

“Why thank you; it means a lot coming from you. Please, enjoy the rest of the party in better company than my own.” He smiled forcibly, inviting her to get as far away from him as possible. This mare could easily ruin one’s reputation.

“Okie dokie! Have a good one!” With that the pony disappeared in a pink blur, reappearing at the buffet table and quickly began chatting it up with the other guests, much to their disappointment. Blueblood let out a small breath of air he was unaware of holding. He couldn’t anger her yet.

A white and red unicorn appeared in Blueblood’s peripheral vision. Blueblood’s mood improved, he recognized that pony. “My Lord, are you alright?”

“Hello, Bunnyhelm.” said Blueblood, using the small privilege he had of being one of the few to use the councilor’s real name. Only once before had somepony dared to laugh at the pony’s name; he had payed for it dearly.

Blueblood turned to the prominent Lord and advisor. “Miss Pie can be a... hoof-full at times...” said Bunnyhelm.

“She is nothing I can’t handle.” Blueblood smiled and shook hooves with Bunnyhelm.

“I am surprised that you invited her tonight.”

“I didn't...” said Blueblood, he sought to change the subject. “So how are you today, Lord Chrono?”

“Quite excited to see what you have planned for today. Your inaugurations are always so... enlightening.” Chrono smiled; they both knew what was in store, but the many ears twisting towards their general direction while their owners eavesdropped encouraged them to keep playing coy with each other.

“Why thank you; I think this one will be one for the record bo-.” Just as Blueblood was going to continue with the small chat a a small pony wearing a servant’s uniform trotted over to the pair and bowed sharply.  

“Ah, please forgive me Lord Chrono; it seems like the time for me to start the main event.” he said before giving the councilor a small hoofshake and trotting away, the sound of his hoof-steps drowned in the crowd’s roaring speech and laughter.

Blueblood started trotting toward the staircase, the crowd parting ahead of him to make way. His mind was elsewhere, thinking of the many arrangements to be made. Being the Emperor gives little room for rest, he reminded himself. His thoughts were interrupted as a young mare dressed in what was evidently a pret-a-porter gown backed into him. “Oh my, please forgive me.” In a show of gallantry Blueblood scooped the pink mare off the ground and deposited her on her hooves.

The mare turned to face him, face red with anger, she took in a breath to berate him but stopped, mouth agape, upon recognizing his face. “Oh, um... hello Emperor Blueblood. Plea-please forgive me,” she said as if the words were unfamiliar to her. “It was my fault.” The mare bowed deeply. At least she understood respect.

“No matter my lady, what might your name be if I may ask...” Blueblood grabbed her hoof and pecked it lightly. Dozens of mares in the crowd stared daggers at her.

“I am Diamond Tiara.” She blushed further. “Pl-pleased to meet you.”

Hmm, maybe he would get some rest tonight, he thought.

Blueblood scoffed at a nonexistent stain on her dress. “My, it seems that in my carelessness I have ruined your beautiful gown. Please, could we meet later? I am positive we can find something that suits you.” He coughed lightly and whispered into her ear. “And I am positive we can find other activities that involve undressing...”

Blueblood trotted around her smiling wickedly to himself, leaving the mare quite distraught by his offer. Let her figure it out, he told himself. Climbing halfway up the steep staircase, he turned to face the crowd. The crowd, sensing that something was about to happen, quickly hushed up and payed attention to their Emperor. After all, something entertaining was going to happen and they all craved for it.

“Ladies and Gentlecolts,” said Blueblood, his voice magically amplified. For a few seconds he basked in their undivided attention. “We are all here today to share good company and decent food, and maybe even gloat over my newest little toy.” Many in the crowd laughed at the lame joke. They were all as vain as he was, many would have loved to be in his position, many would try to get there. Blueblood gave them all a charming smile, knowing that it would work its magic on them.

“Without further ado, I present to you, the newest ship in the Royal Navy: the R.I.N. Sol Scorcher.” In a grandiose use of showmanship, he reared unto his hind legs and pointed to the ceiling. Right on cue, the great glass dome shifted with a loud grinding screech that drowned out the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the crowd.

