• Published 9th Sep 2014
  • 2,439 Views, 171 Comments

Children of Equestria - Samey90

Diamond Tiara and Babs Seed did a lot of bad things in their lives. Now they have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

  • ...

Her Past

Scootaloo cursed under her breath and went back to the large pile of the photos. Since she and Archer were Diamond Tiara’s neighbours, they couldn’t help in investigation. However, Chocolate Donut had a task for them. He gave them Featherweight’s photos and told them to look at them and note everything they’d find suspicious.

“Hey, he even had photos from the races!” Archer exclaimed. “Rumble, Tornado Bolt... And here, the Wonderbolts during a training...”

“Archer...” Scootaloo shook her head. “We’re supposed to look for clues, not the Wonderbolts’ photos...”

“I know,” Archer replied. “By the way, it seems that he wasn’t into sport. There are only a few photos of the Wonderbolts...” She sighed. “The rest are from some parties, meetings, and celebrations. Boring.”

“You don’t say...” Scootaloo muttered. She flipped through the photos Archer threw on the desk. Indeed, Rumble was there, taking a sharp turn. Next to him, Tornado Bolt was trying to overtake him. Scootaloo felt a pang of jealousy. If she was faster, maybe she’d try to become a Wonderbolt too?

She put the photos back and took another stash. This time, they were pictures from some gig. Most of them were depicting the crowd, though Featherweight had apparently tried to capture the stage. However, the last photo was different: it was overexposed, and Scootaloo could barely recognise some corridor and silhouettes of two ponies on the other end of it.

Archer looked at the photo above Scootaloo’s shoulder. “Seems that he screwed it up...” she muttered.

Scootaloo looked at the photo more exactly. “Or maybe... The killer tried to destroy the film, but this photo survived?”

Archer scratched her mane. “It’d be easier if we knew who’s in it,” she said. “For me, it may even be Princess Celestia and that guy who sells donuts on our street...”

“One of them seems to have wings,” Scootaloo muttered. “Maybe both of them...” She threw a photo back on the desk. “I’m not sure... Maybe it’s just an ordinary photo?”

“Still, it’s better than nothing...” Archer said, eyeing the empty kettle on the desk. “Maybe I’ll make more coffee?”

Scootaloo only nodded, coming back to looking at the photos.

“They’re not gonna come back here...” Front Kick muttered, looking at the old warehouse next to the railway station in Hoofington. “Seed is too clever for that.”

“Still, the local guys keep an eye on that place,” Chocolate Donut said. “They also said that in the morning after the Hearth’s Warming Eve somepony broke into a pharmacy and grocery store. The hoofprints are similar to Seed’s.”

“They couldn’t run away too far...” Front Kick said. “They’re getting desperate. Sooner or later somepony will catch them trying to find food.”

Chocolate Donut shook his head. “I wouldn’t wait for that, boss,” he said. “Seed has a knife and, since the pharmacist said that the only thing that was stolen from him was the money, Diamond Tiara is still off her meds.”

“So, soon we may find them both...” Front Kick winced.

Another guard approached them. “We’re checking all the freight trains,” he said. “We think they could hide in one of the carriages since we observe the passenger ones. We’re also looking for them in the town.”

Front Kick nodded. Even though Hoofington wasn’t much bigger than Ponyville, it had much more guards. The large amount of passengers and goods travelling through it attracted thieves. “And what if they get out?” he asked.

“Well, there aren’t many places where they may go,” the guard replied. “They won’t go back to Ponyville or Canterlot; their only choices are Fillydelphia and Baltimare on the east, Dodge Junction on the south, and Hollow Shades on the north.”

“I don’t think they’d choose Hollow Shades,” Chocolate Donut said. “If they wanted to go there by hoof, they’d have to cross the mountains. Also, they’d be too visible in a town where everypony has fangs and a pair of wings...”

“Exactly,” Front Kick said. “That leaves three towns. Four, if we assume that they may come back to Canterlot, hoping that we won’t look for them there... Let’s go to the station. We need to inform the guards everywhere...”

The sun was slowly setting behind the horizon. Babs stood on the pier and looked at the rusty steamboat. According to the boards on its side, it was named “Rotten Herring” and its owners were Fritter, Fritter, and Lulamoon. Babs smirked. Lulamoon and both Fritters either had a peculiar sense of humour, or no delusions about the condition of their ship.

“Do you think it’s safe?” Diamond Tiara asked. Babs looked at her. For the whole day, Diamond Tiara didn’t say a word. Even when Babs told her that they couldn’t go back to the warehouse.

“It shouldn’t sink,” Babs replied. “Besides, we’re not gonna stay on it for long. It goes to Baltimare, but once we see the forest on the both banks of the river, we’ll leave it and go south to Dodge Junction. We’ll stay there till Spring, maybe longer...”

