• Published 15th Feb 2017
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My Little Hunters: Friendship is Achieving - PoH



The Achievement Hunters of Austin, Texas are finishing up a let's play when all of a sudden, a flash illuminates the room. Unconscious for who knows how long, they wake up to not only in another room but in another dimension.

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Chapter 15: Patient

Author's Note:

Well I'm back with another chapter with the continuation of a character arc with Ray and Keen. It's been a while since I've put up a chapter and a lot has happened in my life so far. Now at Marine Guard school, I'll get some more leeway on free time. Not only that, but I got my draft book back after graduating ITB, so now I can try to do more for this fic.
I also have FlutterDash fic in the works to be posted soon as well. But for now, please enjoy the next chapter!

Rainbow Falls

In front of the new Keen Heart Medical Center

“I gotta hand it to you guys.” Ray exclaimed to Keen, “You guys really know how to set up for things like these real quick.” He recalled the ceremony for him and the rest of his friends in front of Ponyville.

Ray scanned the area surrounding the hospital. Countless wooden chairs were lined up in neat rows for ponies that so happened to want to watch the ceremony. Many ponies had already begun taking their seats. According to Keen, much of the population of Rainbow Falls would attend. The rather large stage at the base of the small staircase leading up to the hospital's front entrance became the center of attention. It was hard not to notice. Streamers lined the edges of the stage as well as streamers connecting between the poles at the corners of the stage. It was pretty basic decorations, as Ray had seen what Pinkie was capable of in shorter amounts of time.

“Magic helps a lot with this kind of stuff.” Keen responded, also examining the decorations. To Ray, Keen seemed to be standing taller. He couldn't tell if it was the uniform or the event, but she looked like a totally different pony. “Oh! I had a seat reserved for you!” She said suddenly in a happy tone. She began to trot down the right-most edge of the chairs with Ray closely behind.

“You didn't have to do that, you know.” Ray said. “I could've found my own seat and I could see you just fine.”

“I know that.” Keen quickly shot back with a smile. They turned left at the very front row. “But I wanted to be able to know where you are, just in case I mess up my little speech so I can refocus.” They arrived to the reserved spot and stopped dead center of the mass of chairs. A row of five chairs had a piece of parchment attached to each back rest. “Which is why I put you next to my family.” She smiled widely, looking at Ray for a reaction. Ray stepped over to read the parchment on the chair. It read simply:

RESERVED FOR:
RAY

Ray let out a smile at this. The chairs to the right of his reserved seat followed the same format but with the names of each of Keen's family members. The stage sat a few meters away from the front row, giving Ray an excellent view of everything on stage. Much like the ceremony at Ponyville, a few chairs were set up behind the podium on stage for Keen, the mayor, and other town officials.

“I wanted them to put your full name,” Keen said with embarrassment, “but i honestly never caught your last name.”

“It’s Narvaez.” Ray answered her, turning his head in her direction with the smile still on his face, to which Keen returned, “And don't worry about it.” He took his seat on the chair and slouched a bit. “You should probably get back there and get ready for the ceremony.”

“Alright,” Keen agreed, “then I'll see you after?”

“Right.” Ray confirmed her question.

Keen gave a quick nod and walked towards the side of the stage with the set of steps. Ray sat quietly, looking around himself. The square in front of the hospital was very spacious. No doubt they will have an ambulance carriage system, using this area as the drop-off. Ponies began to enter the area of the ceremony, taking their seats and chatting amongst one another. Ray overheard many of the conversations: the future success of the hospital, the optimal location the hospital was placed, why it would be named after a medic in the Royal Air Guard, and Ray himself. They questioned his presence, but some well informed ponies silenced their prejudices with the story of how the hospital would be named after Keen.

