• Published 9th Apr 2012
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Fallout: Equestria - Memories - TheBobulator



One crazy pegasus, one roboleg, a contingent of Steel Rangers, and an adventure of infinite detours. Put all that together and what do you get? A rip-roaring mosh pit wrecking its way across the Wasteland, leaving nothing but confusion in its wake.

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Chapter 17: Was this how it had happened?

Chapter 17: Was this how it had happened?

“I'm not trying to steal your slippers! I'm trying to steal this book!”


The one thing that Violet hadn’t mentioned about the bookstore was that it was part of a pre-war outdoor mall that seemed to be somewhat intact, ripe for the picking. Well, it would be if there weren’t several hundred bloatsprites and radscorpions crawling all over the place. The buildings were arranged in a horseshoe formation around a large expanse of faded asphalt, populated with hunks of scrap metal on pedestals. There were only few signs that were still legible and intact out of the entire lot. I was lying down on top of a hill a short distance away, simply observing through my rifle’s magic sights.

A small cluster of bloatsprites hovered right in front of my target, the bookstore. I made a mental note to avoid the former coffee shop, now the nesting grounds for radscorpions. On the other side of the horseshoe, there was a one-bit store still bravely holding onto its last grimy barred window. Behind the window, however, something small, plastic, and among the head-bobbing variety drew my eye. Too bad the interior of the store was absolutely teeming with more bloatsprites. Ooooh, I wanted it!

Even with the little amount of sunlight making its way through the cloud cover, enough managed to reflect off the body of my rifle, making my reconnaissance a tad bit difficult. For the first time since I got this anti-machine rifle, I mourned not having an actual scope.

I tugged my dad’s officer’s cap a little bit lower on my head. Using my claw to do it almost seemed like a bad idea, but these hats were made to be strong. The brim and front of the hat were reinforced with thin metal plates, a somewhat outdated tradition that was intended to prevent cranial emancipation. Too bad they didn’t do anything against energy weapons.

Now that the glare obstructing my vision had been reduced dramatically, I continued trying to formulate a plan that didn’t involve getting completely destroyed by bloatsprites and radscorpions. While I was watching, a lone bloatsprite flitted a bit too close to the coffee shop and several very angry radscorpions swarmed the bug and reduced it to a gory pile of bug bits. It appeared that the radscorpions really hated bloatsprites, but not enough so that they would actively chase them. Hmm. Maybe I could use that to my advantage.

Since I still had plenty of ammunition, I fired three rounds into the radscorpion nest one after the other. Even though the bulk of the nest was behind a window and Luna knew what else, my heavy anti-everything bullets made short work of the aged masonry. Suddenly, hundreds of radscorpions poured out of the coffee shop!

…Okay, fine. Eight reasonably sized ones scuttled out of the demolished structure and immediately started attacking everything in the area.

Of course, I wasn’t counting on retrieving the bobblehead in the one-bit store just yet. A peek over the hill proved my point exactly. Most of the bloatsprites that had been circling the parking lot aimlessly were gone, only to be replaced with several large radscorpions.

I mentally went through my options. I could fly on over and retrieve the book thing, or I could have a little fun and charge right through the front. “Screw it, they’re just bugs. I can take a few bugs,” I reasoned to myself.

With all the pseudo-airborne threats neutralized, I decided that a reckless bum rush right to the bookstore was the more fun option. If I dove through one of the higher windows, the radscorpions wouldn’t be able to get me. I secured my anti-machine rifle and gave my wings an experimental flap. With my power armor’s increased strength, I wouldn’t have to push myself nearly as hard to gain the same amount of speed.

I took a few steps back and allowed myself to build up a running start. I leapt at the highest point of the hill and pumped my wings as fast as possible, pointing myself at the second floor of the bookstore. High-speed flight wasn’t really my forte, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Wind whipped through my fur and mane, past my extended forelegs. I had to narrow my eyes to block the flecks of dust and dirt trying to get in my eyes and, for once, I wished I was actually wearing a helmet. I’d managed to get myself up to a good speed, leaving the radroaches scuttling after my wake, but dust was getting in my eyes. In the second I blinked, everything decided to go sideways.

Look out for that wall!

When I opened my eyes, I reflexively brought my forelegs up to protect my face. True enough, I’d somehow miscalculated my launch and was headed straight into the wall below and to the right of the window I was aiming for. Good thing I had braced for impact. I caught a glimpse of the small crater I’d placed in the wall with my face. I hit the ground awkwardly with a heavy thump, knocking the wind out of my lungs. “Ow. Missed it by—” I struggled to catch my breath. “—that much. Ugh, my spleen.” I clambered to my hooves, still slightly struggling to breathe. Belatedly, I dug around in my saddlebag and switched out Dad’s cap for the stupid helmet that I had appropriated.

A lot of angry hissing brought be back to the present. Several really angry radscorpions were closing in on me, determined to brutally eviscerate me to death. To the window! No, up the wall? Something about sweat? Damn it, now was not the time to be witty! Doors! Doors were good. I could barricade those!

With renewed haste, I galloped at the hopefully not-barricaded double doors in front of the building. These stupid crawlers were literally nipping at my hooves! Just a little farther… “Haha!” I triumphantly squealed. “See ya later, shitbugs!” I grabbed the old brass handles of the doors and pulled as hard as I could.

…Strange, the door wouldn’t budge. As the radscorpions got closer, I continued to pull on the door harder and harder. In a panic, I smashed the tiny dirty window on the door and peered in. Stars and stones, somepony really had barricaded the door! Depressingly enough, that somepony’s skeleton was still slumped over a couch that they were presumably adding to the barricade. Well, I wasn’t going through there. “Crap.”

The radscorpions weren’t going to let me escape. I attempted to take off and fly to the second floor but pincers grabbed at my limbs, keeping me rooted to the ground. Even with my bladed tail, I couldn’t do enough damage to their chitinous limbs to make them let me go. While they were holding onto me, I couldn’t fly away either. Without any other alternative, I hammered away at the wall and hoped to carve out enough hoofholds to climb.

“Maybe you should have played it safe,” Ice disapprovingly tsked, unseen.

“Shut up!” There were more pressing matters than how good my hindsight was.

“And you! Get. Off. Me!” I yelled, still somewhat trapped. Stingers slammed into my armor and more claws tried to crush my armored legs. At least I had the armor, so their little stingers weren’t really doing any serious damage to me, but I wasn’t going to chance them getting lucky. Punch. Heave. Shake leg to dislodge bug. Repeat. When the bugs clinging to my legs and tail were down to the single determined survivor, I was unburdened enough to push off the wall and spin in the air. With physics doing its work, I was free of bugs and I took the opportunity to blow a raspberry at the bugs below.

