• Published 12th Jun 2012
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A Cog in the Machine - Zoom zoom

A 2nd person story where you are a child being raised by Pinkie Pie.

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Applebloom [Final Mix]

A rancid smell invaded your senses to awake you from your slumber. The dried liquid was all over your hooves and face. You’re not bound, at least not anymore. Some of your memory returns to you as you shake your head and cough loudly. Your mouth spits out blood too. Courtesy of Dilly Dally you assume. A quick tongue check and you seem to still have all your teeth in the right spots, then again even Dilly was not dumb enough to leave something that lasting on you.

Ever since you came to this stupid house it’s been nothing but work and if you don’t do exactly as instructed you’re punished harshly. You don’t even recall when exactly you left the house since the incident that gave you the scar on your hoof. For a moment you wonder what punishment you were given before that forced you to recall being tied up, wait even she wouldn’t tie you up. Social services would notice those kinds of burses. You’re afraid to look up once you notice this. You had already known what is going to be in front of you when you do.

A low voice laughs and comes closer till it is whispering in your ear. “Like it? I figured I should have some fun with her too. Thanks so much for letting me in Cog.”

“No,” you try to say shutting your eyes. This only enhances that rancid smell. “I didn’t. I didn’t mean…”

The low voice of your father laughed harder, “Good one son. But you see boy, you are my kid. This is just as much your fault as mine. You knew what I would do and you still gave me all I needed. You didn’t even warn her. You wanted her dead, and I couldn’t agree more. Hell she deserved this more than my other victims ever did. No one touches my son.”

“No, no no no no.” you just keep repeating it pressing your face to the floor of red liquid that is still wet. The smell is stronger than ever. It’s only a red liquid, nothing else. This there is just no way your covered in something you could never wash out. Liquid and nothing more.

Your father’s voice echoes as it drifts away. “Say it all you want my boy. If you wanted to, you could have turned me in when I came to ask. In fact I think you’re ready to be my assistant. Hell, next time how about you give me a nice young one so I can have a little more fun before I finish.”

“You’re not here,” you tell more yourself than to your father. “I’m safe in my bed. This isn’t happening. I don’t want this. I can’t want this.”

“Like father like son.” The voice sticks to you as you shake. The sound of hooves trotting slowly away tells you your visitor is gone. But his present will forever remain with you now.

Dilly Dally, the horrid mare you wanted so much to leave you alone and get what was coming to her. Your fault, it’s your fault. No it isn’t. But it is. This would have been something you would have done yourself if pushed too far and you know it. And that fact, more than anything else, scared you the most. You were a killer, not matter what you did from now until your own life ended, you would forever know you were reasonable for ending a life.

You stare at your work, burning the image into your mind. You couldn’t forget this moment. You must not. Whatever you choose to do in your future, this part would shape you. Only as you stared did you see that sudden half open eye look at your with contempt again.

You jerk awake from your nightmare. Tears had stained your cheeks but whatever it was that caused this had faded. All you can remember is that it was your father laughing, but the one that sent shivers down your spine. More memories of his visits you suppose. That was something you would rather forget but you couldn’t run from it in your dreams. Something else you didn’t forget was that smell and now you know why.

Pinkie, from the looks of things, had only just gotten home and passed out drunk on the foot of your bed. She had vomited all over the floor nearby at some point. You go to buck her but only get her hair that just bounces.

“Couldn’t even be bothered to pick me up from school and comes home this late,” you mumble. Or is it early? You look at the wall clock. Just great, school started in 15 minutes. You were not used to the time difference here and overslept. “This is just peachy.”

Suddenly Gummy popped out of Pinkie’s hair with what looks like a yawn. You honestly couldn’t tell because the alligator looks like it’s either brain dead or in its own world all the time. You pet him as you get up and go to get a mop to clean up Pinkie’s mess and her face before you roll her onto your bed and you get ready for school.

