A short painted Earth Pony of Shetland pony descent (meaning he was actually shorter than most Equestria ponies and was also shaggier) with a white coat and many large, natural (and some smaller poo-induced) brown stains of varying dark shades all over the sea of white, and eyes and a mane of the same dark shades, causing him to resemble an adult version of a certain little colt who is perhaps shipped a little too often with Princess Luna, ran down the spiral stairs. He had a turnip cutie mark and wore a funny brown skullcap with long straps. "Here I am Lord Blackadder, what you ask of me?"
There he was, a tall but gaunt Unicorn; he had a dark grey coat that looked nearly black, a wild black mane, piercing emerald eyes, and a black adder wrapped around a dagger for a cutie mark; indeed Lord Saddlemund Blackadder, like many of his forefathers, looked like a spitting image of the original el Víboro Negro before experiments with sorcery caused el Víbor Negro to be warped in body, mind and heard. As a matter of fact, it was hard to tell he was basically a Shetland pony who just happened to have some Equestria pony in him, save that his hair was shaggier than almost any Equestria pony. He was generous to a fault but paradoxically was also greedy to a fault, often entering vicious cycles of gain and loss. He also had little patience for stupidity and because of this, he sighed and facehoofed at Baldrick; he wanted him to do a census of Dunny-on-Pone, but something else on Baldrick now seemed like a bigger priority. "Baldrick, what is that?"
Baldrick indeed was smothered in something most horrible. Baldrick looked around at himself, getting a glimpse of each of his sides. "Not sure m'Lord, 'tis probably seagull droppings." Seagulls were a huge problem in their hometown, for nothing else seemed to enjoy living there, save perhaps for vultures, slugs, flies, and other nasty creatures, all drawn the excess of garbage, sewage, and overall decay.
Blackadder seemed to look simultaneously concerned and annoyed, as he often did: "Baldrick, how did you get seagull droppings all over you?" Baldrick simply looked around at himself again. "I don't know sire." Blackadder rolled his eyes and groaned: "Fine, let's go upstairs to your room and investigate." Blackadder grumpily trudged upstairs to Baldrick's room in the stuffy attic.
There was a pause. And a gasp that was none other than Blackadder's. He called from upstairs: "Baldrick, I think I know what's wrong."
Baldrick simply looked quite stupidly upwards "What is it my lord?"
"Come upstairs and see." Baldrick cheerfully obeyed by trotting upstairs to the attic, and the usual site greeted him: What was once a dark and dusty old room was now a light and dusty old room filled with seagull poop.
Something sure was different alright, but he wasn't sure what..."What is different Baldrick?" Blackadder asked with a scowl.
Baldrick studied the room very carefully, and stated the first thing that came to his mind: "It's got lots of seagull poop my Lord."
"Well, yes, it is in fact filled with seagull poop, but why do you suppose it's filled with seagull poop?" Blackadder asked.
Baldrick just shrugged and said "Just bad luck m'Lord?"
Blackadder's patience faltered for a moment: "Well, if by 'bad luck', you mean 'there's no bloody roof anymore', then yes, I suppose we can say that it's 'bad luck'."
Baldrick only caught a bit of that: "Oh yeah, it does looks like the roof is gone."
Blackadder recovered a smidgen of patience, enough to ask "Baldrick, is there any reason why the roof might be gone?" though Blackadder suspected he already knew the answer.
"Yeah me Lord, it's 'cos I had to take some of it apart, and sell the tiles" Baldrick explained.
Blackadder was troubled in his heart: His province was in such poor shape, that the citizens of Dunny-on-Pone would go to any extreme to make money. He sighed and said "It seems like you overdid it."
"Oh no, when I took down about four of them, everybody took down the rest" Baldrick said.
This news worried Blackadder: "Baldrick, how much did you make?" Baldrick shrugged: "About four bits. Why?" Blackadder replied "Because I and every decent sentient being in Equestria would have paid you twice as much...at least."
Baldrick just shrugged: "Well, Prince Blueblood lowered the value of everything."
"Why?" Blackadder asked.
Baldrick shrugged again: "To make us less poor."
Blackadder shook his head. "How would lowering the value of everything make you less poor?"
Baldrick shrugged once more "Because then the rich won't be as rich, and if they aren't as rich, then we won't be as poor, he figures."
"And how would that make you less poor? Does any of the money go to you?" Blackadder asked
Baldrick was quite simply confused: "Wha?"