Diamond Tiara nodded. “How are we going to leave it?”

“Most of the river is covered in ice, except of the path made by the icebreakers,” Babs muttered. “If we manage to leave the boat unseen...”

Diamond Tiara had no further questions. They trotted through the pier, hiding behind some crates waiting to be loaded. The snow there was almost black; even the air seemed to be filled with soot, making it hard to breathe. Babs stopped and caught Diamond before she walked past her. She put her hoof on her mouth and pointed at the griffon pacing on the deck and smoking a cigarette. The very sight made Babs want to smoke again. They waited till the griffon threw the butt of the cigarette into the river and went under the deck. Then they approached the ship and quickly trotted through the gangplank.

“What now?” Diamond Tiara whispered. “She may come back...”

“Follow me...” Babs rushed to the stern of the ship. There was an open trapdoor there, leading to the coal storage. She looked into it, closed her eyes and jumped on the large hill of coal, hoping that Diamond Tiara listened to her. .

The landing on the coal was harder than Babs thought. She rolled from the pile, muttering curses under her breath. She opened her eyes and saw Diamond Tiara, her red coat now dirty and ragged. They stood up and trotted deeper into the dark, interior of the boat. It smelled of steam, hot iron and wood – the ship’s main cargo.

“We’ll stay here,” Babs muttered, sitting between two heaps of wood. “I don’t think somepony ever checks it out...”

Diamond Tiara sat next to her, her eyes half-closed. She lowered her head, hiding her face in her hooves.

“What do they say?” Babs asked.

“W-what?” Diamond Tiara’s eyes shot open. She looked around nervously.

“I can see what’s going on with ya...” Babs muttered. “Once, my friend, White Dove, ate some mushrooms and she spent the night walking like a zombie, mutterin’ somethin’ to herself. while I was lookin’ after her. Ya look pretty much the same.”

“Well...” Diamond muttered. “Nothing in particular. There’s just Silver here... She seems to be enjoying it... I don’t.”

“Yeah...” Babs said.

“What happened to your friend?” Diamond Tiara asked.

“She was okay,” Babs replied, shuddering. “That is...”


“She’s dead,” Babs said, her head drooping. “Can I leave ya here for a moment?” she asked. “I wanna take a walk...”

“Sure,” Diamond replied. “I’m gonna go to sleep anyway...”

Babs nodded and disappeared between the stacks of wood. Diamond Tiara looked blankly at the wall.

“You could’ve mentioned something about me,” Curtain Call said, shaking her head.

Diamond Tiara said nothing. She closed her eyes and lay on the floor, curled in a fetal position under her coat.

“She’s tired,” Silver Spoon said. “Give her a break, Curtain.”

“Yeah...” Curtain Call muttered. “Though it’s no use. Soon they’ll turn the engine on and this whole place will be so loud they’re never gonna sleep...”

Silver Spoon shrugged. “I doubt Babs ever sleeps. She’s plotting something.”

“You don’t say!” Curtain Call exclaimed. “It won’t last long... Once we’re safe in the desert...”

Silver Spoon nodded, grinning maliciously. However, her expression softened when she looked at sleeping Diamond Tiara. She lay down next to her, nuzzling her gently.

“Goodnight,” she muttered.

The roar of the engine deafened Babs. She stayed in the shadows next to the boiler room. She took off her jacket and wiped sweat from her forehead. She could see the reflections of the fire; a couple of dark silhouettes were running in the hot, smoky room with shovels.

Babs yawned. Despite the noise, she wanted to go to sleep right there. However, she couldn’t stop thinking about Diamond Tiara.

It wasn’t a crush. Diamond Tiara definitely wasn’t Babs’ type, not to mention that, as far as Babs knew, she wouldn’t be interested. It was similar to what Babs felt towards White Dove, at least before the young filly went too far in her admiration: care, compassion, a kind of a link usually connecting a mother with her daughter.

Babs slammed her forehead with her hoof. I’d be a bad mother... she thought. Not that Diamond is a good daughter, but I’m even worse...

Suddenly, she heard some noise behind her. Before she managed to turn around, somepony grabbed her and pushed her at the wall. She tried to fight back, but the assailant’s hooves clenched on her throat.

“What are ya doin’ ‘ere?” The voice was a husky whisper, but it definitely belonged to a mare. Her accent reminded Babs about Carnation, causing her to shiver despite the high temperature. Even though her eyes were wet from the smoke, she saw the attacker’s wings. She started to wonder what the pegasus was doing in such a claustrophobic place.

“I... I just...”

“It’s you!” the mare whispered, her accent suddenly disappearing. She pulled Babs further into the dark corridor and released her.

“Seed! What the fuck are you doing here?”