The giant tarp that floated in mid-air was swept away as a squadron of fighter planes wielding long hooks flew by. Each plane kept their formation through the complicated set of maneuvers, rocketing across the sky carrying the huge billowing tarp behind them. The tarp fluttered away revealing the object hidden above. Four simple tugboats huffing and puffing against the strong winds, their rusting sides barely holding together. Nothing else but the tiny lights of the stars poking through the smog was visible.

Many in the crowd laughed despite themselves, obviously expecting something huge and powerful, not four little tug ships. Blueblood smiled patiently, they would not be disappointed. A thump reverberated through the hall, followed seconds later by another. Chandeliers chimed as they bounced on their hooks, glass’ full of wine sputtered and shook, the few fillies and colts in the hall searched for the reassuring hold of their mother’s hooves. Slowly the thumping grew louder as its source approached. Blueblood smiled his first real smile of the evening. Many ponies in the crowd pointed at the sky above. His new toy was appearing.

At first only three long bars appeared, sharp and curved inwards. They were easily as large as three ponies and, as the Sol Scorcher advanced, they became longer and thicker. Their menacing curves causing many amongst the gathered to begin sweating through their formal attire.

Soon, a large cannon easily capable of swallowing a small airship, appeared placed in the center of the three claw-like bars. The rest of the ship slowly came into view. Rows upon rows of guns were attached to the sides of the ship. No balloon was visible. The entire ship was covered in thick metal plates with openings at every few meters. A pony in the crowd, one that Blueblood had planted, pointed out the small hangars filled with fighter planes on the airship’s side.

Just as Blueblood opened his mouth to talk the ship’s engines stopped. Not a whisper was heard in the cavernous building as he began his small speech.“I present to thee once more; the Royal Imperial Navy’s most powerful ship, and my own personal flagship: the R.I.N. Sol Scorcher.” The room was quiet. The sheer immensity of it darkened the few few stars that poked out of the polluted sky. Many of the ponies in the crowd ducked lower, feeling the oppressive weight of the machine of destruction above them.

“Armed with a state-of-the-art arsenal of Arcana weapons, including thirty two heavy cannons, and the brand new Nova One Sparkle accelerator: a cannon so powerful it can destroy an entire city in a single round from a dozen kilometers away. It can also carry up to one hundred and forty fighter crafts. Specifically our brand new Vanquisher fighter-interceptors.”

Blueblood looked into the crowd, especially to those he knew to be rebel sympathizers. He gave them all a grim smile, enjoying the self conscious squirming of many of the ponies that had recently been conspiring against him. They were having second thoughts now.

“That’s my cannon!” Screamed a high pitched voice. Pinkie Pie jumped onto one of the dining tables and pointed at the emperor accusingly. “You stole my idea for a super cannon!”

Many were surprised at her daring, not every pony was brave or stupid enough to argue with the Emperor. Blueblood on the other hoof was expecting it.

“Indeed Miss Pinkamena, I did. Worry not though, you shall be handsomely recompensed,” he said in a tone that stipulated that the argument was over.  
Pinkie Pie hopped off the table and zipped over to him. Fuming, she leaned forward until she was only inches away from his face. “You’re a big ol’ meanie aren’t you Bluey?” This time when his guards moved in towards her he didn’t stop them. Pinkie averted her gaze to the approaching soldiers and huffed as she turned around. “Somepony is stepping on a thin wire,” she said before trotting out of the eerily quiet hall huffing about mean emperors.
Blueblood descended the steps and was greeted by dozens of ponies. They all congratulated him with varying amounts of honesty for his new possession. He thanked them all politely while searching for Bunnyhelm.

When the advisor approached Blueblood, he nudged his head towards the entrance of the hall, indicating the need for privacy. Bunnyhelm nodded and walked by the intricately carved arch of the grand entrance.

Blueblood yawned loudly before saying his goodbyes and disappearing out of the grand exit, shortly followed by Bunnyhelm. Once outside he took in a puff of the fresh night air, emptying his lungs of the thick smell of perfume and cologne.

“Are they trustworthy?” the advisor asked, pointing to Blueblood’s two guards.

“Indeed.” He understood the need for caution.

“I saw you speak with little Miss Tiara, at the ceremony...” began the lord and advisor.