Blackadder sighed and sat down on a poop-smothered chair. "Baldrick, let's get something clear: First of all, usually, laws that apply to the wealthy affect the poor as well. Secondly, Blueblood is apparently is not giving the poor the support he promised, although I doubt it's possible any idea of his would in the first place. Now, can anyone in the town afford a thing?"
Baldrick took a minute to think about this: "Well, no, we can't keep the pence we make from sellin' our stuff."
"And why not?" Blackadder replied.
"Well, we gotta buy ourselves food, cost a lot don't it? And no matter how low prices for things are, we don't usually afford it none anyway, so no loss."
Blackadder wore his "I'm forcing myself to be patient with you" face as he said: "Yes, but why not your own food? Grow your own food, make it one less thing to buy, aid your own economy? I mean, all that dung, I'm sure vegetables can thrive...."
And then he turned to Baldrick and said "...actually, judging from your presence here, vegetables are thriving! I'm talking to one right now!"
Blackadder couldn't tell if Baldrick understood him or not, because Baldrick gave no acknowledgement to this harsh remark of his. All Baldrick said was: "We can't sir, it all got sick and died; health inspector declared it the only town in which a vegetable can get syphilis."
Blackadder was getting fed up with this: "So what your saying is that you're throwing a lot of money at places I'm assuming are not under the care of Blueblood, like Ponyville, and getting almost nothing in return? And you can't grow a thing because only this town is that rotten? I'm still not entirely sure how that works, I have a feeling I've only got half the story. Well, I'm sure you can establish firm trades with Ponyville, when I get to the bottom of things."
"Yeah, but we're running out of things to market to them, and the tax collectors take their share, don't they?" Baldrick answered.
Blackadder's ears lowered in frustration: "I see."
Blackadder decided that he wanted to see if this was a common phenomenon, so he walked outside, remembering to take his umbrella to guard against seagull droppings and vulture vomit. The buildings, once painted a fantastic beige over dark wood, had aged so much that they turned a weird mix of white and grey. He walked outside the door, to be greeted by vulture vomit on his umbrella "good morning Baldrick."
Baldric was thoroughly confused: "Huh?"
Blackadder explained: "I named the vulture who lives over our porch after you, and-" he then checked his umbrella, " he's apparently a better shot than you." As they squelched there way through the miles of mud and refuse towards town hall, Blackadder was most displeased with a sign he saw, which he read aloud "Welcome to Dunny-on-Pone, condemned by over 50 million health organizations world wide." He then turned around and glared at Baldrick.
"Is something wrong sir?" Baldrick asked.
Blackadder sighed: "Baldrick, what is this?"
Baldrick helped make the sign, and he was very proud of it, so he answered with a big grin: "A sign, giving our best boast, just like you said my Lord."
Blackadder did not share Baldrick's enthusiasm: "Well, that would explain part of the reason why you're having trouble doing business with other provinces."
Then some foals ran by, their little hooves splashing squelchily in the mud as they trotted by "hello Blackadder!"
Blackadder smiled gently "Hello children, what have you come to pester me with?"
They all responded "We don't know what our Cutie Marks are, can you help us?"
This Blackadder, unlike many, had a soft spot for (good) children (bad ones got shot with arrows though). "I shall try," he smiled warmly. "Let's see...I believe your Cutie Mark is a Syphilis bacterium. Alright...your Cutie Mark is an Ebola virus. That one is a Bubonic plague baterium. This marvelous one is a malaria virus. And that one appears to be an HIV virus."
The kids got excited and insistent: "What do they mean Sir?"
Now this posed a dilemma for Blackadder: It was bad to tell this truth to children, but lying to children at all would have been bad too, so he told the truth with as much enthusiasm as possible, to lessen the impact: "It means you're all probably going to die a lot sooner than you probably planned!" However, the children's faces suddenly became absolutely devoid of enthusiasm. Now they had faces that were somewhere between indignant, angry, and blank at this news. Blackadder tried very hard to save his plot: "It's funny how some things sound funny in your head, but when you say them out loud, they sound rather terrible, don't they?"
Silent and stone-cold, the foals turned away, saying nothing. "Kids are getting lots of these Cutie Marks these days m'Lord!" Baldrick said with a grin.
Blackadder shook his head and sighed: "Getting that for a Cutie Mark is like getting a box full of letters from first the tax colllectors and later your local executioner, for Christmas." "What do it really mean?" Baldick asked.
Blackadder looked really upset: "that their special talent is picking up diseases and spreading them, before they perish."
"What you gonna do about that m'Lord?" Baldrick asked.