I pulled myself onto the window ledge and smashed in the window, rolling myself onto the small ledge inside. I breathed a sigh of relief. The radscorpions hissed at me angrily from below me, unable to reach me with their claws or stingers. Now that I was safe, I decided to check my injuries. At least my armor was mostly intact, save for a few scrapes and the big dent in the shoulder from when I hit the wall.

I was safe, for now. Close enough!

Still have a job to do, remember?

Right, the book. Upon cursory inspection of the bookstore, it would be a miracle if I actually found Violet’s book in this mess. Books were scattered all over the place, a good majority of which were burnt and/or destroyed beyond recognition. Here and there, a few salvageable-looking books hid underneath their less fortunate brethren. There was one spot that stood out—a short stack of unblackened books laid on a desk under me, right next to a huge gaping hole in the floor.

I managed to safely glide down onto the desk. As for the books, none of them appeared to be Violet’s book on cursory examination. But if I ever needed advice on how to bake an outstanding red velvet cake complete with creamy frosting, or know the ins and outs of advanced transmutational theory (Volume Five of Sixty-three), I knew where to look.

Currently, I was working under the assumption that Violet had been working here when she’d gotten attacked by bloatsprites. All the books in the piles looked a bit worn on the outside, but a good portion of the pages within looked perfectly readable. I would have opened a few and skimmed them, but a really annoying buzzing in the back of my head made it really hard to focus. I rubbed my temples. “Better get out of here before I pass out,” I muttered. Concussion? Maybe concussion. What were walls good for, anyway? Even the words on the page I was staring at wouldn’t hold still.

The buzzing wouldn’t stop. Without further thought, I shoved every single book on the table, around the table, and under the table into my saddlebag. I no longer had time to look at every single one. Feverish was a good word to describe how I was feeling. Cold sweat? Check. Difficulty breathing? Check. Worst of all, I was developing a migraine from the buzzing noise in my head. I looked around in case I’d missed any other books. My thankfully still-sharp vision caught sight of the small faded placard attached to the doors that read “Pull”. I cursed my lack of thought in the midst of my panic earlier.

Turns out there was a good reason why the buzzing wouldn’t stop. A giant spike suddenly lodged itself between the back plates right between my wings. I whirled around and found myself muzzle-to-weird… claw… mouth… leg… things… with the largest bloatsprite in the entire wasteland. Fun fact: that hole in the floor was there for a reason (which was buzzing angrily in front of me). This thing was the angriest, Raptor-sized, multi-winged, razor-sharp neon green pom-pom with angry googly eyes I’d ever seen. If it didn’t have regrowing projectile spines that it had fired at me, I probably wouldn’t have been as scared as I was.

I blinked at it in the most confused manner possible. Words, Frosty. “You’re not in the manual,” I sputtered. “Cheater.”

The Gargantufly responded by firing more of its projectiles at me. Three of them hit me hard enough to knock the wind out of my lungs again. I was thrown out of the air and into a bookshelf. One of the spikes easily fell out, thanks to my armor. The other two, however, refused to budge. WIth a wince and a hard yank, the one in my lower neck came out, slick with my blood. In no time at all, blood started to drip from the wound, armor integrity be damned. I laid there and listened to the pitter-patter of my health draining away. The one in my right hindleg would have to wait.

C’mon! You’ve taken more than this. Get up!

Tired. So tired. Didn’t help that I couldn’t feel my right hindleg already, only a constricting painful sensation. “Buck it, I didn’t make a deal with Death to die to an over glorified fly!” I raised my rifle to my shoulder and fired off a shot into one of the Gargantufly’s hideous eyes. “Ha!” I pulled the trigger again, but nothing happened. I sort of stared at my trusty rifle in absolute confusion when I realized, “Right, cycle the bolt…” Now that my rifle was properly primed, I fired one more shot. My second shot went wide, destroying the other half of a burned bookshelf. “Oh. That’s awkward.” I let my rifle drop to the ground. Had I used six shots, or seven?

I wasn’t feeling particularly lucky.

For a moment, I thought I was going to die. What other way to go out than in bliss, right? I injected myself with both emergency morphine shots out of aforementioned survival kit and sighed in relief as the pain washed away. The stabbing, unbearable pain in my leg subsided into a dull throb, which I was completely fine with. I poked at the open wound on my neck, partly thinking that I should have probably patched that up first. The other remaining spike in my leg, courtesy of the Gargantufly, had a small little sac on its end that pulsated against my own heartbeat. I was too tired to do anything about it anymore.

After staring at my blood-slicked chestplate for an indeterminate amount of time, I had to wonder—why hadn’t it finished me off yet? This was also one of those moments where I needed a cigar and maybe a brandy to make this a truly dramatic moment. I looked up. Motes of dust floated toward me, looking almost like little gray clouds leaving the cloud cover to join me and keep me warm. Just as my luck would have it, one of them landed in my eye and completely ruined the moment.

“Ow! Shit!” Once I had blinked the tears away, I was greeted by the sight of a very large winged pile of green goop. “H… how convenient.” I coughed. Since I appeared to be safe again, I attempted to stagger onto my hooves. All I managed to do was shift forward from sitting on my butt to sitting on my face. Thanks to gravity, blood started dripping down my neck and onto my chin. “Screw you, physics.”

A loud, very audible thumping forced me to roll onto my left side and cover my right ear with my hoof. I just wanted to pain and noises to stop! Why didn’t everypony carry around some asprin in their survival kits, anyway? “Sit up, pegasus. Drop your weapons. You are now a prisoner of the Steel Rangers. Comply, or I will not hesitate to use force,” a very angry voice growled. Well, at least I wouldn’t die at the hooves of a giant fly. Maybe if I could bring my shotgun-claw to bear faster than he could pull the trigger on his bit…

“I’d hate to make your ugly mug uglier,” I chuckled under my breath. I had exactly one chance to get away with this. If I wasn’t poisoned or maybe just had a clearer head, I might have approached this situation much differently. Since that wasn’t the case, I foolishly pounced at the Ranger in question and pulled my claw back for a powerful strike.

The beginning of my triumphant squawk was instantly countered by an armored hoof to the side of my face, forcefully knocking me to the ground once more. It didn’t hurt, thanks to the power of clinical-strength drugs and face armor. What it did do, however, was violently rattle my brain inside my skull. “I said, st—HOLY CELESTIA! FROSTY?!” I woozily grinned at the Ranger from my spot on the ground and gave him a friendly talon wiggle. “Shit, I’m so sorry!”

