• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,955 Views, 12,558 Comments

Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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The Upper Hand

Viper made her way carefully towards Skid Row. The message that had literally flown in her window just as she was planning how best to make use of the Snake Talisman's invisibility had been quite plain. It stated that they knew exactly where she was, would continue to do so at all times, and unless she wanted to face a far worse situation, she'd meet them on Skid Row during the Thanksgiving Day parade, to trade the Snake Talisman for the Pink Puma. Viper wasn't one to even consider such things normally - pre-arranged trades just screamed trap - but the idea that whoever sent the message could somehow track her location had her reconsidering.

As she made her way to the street, her caution rose up all the way to paranoia. She didn't recognize the people at either edge of the blocked off section of road dressed in construction worker outfits, but she recognized the way they were standing. These were government agents, and professionals at that. If the road was actually under construction, she'd eat her ski mask. For whatever reason, a few agents were in position to ensure no one who wasn't supposed to be there was on the road during the trade, just in case the parade - which went down a parallel street - didn't provide enough secrecy.

She thanked her lucky stars and sign that she'd made preparations for just such a situation. She wasn't about to walk into a trap without a way out, or make a fair trade with amateurs if she could get around it. Especially not with government agents.

She went in over the buildings, and saw something that made her even more nervous. There weren't agents lining the street, like she'd expected. Instead, they were only at either end of a marked off section, leaving the area between practically deserted for a long stretch. This was beginning to seem less and less like the promised trade, and more and more like a trap...one with potentially deadly consequences if she sprung it.

However, that suspicion was somewhat assuaged when she saw only the four girls - one human, three equine - from the museum waiting for her, staring down the street as though waiting for her. She quickly and quietly dropped in behind them, planning to catch them off guard, but as she dropped she saw the pegasus' feathers twitch, and the group immediately turned to face her, two sitting on a small cyan cloud and the unicorn and human standing on the ground.

"You bring the Talisman?" the unicorn demanded bluntly.

"You bring the Puma?" Viper countered back, deciding to keep the tone as at least somewhat professional. At least none of them were wearing black hats and trenchcoats...even if the three fillies could probably get away with it, given whatever was making them seem 'ordinary' and 'normal'.

Jade pulled the Puma out, revealing it in her hand, while holding her other hand out. Recognizing what was being asked, Viper held out the fake Talisman she'd prepared, making the swap at the same time. "Pleasure doing business with you four," she said warmly, and meant it. Even if she was cheating them, it was refreshing to see such optimistic idealism in the young. Beyond that, their approach was much more straightforward than that of anyone else in the criminal community.

"In that case, how about you give us the real one in your back pocket?" the unicorn stated pointedly.

Viper flinched. Probably should have expected that when dealing with a freaking unicorn, she thought to herself. "Can you blame me?" she asked disarmingly, as she slipped her hands into her back pocket. "It's my sign..." Her hand closed around the Talisman and tightened even as she deposited the Pink Puma in her other pocket. "And so is 'Exit'." With that, she vanished, and she took to her heels.

She expected pursuit, but heard none. Did they give up already? she thought in confusion. She started to turn her head back to look, but instead focused on a loud crash from inside a nearby shop. She was able to take in the sign above the window - "Mushnik's Flower Shop" - before the front window shattered, and thorny vines lashed out, unerringly seizing her four limbs in a thorny grip before lifting her into the air. Viper had just enough time to wonder which unrealistic situation she'd seen enough of to know what sort of situation she'd stumbled into - B movies or Hentai - before the bulb of a massive Venus Fly Trap extended through the broken window, seeming to glare down at her before opening its mouth and revealing dozens of razor sharp teeth.

B movies it is, and my favorite at that, Viper thought to herself, her fears reverting back to just 'for her life' as - unexpectedly yet unsurprisingly - the flower began to sing.

"Better wait a minute
Ya better hold the phone!
Ya better mind yer manners
When ya tangle with mah girls!
Don't you mess with my lady,
You got a lot of gall!
We do things our way
...or not at all!"

Viper was torn as the plant continued to sing. She was, of course, abjectly terrified just from the idea that the ones she was tangling with could field the original 'Mean Green Mother From Outer Space', let alone the fact it looked like she was about to become a meal to said being. On the other hand, it was taking a lot of her willpower not to bob her head along to the tune and snap her fingers.

She was saved from this dilemma by the approach of the four girls. She felt Jade clambering up the vines behind her until she was plainly visible. "Now, I'm sure you've reconsidered the matter somewhat, haven't you?" Jade asked calmly, once more holding out her hand.

Feeling the vine holding the hand actually gripping the Talisman lax somewhat, she knew exactly what was expected of her. Reaching over, she deposited the Talisman in Jade's hand, smiling nervously as she turned visible again. "No hard feelings?" she asked worriedly.

"None at all," Jade promised. "To be honest, we expected you to run." Reaching out with what to Viper was incredible bravery, she patted the side of the bulb as she would a hunting dog that had brought back a large goose. "It's why we had our backs to this guy."

Viper allowed herself to chuckle as she was gently lowered to the ground, not even a prick on her skin from the thorns. "I knew the government was starting young, but this is ridiculous."

"Oh, we aren't agents," the pegasus corrected. "...yet..." she added hopefully.

"Still, I think I'll get out of this game before I have to tangle with you lot again," Viper decided. "When the opposition can field something like this..." She gestured helplessly to the plant as it - much to her surprise - shrunk down to the size of a German Shepard rather than the size of an elephant, and calmly arranged itself for the yellow pony to sit on it under the bulb. "Well, I got into this game to be on the winning side."

"Ya still could, ya know," the yellow pony suggested, getting surprised glances from the others. When she put her hooves above her ears like horns, the others nodded in understanding. "If'n ya want, we could give ya a call when we need yer skills, and put in a good word for ya with the higher ups."

"Grease the wheels for you going legit," the unicorn added.

Chuckling, Viper reached into her back pocket and pulled out a card, handing it to Jade. "Don't share that with just anyone," she requested firmly, "but you can reach me here." Turning, she sauntered off, certain that they were done with her now...and she was ready to start actually going legit.

She hadn't even been surprised to find an ordinary rock in place of the Puma in her pocket. These kids were good.

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