Blackadder looked and felt very defeated: "Well, these aren't diseases you pick up from seagull droppings. Cleaning up the town won't fix a thing, except probably the aesthetics."
Blackadder then paused and began to think aloud: "Another reason why we can't do business with Ponyville, most probably. Can we afford a doctor?"
Baldrick shook his head: "No my Lord, we don't got the bits."
Blackadder decided he had about enough of this, so he began to trot back to his house to begin business: "Fine, I shall spare you my wallet. I'm normally against this, but I shall just hire a doctor and try to do something about these rotten plagues. I'll pull out what's left of the family fortune and handle this myself."
Baldrick thought that this was far more than he deserved! "Oh, well, that's just too generous. Literally, too generous. Wait a minute! I have a cunning plan!"
Blackadder turned around like a shot: "Baldrick, need I remind you that the last time you had a cunning plan, you tried to solve the problem of your mother's new ceiling being too low by cutting her head off?! Alright, fine, what is it?"
Baldrick's idea made a rather grim amount of sense: "You can always just kill the kiddies and burn their bodies-" "Baldrick!!" "Just a suggestion m'Lord."
Blackadder sighed and gave him "the glare" while he instructed: "Baldrick, if you really want to help, bring me my strong box."
"Right away Sir!" Baldrick replied with a quick salute.
Blackadder, outside his home, decided to begin what he intended this morning: The census. Since Baldrick couldn't find his way out of an empty room, he figured he had the time. He stood at the podium in front of the empty town hall, just right around the corner from his house, and pulled out a parchment from one of his pockets. He then got an airtight ink container, and a quill, ready to write.
"I would like to do a census on the town! Bring forth the names of all who currently live!"
This was his friendly way of figuring out who died lately.
A clever colt figured it out and began "Here sir!"
"Your name?" Blackadder asked with a friendly voice.
"Baldrick" he cheerfully answered.
Blackadder did recall there were lots of Baldicks. "Okay, do I have-"
An older stallion chirped "Baldrick!"
Blackadder then jotted down a note: "Right, two Baldricks, now, who else-"
A little girl squeaked "Baldrick!"
"Baldrick!" This Baldrick was a granny.
Blackadder knew there was a whole family named Baldrick, but he was surprised that he was all that was left. "Another Baldrick? Riiiiiight....come on, yes you, come on up here!"
A most salacious lady pegasus, uncommon the largely Earth Pony population of Baldricks, with the most gorgeous curves, trotted up to Blackadder. Blackadder exclaimed: "Oh Sunflare, not another Baldrick-"
From her mouth a sultry voice spoke out: "No, my name's Ted."
Of course there were more Baldricks to go through, many, many more Baldricks. Nobody figured out how Ted was related, which caused Blackadder to suspect that she was the only non-Baldrick family member left, since all the girls and boys of the Baldrick family were indeed named Baldrick. Ted's family probably died from the numerous plagues. Usually spread by Baldricks. After going through through all the Baldricks (and Ted), this was Dunny-on-Pone's population:
Three rather mangy heifers.
A dachshund named Colin.
And a small hen in its late 40s.
Other than Ted and Colin, there was nobody else left who wasn't named Baldrick.
Blackadder recalled in the last census, more ponies were around, and more animals. There was Millicent the baker, apparently dead, probably from plague. There was Beatrix Lulamoon the Illusionist, left Dunny-on-Pone for bigger achievements, there was also her mother Bellatrix, dead from plague. There was Baldrick the Prostitute, and Baldrick her boy, gone for Trottingham. The population dropped greatly, which caused Blackadder to realize that it this rate, it would go from what was only literally a rotten Burroughs to what was officially a rotten Burroughs.
Blackadder left his podium, and aware that Baldrick hadn't found his strongbox yet, he went back to his house, sat down on a love-seat and relaxed...until he heard some powerful rumbles. It was not a steady quake, but one great boom followed by another, and each one shook the house each time it rang out, like a giant's footsteps. "Baldrick? Is that a thunderstorm?"
However, he was proven wrong when a big, fat pegasus that Blackadder was sure must have been incapable of flight burst through his house door...or tried to, but he got stuck. "Right, first things first!" he shouted with a wet roar "Where's your shitter?! I got a turtle-head poking out!"
Blackadder hid his disgust well, "That's...charming. This is Dunny-on-Pone, you can just do your business right there. It won't be any more messy than the usual vulture vomit."