Granted you could just skip and get Pinkie in even more trouble, but that would require spending the day avoiding the cakes. A quick face rinse was all you managed, there wasn’t time to shower. Not showering was part of the plan anyway, well and you didn’t like taking baths or showers unless you had to, but no pony had to know that part. Lucky you the cakes were already fast at work getting everything ready as you called out your goodbyes and shut the door behind you.

The walk to school wasn’t much but already a few of the ponies who were up early were glancing at you and gossiping. This wasn’t going to take long at all. At this rate the social worker will stop by this time tomorrow to investigate all the claims the townsfolk must have issued by now.

A loud hum comes into your ears as you round the final corner to school. You look to your side and see that orange Pegasus, what was her name again? Zooming on a scooter, her wings acting like a smaller version of the motors you studied in school yesterday that keep machines running. She stops just in front of the building and in a flash she runs inside. Guess she was late too.

Once inside, you were greeted by Cheerilee yelling at that orange pony as you try to walk past them and take your seat. Everyone’s attention is on the teacher’s shouts with you only getting a few glances except by Featherweight and of course for some reason Applebloom.

As you had predicted yesterday, Featherweight didn’t talk to you as you approached. However now he seemed to be looking at you and then back to that orange pony. You could guess he was thinking that you both being late at the same amount of time was suspicious despite the truth of it being a coincidence. So for effect even though it hurt your mouth you smiled and winked at him to confirm his suspicions. It was cruel, and you knew it as soon as you saw Applebloom’s reaction. Oh for the love of Celestia, she has to know you’re teasing. Whatever.

You take your seat behind her ignoring things and put your face to the desk. You don’t really care to bother until class starts. You just wait for some pony to say how you were even later. To your surprise that doesn’t happen as Cheerilee decides to give Scootaloo, well with all the shouting you finally got her name, detention.

You mumble your annoyance you your conscience as you feel your hoof raising. Well you had nothing better to do anyway. “I was late too Ms. Cheerilee,” you say simply. Unfortunately you might as well lie while you’re at it. “In fact it’s sort of my fault Scootaloo was late. I sort of trip her up on that scooter of hers and we fell into some muck.” You rubbed your hoof over a still sticky part of your fur to show this. It wasn’t like they’d suspect Pinkie of you being this messy anyway since to any normal pony nopony is THAT irresponsible.

Scootaloo did have a few scratches from crashing though you don’t know why. You had noticed that as you passed. Again you curse your own nature. Every Pony just looks at you. Scootaloo seems like she’s about to object when you pipe up. “So if you’re going to punish anyone you can punish me.” When every pony isn’t looking you are going to bang your forehead on the desk so many times for all this.

“No,” said Scootaloo, “He’s just lying to cover for me Ms. Cheerilee.” You look up to see Scootaloo staring at you confused and the white unicorn friend of hers smiling at you. You heard the Fez wearing colt next to you rustle his paper, his attention on you too. You can only assume so is the rest of the class. Every pony else has no idea how to react. That is except for Cheerilee.

“That’s okay Scootaloo,” she said simply, “you don’t have to cover for him. I think it’s very nice you told the true to protect a friend Cog. I think I’ll reduce the sentence to cleaning up the classroom before you get to leave. Fair? Also Cog, you really should use the school sink to wash the rest of that off. I’ll hold class until you’re done.”

You nod and trot to the bathroom, feeling Scootaloo’s gaze fixate on you till you close the door behind you. The sink’s cold water got you to clear your head for a bit. And the sound of that running water drowned out the repeated smashing of your horn against the wall.

The rest of the school morning was pretty forgettable after that. The only thing of note was that Cheerilee wanted to speak to you during recess after class and asked you to skip it. You took it as it also being a punishment for lying to avoid any sassy backtalk. So for now you were given an hour to eat lunch and return, with the last 30 minutes going to recess for the rest of the class.

You sit on the picnic table with your stomach growling from not eating all day. You’re not a fan of grass. For an omnivore with not sharp teeth, not liking grass and hay gives you few options right now. In your hunger pains you wonder what it would be like to be a Timber wolf so you could eat raw meat. You also wonder if in a sick way they are your favorite animal because they have to eat nothing but flesh animals for food.

