The moon was high in the sky as 3 girls ran through the dense forest.
*pant, pant* "This is crazy. How did we end up in this situation?"
"Well, let me think..."
Apple Bloom was getting dinner ready when she suddenly heard a knock at the door. "Scootaloo? What are you doing here?"
"I was wondering if you could lend me some cash. I'm in a huge debt."
"No unfortunately not. Have you tried looking in the classifieds?"
Scootaloo started looking through the paper. "Hey, there's a guy here that's willing to pay a huge amount of cash if you help him with something."
"It doesn't say. But this may be just what I need. You with me?"
"Sure. Let's meet Sweetie Belle and see if she's in as well."
"Great. I'll take this."
The girls arranged to meet at Sugarcube corner later that day.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo entered the store. Sweetie Belle was already seated at a table. "So, I found an ad in the newspaper and this may just be what I need to get out of my debt."
She slid the newspaper over to Sweetie Belle. "Interesting. It doesn't say WHAT he needs help with."
"I noticed that as well."
"You do realize this could be dangerous, right?"
"I do. But I don't mind. Tough, if you girls don't wanna help..."
"Of COURSE we'll help our friend."
"Alright then. I'll call him."
A couple hours later, a guy fully dressed in black arrived. The girls signaled him and he sat down at their table.
"So you 3 are looking for some quick money, eh?"
"Yes, sir. You see, we're in a huge debt and need to pay it back."
"Well, I have a proposal for you. Follow me."
The guy let the crusaders to a large van. "Here, put on these blindfolds."
"I'm not too comfortable with this."
"Me neither. But we really need the money."
They put on the blindfolds and was lead into the van. Soon, they started driving.
After a while, the van screeched to a halt. "Here. Let's get those blindfolds off."
"Where... are we?"
"None of your concern. Alright, here's the deal. I'm a hunter but these forests have been empty for animals for some time now. I need you as pray."
"Simply, run into the forest. If I haven't shot you before dawn, the cash is yours."
"You... you're insane."
"Well, you DID say you needed cash."
"Yes, but I don't think any of us would want to risk our lives."
"Well, we are in a rather huge debt, and the money will help a bit. We'll do it."
"Say, I have an offer to make."
"What is it?"
The guy pulled out an envelope from his pocket.
"Simply accept the dare in this envelope as well, and I'll throw in another 100 grand."
"We'll need to discuss this."
"Sure, take your time. But remember, once you've opened the envelope, there's no going back."
The girls walked over to a nearby tree. "I don't know if we should accept it or not. It could be anything."
"Yes, but he DID promise to double the cash. And I could use a little extra."
"So, what do you girls say. Take it or leave it?"
"I say we should let that be up to fate."
Sweetie Belle looked at the guy. "Say, we have a bit of a disagreement here. Could you perhaps lend us a coin?"
"Sure, but what for?" He pulled a coin out of his pocket and gave it to Sweetie Belle.
"Thanks. Okay girls, heads we accept the envelope, tails we won't."
Sweetie Belle threw the coin into the air. It landed on heads.
"Alright then. Hand over the envelope."
"Great." He gave them the envelope and Scootaloo opened it.
"What does it say Scoots?"
"It says that we have to be *gulp* naked."
"Forget it. I'm not taking my clothes off in front of a guy I don't even know. Come on girls. We're leaving."
"Wait, Apple." Scootaloo reached out to stop her friend.
"What is it Scoots?"
"I REALLY need the cash. And I'm not sure I can get them anywhere else. Not at such short notice."
"Say Scoots? Why do you need cash so badly? It seems like you would suck this guy off if he paid you enough."
"Well... I'll tell you later OK?"
"Alright then. If Sweetie Belle agrees we're in. Sweetie, what do you say?"
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo looked at their friend. "I... don't know. It IS a rather huge deal. I mean, we barely know the guy."
"You CAN choose not to, but then you'll have to leave now. And you won't get any cash."
Scootaloo looked at Sweetie with tears in her eyes. "Please? I REALLY need the money. How about I do a favor for you girls if we get out of this alive?"
"Fine... But you owe us BIG time for this Scoots."
"Great. Put your clothes in the box at the window. You'll get 'em back tomorrow. If you're still alive."
The hunter prepared a watch while the girls disrobed. "I'm gonna give you one hour to hide. Don't leave the forests under any circumstances. If you do, you won't get any cash. Alright, then. See ya tomorrow, hopefully."
"That pretty much explains our situation. Thanks a lot, Scootaloo"
"Gee I'm sorry girls."
"Well, no time for complaining now. We have to keep running if we want to survive."
Suddenly, they heard the sound of barking dogs. "That must be the hunter. He's getting close."
"What do we do now?"
"Look for some water. Then they can't track our scent."
They kept running and later they stumbled upon a river.
"There is a small river here."
"Great. Let's follow it then."
They came to a dead end. "Welp, this is it. We're gonna die now."
The hunter lined up his rifle as the girls started to shake in fear. They closed their eyes and suddenly... *SPLAT* "We're... not dead?" "Of course not. It's a paintball gun. I never intended to kill you. I didn't tell because you had to act frightened."
"Wait a second sir. If you didn't want to kill us, then what was the purpose of this whole thing?"
"It's the THRILL of the hunt. The experience. Besides, it's great exercise wouldn't you say? Well then, how about you girls get dressed and we put you on a train home?"
Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo sat in the train on their way home.
"Well, we're alive but I'm still a bit angry at you for getting us into this. How could you?
"Sorry girls, it's just... I didn't know where else to get a huge amount of cash at such short notice. And now I'm back to square one."
"We know that. And besides, you're a friend of ours. Which is why we aren't furious at you."
"Scootaloo, why exactly DO you need such a huge amount of cash? You never told us. We understand that it was for a debt but..."
"If you really MUST know... Remember when I was on vacation in Las Pegasus a few months back? I ended up playing this fancy game with a couple of other ponies and lost big time. Now they've started to send me threatening letters. They say if I can't pay them back within the next few days they're gonna hurt me."
"That's terrible. How could you?"
"I... don't know. They made it sound so easy."
"Pff, gamblers ALWAYS make it sound easy. All they wanna do is rob you."
"And what do you know about this subject?"
"Ehh, I may have had some experience with gambling before."
Scootaloo was reading a newspaper she picked up when suddenly... "Hey, girls. There's an ad in the paper. Someone pays good money if they can get a couple of good swimmers. What do you say? Shall we apply?"