Whoever it was, he helped me onto my hooves. “At le-east it didn’t hurrrrt.” I sighed, poking at my wound again. It felt like the small hole in my neck had changed from a small puncture wound into a swollen lump, which might have stopped the bleeding temporarily. Was it stuffy in here or was it just me? I popped off the stupid helmet so I could get more air. “If y’ren’t helpin’, at leas… least help me over to that gif’ shop. I need that…” I had to stop in mid-sentence to catch my breath. “...that bobblehead.”

“When the heck did you get power armor?”

Weren’t there more pressing matters? “Long… story,” I panted.

The Ranger pinned me to the ground. “Woah, woah, woah. The hell is that?” With a sharp tug, he yanked the spike in my leg out. I gasped at the sudden shock of feeling returning to my entire hindleg for a second. “Are these poisoned?”

I dumbly nodded. “Prob’ly. Feels like it. Healin’… healing potion, anypony?” My entire body felt really heavy, so I leaned against the Ranger. Maybe if I took a nap first, I’d feel well enough to continue on without further issue. “I feel like crap.” Hopefully, I’d pass out before the morphine wore off. “And my head hurts. Who are you, again?”

A healing potion was gently eased into my mouth. “Here. Drink this and—” Was that the sound of radscorpions getting closer? “—keep your head down!” I suddenly found myself on the ground, the Ranger protectively standing over me. I sort of went with it and happily slurped down the potion. A low whirring noise built up to a crescendo and abruptly changed to a dull roar.

I had to cover my ears while simultaneously holding the bottle with my teeth. “Eeeh… it’s so loud!” I whined. In order to keep getting healing, I rolled onto my back so that the magical healing liquid continued to flow into my mouth.

“Be glad you’re alive, Frosty. Feeling better yet?” My wounds were disappearing as I drained the potion, but I still didn’t actually feel any better. “We need to get you out of here before anything more angry shows up.” The Ranger pushed me onto my hooves. “Hey!” He slapped my face, which I didn’t exactly feel but react to. “Stay with me. You going to have one of your breakdowns again?”

Very briefly, I tottered on my hooves before regaining my balance. “I… I’m going to be good. Gimme five… five minutes.” Nap time took priority over running time, which might have been before or after snack time.

“What? Now? Damn it, here is a really bad place!” the Ranger yelled. He opened fire with his minigun and released a rocket at the approaching swarms of radscorpions and bloatsprites. “I’ll take care of ‘em, easy peasy. Sheesh, how many of you are there?” Somehow they’d gotten over their collective differences and decided to kill the two armored ponies in front of them.

What could destroy hordes of angry bugs? When in doubt, C4. Or lacking that, kill it with fire. “Hold yer horseshoes, I got this.” I had my PipBuck retrieve my new flare gun. “I got it.” Due to my hampered hoof-eye coordination, it took a few tries to shove the bit into my mouth. I carefully aimed my the striped barrel of my flare gun at the oncoming horde. “Got it!” The bright light that arced from my face dramatically bounced off a bloatsprite, causing it to spontaneously combust in a rather dramatic fashion. The flare itself continued to burn bright red, deterring the rest of the bugs.

The Ranger finished doing whatever he was doing and opened fire with his minigun again. “That didn’t help! Now I can’t see what I’m shooting at.”

“Sure it did. They’re not coming at us now, are they?” I giggled, loading my last shot into the flare gun. As I was speaking or reloading, I must have released the trigger, which apparently triggered the flare’s detonation. The flare on the ground suddenly exploded into a myriad of orange flames, scattering searing embers everywhere. All the bugs frantically retreated to their respective dwellings. I had to frantically put out a lick of fire that had ignited the forward tip of my mane. “Told ya I got it,” I weakly chuckled. The world started to spin and the flare gun dropped from my mouth. “Just… five… more…” I think somepony might have called my name before I blacked out.

<~~~>

“Twenty-five minutes to mission start. Eyes front, everypony.”

“Does it seriously need to be Meat Locker again? I thought we cleared it.”

Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. “We barely scraped through it, ya dingus.” Thump. “Stars alive, it’s great to see you back, Clappy!”

“Yeah, yeah. The great Thunderclap returns. Revel in my glory, or whatever.”

A sudden loud crash next to my ears made me bolt upright and shriek in fear. “Miss Winds! Are we boring you?” the very angry, large, bearded pegasus yelled, his rancid cigar-laden breath causing me to sputter and choke.

My first response was to yell, “No, sir!”

From glancing at his collar, I determined he was a very angry, stinky sergeant. “Maybe ten laps around the parade grounds will wake you up,” he sneered at me. “Senior Airpony Breeze, make sure this recruit doesn’t try to take shortcuts like the last one.”

I spun around in my seat, finally getting a good look at my surroundings. My whole squad—Lightning, Shadow, Thunderclap, Tiny, and Dad—were sitting around me in the same uncomfortable plastic seats as I was sitting in. Apparently, we were about to start a training mission or something, but I’d fallen asleep. A light aqua mare also wearing the Recon Force Blizzard patch on her uniform strolled up to me. Her short gold mane still had that familiar red-orange band in it. “Double time, recruit,” she simply stated. “Time for a walk.” Begrudgingly, I followed her out the door and into the parade grounds, where dozens of armored and geared-up pegasi were going through their daily drills.

“Day five and already getting in trouble, huh sis?” My big sister, Summer Breeze, laughed. “I guess it does run in the family.”

I warmed up my wings with a few brisk flaps. “Yeah, yeah. I blame basic training.” Both of us took to the sky and began the first of ten laps. “You do realize you don’t have to follow me, right?” We proceeded to fly along at a brisk pace.

Summer rolled her eyes. “But it’s been forever since I spent some quality time with my baby sister!”

“I’m not that much younger than you,” I huffed. If I had any sort of control over this memory, I would have reached out and hugged Summer on the spot. It had been far too long without seeing family, and I took comfort in the fact that somewhere, she was alive. Hopefully.

We pulled into a sharp turn and temporarily put a pause on our conversation as not to collide with a squad also doing laps around the parade grounds. “So, how’s your new squad?”

“It’s fine. They’re bearable, but I’m pretty sure Recruit Chaser is a drug addict,” I told her. “Thunderclap won’t stop staring at my flank, and Shadow is super dark and super edgy. Super, with a cape. It’s terrible.” Ah, the good old days, back before we were a solid team. How I missed them. “It’s meh. But did I hear the Lieutenant say Senior Airpony?”