Your stomach growls again. It’s now apparent to you Pinkie either is still out of it or completely forgot she needed to make you something. You brain growls at you with your stomach for thinking Pinkie was competent. And all three growls occur when Applebloom, Scootaloo and that white unicorn come to see you at the bench.

“What’s his problem?” The white unicorn had asked this with an annoyed face still. You sort of expected Scootaloo for the average thanks but you still wonder why Applebloom came since that forced the white unicorn to come.

“I think he’s hungry,” stated Scootaloo no longer reacting like she did before. Apparently ponies in this town must forgive and forget over night. Your too hungry to keep up the leave me alone act so you just roll with your dog act and give and agreeing yap.

This apparently broke the part of the white unicorn and she giggled. Applebloom took a deep breath and the seat across from you before speaking. “Mah sister said I should try bein friends with ya so I guess now would be good time to bribe ya into it.”

It was kinda cute how honest she was about the matter. And it did solve the mystery of why she was so interested in you. She passes you half her CLT sandwich and you take it without thinking and scarf it down saying thanks after the final bite gets passed your throat. All three of the girls giggled at this. Well there goes your plan to be hated by every pony. Damn that Pinkie Pie, she’s either a complete idiot unsuited for raising children, or a total genius. Please be the former.

The three fillies ate and talked, you were able to get the last one’s name: Sweetie Belle. They told you pretty much all you needed to know about them. You did find it off that only Applebloom had a country accent despite the location but ignored that when she started talking about farm life. She seemed to have a love/hate relationship with it. Not being strong enough to help with the big jobs meant she had plenty of free time that she enjoyed, but it also meant she couldn’t ignore such work completely even when she wanted to go out with friends.

Sweetie Belle had the opposite problem, wanting to help her sister and parents but mostly just being forced to stay outside and play. Guess that means she’s a klutz, though you wouldn’t say that out loud as you take a sip from an extra juice box Sweetie Belle had.

Scootaloo didn’t say much about herself. She mostly only talked about her scooter and Rainbow Dash, who Pinkie did rave about at your welcoming dinner as you recall. You did ask if she was related to her and apparently not. Given what you did pick up from the TONS of exposition Pinkie had said about her own friends it seemed obvious that Rainbow is either indeed the most amazing pony in the town or you had somehow found two mares that were crushing on her hard.

Whichever it was annoyed you for some reason, so you kept Scootaloo to talking about her scooter noting of all four of you her talent was the most obvious. You didn’t want to ruin it for her so you didn’t say anything though. Your own mother had done the same for you, and she was right. While you didn’t pursue finding your own talent, if someone had just told you about it would feel like you were partly dumb for not figuring it out sooner and disappointed that you couldn’t do it yourself.

Applebloom finally asks you a question, “So what about you? Ah mean ah know you live with Pinkie Pie now. But that’s ‘bout it.” All three of them looked at you in unison. It was equal parts cute and creepy.

Before you can come up with something, Cheerilee calls you in for your talk. You wave your new “friends” goodbye and let them have fun as you go. “Thanks for the save,” you say to Cheerilee as you take your seat. She seems confused but you don’t elaborate.

“Right,” she said taking a deep breath, “Well the reason I called you in is that I got your results in how well you did in school before coming here.” You don’t react. You know what is coming. “Your scores in science and math are decent. In fact you’re at a level ready for advanced studies. But what concerns me all your other subjects. They are not very good. In fact you’re far lower than anypony else in class. Even Pipsqueak is better than you in his worse subject and he’s only been at school for a month now. So in light of this I want you to tell Pinkie Pie to meet with me. We have to schedule a way for you to catch up to the rest of class.”

“I’ll get right on that,” you say as you get out your books, “As soon as I actually get to talk to Pinkie.”

“What was that?” Cheerilee sniffed a bit, "And what is that smell?"

“Nothing really,” You reply with a wave of your hoof, “please don’t linger on it.” That look tells you all that you needed to know. The seeds are sown back in.

