• Published 18th Mar 2017
  • 2,742 Views, 302 Comments

Equestrian City - Malcontent



It's been almost a decade since the Battle of the Bands and Sunset Shimmer has been trying to clean up the mess she made. After series of unrelated crimes, Sunset, now known as The Phoenix, may need to finally ask for help.

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Episode 12 "Brewing and Simmering"

Episode 12
“Brewing and Simmering”
By DarkMalcontent
Co-Author Alisia
Proofreads by Zap


Sunset skidded on her supposed to be non skid shoes in through the back door of the diner, putting on her hat haphazardly and slipped on then adjusted her apron. She ran past the time clock and past the lockers, straight into the chest of her boss, Ed whom was a portly man with a brown skin tone. Needless to say, he was less than happy to see her.

“I know I'm late...b-but there's such a good re-reason,” she stammered a bit, uncharacteristically unprepared for her boss. Sunset grabbed an order tablet and started to prepare to go to work. Pushing past the doors of the kitchen she looked around in dismay as Rose was nearly asleep, no doubt covering for her.

Captain Nightwatch was enjoying a cup of coffee and startled as she burst in. “Well there you are. I was worried about you.” He raised an eyebrow, “they said you just didn't show up.”

“I know, I know but there was a …” Sunset stopped herself momentarily with a quick glance down. “A fire...in my house...apartment...that needed to be put out.” She mentally cringed at her lame excuse, I really should have had a reasonable one but the entire time I spent with Twilight on our mission...took a toll on me. Mentally and nearing physical exhaustion, she stood in front of Nightwatch. “So what will it be?”

“I've...got something already. Rose took care of me,” he said while raising his coffee and donut. “You look terrible...and for you that's hard to do…are you alright?”

“No she's not. She's about to be unemployed,” Ed said as he stepped in from the kitchen. “I had Rose take your shifts, Becky. This is five times now. I got all sorts of people who want a job and will show up on time,” he said firmly. “Clean your locker out and I'll see you Friday for your last check.” Ed turned and walked back into the kitchen as the doors flipped behind him.

Sunset gripped her pencil and snapped it, unintentionally startling Rose who was simply going back to her duties. She slumped on the counter and put her head in her hands. “What am I going to do…” she asked softly and muffled.

Nightwatch sipped his coffee and set it down next to her hand, at the same time he placed his hand on her’s. “Don’t worry, Becky, you-” Before he could finish, Sunset instinctively put him in a wrist lock, only to have him counter it with a similar move until they were both at a standstill.

“Oh my gosh, I’m sorry,” Sunset said quickly, swiftly letting go and covering her mouth in shock. “I’ve been so on edge recently.”

“On edge is one thing. You just countered me with a military style reversal.” He looked over to make sure Rose was out of earshot. “Why don’t you let me give you a ride home, or at least walk you there and you can calm down. You’re clearly stressed,” he said calmly, grabbing his hat and coat.

She stared at him for a bit, his intentions were clearly good though she couldn’t help but consider he was still trying to get past her friendly exterior. Although at that moment, she didn’t really have anything left to worry about as she was jobless and nearing passing out from the workout she’d had that evening. Taking off her apron and setting it on the countertop, she had simply had enough of the day and shrugged. “Alright, sure. Let me get my things,” she answered, turning and walking into the back.

“I was beginning to wonder if you’d ever get past the front door.” Rose smirked as she wiped down a table nearby. “Just make sure you don’t get mistaken for a intruder and get shot,” she snickered as Nightwatch stared back in shock.

“I have nothing but pure intentions, ma’am.” He tipped his hat, taking on a gentle smile. “Though I’m a fool to think she doesn't have someone already lined up, both professionally and personally.” He shrugged “maybe I can get in on a waiting list?”