My sister, the perfectionist, proudly nodded. “Yep. Got a promotion last week.” Of course she’d get promoted faster than I could get signed up for service. “And I got a commendation for valor.” Right, I’d forgotten about that one. Assuming memory was serving me correctly, she’d saved half her squad from a malfunctioning assault drone rampaging through the practice courses.

I groaned. “Of course you would. I wish I could be as awesome as you.”

“Aww. Don’t be like that, sis! You’ve got your own charm that makes you special, like…” Summer blankly stared ahead. “Uh…”

When my sister didn’t immediately answer, any hopes I had left dropped. “Thanks,” I grumbled.

“Hold on, give me a second to come up with something.”

“Have I mentioned that I hate you with the intensity of a thousand suns yet?”

“Yes, many times. Focus?”

“Huh?” After three and a half laps of circling, I was actually getting somewhat dizzy.

“Your unique charm. Focus, y’know? In those rare times when you’re actually dedicated to something—”

“Hey!”

“—you get really, really focused on it. It’s either that or simply because you’re the most stubborn little mare I’ve ever known.”

Sure, Summer was a bit larger (ergo, heavier) than I was, but I still playfully body-checked her anyway. “That’s not true!” And then I facehoofed. Of course I’d immediately proven her correct. “Have I mentioned I hate you?”

“That’s what sisters are for, hating each other for all eternity.” Summer laughed. “You know it’s true.” Kudos to that, I guess. “Race ya to the end!” She bopped me on the nose before rocketing off ahead of me. In an effort to not be bested, I flapped harder to keep up.

We raced around the parade grounds at dangerously high speeds, each trying to beat the other. At lap six, Summer was just barely ahead of me by a quarter of a wing. Lap seven passed with my lead by just a wingtip. We were tied at laps eight and nine, neither of us leading. “Is that all you got?” I yelled to my sister. “Looks like all those extra dessert rations aren’t paying off!”

The tip of her wing clipped my chin. “Shit!” Summer swore as she swerved out of control momentarily. “Not my fault I get free ice cream!” she yelled as she recovered. I took advantage of her stumble to pull ahead. “Hey! Cheater!”

“It’s not cheating if you goofed!” I heckled back at my Summer. “See ya, sucker!”
I stared straight ahead, bent on victory. This was the final leg of the race. Just a few more yards…

Suddenly, I was blown out of the sky by the wake of something, no, somepony zooming by at high speed. From the cloudy surface of the parade grounds, I watched with everypony else as a cone formed ahead of Summer’s hooves. The cone grew narrower and narrower as her speed increased. Just when I thought she was going to go supersonic, the cone abruptly snapped backward and launched her backward right into my face.

“Owww,” Summer groaned. “And I was so close. At least the ground isn’t as hard as I thought it was.” That was because she’d crash-landed right on top of me. I futilely hammered at her flanks, trying to make her budge. “Oh.” She rolled off me and helped me up. “Sorry about that.”

“Have I mentioned—” I panted.

All around us, a few pegasi sympathetically clapped. Sis had gotten close to pulling off a rainboom, which would have catapulted her all the way up to Wonderbolts training camp. “Yes, you have.” She sighed.

“That was still a nice try, though. I thought you were actually going to do it that time.” I didn’t really care nearly as much that she’d landed on me, rather than she’d actually tried to win a simple race with a sonic rainboom. Show-off.

“Thanks.” Sis sighed again. “I’ve been trying for a while.” As she led me back to the briefing room, a few airponies came up to her and shared some words of encouragement. “Hey guys! You saw that, huh?”

The only one that stuck around was this big armored jock. “Nice to see you blazin’ by, Breezy. Who’s this little firestarter here?” he asked, suddenly taking interest in me. “She’s cute.” I didn’t feel cute at the moment. I was sweaty, tired, filthy, and feeling a bit like a crash pad.

Summer roughly shoved him back. “Eyes front, buddy. That’s my sister you’re talking about.” The armored pegasus took a step back. “Keep your grubby hooves off her, okay Diver?” She leaned over and whispered to me, “He was part of my recruitment group. He’s a nice enough stallion until he starts hitting on you.” In the meantime, Diver had escaped back to the safety of his friends.

“Sis, I’m old enough to stand up for myself!” I whined, turning slightly red from embarrassment.

Against my will, I got pulled into a hug. “But that’s what big sisters are for. Embarrassing you in public.” A few onlookers laughed at us, but the joke was really on them. However much it appeared I didn’t like Summer, I appreciated having a sibling at all. Standard Enclave law dictated one foal per family, except for officers or other special cases (read: well-connected and laden with enough bits to bribe the guy in charge).

“Hate you.” As a spectator of my own mind, though, I was enjoying it.

Summer patted my head. “I know.” At least she had the common sense to release me before she pushed me back into the briefing room. “Look sharp. And tired.” With a mild amount of indignation, I realized she hadn’t even broken a sweat.

Inside, the briefing was coming to a conclusion. Some sort of battle plan had been put together for our next training exercise in the “Meat Locker”, which was a close-quarters combat simulation. The last time we’d attempted this mission, well… the results were decidedly not pretty. Academy records indicated that somepony, just one soldier, had flawlessly completed the simulation designed for an entire squad with a single laser pistol. Hopefully our second run would bring us up to par.

“Nice of you to join us. Enjoy your walk?” Dad casually asked. The angry officer was nowhere to be seen. Most likely he’d left after yelling at my squad for being so incompetent. “Speaking of which, great to see you again, Summer. What events have transpired for you to grace us with your presence?”

Summer rolled her eyes. “Daaaaaaad! I’m on base security, remember? And I’ve been super busy, so shut up about that.”

Pain suddenly lanced through my body and caused me to curl up on the floor. The entire room shook like it was in the middle of a storm. I shut my eyes and prayed everything would just stop. The lack of any sort of reaction by my family or compatriots around me led me to the conclusion that this wasn’t part of the memory.

“Whatever. Have fun with your training, guys,” Summer’s voice echoed.

Every movement brought pain. My head pounded like somepony started a rave up there and cranked the volume to thirteen.

“Get your head back into the game, Snowmare! Contact, zero-nine-zero!”

Unquestioningly, I shook my head and opened my eyes. Initial shock was washed out by ridiculous degrees of pain. We weren’t in a room anymore. Somehow, I’d been transported into an active Wasteland war zone. Everypony around me was fully geared and in the middle of laying down fire into the dense smoke around us.