The school bell rings as everypony starts galloping home. You however don’t head home. Pinkie didn’t do anything with you at all today. You might as well add the fact she would have no idea where you were to her issues with raising you.

In the corner of your eye you can see Applebloom and her friends going up to you so you start galloping far. You can’t really have friends, but having no fun all day isn’t exactly something you can keep up all week. You had to let off some steam, at least till the bakery closed. Then you could eat the leftovers like yesterday.

After a good gallop you see it: a Forest. Only other kids would go into this forest, but it’s so big you can lose any of them quickly since you were so used to this type of terrain. The countless times Dilly Dally’s rule had forced you to stay out of the house as much as possible was a good motivator.

The forest itself is to your liking. The trees work as great cover and with some quick glances you won’t be lost so long as you don’t panic at all. You feel you’ve gone deep enough when there is basically no bare ground left to put your hooves on. Yes this was great. The sun barely peeking through the branches, the sounds you couldn’t identify. All if it was fantastic. Here you could let your imagination run wild.

First off you imagined your horn glowing. The simple stuff, a leaf falling is because you pulled it from the branch. It is drifting for you. You put it away and it does so. Now for some real fun, you wink everywhere you go. You’re so good at winking, on top of a tree, around the bend through the brush, nothing can stop you.

Countless time passes as you play out scenes from some of your favorite books. Daring Do wasn’t exactly your favorite, but the action pieces were easier to imagine with your current setting. Plus you get to save this hero from a danger even she cannot defeat.

Next is you’re a timber wolf. Owe you have not done this in ages. You imagine your pack mates around you. Loudly snapping twigs with each step. You don’t care, nothing can out run you. Diamond Tiara comes into your packs sight and you all pounce. Ripping at her as she cries out in horror, and you laugh. So help yourself you laugh. You look around trying to imagine Silver Spoon to have a full meal. Instead in the distance you see Applebloom.

She looks so innocent. You lick your chops as this time you’re going to catch your prey off guard. She’s like a big lollipop with a chocolate center. In fact why are you a timber wolf? Why not a Manticore? Yes, one with long claws that can shred your victim in seconds but enjoys slow tastes of its prey.

She doesn’t even notice you at all as you jump out at her. You snarl as you do and she turns. Now you’ll be able to see her fear. “Cog?”

That voice, your victims never speak in your…..oh crap.

You smack right into her. The two of you roll down the dirt road that Applebloom was walking on until you hit something. It was a hut with many foreign masks. You had pinned Applebloom and you were so close to her. Her bow was now covered in dirt and her eyes were wide as they stared into yours. This was awkward.

A zebra with décor fitting to her house is looking at you both as she said, “I’m glad you came for a visit my hut Applebloom. But perhaps next time you have some pony with you it should be in your own room.” The two of you quickly separate as she laughs nervously.

You try to excuse yourself but the zebra cuts you off. “You cannot leave so quickly my young lad. Why not allow Applebloom show you my pad?”

Did she always have to rhyme? But then the zebra takes a whiff of you. Rolling in the dirt and sweating must not have helped your smell situation. “Actually I take it back. You entering now would stink up my shack. I will set out a tub. In which I suggest you wash bub.” Applebloom giggled at this until the zebra’s attention came to her. “The same for you Applebloom, you look like the underside of my broom.”

“Get that smile off your face,” she said a few minutes later as Zecora dumped some water into the tub. You were not smiling but you were amused. In that time bathing with Applebloom she had explained Zecora’s herbal profession and how she often visited to see what potions she had cooked up. Zecora had also used some herbs to help you both smell like fresh flowers, much to your chagrin.

By the time the bath was done, Applebloom had suddenly remembered having to meet with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo for something and started running off. You were going to just wave her off and return to your playing in the forest, maybe hang out with Zecora. The potion making sounded like a decent thing to watch. Of course as you guessed Applebloom doubled back to pull you along. “Come on now, we’ll be late.”