“I don’t think that’ll be a problem, officer.” Rose moved to another booth and began to work. “She’s pretty much always working. Here at night you’re the only one who really comes in on a consistent basis, otherwise she works alone.” She stood up and brought some mustard back to the counter and leaned on it, staring at him. “That leaves sleeping and honestly, the way she talks, she does that alone to--”

“Rose.” Sunset walked in wearing a pair of jeans and a pink top, her leather jacket slung over her back. “I just want to say I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to end up having to cover for me. I got in over my head on something and the time just got away and--”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ve had worse,” Rose said, nodding back. “Give Ed some time. He’ll get desperate enough after he goes through six or seven college kids who can’t work like you did. In the meantime, why don’t you take some time for yourself. Meet someone nice and close.” She crossed her arms. “Both of you work too hard,” she shook her head and wandered off into the back.

Silence filled the air as the doors to the kitchen closed and flapped back and forth to a standstill, leaving the two alone again. Clearing his throat, Night turned to Sunset and nodded. “Well, Miss Strong, can I walk you home,” he asked finally, offering an arm.”It’s dangerous to go without an escort.”

Sunset gave him a peculiar look, half unsure and half amuse but for the moment, as the world was crashing down around her civilian persona, she didn’t have as many inhibitions as she had before. Taking him by the arm ever so gently, she walked out of the diner with him. “I suppose I could protect you this one time,” she smiled as the door closed behind them, muffling his response, if any.

***
Lynn Chardonnay checked her watch as she walked up a set of steps, the doors creaking softly as she entered City Hall. The early morning rush wasn’t even in place and the skeleton crew from graveyard’s security watch waved her in at the front desk after checking her badge. Clipping the badge to the upper left front area of her black blazer, she slung her purse over her right shoulder with her heels clicking on the marble floor as she walked quickly across the large main room. Stepping across the great seal of the city on the floor of the lobby, she waved at a security guard at the far end of the reception area.

Adjusting her hair and pulling it free from the back of her collar, the elevator she was on played a distant tune from her childhood. Opening a compact from her purse, checking her complection for just a split second, she realized how vain she felt doing so and put it away. The main elevator’s sound system blared a distinctive chime as it hit the top floor and the chestnut doors opened.

Walking out, Lynn noticed no one at the main welcoming center but paid it no mind as she fished a set of keys out of her purse. Finding the right one, she silently let it slide into the lock of the door and opening the way into the main Mayor’s office waiting room, startling herself as she found she was not alone. Face to face with Coco Pommel, Lynn clutched her chest in fright, panting softly. “Miss Pommel, you gave me a scare...what are you doing here,” she asked, quirking an eyebrow.

Coco Pommel stared back unfazed by the seemingly sudden and unplanned encounter. “Lynn. I’m here by appointment,” she answered, smiling slowly and adjusting her own outfit slightly.

“This early,” Lynn asked, still skeptical.

“I asked her in, Lynn,” a voice from far in the office in a darkened corner, the morning sun beams slowly cutting through and revealing a pair of reading glasses. Leaning forward, the female came into full view of both room occupants. Her light amber skin tone complimenting her dark blue eyes but was made complete by her silver hair she had in a formal looking, shoulder length cut. In a dark brown suit and skirt matching her formal skinny tie against her white blouse, she walked forward towards them both. “I believe it’s still my office as well, isn’t it?”

“It seems a bit early, isn’t it May,” Lynn asked back and crossing her arms slightly, trying to keep it light but serious.

“Miss Pommel and I had a meeting about a few minor issues Rarity has with COH-7,” May said, smiling back to her running partner and Vice Mayor. “All taken care of and she knew how busy our schedule was. It wasn’t an emergency...more of a favor.” She put her hands behind her in a formal fashion. “Rarity was a large campaign contributor.”

“I recall, yes.” The Vice Mayor nodded back. “I hope the office of the Mayor was able to help Rarity with whatever the issue may have been?”

Coco smiled politely and nodded. “Considerably. That piece of business we spoke of, Mayor? I appreciate the help and will keep you informed on the issue you presented to me, ma’am.” She turned and walked out abruptly, closing the door behind her.

A silence filled the room as Lynn turned and watched her leave, finally spinning back on her heel to look at the Mayor. “So...anything I can help with?”