Blueblood indicated that he should follow and started walking down a well trod path to the castle proper. “The pink one? With too much confidence and no respect for authority? A little snot-nosed brat if you ask me.” They walked through the paved walkway that lead from the new hall to the great castle of Canterlot.

“Indeed, and, while I must agree with your assumptions, she is the daughter of Filthy Rich; some caution would be advisable when dealing with her.”

“I see, thank you. I’ll make sure she won’t speak of our... activities.”

A veritable army of soldiers wearing red armour appeared with a shimmer. The Royal Guard, over a dozen unicorns trained from infancy to serve Blueblood and only Blueblood. They struck fear in the hearts of all those unfortunate enough to see them. Even Bunnyhelm gulped and whitened slightly at the sight of them. Not one of them spoke as they simply trotted along at the emperor’s pace. “How goes the Sol factory?” asked Blueblood, completely unfazed by the appearance of the trained killers.

“Quite well, as you can’t see.” Chrono indicated the gigantic Sol Scorcher that was blotting out the moon above. The two stallions laughed at their private joke. “Miss Pie... was quite angry...” started Chrono a while later as they reached the exit of the garden.

“Indeed she was. Rightfully so, as well.” Blueblood smiled.

“I advise caution; Miss Pie and her friends own quite a bit of Equestria. They are a force to be reckoned with.”

“They only own a fifth of the land and its wealth. Still, I understand the need for caution. They keep playing in my back with their little shenanigans and even laugh in my face when I try to do something about it.” He stomped his hoof angrily on the marble stones they trotted across. The sound of his hoof strike echoed off the stone walls and into the still night. The Royal guard’s slowed their pace to match his perfectly.

“Hmm, I can see why you would be frustrated. Perhaps a change of subject?” He nodded at the suggestion, liking Bunnyhelm's ability to read him so easily.

“Give me the rundown of events...” They reached the stairwell that lead to the emperor’s study. Without a sound, the Royal guard disappeared,  knowing their king and emperor was safe here. 

Bunnyhelm cleared his throat before starting. “The tests on the new Vanquisher models has far surpassed our predictions. The newest batch of fighters should be ready sometime next week. Sparkle Tech still refuses to cooperate in the development of new Arcana cannons, food production over at the Apples farms corp has increased thanks to the new machinery, Cloudsdale has had a growth in their recruitment numbers over the past two months. A certain Captain Darius, ex-admiral of the Sun Fleet, has captured one of Miss Rarity’s siblings on a anti-smuggling ru-”

“Wait, we captured one of Rarity’s siblings smuggling?” Blueblood cocked his eyebrow at Bunnyhelm. “Let me guess, fancy dresses?” They finished climbing the long, tall staircase and came to a stop.

“No, in this case Zap Apple Fuel. The filly, Sweetie Belle if I remember correctly, was captured and her ship was destroyed in the proceedings. This might be a small victory for us. We will be able to prove that the Apples are still creating the illegal ordinance, and that the Belles are helping. Of course, the filly will go free. Her name alone will sway the prosecution in her favour. No pony wants to suffer through a whiny Miss Rarity.” Bunnyhelm shuddered.

“No, it won’t,” Blueblood smiled devilishly. “Shove her in Tartarus to rot for a while. Don’t make a fuss over the hearing either; I want this to be quiet....”

“Are you sure this is wise, your highness?”

“We can’t really hurt Applejack or Rarity directly, nor can we afford to be seen going against them. By giving back her sister, all we can do is slap her wrist and tell her not to do it again. But if her sister disappears...”

A wicked smile slowly made its way across Bunnyhelm’s face. “I see. Your wisdom is infallible, my liege.” The pair arrived at the study’s door. “I will leave you to a good night’s sleep, then.”

Diamond Tiara walked around the far corner, escorted by two members of the Royal guard. She blushed furiously, seemingly uncertain of her actions. “Oh my dear Chrono, it will be quite the pleasurable night; this I assure you.” said Blueblood before waving his councilor away and trotting into his study accompanied by the filly.

