• Published 31st Jul 2015
  • 12,717 Views, 347 Comments

Equestria's Rifleman - Cheesecake404



Ponyville has a new protector, but nopony knows what it is. It lives in the Everfree Forest and makes itself known when it kills a monster. Many think it's just superstition, others think it's a real creature. In truth, it's a human with a rifle.

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Chapter 1: Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Two stallions stood outside the Everfree Forest. One turned to the other and said, “Are you sure about this?”

“Oh, come on Midnight, we just need to go in, grab a flower or something and get out easy.”

“I don't know...”

“Come or don't, either way I'm going in,” He said, heading into the forest.

“W-wait Starbolt! I'm coming!”

The two of them entered the forest and looked around. After some time Midnight said, “I think we've been here long enough we should go.”

“Geez, will you grow a pair already,” Three. “It's not even that scary in here.” Two. “Seriously I don't see what all the fuss is about.” One. As he said that a manticore stepped out of the shadows and roared.

“What do we do now?”

“RUN!”

Damn it! Why do they always run? It makes it so much harder for me.

The manticore gave chase. The two stallions ran as fast as they could while trying to slow the manticore down by bending the branches in their way and having them smack the manticore in the face. That only made it angrier. Eventually the two came to a cliff with the manticore right behind them.

Finally, time to end this.

“Looks like this is goodbye,” Midnight said holding on to Starbolt.

“Looks like, I'm sorry.”

Before the manticore could get any closer a sound like an explosion came out of the forest and the manticore howled in pain. The manticore stood it's ground and closed in raising it's paw only for another mysterious explosion to hurt it. This time the manticore turned around, as he did there was a third explosion and it's head was blown apart.

The two stallions stood there holding each other for a moment before Midnight asked, “W-what just happened?”

“I don't know.”

“Do you think it was the guardian?”

“You believe that? That's just an old mare’s tale.”

“How else would you explain what just happened?”

“Okay, I can't, but maybe we should take this opportunity to get out of here.”

“You don't have to tell me twice.”

With that the two ran for the exit and back to Ponyville.

That was close, those two were lucky I was nearby. Hopefully, they'll be smarter and more careful next time.

_______________________________

The sun was about to set as Applebloom gathered the last of the plants she wanted for her own potion experiments. She looked up to the sky and saw how late it was getting. Gash, I'd better go before ah get in trouble. She grabbed her bag and headed for home, unaware she had left behind the bag of incense Zecora had given her to ward off the forest creatures.

As Applebloom made her way home she noticed the forest had become eerily quiet, save for some rustling in the brush. When she looked in it's direction she saw something large, furry, and feathery. The creature stood up and stepped out on the path, and stared straight at Applebloom. It had the build of a bear but the head and face of an owl. It opened its beak and let out an ear splitting screech.

Applebloom turned to run away but she tripped on a root in the process. The creature closed in. It stopped when an explosion from within the trees came out. The creature covered its right eye and screeched in pain as it ran back into the forest.

Applebloom didn't know what had just happened. All she knew was her ears hurt. Once she saw she was safe Applebloom tried to stand up but she had turned her ankle and was on the ground again. Tears began to well up in her eyes. It would be dark soon and would most likely take hours for anyone to find her. Fear filled her as she heard a noise from the other side of the trail. It died down when she saw it was pony shaped.

Applebloom could tell he was male, and just a bit shorter than her brother. He was wearing camouflage pants as well as a camo jacket and hood, his hands had fingerless gloves and on his feet were a pair of dark brown boots. He also had something slung over his shoulder, but Applebloom couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be.

The stranger knelt down beside her and asked in a soft caring voice, “Are you alright?”

“Ah hurt mah ankle.”

“May I?” he asked motioning to her ankle. Applebloom nodded and he took off her shoe and sock. He felt around and moved her foot, while paying attention to her reactions. “Looks like a sprain, but you should see a doctor when you get home.” He looked up at the sky, “Unfortunately it won't be tonight.”

“Can't you help me get home?”

“I would if it wasn't almost dark, but my camp's not far from here. I can take you there if you want.”

It didn't take long for Applebloom to weigh her options and she decided to go with him. He carefully picked her up and carried her through the forest. As he walked Applebloom began to wonder who this person was, why was he living here, and why his fingers were without fur. Her thoughts were interrupted when they came to a large metal wall.

The wall was about five feet tall with spikes pointing outward at the top. It also looked like it was slapped together with various sheets of metal. Behind it Applebloom could see lanterns releasing a faint pink mist over the wall. In front of them was a set of metal double doors that the stranger had to push open.

Inside at the far end of the camp was a large cylindrical structure. To the left of it were tanks and pipes that appeared to be connected to a pool of water that was lifted off the ground. A few feet from the pool was a fire pit with log benches and large stacks of wood. On the other side of the camp were two smaller metal structures. In between the large and small structures were tarps covering something tall, long, and square.