“I appreciate the offer, Lynn, but I’ve taken care of it.” The Mayor turned and walked past several panes of semi translucent green glass, stopping behind one. “I need to get ready for my AM briefing. Anything you need?”

“No I...” Lynn frowned slightly. “I think I’ve got everything I need this morning.”

“Suit yourself.” The Mayor’s silhouette moved clear of the glass and into her own office, locking the doors behind her.

***
“Do you suppose Rarity still hates you,” the young apple sister asked. The question took Applejack out of her book keeping and she tipped her hat up to look across the kitchen table. She spied her little sister, Applebloom, barely out of her 20’s, staring back at her from just behind a box of cereal.

“Now where in blazes did ya come up with that question,” Applejack asked, leaning back and looking her sister in the eye, her own green irises staring back to Applebloom’s red ones.

Silence filled the kitchen despite the muffled sound of machines working on the orchards and the occasional shouting of a foreman penetrating the soundproof insulation of their worksite home. Applebloom shrugged and resumed chewing her rather noisy cereal, looking down and swirling the green colored circles. “Aah don’t know, just seems you and Uncle Trend never talk on the phone anymore. He and Rarity used to be together.” She took a spoonful of crunchy oats and chewed. “Now you two don’t talk to each other, over a guy who seems to be out of both your lives.” She swallowed, looking back down.

Applejack stared back, wide eyed at the rather mature summarization of her early married life. “Who all said you could talk to your big sister this way?” she finally blurted out, a bit offended but half laughing at the bluntness of it.

Applebloom stared back, taking another bite and shrugging. “Y'all never talk. Even you don’t talk about it. What's the big secret,” she asked while the spoon clanged gently as she took another scoop, not appearing bothered by bringing up a clearly delicate subject about and to Applejack.

Applejack was still frozen in shock. She never really thought Applebloom would ask about the details, though she’d learned a while ago to be prepared for surprises. In fact, how she and her estranged husband did meet was by complete surprise, one of the reasons she disliked them. Applejack had been minding her own business, quite literally as she’d become head of Sweet Apple Acres II with the death of Granny Smith, when he came up to her. Trenderhoof, the man that would go on to be her husband.

Estranged husband, but husband nonetheless.

Trenderhoof had been going with Rarity for almost a year when suddenly he became entirely obsessed with impressing her. Over and over he would try to get close to her, despite her clear attempts to show him she had no interest in someone who didn’t know the difference between a green apple and a red one. She even ditched him at a society dance she’d been roped into attending with him and still he persisted. She even had to tell her brother, Big Mac, not to send him a more physical message, before finally telling him she’d take care of it herself.

It was then she finally saw the extent Trenderhoof was willing to go to court her. When he showed her, not to mention most of the farm hands at the time, how far he was willing to go by pulling out a guitar. The moment she saw that, she almost wanted to roundhouse kick him into the barn to stop him. Still, she didn’t and she was glad she didn’t. The song was played at their wedding, much to everyone’s unhappy ears. Still, they were happy for a time. Then he had to go and get inspired by his work.

Applejack rubbed her forehead with her callused hand and gave a frustrated look, trying to figure out how to answer her little sister’s inquiry. “Look, you know how you and that Tender Tap fella’ were all about each other for a bit?”

Applebloom blushed slightly and looked back down. “Yeah.”

“But then ya both realized it wasn’t for you? Dancing and Farmin’?” Applejack finished, finally feeling she was gaining ground. “It was like that for me and Rarity. But we weren’t a couple. Or in love. Or dating,” she winced, feeling her point slipping away along with Applebloom’s attention. “Look, sometimes people fall in love…..and then they fall out of love just as easy.” She leaned forward and stood up, stretching, trying to evade further interaction.

“In the end, didn’t he cost you a friendship that was longer than your marriage?” her little sister asked.