The Expedite roared forward at a speed that was more than reckless, not that its pilot cared. Scootaloo looked at the city of New Appleloosa and all its glory. Tall narrow chimneys rose into the air and spewed toxic vapours; the sun cast its last rays into the polluted clouds, turning the airship filled skies into varying shades of blue, pink and green. 

As she approached the city more details could be made out. Large, tall buildings rose up, obscuring the lower levels where the poor and abject lived. The once-white walls were speckled with graffiti and grime, not to mention the odd scars from stray bullets. She had been there often, always on-board The Crusader, always with her friends. Scootaloo swiped away a tear from her eyes, ashamed at her own weakness. She needed to be stronger than this.

Hundreds of ships dotted the air, from small merchant ships to large cargo haulers. Between them all were the Imperial ships, from Interdiction class light patrol ships returning from their runs, to much smaller guard ships and balloons. There were even a few of the massive Obedience class heavy destroyers anchored to some of the many ports that stuck out of the city’s skyline. 

Scootaloo pushed forward on the yoke, and her little red ship dived down, dozens of small airships veered wildly as she flew past building in a blur. She didn’t care, all she needed was a drink. Slowing down as she reached the lower levels, she took a quick peek at her surroundings. Unlike the upper section where everything was polished to a sheen and where the rich trotted, the lower city was much simpler. Dirty alleys and dubious locations were everywhere. The pony residents of this level were all shifty, light on their hooves and their eyes continuously roamed from side to side searching for trouble..

Her keen eyes spotted a bar with a large broken-down sign labeled The Salt Block II. She pulled on the Expedite’s air-brakes and released its landing gear. The small craft slowed to a halt and hovered. Small pieces of garbage and debris were kicked up by the Spark Generator while she veered the ship into a side alley, gently parking the Expedite on a pile of stinking refuse.

Scootaloo powered off the ship, her hooves flying over the controls out of habit as she looked around her. She had very little with her; just the few things that were already in the Expedite: A small knife, her precious jacket, some bits, and half a jar of Zap Apple fuel. The Expedites fuel tank was almost empty, her engine was bucking and spewing odd shades of pale smoke, the entire hull was scraped and dinged from the short fight with the Imperial fighters. She sighed before popping open the hatch and jumping out, vaguely aware of the eyes spying on her, from within shadows cast by the flickering streetlights. On a whim she locked the hatch before trotting over to the bar.

Holes had been blown into the side of the building, the paint was peeling or completely gone, and the smell of it was repulsive. Ignoring her instincts to turn away, she pushed the door aside and trotted in. The stench and sound within hit her like a brick wall. Smoke curled into the air from a dozen small fires where ponies were sniffing and taking substances of dubious legality. Soothing upbeat jazz music played in the background, making an odd contrast to the puffs of smoke and the general air of caution in the bar.

Coughing, she trotted over to the bar and sat on an empty stool, aware of the eyes that were checking her out and licking their lips. The barkeep, a tall lanky griffin, turned over and cocked an eyebrow at her. “We don’t serve milk.” he said with a mixture of sarcasm and venom. She simply glared at him, putting all the anger she felt into her stare until the griffin blanched and fetched her a dirty cup full of cider. She dropped a bit onto the table and was surprised to see it disappear in a sweep of the griffin’s talon.

“Thanks.” Slowly she lifted the glass to her lips and sipped the cider, head bowed in silence. She recognized the blend as watered-down Sweet Apple Acres. The taste of it made her want to tear up all over again for more than one reason. All she wanted was some peace and quiet; the odd, stinking bar provided that. Everypony returned to minded their own business and only whispers were heard over the soft jazz on the crackling radio.

Suddenly she noticed a dark pony walking over to her from the left. From the way he moved she could tell that he’d had one glass of cider to many. “Hey sweetums, want me to buy you a drink?” he slurred. The attention of many in the bar shifted away from drinks and small talk to the pair.

“No thanks, I already have my own,” she said. The inebriated buck grabbed her mug and shoved it aside.

“Now you don’t.” He leaned in towards her and whispered loudly enough her everypony to hear. “How ‘bout, after yer drink, me ‘n you go out back and have ourselves a good time?” She stared daggers into his face. He didn’t seem to notice. “What do you say, sweetums?” He slapped her flank.