You try to object but she already has a counter before your first word is out, “I know ya’ll don’t like the idea of playin’ with others, especially girls. But you don’t have a cutie mark and you’re older than me. We have to fix that. Oh and just between us while you did go a bit far I kinda liked seeing Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon get what’s coming to them.”

This girl was honestly doing her best to make you like her enough to be her friend. You groan but eventually just go along with it. What could it hurt?

“Where have you been?” Scootaloo did seem very annoyed as she was finishing something by a tree outside the forest. That face dropped into one of confusion and delight when she noticed you trotting behind Applebloom. Sweetie Belle looked like something in her just freaking busted down and was replaced with something you couldn’t put your hoof on, all you knew is that she was trying to hide a giggle.

“Sorry ‘bout that.” She gave you a stare, “this guy sort of made my trip to Zecora’s take longer.” Both of her friends looked confused so you elaborated a bit, “Long story short we had to take a bath. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“You both had to take a bath?” Sweetie Belle noticed the flower smell, “Together?”

You didn’t get why that was an issue, “yeah. Otherwise she’d have been even later since Zecora said I needed one way more.”

Sweetie Belle looked as if her favorite holiday was striking. Applebloom suddenly became interested in talking to Sweetie Belle and pulled her aside to talk alone quickly. You may be able to figure out things fast, but when you don’t understand them it was hard to keep up. So instead you turned your attention to Scootaloo and what she had set up.

“What’s this?” with all the rope and complicated set up you are honestly curious.

Scootaloo smiles as she waves a hoof to the ropes. “A while back the three of us tried zip lining. That didn’t turn out so well. But that was because I didn’t know how. When I did figure it out it was kinda boring so I decided to set this up. Now this will show if I’ve got a Daredevil cutie mark.”

“Considering if you didn’t have the power to fly I can see three places where you would seriously hurt yourself I’d agree.” Your reply was mostly business talk, but suddenly Scootaloo looked at you in disbelief.

“Y-Your serious?” a hint of a scared tone came up in her voice. “How can you tell?”

“Simple physics,” you say pointing to the first of the row of trees tied by rope. “The knot you used there isn’t right. I’m guessing you realized you didn’t do it right and did it for the rest. So with that knot and how tight it is, if anyone but a foal got on the zip it would snag. You’re safe there but for future reference it’s good to note in case you put this over water or something. Also that safety harness is sort of faulty, did you make it yourself?”

“What are you a dictionary?” but Scootaloo agrees and soon the two of you are in a heated discussion talking about what to do to fix the zip line. You never new talking could be so fun. You don’t know much about sports so Scootaloo corrects you on some things that you have to note when looking out at this set up. You’re not sure how long the two of you talk but before you know it Sweetie Belle is yelling in your ear and you both jump away from her.

“What’s your problem?” you said trying to shake the ringing out of your ears.

“If the two of you are done, Applebloom said she’d be the first to try out the new Zip line.” Sweetie Belle’s answer had a hint of anger in it, and you could see a twitch of it in her eyes before it was replaced by glee for a second then came back as full anger. Fillies are very strange.

Your eyes dart to the start of Scootaloo’s accidental death trap. Applebloom waves at the three of you as she gets ready to jump into it.

“Quick,” you yell to Scootaloo. “You have to stop her before she gets too fast! Fly up and stop her before she gets halfway to this tree.”

“But,” said Scootaloo in shock, “I can’t fly.”

Horror fills your head at the possibilities as Applebloom jumps into the Zip.

You’re not sure how everything happened after that. You only got flashes of running into the tree. Pretending to wink, when you really somehow climbed the tree to catch her just as the safety harness releases on the snag. Searing Pain shooting up one of your front leg as you hit the ground. You try to stand despite the Pain in your leg. No good, you’re passing out. The three fillies looked down at your leg in horror as the darkness takes you.

Author's Note:

Well added hint's of Scootaloo here but outside that nothing.

Fun fact for new readers: This chapter was originally two chapters. But because the second half wasn't really that long I bunched them together.

as for why it was republished. The dream sequence had some extending but it will be a major issue with some other add-ons later so I felt I should do this to make sure any lost readers had the chance to see it.