“Now just a minute, my marriage is NOT--” Applejack heard a loud alert tone come across her phone. She gave an internal sigh of relief as it saved her from completing the sentence she wasn’t quite sure was true to begin with. Pulling out her work phone, she swiped through several screens with her eyebrow cocking slightly, then higher still as she rechecked several screens. “What in tarnation…”

“What is it, sis?” Applebloom looked up, concerned.

“Seems aah may have an answer for your first question soon enough.” Applejack grabbed a set of car keys from the table and walked towards the door. A look of determination on her face, she adjusted her hat and put on her work gloves, the leather flexing softly. “Stay here and don’t let them work hand’s comments get to ya if you go outside. They used to whistle the same at me ‘til I planted one of ‘em into the ground like a sapling.”

“Where are ya going?” Applebloom turned in her chair, curiosity overtaking her concern now.

“Gotta go see an old friend,” was all the blonde said, letting the door slam shut.

***
“Sounds to me like it was less of a whacky dream and more of a subliminal message from yourself.”

Rarity took a sip from her cup of coffee, wincing at how hot it was on her tongue. The sunlight had just begun to peak into the windows of her office and Twilight was still briefing her on the last details of the ECPD armor. “Yes well it certainly was a vivid dream,” Rarity answered back, stood and walked across the office with her coffee.

“I'm sorta of happy about it.” Twilight stumbled on her words, “not the half eaten face of Big Mac. Well this Big Mac. Not that he's any less being yours and not mine…” she waved her hands in front of her trying to clear up her meaning.

Rarity gave a stifled chuckle. “Yes Twilight, I know what you mean.” She stood by her small wet bar and searched behind the shelves slowly, absently looking up and down. “Rest assured my late husband notwithstanding…” the CEO pulled a bottle of darker colored liquor from the far reaches of the shelves and blew dust from it. “...the dream still had quite an impact. I am cutting down.” Twilight raised her eyebrow in disbelief as she saw her friend pour the liquor into the coffee. Only silence filled the room, the quiet sloshing of the liquid the only relief from it all.

Rarity looked up and capped the bottle. “What? I said I was cutting down not stopping cold turkey,” she shrugged and put the bottle back. The business woman noticed the worry on her friends face and walked over quickly. “Don't you worry about a thing. I won't be drowning in booze any time soon.” She took a sip, walked back to her large desk and rummaged through a folder briefly. “Now, a few last things. You'll be going over the technical specs with the ECPD Senior...something or other...” she waved her hand as she spoke.

“Senior Technical Advisor,” Spike popped up wearing a lab coat over his dragon guise. “His name is Trick Port.” He began flipping through papers on his clipboard before a set of question marks formed over his head. “Not much on him. Top of his class in Applied Magic and Robotics. Hired by the ECPD out of high school. No gambling debts...hmmm...” lines of code scrolled past Spikes eyes as he accessed files through the city. Abruptly the data stream cracked in two and tumbled into pieces in front of him, followed by a loud buzzer and the breaking of his clipboard.

“Spike I told you to watch the multitasking.” Twilight shook a pencil at her digital sidekick. “You aren't powerful enough to run the building, the suit and tap into the main city databases and NOT trigger a general protection fault.”

Rarity blinked and adjusted her glasses, looking at the folder. “I'm going to assume that was nothing awful?”

“Well he's been pushing himself too hard.” Twilight huffed, “his processing algorithms are not designed for all he's trying to do.”

“I think I’m doing a great job on the Rarity building,” Spike said with a bit of pride. “I held a full conversation with Rarity while you were out cold from your trip.”

“He does make a damn fine cup of coffee, darling,” Rarity said absently as she closed the folder.

“That he does. But we cant keep using him without an increase in either of his processors...which is not feasible at the moment.” Twilight gathered up a few stray folders laying around. “Or we'll have to dial back his building access. He’ll suffer a cascading system crash if he keeps this up.”

“A what?” Rarity turned as if Twilight had spoke a foreign language to her, tilting her red rimmed glasses down.

“It's….not good but we can discuss that later. Right now we need to get to the teleconference room if we’re going to make our meeting.” Twilight motioned towards her friend to follow her.