Calmly, she rose from the stool and stood in front of him, giving him a beautiful toothy smile. He smiled back until her hooves smashed into his face, sending the drunk pony sprawling halfway across the bar.

With a sigh akin to a patient mother’s, Scootaloo picked up her mug with an outstretched wing and quietly trotted over to the lumpy form. “Drinks on me,” she said before pouring the remainder of her cider on his head. Gingerly, she aimed the mug and proceeded to jam it over his snout, effectively shutting up his drunken whimpers.

The bar was quiet for a few seconds as its patrons observed the spectacle, a few of the ponies present laughed and giggled quietly then went on taking care of their business. Scootaloo started to make her way back to her stool which she now found occupied by another, the pony on her seat just looked at her and shrugged. Hanging her head she began to make her way out of the crowded bar. This was not a good day.

“Hey madam?” She sighed, not this again. “Is your ship red?” She turned to a pony who was leaning against the filthy wall near the entrance. “Thought so,” he said. “You might want to go check it out: because the Imps sure are doing just that...” He gave her a sympathetic smile. Down here Imperials and their supporters had little love. If the Empire didn’t like you, there was a chance that those who dwelled in the slums would help you... or sell, kill or rob you, depending on their mood.

Scootaloo nodded to the mysterious pony and galloped out the door and into the slightly fresher night air. She had no reason to trust him, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Her business here was done anyway. Hurrying towards the alley where her ship was parked, Scootaloo slowed to a halt before reaching the edge, not wanting to stand out too much in the empty streets. Poking her head around the corner she spotted three Imperial troopers inspecting her vehicle. One of them, an unicorn officer, was floating up a notepad and inspecting it thoroughly.

The officer turned to his colleagues. “This is the one. Search warrant was issued this evening.” he smiled. “I smell a promotion for a certain somepony!” The other two joined in on the laughter. “Now, all we need to do is find that stupid mare...” He punched Expedite, leaving a small dent along its thin armour plates. Something snapped within Scootaloo: those Imperials took her friends, her ship and now they were laughing at her! Immediately she began to plan the sort of punishment she would give to them.

She slid into one of the many shadows that were rampant around the alley and slowly snuck forward, aided by her dark leather coat and the tall buildings that obscured what was left of the daylight. The three uniformed ponies started to move towards the exit of the alley, taking their time. Their rank and uniforms protected them from all but the most foolish of the locals. Scootaloo remained crouched in the shadows. Every few moments, she would raise her head ever so slightly, just enough to catch a peek of the scene in front of her.

One of the officers had his back turned towards her, gesturing to his two companions . The pair nodded in acknowledgement before rushing off in opposite directions, leaving the officer alone to inspect the ship.

Ducking back into the shadows, Scootaloo sucked in a deep breath. It was now or never.

With a strong beat of her wings, she leapt forward, using her momentum to slam into the unsuspecting Imperial. She tackled him into the far wall of the alley and slammed his head into the cement, leaving a crack both on the wall and on his thin grey helm.

The other two turned around, surprised. Scootaloo let go of the first unconscious Imperial and jumped onto the nearest one who simply gasped wide-eyed at her before they rolled across the dirty ground, wings and hooves flying as they grappled each other, sending puffs of dust and grim flying. She swung wildly at him, putting all of her anger into her hooves, while he desperately tried to defend himself from her savage attacks.

“Stop!” With a tug, Scootaloo was lifted into the air. She threw punches and kicks in a vain attempt to free herself, to no avail. The officer sat nearby his face illuminated by the glow surrounding his horn. “Seems that I was fated to get that promotion!” Scootaloo swore at him and made as few rather unnecessary comments about his mother, successfully evoking a look of disdain from the officer. “Let’s drag this whelp over to HQ, let her rot for a while.” The officer said to the still groaning form of his compatriot on the ground. The trooper laying in the filthy mud just twisted and hung onto his bleeding muzzle with a forehoof.

“I fear that I cannot allow you to do that,” spoke a heavily accented voice. From out of a shadow stepped a unicorn, wearing what could easily have passed for a noble’s garb, were it not stained and ripped. The rich looking unicorn stepped towards the officer. “S’il vous plait, good monsieur, would you leave the young Miss be?” The unicorn smiled at the officer and twitched his moustache with a delicate hoof.