“Yes—” I tripped, stumbled, and crashed to the ground again. Hello again, dirt. Long time no eat. C’mon, Frosty. Get your act together. “—Yessir.” I tried again at the task of standing up. Where was my gear? Heck, where was my combat barding? Second time wasn’t the charm. I succeeded in eating dirt again, to my immense displeasure. I looked down at my left leg, or what was left of it.

Shadow turned around. “What the heck are you wa—” A flying saw blade cut his words off short. He collapsed, clutching at the steel disc lodged in his neck. No. This wasn’t happening. No. I was forced to crawl toward him, since I couldn’t stand. If I could reach his crash kit before he bled out, maybe I could save him.

A gout of flame from Tiny’s incinerator was met with a rocket to his face. As his chunks splattered to the ground, somepony yelled, “Powerlevel’s down, Tornado’s hit! Defib, get on him!”

“Roger!” Lightning stopped firing her plasma rifle and dashed toward Shadow’s fallen form. “Snowmare, cover me!” Was this part of it? I didn’t have a leg, much less any weapons. My sidearm was gone. My standard-issue knife was gone. I didn’t have my laser rifle or my newer anti-machine rifle. “What the hay are you waiting for?” she yelled as she slid to a stop a few feet from me.

I opened my mouth to reply, but it was too late. A well-placed heavy caliber bullet exited the front of her visor. She was dead before she hit the ground. The words in my throat were choking me, suffocating me. My friends lay around me, dead and dying. Was this how it had happened? “Medic down!” Thunderclap yelled.

If this was the end, I think I was better off not knowing how it had happened. We hadn’t even put up a fight. Teal hooves planted themselves in front of me. “Get up. I should have stopped this hours ago,” Ice Storm snarled. “This isn’t a memory anymore.” Well, that made me feel a tiny bit better.

“I… I can’t stand,” I whimpered, showing him my bloody stump. “My leg’s gone.”

Ice bodily grabbed me and held me at eye level. “And when the hell has that stopped you?” Well, right now for starters. “Walk it off, wuss.”

If I wasn’t in so much pain, I would have laughed. A snort still managed to escape my muzzle, in spite of the gravity of my situation.

Unfortunately, he managed to catch the pained giggle I was trying so hard to suppress. “I now also realize I should have considered my wording first.”

“Walk. Ha!” I still laughed, despite my pain. “Ow. Oh, it hurts to breathe.”

Now that the moment had been suitably wrecked, Ice dropped me to the ground with a huff. “Damn it, Frosty. I’m doing my best to capture your subconscious, and you’re not making it any easier.” What? “I’m a bit out of practice, but this is silly.”

Thunderclap’s head exploding brought me back to the issue at hoof. “Friendly down! Sugarpuff, it’s just you and me! Suppressive fire!” Dad yelled, frantically firing his sidearm laser pistol. “What’re you waiting for?”

“I have to help him,” I muttered to Ice while I tried to haul myself to his side. “I’m not letting him die again. I can’t lose him.” My best friend’s body was right in front of me. Her sidearm, a compact plasma pistol, was still snugly lodged in its holster. “I can’t…” Tears began to blur my vision. “I just can’t…”

Somepony’s hooves cradled my head. “Frosty, he’s not real.” I blinked tears out of my eyes and stared into Gala’s. “This is a nightmare. You’re stronger than this, aren’t you?” A nightmare. Of course it would be. But I still couldn’t just let him die.

I looked to Ice for help. “I can give you power. I can help you save him. All you have to do is say the words.”

Gala glared at me. “Oh no. No. No. I know that look. Don’t do it.”

“I can help you.”

“Don’t bucking do it. This is a trap, and you know it.”

“Do it. Just do it, you wimp!” Raider yelled, appearing out of nowhere. She received angry glares from everypony currently involved. “Hey! Just trying to move it along. Sheesh, tough crowd. Buck you guys, I’m out.” She vanished as abruptly as she appeared, accompanied by a puff of red smoke.

It pained me to agree with Raider. “I’ll do it. Give me power,” I pleaded to Ice. Gala sighed in resignation, slowly dissolving into the wind.

Ice smirked. “Your wish is my command, princess.” Dark blue magic collected at the tip of his horn, swirling with energy. He brought his horn down to my forehead. Surprisingly, he was the one that hesitated. “Are you sure you want to do this? I’m sort of morally obligated to tell you that the last time I did this, it didn’t really go well…”

“Do it!” I yelled. Ice dismissively nodded and jabbed his horn into my forehead, releasing his built-up magic. The pain in my body, namely my hindleg, evaporated instantaneously. I felt good, really good! Thanks to whatever spell he was using, I was good ol’ me again. My bloody stump was back to being a technology-boosted stump, and my trusty anti-machine rifle was back.

Whatever was shooting at us was about to have a bad time. I was about to get some goddesses-damned revenge, complete with mandatory battle cry. For this much revenge, I decided on using S.A.T.S. to precisely distribute my fury with the power of math. Once inside the spell’s interface, I expected the shadows in the fog to be clearly outlined for me to target.

Nothing. There was nothing in the fog, according to S.A.T.S. I pulled myself out of the spell. So it didn’t work here, did it? Fine. I’d just have to do this the old fashioned way. Since the enemies didn’t show up on S.A.T.S. or my E.F.S., I had to resort to waiting for them to fire and give away their position. Every time I saw muzzle flashes, rocket plumes, or any such indication that something was shooting, I placed a shot into the center of the target listened for the tell-tale sound of impact.

The gunfire died down drastically once six lucky winners received their special prizes, courtesy of me. I floated in the air, waiting for something else to reveal itself. “That all you got? You ain’t so tough now!” There was no answer, reply, or retort in any form. I wearily chuckled to myself. “That wasn’t too hard.”

I landed next to Dad, expecting some sort of monologue or eulogy from him. Instead, the reply that I got was more along the lines of the barrel of his laser to my face. “Get away from me right now.”

A nervous grin spread across my face. “Real funny, Dad.” Gun safety 101! “Care to point that away from me?”

“I don’t know you.”

That hit me right in the heart. I was his daughter! How could he not recognize me? “Dad, it’s me.” I insisted, tapping my chest with my claw. “It’s… it’s me…” I trailed off when I caught glimpse of myself in mid-tap. Somehow in the last ten seconds, I’d managed to get myself covered in a nice slick coating of blood. “…It’s Frosty.” It was seeping into my fur, into my feathers, and I suddenly realized why he hadn’t recognized me to begin with.