“Oh cheese and rice!” Rarity looked down as she pseudo cursed. Her gaze looked at her open toed heels. “I was supposed to get my feet done before this.” She sighed and blinked a few times. “Could have sworn I had Coco make an appointment. Wonder where she--"

“Your feet look fine and they aren't even going to be looking at them! We’ll be at a table!” Twilight gave a huffy tone to Rarity, “not that they'll see us if we're late.”

“Yes-yes darling. Here we are. Let's not keep the police or Tiara waiting.” Rarity finally gathered her smokes and her coffee, walking with purpose and passing her friend before another word could be spoken.

Twilight followed quickly and the door to the office clicked shut, leaving Spike alone and pondering the question Rarity had not finished. A second later he transferred to another terminal and followed them.

***

Babs Seed looked over her bare torso in the mirror. Nothing stood out to her, though it wasn’t for lack of staring. She’d always been sensitive about her figure ever since she had begun to develop. The other girls would tease her, mercilessly so, until finally Babs was pushed too far. The day she started fighting back with both her fists and her mouth was the day she realized what sort of true power she had within her. The girls at school that day stopped picking on her. Never again did she worry about sneers in the locker room or comments in the hallways.

Running a hand up the side of her breast, she winced as the wounds hadn’t healed entirely. Staring at the underside of her arm and abdomen, she peered past the freckles she’d grown up with and the knife scar from a boy who’d thought he’d teach her about her smart mouth. She thought back to it and reflected, fresh out of dropping out of high school. “He never knew what hit him,” she smirked, remembering the whimpers he gave as he held his crotch. “He’d never worry about fathering a kid either.” Babs put her arm down and turned to the dresser.

She stood there silent again, considering how she’d got to the point she was. A lot of life hadn't been fair to her, but she’d figured it out in the end. Eat or be eaten. Survival of the fittest. Don’t trust yourself to anyone but don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. It was the only thing she’d known. Her mom had always said they wished she could have spent some time in the more rural life, maybe that wouldn’t have hardened her so much. But the disaster changed all that. Changed it for everyone. No going back now.

Sifting through a small assortment of outfits, she pulled out a red t-shirt and slipped it on. Never one to wear any undergarments, she slipped it over her small bosom and sat down to pull her jeans back on. “Least she didn’t toss me out of bed like a rag--” Babs startled as the door flew open, gasping and pulling a nearby pistol from the table. Cocking the hammer she had the sights raised to her eye line. She lowered it as she saw Cindy standing there, hands up as if to surrender.

“Geez. You jumpy much,” Cindy asked, smiling and keeping her hands up. “Figured you’d be up by now.”

“That's a good way to get shot, Cind.” She put the safety back on and tossed it to the bed next to her. Finishing dressing she pulled socks onto her bare feet and then her shoes, tying them just as fast.

“What? You think someone one’s going to come in and man handle you?” she laughed, then noticed Babs wasn’t laughing back. “What...that didn’t happen did it?”

“What do you need, Cind?” Babs continued to stare at the ground, finishing up her shoes and avoiding the question.

“Boss wanted me to hang with you today she said, make sure everything was alright. I got a costume and everything.” Cindy stood and cocked her hips.

“What, she don’t trust me?”

“Naw it ain’t all that. But I didn’t ask questions. Not after what happened to Tina.” Cindy shivered a bit. “So we’re going in as Pizza Delivery girls?”

“Costumes, cripes Cind they’re called disguises.” Babs ran a hand through her hair and stood up, pulling a brush out from a drawer and fixing herself up gently. “...and yes...we’re going in as delivery. No one cares about delivery girls.” She turned and grabbed her jacket from a hook on the dingy wall. “Like the cleaning ladies, no one ever notices them. Think about it.”

Cindy nodded, a look of approval on her face. “I like it. So, we change at the old Paper Mill and then when we’re done, we hit there and split up?”