"Ah, yer a kind sir. The epitome of Galaxia's good grace. I got a crap on deck that can choke a donkey! Aw, it's Squidgy! I'm starting to get all emotional about it, you know?"
"Riiight. I know what's it like to get...all...'choked up' about your shit" Blackadder then stifled a giggle, for he thought that this too was a good joke.
The Fat Bastard, however, thought nothing of it but the best: "Aw, yer a kind and understanding gent, ye are! But pray tell, why aren't you as diseased as the rest?"
"Oh, because in this town, either you die from our plagues, or you become immune to virtually every disease."
There was an uncomfortable pause, as his face shifted to dump the contents of his body, perhaps. He looked more comfortable, and breathed a sigh of relief. Now, time to get to questions. "Are ye a Lord?" the fat bastard tried to shout with a voice that was swallowed up with his own saliva and his fat. Blackadder simply stated "Are ye a Lard?" with the best impression of that fat stallion's voice in response, thinking it a rather good joke.
The obese pegasus gave a profound answer of confusion: "Eh?"
Blackadder gave his charming smile: "Forget about it. Why do you ask?"
The Fat Bastard answered "Prince Blueblood demands a tax from all the nobles!"
Blackadder's mind quickly worked things: "Well, Lord Blackadder is not present at the moment. He is away with his relatives, the Whiteadders."
"When can I meet him again?"
"Um, about ten years from now."
Just when Blackadder had hoped it would work, Baldrick walked in: "Here is your strongbox Lord Blackadder!"
The corpulent pegasus heard this, and his mind quickly worked things: "So, gone with yer nuncle and naunt ain't ye? Heheheheheheh!"
"Oh, yes, yes, you er, solved my riddle! Now if you shall kindly sod off-"
"Not so fast Blackadder! Ye have to pay yer taxes!"
"And, how much does Blueblood demand?"
"Oh, not much, just about, 10,000 bits!"
Blackadder was aghast: "10,000 bits?! Why does he charge so much?!"
"Prince Blueblood says nobody should be rich, my Lord. Making everybody poor will bring social equality! And then he'll give all that money to the poor!"
"Then why don't the poor have more money themselves?" Blackadder inquired. The plump tax collector was at a loss of words, but Blackadder was not, and so he kept talking:
"Yes, exactly, nobody should be rich except for rich Prince Blueblood, obviously. Look, let me ask you a question: Where does all this money go to? Does it really benefit the poor in any way?"
Thinking about this, the Fat Bastard responded "Um, well, uh, it goes things that Prince Blueblood manages, I'll wager."
"Right, I'll tell you what: You can tell Prince Blueblood that he can have his bits, but that's not all, because he can have free 'fuck you' from me! Good day sir!"
The almost-certainly diabetic tax collector processed this, and answered "I'm sorry sir, I don't swing that way. Would a kiss on his cheek do?"
Blackadder was now completely and totally defeated. "No, that's not what I meant...you know what? Just take the money and go." Blackadder reluctantly gave him most of his family's fortune, leaving him with only 2000 bits left. "Be sure not to eat the bits I'm giving you."
The Fat Bastard was most enthusiastic: "Oh no sir, I got out of that habit years ago!" Blackadder suddenly felt "mysteriously" disareassured about this. He helped get the Tax collector out of his doorway, but it left a huge chubby pegasus-shaped indent on the sides of the doorway, as some wood broke off in the process. Now there would always be a draft from that door.
After the fat bastard left, Baldrick had this to say: "He looked like a fat git to me." Blackadder tried the muster the last vestige of Galaxian charity he had left in his soul: "I know, but deep down, I'm sure he is a-" "-thin git?" Baldrick finished with a question.
Blackadder struggled to smile: "Well, yes. You know, I came to realize that in a town full of Baldricks, I never got your first name. What is it?"
Baldrick paused to think for a minute: "Not sure m'Lord, I think it may be 'Sodoff'."
"And why do you think that?" Blackadder asked.
"Because when I'd play in the gutter with the rest of the foals, they always told me 'Sod off Baldrick'."
Blackadder was now hardly in the mood to keep talking: "Baldrick, I think I've had just about enough of this nonsense. You burst in when I was just about to send that tax collector away. For that, you leave me no choice but to practice archery!!" Blackadder then pinned Baldrick to the door, and tied his hooves to a knob attached to each end, and placed on his head a tall hat with an archery target on top...and all the while, Baldrick did not complain. Blackadder always did this when things were going a little too wrong.