Dad jabbed his laser pistol into my nose harder. “I raised an obedient little foal, not a traitorous monster.” Hearing those words from my own father was like a lightning bolt to the heart. “Take her away, boys.” Heavy power-armored legs grabbed me from behind. “Lock her up.” I couldn’t breathe, instead coughing and choking on my own saliva as I momentarily forgot how my lungs functioned.

A headless power-armored stallion strode up to me. “You are hereby stripped of your rank as a soldier and as a citizen of the Grand Pegasus Enclave. Under military law, you are allowed one court-martial composed of your peers to judge your actions. In the event of your permanent incarceration or execution, you are permitted a final request. Do you understand your rights as they have been given to you?” He managed to grunt, even without a head.

I kept my mouth shut since I was too caught up trying to process what had just happened. This was too surreal. The pegasus to my left sported a gaping hole in his neck, while the one to my right appeared to lack any sort of stable connection linking her head to her body. Her head flopped sideways in such an unnatural manner that I had to assume somepony had gone and broken her neck, based on the state of the other power-armored zombie pegasi.

“I’ll take that as a yes, then.” The headless pegasus sighed, which was an eerie sound since it came from his neck hole. “Get rid of her.”

The two pegasi holding me down knocked me off my hooves and slowly dragged me around to a dark hole in the dirt. I fought back, trying to dig my hooves into the ground and get in some cheap punches. Wherever that hole went, I didn’t want to find out. “Get your undead hooves off of me!” I yelled, struggling harder.

“Don’t… fight it…” the broken-necked airpony growled from my right. “Accept it.”

I finally managed to free my claw from the slit-necked sergeant. “You know what? Accept this!” I yelled, balling my talons into a fist and throwing out a haphazard punch. When my attack of opportunity didn’t collide with face and instead caused a mind-startling bang, I found myself wide awake.

<~~~>

It was just a nightmare. Just a nightmare. In my nightmare-fueled rage, I’d literally punched through the mattress under me. As I extruded my metallic limb from the shredded cloth and broken springs, I found I was uncomfortably sticky from all the dried sweat all over my body. My right hindleg was bound around the knee with stained rags and what looked like some dried twiggy things. Just to top off my discomfort, I still felt sore and stiff all over. A whole, undamaged canteen lay on the short table just out of my reach, reminding me to the fact that I was thirsty too.

“C’mere.” I weakly pawed at the air near the canteen, trying to will it into reach. “Here, drinky, drinky, drinky.” Obviously it wasn’t getting any closer no matter how hard I talked at it, so I had to scoot my entire body closer to it. Even at the edge of the mattress, I still couldn’t reach the canteen’s dangling strap. “Almost there…” I futilely continued to swipe at it, hoping that the tip of my talon could catch it.

Something thudded behind me. “Whuh! Huh?” Correction—somepony fell over onto the floor. “Woah, let me get that for you.” The canteen was enveloped by an orange magic field and floated into my flailing hooves. “Thank Celestia you finally woke up!”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, chugging down the canteen’s contents. Oh, it felt good to be hydrated again. It didn’t really matter as much to me that the water was mildly radioactive. Tangerine sat next to me, rubbing her eyes. “And how long have you been here?”

The tired orange mare yawned. “Long enough. You wouldn’t stop groaning and crying the entire time.” She adjusted her disheveled mane and looked around the room for something. “Though I can’t really blame you. You’re lucky to be alive after that much venom. It couldn’t have been a simple walk around the track, even for you.”

I finished off the canteen and flopped onto my back contentedly. With my thirst quenched, my next priority would be to clean myself up. “Hey, uh, where’s Rumcake, by the way?”

Tangerine picked up an pink and orange patterned hairpin off the floor behind her. “Oh, that Galactic fellow told him to get some actual rest instead of watching you freak out in your sleep.” I felt my gut involuntarily twitch. “And since he didn’t trust anypony else to keep you safe, and since Sparkle had to rest after getting back, I was the last possible pony he trusted.”

“Wait…” I warily muttered. “This wouldn’t be Doc Galactic, would it? Milky coat, crazy blue mane?” I gestured to myself in order to establish context. “Has a penchant for slicing things up?” I added, remembering our previous encounters. “Or ponies.” My lower ribs twinged in response. I suddenly had the horrible thought that he’d done something to me while I was passed out. Thanks to my overactive imagination, I got the picture of my body sliced open, guts for all to see.

The old springs on the mattress creaked as Tangerine climbed onto it. “The one and only, as I’ve heard.” For a moment, I wondered what she was doing and why she was getting so close to my face. She placed the back side of her hoof on my forehead. “Eh, at least it looks like your fever broke. I’ll go grab him.”

“No! Don’t!” I squeaked. “I’m totally fine now.” I stood up and vigorously flapped my wings for show. “No need for him, see?” I got shoved onto the bed before I could bolt.

“Something tells me it’s going to take more than an apple to keep him away from you,” Tangerine observed, bodily pinning me down to the bed. “Like it or not, the doctor can help you better than we can. And stop squirming!” I used my wings to slap her in the face while my legs were immobilized. “Ow!”

I caught a glimpse of a medical coat coming off the ladder. “He-llooo ladies! The doctor is in.” There was a brief pause, then he continued, “Well, the doctor could be out in the event that you need a few minutes. Or I could watch, if you’d like.”

“Um, uh—it’s not—” Tangerine stammered, her face gradually turning crimson.

To make it worse, I immediately interjected with, “This is exactly what it looks like.” Right on cue, Tangerine began to incoherently stammer and squeak.

“I’m just gonna—uh… look, a distraction!” Abruptly, a much redder Tangerine clambered off me and escaped down the ladder. Sneaky little git.

Doc Galactic, the resident doctor of Happy Hills, stood before me once again. “So, now you’re my little animal attack victim. What happened to being careful and all that stuff?” he jokingly chastised.

Begrudgingly, I sat up. A cursory examination of my body revealed that nothing had been (visibly) surgically altered or removed against my will. “Well, you obviously haven’t been swarmed by hundreds of angry bugs.” I tugged at the bandage holding the mysterious poultice wrapped around my leg. “What the heck is this stuff, anyway?”

To my immense discomfort, the doctor levitated several scalpels and one of his smaller bonesaws out to carefully cut away the used bandage. Excessive overkill, as always. “One of the books you two brought back had a good chapter or two on survival in the great outdoors. Who knew everything was so green back in the day?” He peeled away the allegedly healing herbs from the welt on my leg. “But truthfully, I have no flippin’ idea. Oh, that looks good.” The spot where I’d been stung was still tender and slightly discolored, but at least it didn’t hurt nearly as much as did before.