“Nope.” Babs hoisted a duffle bag up and onto her shoulders, checking the zippers. “Boss wants us to hold there, no one leaves, no one comes in.” She nodded her head to the door of the room. “Let’s go.”

“So...I’m all about social disorder and chaos but...” Cindy hesitated. “Why are we attacking and holding a third rate clothing maker’s offices? I thought Boss was all about Rarity?” she walked with Babs, keeping up with her despite how fast she was moving down the riggity stairs and hallways of the building.

“Didn't you just say questions weren’t a wise idea,” Babs asked, smiling back as she rounded another set of stairs. “Boss wants the place held until she gets there. Boss gets what she wants.” She ran a hand over the banister and turned another set of stairs. “Besides, you’re getting paid very well. What's it to you?”

“Nothing I guess, just sorta…” she shrugged as she followed. “Sorta didn’t make sense.”

“Sense. Thats a good one.” Babs snickered and stepped over a missing floorboard, hopping over a missing step and finally hitting the ground floor. “Just stick with me and if Boss wanted you on this, she trusted you. Means you should trust her.” She assured her friend. “Or else,” she muttered softly.

“What was that?” Cindy asked fearfully.

“Nothing, nothing. Come on, we gotta cut across 4th street and we gotta beat the trains.” Babs pushed open a door from the apartment buildings, the streets no better looking than the inside of their flop house. Not bothering to even close the door, Babs hopped over a bum in the street and started her trek across the back alley trip that would take them to her destination.

***

“In closing, Major Spitfire, the Tiara Technologies Termination Armor is by far the superior of the two bidding companies,” Moondancer’s voice echoed in the conference room, doing little to help Rarity’s headache. She stared across at the monitor banks, each holding the camera feed of the meeting participants: Major Spitfire, her technical advisor Trick Port, Tiara Technologies representatives Technical lead Moondancer, and her boss Diamond Tiara. Diamond Tiara’s camera feed was mostly obscured in shadow, only allowing the camera to see her face for the most part.

Spitfire adjusted her sunglasses and leaned back in her chair, a smile on her face. “I’m certainly impressed with the output ability. However, this is a preliminary showcase and Diamond Labs out of Rare Innovations, has the floor next.” Spitfire nodded, her expression returning to as neutral as possible.

“Thank you, Major,” Rarity nodded to the monitor. “Congratulations on your recent promotion.” She pulled a small remote up from her pocket and pressed a large green button. “We at Rare Innovations believe you don’t need to be a walking weapons platform to be effective.” Several shots of the Matterhorn armor Mark 1 popped up on the screens. The paint job reflected the ECPD’s colors as did most of the logo placements.

“Cutting edge patented armor plating is the backbone of the entire set up. Light and mobile, the Wonderbolt armor Mark 1 as we’re calling it, is the key to leveling the playing field in the war on super crime.” Rarity flourished her hair a bit and hit another button. Several screens flipped and highlighted areas of the armor’s weapon loadouts. “Working with the ECPD’s current selection of non-lethal weaponry, Wonderbolt is suited for any and all possible meta human and high risk civilian operations.”

Twilight sat quietly as her friend seemed in her element, working the room in a way she knew she never could. A smile came over her face as she heard the presentation, mainly because Spike had popped up on a small corner of her laptop dressed as Rarity and was mimicking her.

“From the hard streets of Eastern Equestrian City to the posh stylings of the center of town, the Wonderbolt armor is the solution to all your needs. Flight capable and run by an onboard Virtual Intelligence system, the user has full control over it’s firing solutions, payload and communication array built into the armor itself.” Rarity walked to the other side of the room, almost feeling as if she was in a fashion show remonicent of her early work. “Modular and easily deployed with either an automated application system, sold separately, or by a small team of rigging experts, Project Wonderbolt is the brainchild of Diamond Lab’s chief of R&D, Twilight Sparkle.”

The room’s lighting changed a bit and highlighted the nervous lavender girl, who was giggling at Spike too much to immediately realize her cue was up.

“Twilight!” Rarity whispered nervously. “You’re up!” she motioned frantically out of camera range.