The stranger carried Applebloom to the fire pit and sat her down on one of the benches. Then he got another log to elevate her leg. “I'll be back in a minute,” he said going into the large structure.

Applebloom looked a little closer at the structures. The smaller ones looked like they had been painted at one point, but it had been chipped away and faded over time. The one closer to the exit had many different colors and hearts on it, the other plain white.

The large one was gray and look better although slightly banged up. It also seemed to be missing parts in the middle and end like someone had ripped them off. Near the door Applebloom read the words on it 'U.S. Air Force'.

The stranger exited the structure while Applebloom read the words. He was carrying a white box and a backpack. Once he returned he opened the box and took out an ice pack and a bandage. “I'm going to need to see your ankle again.” Applebloom nodded and he began wrapping her ankle, afterward he put the ice pack on it and handed her a pocket watch. “Twenty minutes on Twenty off,” he said as went through his backpack and got out two brown bags and plates. “Hungry?”

“Um, yes.”

The stranger started a fire and began to prepare their food, “It will be ready in fifteen to twenty minutes.”

After a few minutes Applebloom spoke, “Thank you for helping me. Mah name's Applebloom. What's yours?”

He looked at her with his face still in shadow from the hood, “Sorry, I haven't properly introduced myself, I don't get many visitors. I'm David Wisemen,” he said as he took off his hood, “Nice to meet you.”

Applebloom stared at him, her mouth open and eyes wide. She wasn't sure what she was looking at. He looked similar to a pony but his head and face were very different. His small muzzle separated his mouth and nose. His eyes were not as large as a pony's and his ears were on the side of his head instead of on top. His face had about half its fur missing.

“Um... hello?” David said waving his hand in front of Applebloom's face, “Everything okay in there?”

“Y-yeah ah just never seen somethin' like you before.”

“Well I knew this would happen one day. So ask any questions you have and I'll answer to the best of my ability.”

Applebloom asked many questions while they waited for their food. Most were along the line of 'what are you, where did you come from, are there more of you, how did you get here, why are you living here, and what are the things in the camp'.

“Well you're full of questions aren’t you? But that's to be expected,” David said handing Applebloom a plate of food. “First of all, I'm a human, I'm from the United States of America, which I'm sure you've never heard of because I think it's in another world. There are more humans there of course, but as far as I know I'm the only one here. I'm not exactly sure how I got here, all I know is I was looking for a descent camping spot, I tripped and rolled down a hill, and hit my head. When I woke up I was in this 'wonderful' place.”

“But why stay here?”

“Well, shortly after I arrived I met Zecora and we had a similar talk like the one we're having now. She told me about the way you ponies treated her. So I reason that if I go waltzing into town I'll be treated similarly if not worse. I decided to play it safe, albeit, by living in a dangerous place although it's really not that more dangerous than back home.”

“But didn't she tell ya about how we got to know her and we all became friends?”

“Yeah she did. But I'm still more alien to you than she is. That look you gave me when you first saw me is evidence enough that I'm just too different.”

“You ain't that different.” David looked at the little filly with skepticism, “Sure you looked different, but you're just as much the same on the inside as us and that's all that matters.”

David's skepticism turned into a smile, “Kid you have more wisdom than people twice my age.”

“I'm just tellin' the truth, and when the others get to know ya they'll like ya like any other pony. Especially since you're the guardian.”

“I'm the what now?”

“Oh well, that's what we call the thing in the forest that's been protecting ponies that enter the forest. That's you right?”

“I guess I am,” David said with a warm smile.

Applebloom returned the smile, and she was happy to have helped David see that he was the same as she. But she still wanted to know what all the stuff in the camp was.

“Right, you did ask about them,” David said getting up and walking over to the pool, “The tanks are part of a water purification system and the pool is used for cleaning.” David had taken his and Applebloom's plates and started washing them, “Those two over there,” he said pointing at the smaller structures, “are vans. They're like a carriage but they have their own power source to move.”

“Like a train?”

“Yeah, except they don't need track. I just use them for storage, I put things I have no immediate use for in them. The tarps cover crates I can't fit in the vans or the C-130, which is the larger structure behind me.”

“What's it for?”

“Well I use it for shelter, but it was used for flying supplies around.”

“It can fly!”

“Well not anymore. But it did have a ton of food, so that's why I set up here.” David took a bucket and put out the fire. Even without it, the moon's light was more than enough to see. David picked up Applebloom and carried her to the plane. Once inside he sat her down on a bench and began to light some lanterns. When enough of them were lit Applebloom could look around. About half of the space was filled with boxes, one of which was opened and filled with bags of food like the ones they just had.