That was also pretty much every morning, meaning that his friend, Lord Percy Darling of Trottingham, a slightly less dumpy burgh than Dunny-on-Pone (which Lord Darling would inherit once his father had croacked), could come pretty much every morning with bow and arrow in hand, and partake in archery himself. As un-luck would have it, Percy Darling walked in. He taller than Blackadder, but far more awkwardly built. He had a perpetual stupid grin on his face, a bowl-cut mane, and a penchent for silly clothes like tights and poofy shorts. This all seemed to serve to conceal his Cutie Mark, and none knew what it was nor was anyone allowed to discuss it. "Hello Blackadder! Sorry I'm late!"
However, Blackadder's day had been so bad that he never really felt that any arrival from Lord Percy would have been during a bad time. "It's okay Percy, I'm sorry you've been born."
Lord Percy Darling nervously at this and then suddenly went cheerful again: "Ah, I see the target's ready (hello Baldrick)!" He now got his arrows ready as he prattled on: "I'd like to see the Andalusian who'd make his way past me; why, I just want to go to sock each Andalusian in the in the schnozzer!"
"Well, go to Andalusia, there are millions of them" Blackadder replied.
Percy felt that this endeavor was a little scary, so he decided to settle for this condition: "Well, I suppose I can spare them so long as they stay there and leave alone our mares!"
Blackadder immediately put two and two together: "Oh Sunflare, who is she this time?"
Lord Percy Darling knew enough about Blackadder to not reveal too much, lest Blackadder somehow ruin his ability to see the good in his latest flame: "I don't know what you're talking about" Lord Darling lied.
Blackadder however, saw a pink note peeking from Percy's pocket and swiped it. Percy tried to get it back, but Blackadder kicked him in the shins, giving him a chance to read the letter. "Ah, and who is Flagrantly?" Blackadder asked.
Lord Percy Darling was a romantic and hopelessly moral and so he insisted "I won't say! I'm sworn to secrecy! Torture me! Kill me! You shall never know!!"
Blackadder was not a romantic and though moral to his people, around most nobles or even commoners who were not from Dunny-on-Pone, Blackadder had as much morality as any politician: None at all. He bopped Lord Percy Darling in the thingy between his legs, and left Lord Darling weakened and defeated; "Flagrantly....Accessible..." Lord Darling rasped. He recovered, unhurt, and went on to explain: "We're very much in love, my Lord!"
Blackadder had his concerns: "This is the Flagrantly Accessible?"
"Yes!" enthusiastically confirmed Lord Darling; "she is truly worthy of her title as Lady!"
Blackadder was astounded: "Lady Flagrantly Accessible? Not Flagrantly 'bury me in a Y-shaped coffin' Flagrantly Accessible?"
Lord Percy Darling hoped it wasn't true: "Um, I'm sure there are at least two Lady Flagrantly Accessibles."
"No?" Blackadder tried to confirm. "Tall, elegant, curvaceous, brown coat?"
"Yes!" happily agreed Lord Darling.
"Goes like a privy door when the plague is in town?" Lord Percy Darling suddenly took on a far more disappointed face. In response to this, Blackadder took on a more sympathetic tone: "Don't worry...you'll get over her... ...I did... ....and so did Baldrick actually-" This caused the enraged Percy to miss his target, and he hit Baldrick in the lower half of the body. He saw his mistake and tried to get the better of himself. Blackadder decided to explain more: "She's got a thing for facial fuzz and hairy fetlocks, apparently."
Lord Percy Darling was most indignant at this! Almost at the point of tears! "Well in that case, I'm going to shave!!" and with this, he stormed off.
Blackadder shook his head and sighed, observing the arrow in Baldrick's body. "Bad luck, Baldrick."
"It's alright sir, it didn't contact my flesh! As it so happens, my willy got in the way! I'm going to tell all my grandchildren about it, and call it my lucky willy."
Baldrick looked shocked, disgusted, in a state of pity for Baldrick, and utterly concerned. "It didn't hit the things behind the willy did it?"
Baldrick was surprised about Blackadder's concern and wondered if he should be concerned himself: "What things? I don't think so."
"That's what I thought. Well in that case, a little magic from my horn might make grandchildren a possibility, or it was out of the question beforehand." He used some magic in his horn to fix Baldrick's willy, but after he did this, his mind went into a dark state: He spent most of his life trying to be generous to the sick and poor, but things have gotten to the point where not only everybody was sick and poor, he no longer had any money either, and now he was poor himself. All because of that damned Prince Blueblood he thought.
"I'm going to Prince Blueblood and talking sense into him" Blackadder thought aloud.