Once seats began to fill up, a burly yet aged colt in uniform sat down to his right. Ray looked at him with his eyes only and examined the uniform. Much like Keen's, except there was no rank on the sleeves. Instead, epaulets lay flat and sleek on his shoulders with a shining silver star in their center. His ribbon tree far surpassed Keen's by having seven full rows of ribbons. A few medals, indiscernible to Ray, dangled under the tree. The colt noticed Ray's staring and turned to him.

“Hello.” The colt said in an orotund voice, surprising Ray, “You must be Ray.” The colt stuck his hoof out towards Ray. Ray took the hoof into his own hand with a firm shake. “Admiral Skid Heart, retired. I'm Keen's father.”

“I figured, since you're sitting in the seat reserved for her dad.” Ray responded, hoping not to sound too sarcastic. However, Keen's father laughed at this as they released their hand/hoof shake.

“Keen said you had a quick tongue.” He boomed, his laughter dying down, “I didn't think you'd be so comfortable with me right away. Thought I'd have to pull it out of ya.” Ray shrugged, unsure of how to respond to that. “Oh! Let me introduce you to my family.” He stepped off of the chair to clear Ray's view. “My wife, and Keen's mother, Cheri.”

“Why hello, there Ray.” The mare named Cheri said cheerily as she gave Ray a light wave. She had a lemon colored coat and a blonde mane that was obviously the predecessor to Keen's own mane. Her eyes glowed the warmest amber, giving Ray a safe-at-home feeling.

“Hey, Mrs. Heart.” Ray returned her greeting in his signature relaxed tone. He noticed another set of teal hooves adjust right next to Cheri on the adjacent chair. “And who's that hiding over there?”

“Oh!” Cheri exclaimed, turning her attention to the pony sitting next to her. “Terrace, introduce yourself.” A young colt peeked an eye out from behind Cheri, his hazel eye meeting Ray's own eyes.

“Hi…” He said, barely audible. His electrice blue and yellow streaked mane gave off an extroverted vibe to Ray, contrasting the colt's current demeanor. This did nothing less than surprise Ray, considering the cheery and friendly tone Terrace's parents had set for the rest of Keen's family.

“Hey, how's it going, buddy?” Ray said, trying to get the colt to feel a little more comfortable. Terrace only shrugged at Ray's greeting, shifted his eyes elsewhere, and sat back into his seat. Cheri tsked at her introverted son as she turned her attention back to Ray.

“Give him time.” She reassured Ray. “Once he warms up to you, you'll wish he stayed like this all the time!” She and Skid chuckled at her comment on Terrace's personality.

At that moment, Skid hushed his wife's chuckle as a fanfare played, signaling the beginning of the ceremony. Ray looked to see an older mare step up to the podium. Keen stepped off her own chair and moved until she was next to the podium. It was at this point that Ray noticed that all of the seating here in the hospital's square were completely filled. The older mare spoke.

“Mares and gentlecolts, it is my honor as mayor of this great city to be in office at the time of this historical event. Amongst us today is a hero to Equestria and the two sisters. But to us here in Rainbow Falls, this hero will be revered as a legend! Here with us today is said legend, Corporal in Luna's Air Corps: Keen Heart.” Uproarious applause erupted as Keen stood a little taller. Her face showed no arrogance, but prideful as she accepted the applause with a humble heart. The applause were followed by gradual silence. The mayor continued.

“Corporal Heart, born and raised here in Rainbow Falls, showed honor and bravery in her act of valor as her medical instinct did not fail her as she repeatedly subjected herself to injury and death from incoming changeling fire to save the lives of her comrades and enemies. As a reward for such acts, Celestia has given the written order and has authorized Admiral Skid Heart, Corporal Heart's own decorated father, to award Corporal Heart with the second highest honor Equestria can bestow on their greatest heroes in uniform. So, if you will, Admiral?” She looked down at Skid with a smile, motioning for him to come onstage.