There were also some boxes of books near a hammock that hung from the walls. Below it was a mattress, some cushions, pillows, and blankets. On the ceiling hung an old looking flag, with red and white stripes, and a blue square with white stars in a circular pattern. On the wall next to the hammock was the thing David had over his shoulder as well as something similar hanging under it.

“Would you like to sleep in my hammock for tonight?” David asked Applebloom interrupting her thoughts.

“No thanks, I don't wanna take your bed... or sleepin' spot.”

“It's no trouble, really.”

“I'll be fine on the floor, it looks comfy anyway.”

“Well... if you're okay with that then alright.” David picked up Applebloom once again and gently put her down on the mattress. He also gathered pillows and blankets for her. “Comfortable enough?”

“Yes, thank you... for everything.”

“No problem.” David said as he started to put out the lanterns. As he got to the last one Applebloom spoke up.

“C-could you leave that one on... please?”

“Sure I'll just turn it down a little. Are you afraid of the dark?” David asked with concern in his voice.

“It's not that it's just, I've never been in the Everfree Forest overnight... are you sure this place is safe?”

David gave Applebloom a soft smile, “You're as safe here as you would be at home,” he said patting her on the head to calm her, “Would you feel better if I stayed down here with you?” Applebloom nodded. “Alright then.” David laid down next to her as she snuggled up to him, “Comfy?”

“U-hu, thank you,” Applebloom said in a tired tone.

David watched her drift off to sleep as she took his arm in hers. Wow she's cute, and she's right too. It's time for me to reveal myself to the people of this world. Who knows maybe they'll welcome me with open arms, and if the worst should happen, David looked at his weapons, I sill have my 12 gauge.

_____________________________

Applejack paced back and forward in the living room anxiously. When she saw the current time she stopped. “It's been too long! Heck it's almost ten o'clock! Ah can't wait any longer Ah'm goin' out to look for her!” She yelled.

As she approached the door her older brother stopped her. “It's too dangerous to go out there now,” he said.

“Exactly! That's why ah need to go lookin' for her!”

“You don't even know where to start lookin'. You'll only get yourself lost, or worse.” Applejack opened her mouth to say something, but Big Mac cut her off, “Even if you got your friends it could take hours, and y’all would still be in danger. I don't like this anymore than you but we need to be calm or else we ain’t helpin' anypony, especially Applebloom.”

Applejack let out a heavy sigh, “Alright.”

Big Mac held her close, “Ah'm sure she's alright, she's probably at Zecora's and just lost track of time.”

“Maybe, and if not maybe the guardian is lookin' out for her.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

Applejack and Big Macintosh didn't actually believe in the guardian but given the circumstances they hoped they were wrong.

___________________________

Applebloom's eyes slowly opened. Looking around she saw that some of the lanterns were lit and sunlight was coming through the door. She yawned as she stretched out her arms and cracked some joints. She also noticed David was gone. She figured he was probably making breakfast or something like that.

Applebloom tried to walk, although it hurt to put weight on her ankle. She got a few feet from the door then lost her balance and fell. Fortunately David heard and rushed over.

David saw Applebloom on the ground and quickly helped her to a bench, “Are you okay, what happened?” he asked panic welling in his voice.

“Ah'm fine, I just lost mah balance.”

“You were walking?”

“Yeah, but it still hurts to do so.”

David sighed with relief, “I'm glad you're okay, and being able to walk is a good sign. But for now,” David gently picked her back up, “I'll keep carrying you.”

Applebloom didn't protest, she kind of liked being carried by him. David reminded her of her brother, kind, caring, strong but gentle. Applebloom liked him and hoped that others would too.

David sat her down next to the fire and handed her a plate of food, “I've already eaten, so take your time. And while you're doing that I'll be getting things ready so we can leave as soon as you're done.”

“Okay, and thanks for the food.”

“It's no problem.”

David headed into the plane to gather the equipment they would need while Applebloom ate. She didn't want to say anything but the food wasn't very good. She knew it wasn't David's fault considering it was all prepackaged. Once she was done and David was ready, he put out the fire and carried Applebloom outside. After closing the door to the camp David sat Applebloom on his shoulder and they headed out of the forest.

As they traveled through the forest Applebloom worried they would be attacked. Then she saw a bag of incense like the one she had around David's neck. She also asked him about the strange weapon in his hand. He said it was a '12 gauge Remington shotgun', not that she understood what that meant. But David had also said it would 'put down anything the forest could throw at them'.

After a few minutes of walking, the two exited the forest, and saw a group of ponies coming their way. As they got closer Applebloom recognized them as her big brother and sister as well as their friends. The group stopped about fifteen feet away from David, and stared at him.

David saw that some of them were carrying pitchforks and rakes. Suddenly I feel like I just stepped into an old monster movie, David thought, This is about to get real interesting.