A random worried thought drifted into my head. “Wait, if you’re here… who’s helping everypony at Happy Hills?”

Doc opened an old battered first-aid strongbox and levitated out a roll of clean gauze. “I actually left half of my practice to Rusty for the moment.”

“Rusty? He’s a doctor now?” I asked, somewhat shocked. “He doesn’t seem like the medical type at all.”

“What can I say? I’m a great teacher,” Doc proudly told me. “And a great doctor.” He applied some sort of actual medical salve on my stings. Ooh, cold. Hot. Cold again. What the hay was this stuff? “As long as nopony gets something sliced off, he’ll be fine. Probably.”

“So… I’m good?” I cautiously asked, my leg going hot again. My stomach growled loudly, reminding me that I was no longer thirsty, but starving. Doc slowly unrolled a short length of gauze and stared at me with an amused expression the whole while. “Heh. Because I am hungry.”

As Doc wrapped my leg with a clean dressing, he casually replied, “Two days will do that to you. Speaking of which, I heard your adorable coltfriend had a great time trying to hydrate you while you were flipping out the entire time.”

“Two days?” I muttered, not particularly surprised anymore. Worrying? Yes. “Hmm.” A few more days of involuntary nap time and maybe I might get some kind of award if this was some kind of silly game.

The new, clean length of gauze was secured to my right hindleg. “There. Keep it dry, and don’t overexert yourself. I’m not entirely sure what was in that giant bloatsprite venom, so I kinda shot you up with all the general anti-toxin stuff.” All of Doc’s sharp pointy implements returned to their respective resting places. “And remember, if you have an erec—”

I know.” I facehoofed, anticipating his next few words. “Four hours, I know. Does all your medicine have that potential side effect?”

A shrug. “Just covering my bases. Would you prefer the four-hour erection warning or ‘Symptoms include: nausea, heartburn, stroke, seizures, depressing thoughts, loss of muscular control, sudden death, liver failure, and nosebleeds’.”

I blinked at that impressive list. “Are those really…?”

“Oh, that’s just the common ones.”

“Liver failure?”

“Again, the common ones.”

“I think I prefer the erections.”

Doc barely held back a snort. “I’ve heard you do.”

Huh? Had we already had this conversation?

Think about your previous words very, very carefully.