Skid did not hesitate as he stepped off of his chair and trotted up the stairs to the stage and stood in front of his daughter. He tried his best to hold his smile back, as his daughter stood at attention before him, awaiting her award. The mayor brought a polished, wooden box over to the pair with her magic opening the box to reveal it's contents. Skid lifted the medal out with his hoof. A platinum medal shaped like the fireproof shield Netitus with a likeness of Flash Magnus engraved in the shield's center. The ribbon the medal hung from had a simple crimson and white scheme, the division of the colors running straight down the middle of the ribbon.

“It is with great pleasure to award such an elusive medal to a soldier with air filling their lungs still, and them standing on their own four hooves. Of all of the Airponies who had come before that I had awarded this medal, it is with great luck and love that my own daughter would be the first to see her own ceremony.” He choked up at the thought, as he knew the danger she had to endure to receive such an honor. He began pinning the medal under Keen's ribbon tree. “Such acts tend to go unsung. Heroes die voicelessly in every battle. But I expected nothing less than the acts my daughter committed that day and for her to come home unscathed. Congratulations, Corporal.” He concluded his little unscripted speech and finished pinning the medal on his daughter's dress coat. Applause erupted once again. He stuck a hoof out to his daughter, to which she took in her own with a hearty shake.

“Thank you...sir.” Keen responded hesitantly, unsure if to call him “dad.”

Keen trotted to the podium as Skid stepped to the side and out of Keen's spotlight. She mounted the podium, looking briefly at the speech she had prepared in front of her. She glanced at Ray who gave her an exaggerated smile with two thumbs up. She giggled under her hoof, regaining her composure. She swallowed and cleared the knot in her throat. As she opened her mouth to speak, she was interrupted by a deep rumble in the distance.

*BOOM*

Ray, along with every other pony at the ceremony, looked off to the direction he believed the sound came from. Sure enough, black smoke had begun to crest the sheer cliff that Rainbow Falls clung to. Ray stood quickly and began a hasty sprint to the source of the sound. He leapt onto the building in front of him and cut the runtime in half by traversing the rooftops, slowly climbing his way up the plateau, building by building.

Once on ground level on top of the cliff, the railroad tracks extended into the direction of the smoke's source. In the distance, he could see a capsized train engine. He rushed forward at inhuman speeds to respond to the disaster before him. He slowed himself as he rounded the main engine wreck. The train's wheels on it's left side seems to have taken a blast from some kind of explosive. Ray picked up on that and immediately drew his estoc. He called out to the jumbled mess of derailed cabins behind the smoldering engine.

“Hey! Anyone there?” Ray called. He noticed that the cabins were windowless and locked up tight. He deduced that this train was freight, not passenger. He sighed in relief knowing the casualties would be few, if any.

In a flash, he raised his estoc and quickly swatted three long knives that emerged from the smoke. He could barely see a humanoid silhouette atop a freight car through the thick smokescreen. The silhouette sent another volley of knives at Ray. He deflected those with as much ease as the first three. The silhouette retreated towards the rear of the train with Ray following closely in pursuit.

Once he broke through the smokescreen, he could see the fleeing assailant a little bit better. A long, ragged, tan, and poorly patched overcoat. A pair of black pointed ears peeked over the high collar of the overcoat. A long, cat-like tail reached under the overcoat. Ray deduced that the assailant was a feline of some sort. He knew he had to know why the wreck was caused and this cat-person was his only way of knowing.

Ray slipped a knife from his wrist pocket into his hand. He hurled the knife at the opposing knife-thrower. It struck the feline in the ankle, causing them to fall and tumble across the car and off the side. Ray hopped off the side of the car and landed next to the grounded cat. As he approached with his estoc at the ready, he saw multiple other train robbers fleeing around the rearmost cars and off of the cliff.