Babs blinked, looking at the pegasus mare. She was skinny, yet muscular. Her mane was cropped short and her fur was covered in soot, making it hard to guess not only its original colour, but also the mare’s cutie mark. Her wings didn’t look healthy: some of the feathers were missing; they were also covered in burns and Babs thought that she had to constantly hit the pipes with them. Yet, something about her seemed familiar.

“Lightning Du–”

“Shh!” Lightning Dust silenced her. “In case you don’t know, I’m Feather Duster now.”

“Feather Duster? Really?” Babs shook her head.

“Shut up!” Lightning Dust hissed. “What are you doing here?”

“I... I’m running away...”

Lightning Dust’s hooves started to shake. “Running away! If the mafia got me as I expected, I’d be turning in my grave like a fucking paddlewheel! What the fuck have you done again?”

“I killed the guy because of whom I got raped,” Babs replied. Seeing that Lightning Dust was about to snap again, she added, “And one crazy mare, but I was savin’ Diamond Tiara from her! Diamond’s with me, by the way...”

“You in a nutshell...” Lightning Dust rolled her eyes. “I kill a guy to save your flank, pretend to be a retarded stoker for three years, and what has it taught you? Fucking nothing, that’s what...”

“B– but...” Babs sobbed. “I tried... I really tried... But even my parents don’t want to see me anymore...”

“Frankly, I’m not surprised,” Lightning Dust deadpanned. She noticed the tears on Babs’ soot-stained face and sighed. “Listen, I don’t give a fuck what you’re doing here. For me, you can even take over this barge and go to Zebrica. Just... Just don’t pull any stunts again, okay?”

“We’ll leave the ship soon,” Babs said. “I... I’m sorry, Dust. I didn’t want to...”

“Yeah. It just happened,” Lightning Dust muttered. “Where do you hide? In the cargo hold?”

Babs nodded.

“Watch out for Gilda,” Lightning Dust said. “She sometimes takes a walk around the ship, looking for thieves.”

“Who’s Gilda?” Babs asked.

“A griffon bodyguard,” Lightning Dust replied, looking around nervously. “A complete shithead... She– Hide!”

She turned around when Babs disappeared behind a pile of coal. A griffon Babs had seen earlier approached Lightning Dust, frowning.

“What the fuck are you doing here, dweeb?” she asked. “Get your sorry ass back to work!”

“Takin’ a leak, ma’am,” Lightning Dust replied in a slow, slightly slurred voice. “I wanted to do dat in da boilin’ room but da guys say I smell...”

“Feather Duster, huh?” Gilda asked. “Bad news: they’re right. I’d tell you to use the toilet like the rest of those idiots, but I guess you don’t even know where it is.”

“Nope,” Lightning Dust said. “Mommy said I ain’t smart...”

“Yeah...” Gilda rolled her eyes. “It’s a mystery to me how you even learned to talk, retard... Get back to work, or I will do what your parents should have done when you were born: put you in a bag with a couple of bricks and throw you into the river.” With these words, she turned back and went to the stairs.

“Yes, ma’am!” Lightning Dust exclaimed. “I’ll snap your neck one day, bitch,” she whispered, before turning to Babs, “See? That’s how my life looks like since I started to help you... Babs?”

She looked behind the pile of coal, only to find out that Babs had already been gone.

Scootaloo’s eyes shot open. For a moment, she was looking at the ceiling, trying to remember where she was. Then she realised that she was sleeping on a mattress at Sweet Apple Acres. She started to regret that Rumble wasn’t with her.

She tried to remember the dream she had. It was somehow connected with Featherweight’s photos – not surprising, since she’d spent most of the day looking at them. All she could recall was the overexposed one, with two ponies standing next to each other in some corridor. Maybe that was it? Scootaloo wasn’t sure, but something was telling her that it could be it. She turned in her bed, trying to fall asleep, but the caffeine was still buzzing in her veins. Archer’s cooking could be considered a murder attempt, but when she made coffee, she made it to twist the parts of the brain Scootaloo had no idea existed.

Her mind started to work faster. She remembered some small events, pieces of the bigger puzzle. Many elements were still missing, but she could already guess what the picture would be and she didn’t like it. She focused on the photo and thought about Archer. Again, she’d have to ask her for a favour.

She started to wonder how to do that. The atmosphere since Babs’ escape was rather bad; Apple Bloom was walking like a hungry tiger in a cage, ready to snap at anyone. Applejack was similar, though she was able to control it better. Sweetie and Button had an argument right after the Hearth’s Warming Eve and Scootaloo had a feeling that Babs was only one of the reasons for it.

She thought about Archer. With her greatest talent being making herself easy to ignore by other ponies, she was perfect at finding useful pieces of information. Just what Scootaloo needed to fill in the gaps. She closed her eyes, her plan ready, hidden safe and sound in the depths of her mind.

Scootaloo wanted to smile. Yet, something was preventing her from doing that.