“Who the hay do you think you are?” The Imperial officer stared at the strange pony incredulously. “I am an officer of t-”

“Oui, oui, an officer of the law and all that; I’ve heard it all before. Now, will you let the young Miss go, or non?” he cocked his head to one side questioningly. Scootaloo didn’t know who this pony was but she was glad for the small distraction. She put all of her force into trying to break free of the unicorn’s grasp. nothing happened.

The officer fumed before replying, “of course not! She’s mine.”

He sighed. “That was what I thought you’d say....” The rich pony reached into his well-trimmed coat. 

The officer, reacting quickly, pulled out a pistol from within the folds of his uniform and pointed it at the head of the accented pony. The unicorn, unfazed, slowly pulled out a rolled piece of paper, acting as if he wasn’t threatened by the Imperial soldier. “This is the bounty you speak of, I believe?” He levitated the paper over to the officer, unrolling it in mid air.

The officer quickly glanced at the paper then back to the unicorn. “Yeah it’s her. Thanks, now get out of here. You’re being an obstruction of justice.”

“Vraiment?” The rich pony turned his attention to Scootaloo who was still floating in mid air. “My little lady, I must say I am very impressed!” he pointed to Expedite. “In that ugly thing you destroyed two imperial fighters and single hoofedly killed eight soldiers. Incroyable.” he nodded.

“What?” asked both Scootaloo and the officer at the same time.

Curiosity getting the best of her Scootaloo stopped struggling. “Can I see that?”

“Bien oui!” He levitated the bounty back to his side and pointed at it. “Tu vois, eight counts of murder, two counts of destruction of Imperial material, over a dozen counts of smuggling and embezzlement of funds as well as treason.” He looked at Scootaloo, “I thought you would look fiercer in person...” He sent the bounty flying over to her. She snatched it from the air and looked at the image. It was her, but two years younger, still wearing a less-tattered version of her coat. This was taken when she got her pilot's license. Scootaloo scanned the page. The unicorn hadn't lied. The Imperial propaganda department were really having a riot with this.

“Look you freak, I’ve had enough of you. Leave!” exclaimed the officer, cutting through Scootaloo’s concentration.

“Non.” The officer’s gun was wrapped in a magical sheen and was ripped from his hoof. The officer gasped in surprise as the gun twisted over in mid-air and pointed itself at his head. The odd pony smiled at him. “What is that thing the ponies around here say? Oh yes!” He stared at the officer, his eyes full of controlled fury and anger, and deadpanned, “Git.”  

The officer stared at him wide-eyed as sweat began to pour from under his cap, then, gulping, he ran away screaming for reinforcements, his hoof steps echoing off the narrow alley walls. Scootaloo dropped to the ground suddenly as he let go of his magic.

Grunting she looked up, the face of the strange pony was inches away from her own. His inquisitive eyes scanning her own. “Allo, my name is Arnaquer, I wish for you to join my little group.” He rose up then gave her his hoof to help her up. “Will you join me, miss Scootaloo?”

Scootaloo drew a blank. “Wha-?”

Arnaquer stifled a laugh, “pardoner moi.” He coughed into his sleeve. “I so happen to be the leader of a little group that is... at odds, with the Empire. We could use somepony of your skills...”

“What?” Scootaloo’s mind took a while to comprehend to shift in scenarios.

“You’ll get to really irk the Empire. Maybe even avenge your friends...” hinted Arnaquer. “You’ll be guarding the ship while we make... special deliveries to certain important places.”

“Where?” she blurted out.

“Sparkle tech, Spectrum Skies-”

“You work for Spectrum!” The name of her idol’s company decided the matter for her. Not only was this pony offering her a way to retaliate against her nemesis, she could also work for her idol.
“Le veut tu? Do you want to help us?”

With a firm nod Scootaloo said, “Alright then.”

Author’s Note:

Special thank yous:


If you need to contact me (paypal) or images (Deviant Art) please do so at: Mr.Chicken501@gmail.com or in the Fimfictions comment section!                     
First part written while listening to this: Smile Emporium