“Oh!” Twilight adjusted her lab coat and cleared her throat. “Given the directive of both enhanced protection, mobility and emphasis on non-lethal means of incapacitation, Diamond Labs and myself, Twilight Sparkle, lead researcher..” she seemed lost in her words for a moment. “Have constructed a custom built VI, something our competition doesn't have…” she smiled at looked at Moondancer’s screen. “...to ensure absolute control of the situation and minimizing both collateral damage from...how shall we say overzealous use of munitions other models may use.” She cleared her throat at Tiara’s screen. “And the energy issues of prolonged use sub par models may be running into.” She crossed her arms and walked over to Rarity, posing a bit.

“In closing, if style, substance, mobility and rapid deployment is what you need against Meta Crime, then you’re looking for Wonderbolt!” Rarity flipped her hair and pressed the remote’s final button, the final slides staying up.

Spitfire’s expression was a cross between a quirked eyebrow and half a smile, but she quickly lost the look, trying to remain objective. “Very impressive indeed. On behalf of myself, the ECPD..” a clearing throat sound came from behind her. “...and Trick Port…” she turned back and stared at the camera. “I think I can easily say you both presented interesting if not directly opposing ideas for direction of the ECPD’s Meta Crime Unit.”

“Thank you, Major, and may I say--” Rarity began.

“That being said, after my technician team has looked at the field test data both companies are sending now, we’ll have a final decision.” Spitfire stacked a set of papers in front of her neatly. “We’ll be in touch.”

As the monitors switched off, Tiara gave a scornful look at Rarity and Twilight but said nothing as her and Moondancer’s feeds terminated. Silence filled the room but soon Spike walked across the combined monitors and sat down on a digital stool. “Well...that went well?”

“I think it did, Spike,” Twilight answered with a nod towards the monitors.

“Yes darling, didn’t you see Spitfire’s face? We had her eating out of the palm of our hand, or my hand,” Rarity lightly laughed.

“Yea but ultimately it is up to how they want to proceed. She could change her mind based on what Trick Port tells her,” Twilight said with a small tone of worry.

“Oh don’t fret over it Twi, you got this. You both did great!” Spike encouraged, throwing his digital arms up with some confetti. “Besides, your model is amazing thanks to yours truly.” He grinned.

“Everything’s better with my little Spikey.”

“Dwaww Rarity.” Spike rubbed the back of his head blushing.

Silence entered the air again for some moments until Rarity spoke up. “It’ll be awhile before they’ve made their choice, so shall we go get something to eat?”

Twilight nodded. “Sounds good and maybe we can go look at an exhibit,” she suggested, trying to think of another way to help quiet her worrying about if she had provided enough data to ensure their success.

“I guess we could do that,” Rarity stated and the duo began to walk off with Spike jumping to Twilight’s tablet.

“You aren’t leaving me behind.” He grinned and began walking along a path in a nice outfit for a walk with them.

***

Rainbow Dash knelt on the edge of a decorative gargoyle using her radar vision, keeping an eye on the entire block around her and her friends. With hair fluttering in the wind, she listened behind her as Pinkie and Fluttershy continued to talk. “--and thats what happened to me and Rainbow Dash!” Pinkie said proudly, nodding as she put her hands to her side. “Er Shadowstrike and me!”

“Oh my goodness that is quite the story,” Fluttershy said, sitting on a folding chair someone had left on the rooftop. “I’m afraid my story isn’t as interesting as that.”

“Yeah, what happened? Last I heard you were running a pet shop!” Pinkie rubbed her chin, adjusting her goggles and tilting her head out of curiosity.

“Oh I still am, well when I’m not out...er...busting bad guys,” Fluttershy meekly answered with a nod. “We’re having a sale on hamsters by the way. Did your college party clients need them again?”

“Nah, everytime I call them they seem to pretend they don’t know me, so I dropped them from my contact list.” Pinkie shrugged.

“Enough about hamsters!” Rainbow Dash turned, throwing her arms out in front of her in frustration. “When did you get all super strong or whatever...and who was that other girl we were talking to?”