What? I prefer the… Oh. OH. I felt my face heat up instantly. “No! I don’t—no wait, I do, but like—er—graaaah!” Doc broke out laughing as I mashed my face into the mattress to dampen my screams of frustration.

~~~~~

With my leg properly handled and once Doc had given me a “close enough” bill of health, I headed down in search of lunch. Following his suggestion of not exerting myself, I decided to take the ladder instead. The scarred orange vendor selling food and other food-like objects still stood at the counter taking orders and yelling at patrons, but this time he was most curiously sporting a black eye in addition to the rest of his previous facial injuries.

I calmly plopped myself down on one of the plastic tables and waited for Rumcake to show up, since I apparently wasn’t allowed to buy anything from the food ponies. Racist bastard. The seat that I had chosen was reasonably close to the back so that I was hopefully out of sight while still being able to read the menu.

I kept lightly tapping my hoof against the table’s surface involuntarily the entire time since I was no longer distracted by the mildly frustrating task of living. Hunger was starting to set in at full force, making me feel weak and twitchy as a result. Where was he? Everything on the menu was starting to look good, including the dangerous “coffee” concoction from before. Heck, I might just eat my other foreleg if he didn’t show up soon.

Unfortunately, I either wasn’t far away enough or my tapping gave me away. “Oi, Birdface! Git ’cher feathered arse over here,” the orange pony angrily yelled.

Oh goddesses, here we go. Maybe if I pretended not to hear him he wouldn’t—

“Don’t ignore me, ya cheeky li’l bugger!”

There was no avoiding it. Slowly, I trudged toward the counter with everypony watching. Just for increased awkwardness, everypony in the immediate area quieted down to hear what was about to happen. “What, am I not allowed to sit here anymore?” I lowly spat. “Are these tables just too good for me, dirt-munching sack of shit?”

The orange pony chuckled nervously. “No, nothin’ of the sort at all.” He suddenly grabbed me by the neck and pulled me closer. “I don’ like you any more than your li’l twat face likes me, so let’s make this quick. I’d be willin’ to tolerate your existence only ’cause the bosspony says so.” I stumbled backward when he let me go and shoved me backward. “So we can be best o’ friends, right?” he brightly asked. “Name’s Easy Greasy. Go piss off.”

Without another word or any indication of service, Easy retreated from the counter and ducked into what I assumed was the food locker. A younger buck with a smoky gray-black coat stepped up to the counter, shaking his head. His mane bordered on a combination of brown and tan colors. “Welp, that didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Can I take your order?”

I hesitated. “Wait, no racist comments?”

“Nah. If Boss don’t got a problem with you, I don’t either.” The young stallion took out a rag just as dark as his coat and started scrubbing down the counter. “Gonna buy anything? You were out for a while, so maybe all you need is a hogchop. Hogchop’ll fix anypony up good.”

A hogchop didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard of, but I could probably guess. “You want me to buy meat. For eating.” When was this a good idea for anypony? “Aren’t we vegetarian? Heck, aren’t you vegetarian?”

“If there’s a demand, then we’ll sell it. Well, I’ll cook it and Easy there’ll sell it because it’s a perfectly marketable idea for a stallion named Burnt Toast to cook everypony’s food.” Burnt Toast sighed and continued to wipe the counter, with minimal visible progress. “Hey, Nightfire’ll eat anything. I even fed her a radiator once.”

I examined the rest of the menu. Nothing much had changed since last time—the menu still consisted of just boxed food, water, and “coffee”.

Just buy the meat. It’s good for you.

I didn't really want to become a carnivore just yet, even if a slab of fried meat sounded delicious. Don’t give in, Frosty. Don’t give in. I could probably get by with a box of dried apples and some hay fries. “Uh—”

Burnt immediately wrote something down on a scrap of paper and slid it to me. “One hogchop, comin’ up! Your number’s on the paper.” Apparently I was order number twenty-three. “That’ll be five caps.”

“I didn’t even order!”

“Five caps,” Burnt insisted.

I was too hungry to argue or complain anymore, so I reluctantly agreed. “Fine, fine. You’ll have to wait until my coltfriend gets here since he’s got all the caps.”

The very familiar sound of armored hooves coming up behind me was accompanied by Rumcake’s soothing voice. “I heard you’re spending my money.”

“Shaddup. I’m hungry. Just pay the stallion, would you?” I lightheartedly demanded.

After lunch had been paid for, we returned to my chosen seat to find it occupied by an obnoxiously giddy little orange colt. His light green mane hadn’t been cut in the longest time, so he had to periodically sweep it out of his eyes as he bounced in place. “Hey! You!” he squeaked, seeing me approach.

“Kid, I’m not in the mood. Out of my seat, right now,” I growled, legitimately annoyed. “Nopony takes my seat.” Something about this little colt really ticked me off, but I didn’t know what is was. Maybe his voice?

“But wait! Want to see my pot of gold?” the colt excitedly blurted.

I didn’t have a snappy reply to that. “Is that a euphemism for sex?”

Rumcake tried to pull me away. “Let’s just find somewhere else to sit, okay?” Against his will, I stood there and adamantly and waited for the mangy little colt to move. “C’mon, let’s just sit over there.” He continued to try half-heartedly dragging me away, to no avail.

“Heck no! I got this seat first!” I protested.

Back at the counter, Easy shouted, “Orda’ twenty-one.”

“What number are you?” Rumcake asked, ignoring the little colt’s incessant nagging about his pot of gold.

I needed to double-check the paper. “Twenty-three. And I swear to every star out there that I will kill that kid if he doesn’t shut up about that pot of gold,” I growled, directing the second half of my statement at the colt. “Scram, before I turn you into dinner.”

The little colt scampered off, still frantically advertising his pot of gold to every single pony that wouldn’t listen. “Well, at least he left.” Rumcake sighed, taking the spot across from me. “So, you’re feeling better?”

“I’m sore, stiff, cranky, and hungry,” I groaned, sitting down. “But at least I’m alive, so I guess that counts.” I reached up to pull Dad’s hat over my eyes, but all I felt was my dirty, tangled mane. I patted my head in vain, hoping to find it. “Rummy, where’s my hat?” I sat bolt upright, fear edging my voice.

“That one brownish scribe you know has it,” Rumcake replied, oblivious to my worries. “Right, I forgot. After I dragged your comatose butt back here, she was curious about all your stuff and the books you brought back.”

“And you just let her take everything?” I blurted, raising my voice.

Rumcake winced. “Hey, calm down. I made her promise she wouldn’t destroy anything or else I’d find a way to make her life a living hell.”

“Twenty-three!”

My ears perked up. “Yay! Lunch! Be right back!”

Easy was standing at the counter again and Burnt was doing the cooking at this point. “You twenty-three?” Easy asked, somewhat annoyed. I nodded. “All ye winged bastards are the same.” He snickered. “Take it an’ scram.” Without another word, he pushed the plate of crispy piece of meat toward me.

I picked it up on a wing and took it back to my seat. Rumcake wordlessly stared at me in blatant abject horror, then to the plate, then back to me. On the other hoof, I was more concerned with how I was going to eat it. The entire hogchop was ovalish in shape, about one and a half hooves large, with a long bone going down one side. Light pink blood deliciously oozed out from under the slice of meat. I should have been more concerned about why this looked so good rather than how fast I could cram this in my mouth.

Finally, Rumcake found his voice. “You’re going to eat that?”

“I guess so.” I stared at the hunk of meat, still trying to figure out how to properly shove it into my face. “You have, like, a knife or something?” Rumcake dumbly nodded and laid a small utility knife on the table. “Thanks.” With mild difficulty, I sawed little bite-size strips out of the piece of meat while pinning it to the plate with two of my talons.

“You’re going to eat that,” Rumcake repeated. “A whole pork chop?”

“I don’t think I can finish it.” Not the response he was expecting, apparently. “What? You eat meat too, don’t you?” I asked, spearing a slice of meat on my trigger talon.

“In moderation, yes,” Rumcake conceded, watching me drop the first slice into my mouth.

I started chewing the piece of meat in my mouth, somewhat enjoying the chewy and stringy texture. The porkchop, er, hogchop… whatever it was… was much different from the bacon from his sandwich last time. Then, the salty and slightly metallic taste of blood hit me. Regardless, I continued chewing and attempted to swallow.

“By that face you’re making, I assume it’s not as good as you thought it was.”

For some stupid reason, I stabbed another slice and dropped it into my mouth. “Eh. It’sh okay.” I swallowed the lump of cooked flesh with a grimace. “Could be better.” It wasn’t the same as pony blood, and I certainly didn’t remember what griffon blood tasted like, but at least the porkchop wasn’t as unpleasant. “It’s like… eating a salty, watered-down crowbar.”

Rumcake wiped his knife against the table and stowed it back in one of his many pockets. “Oh, right!” He patted down several of his other armored pockets until he finally found what he was looking for. “Ta-daah!” He triumphantly dropped the bobblehead I’d spied back at the one-bit store onto the table. “Score one for the paladin!”

I was positively ecstatic. “Eeeee!” I squealed, picking up the bobblehead to examine it. Once again, it was a Schtable-Tec Bobblehead, with the words “D-d-d-diamonds!” imprinted on the base. The pony’s coat was a brilliant white and her curly purple mane flowed magnificently, sans a few unkempt ends. This time, the Ministry Mare in question was only visible from the neck up because everything below that was covered by all sorts of fake gemstones. And, in true Schtable-Tec fashion, her bright blue eyes were off-center and completely insane.

“No idea why you were dying to grab this particular one, but I went and grabbed it for you anyway,” Rumcake replied. I stopped his line of questioning by planting a kiss right on his lips. “You know what? I don’t care anymore,” he happily mumbled after I broke contact.

I grinned and went back to my meal. “Thought so.”

“Today’s a good day.”

Considering a lot of things, today sure was relatively good. “Well, I didn’t die, I got one more awesome bobblehead”—I shook the bobblehead gently, causing the mare’s head to wobble comically—“and I’m back with you. Everything’s comin’ up, Frosty.”


Footnote: Level up!
New Perk: Mysterious Power – When using this skill, all your stats are multiplied by a factor of 1.3 and your resistances are doubled. But at what cost?
Current Sub-perk: Mysterious Presence – Yeah, he’s still not being useful. You gain +8 to Window Washing.

Author's Note:

If you’re reading this text, that means the story has been updated and this is the new and correct version.

Got a question? Ask Frosty!

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