“Oh that...” Fluttershy looked down. “It all started when I was delivering a shipment of pet food to the nearby animal shelter,” she continued.

“Ooo! Was it a dark and stormy night?!” Pinkie asked, rushing up and pushing her face closer to Fluttershy’s in anticipation. “Were you bit by a radioactive critter?!”

“Oh no, nothing like that,” the lighter pink haired girl answered back, wide eyed at the concepts Pinkie threw at her. “I was on the way back from the delivery when something startled me! It was some sort of object crashing and smashing into the alley I was just about to leave.” She stood and stretched her back. “Goodness, they never tell you how many aches and pains you get from all this--” her face shifted and her tone changed to the other girl. “Get to the point!”

Rainbow Dash smirked. “I’m beginning to like that one.”

The pale gold colored girl shook her head a bit and looked down. “Sorry...” she cleared her throat. “The poor girl I met in that alley was in such horrible shape. She asked me to help her and I tried my best,” she rubbed several strands of hair nervously with her fingertips. “I never found out her name, but I did get this bracelet from her. She asked me to take..” she sat back down and rubbed her wrist. “Guardianship...of it.”

“Guardianship,” Rainbow Dash asked, raising an eyebrow, although it was difficult to tell with her mask in place. “Why would a bracelet need guarding?”

“Well I didn’t quite understand it at the time but I did later,” she continued. “The girl sadly...didn’t make it,” she said sadly.

“What did she die of,” Pinkie asked equally sorry.

“She was in pretty bad shape already,” Fluttershy answered. “But I think it was the bullet that hit her in the head.”

“What?!” Dash snapped her head back to look at them.

“Mmmhmm,” she replied back, remarkably withdrawn from the reality of the moment. “I was just about to call for help when three girls dressed in black arrived and shot the entire phone out of my hand...and her in the head.” She looked down.

“What happened!? Did you die?” Pinkie gasped. “Are you a ghost!?”

“No Pinkie, but I did run,” Fluttershy giggled a bit as she resumed her story. “Running around the corner, I realized I needed my keys to get back into the van but I needed both hands free. So I slapped the bracelet on.” She cleared her throat. “It was then I realized what the girl meant when she said guardianship.”

“What did she mean?” Dash asked, sitting herself down on the ledge of the rooftop, growing more interested.

“Well--”

“GUYS!” Pinkie perked up, holding the right side of her cheek. “The scanner says there’s a break in down the street!”

“Pink--er--Split I don’t think we--” Dash began to protest.

“Come on!” Pinkie shouted excitedly, and before either of the other two could protest louder, they both let out a surprised squeal as the speedster grabbed them both and soared down the side of the building and to the street.

The world slowed down for Pinkie as it always did when she ran and, save for the yelling of her passengers, it was all part of the life she’d become accustomed to. The honking of car horns, the barking of dogs and the sound of distant gunfire all blended together in her ear. Taking a sharp turn right, she adjusted her balance to make sure she didn’t take Fluttershy’s head off on a light pole. It was that small adjustment that distracted her enough not to realize the wall of the closest building was slowly but steadily exploding towards her.

“WHOA!” Pinkie shouted and stopped her run, the kinetic value of her passengers pulling her forward and head over heels right into the exploding concrete and mortar. The world resumed its regular speed and the sound of her companions complaining become a jumbled mess in her head. Tumbling down and banging her head, the world dimmed and came back to focus, then went blurry again as the concussion she received took over. Opening and closing her eyes, Pinkie barely registered the orange tentacles that ensnared her. As the pressure across her limbs increased, the world jolted again as she was picked up easily and shook about.

Mistress Mayhem laughed as she looked at the upside down and partially unconscious speedster. She cackled a bit louder as her tentacles tightness popped a painful yell out of Pinkie. “Well now...what have we here?!”

The world went dark as Pinkie’s lack of oxygen took over, the sinister laugh echoing in her mind.

End of Episode

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