“Well, it seems your buddies left you behind.” Ray said, keeping his distance. The feline said nothing but clutched at their ankle while facing away from Ray. Blood began to form a small pool underneath the injured ankle on the dirt ground. “Need some help?” Ray took a step forward. The feline turned with intense speed as they flung another knife aimed at Ray's eye. Ray quickly dodged and advanced at even greater speed than before. Before the cat knew it, the tip of Ray's estoc was now sitting at their throat. “You done?” The cat looked very surprised at their opponent.

“What…?” They said in a feminine voice. Her eyebrows frowned. “So the rumors are true. The princesses called for barbarians to do their dirty work. No wonder my attacks were brushed off.” She hissed and laid onto her back and simply looked to the sky. She didn't move for a full thirty seconds, Ray's estoc still trained on her. “Well?” The cat questioned.

“Well, what?” Ray responded, confused at the cat's action of lying on the ground and her expectant behavior. The cat looked at Ray with only her eyes and then back at the sky.

“Aren't you gonna kill me? Like in the stories?” She asked, apathetic about the thought of her dying. Her grassy green eyes glued to the clouds and sky above.

Ray sighed as he sheathed his estoc and knelt next to the cat's ankle. He examined the wound and it's overall severity. He deemed it too dangerous for him to remove the knife on his own as he may damage the cat further. He looked back at her face, which remained indifferent with the whole situation.

The cat, unable to stand, felt herself being lifted from the ground. She shot her eyes at the human lifting her in a bridal carry. Ray had begun walking towards Rainbow Falls with the injured cat now in his custody. Pain shot into her ankle for a moment and she hissed, swiping a clawed paw at Ray's face, which he dodged.

“Chill the fuck out, cat!” Ray said, annoyed with her feeble attempts at her getting a shot in.

“Let me down! Now!” She tried to thrash in his grip but kept feeling the stinging pain in her ankle, forcing her to stop every time she tried.

“Nope.” Ray simply replied. “I've got questions for you, and I need you in full health to answer them.”

“And who says I have answers?” The cat shot back sarcastically.

“Maybe the prison cell with a burly and violent pony looking for the next weak thing to pummel into the dirt?” He glanced at the cat that seemed to begin to accept her immobility. “She's probably named Olga.”

“Where are you taking me?” The cat questioned aggressively, ignoring Ray's joke. Ray looked as if he weren't going to answer that question.

A group of medical ponies in the distance coming from Rainbow Falls rushed to the train wreck. Ray continued his stroll until ponies passed him to respond to any injured in the train wreck. Equestrian guards clung closely to the medical ponies that were approaching the train wreck. A couple of ponies brought a brand new carriage for any injured ponies. Ray brought the cat to the carriage and laid her in the back. Ponies pulled her aboard, keeping an eye in the knife that jutted from her ankle. The carriage was pulled away towards the train wreck. Ray looked to see the engineers being pulled from the rearmost car, dazed and confused.

“Well,” Ray said to himself, “at least the new hospital can get going with its first patients.”

Keen Heart Medical Center

Room 428; 4 hours later

Ray sat patiently outside the room the cat of the hour recovered in. Keen sat next to Ray, eager to meet the cat that assisted in toppling the shipment of medical supplies meant for the new hospital with her name. A guard stood watch on the opposite side of the door, ensuring the cat could not get far if she attempted to escape. Keen looked to Ray who was slouched back into his seat, arms crossed. She smiled to herself at Ray's lax personality. She almost envied it, as she was trained to be on her toes for any possible threat to her and her unit.

The door to the room opened and a nurse pony emerged from it. Ray pushed himself off of the chair and stood before the pony. Keen followed Ray and stood herself.

“So can we go in?” Ray asked immediately. He was obviously upset with the fact that the cat and her cohorts were stealing medical supplies from a hospital that had yet to even open. And now the cat in question was its first patient.

“Yes, but be careful.” The nurse pony warned. “She's not very cooperative.”

“Trust me, I know.” Ray responded as he passed the nurse and entered the room. Keen trailed closely behind as she thanked the nurse for her help.

The room had that air of a hospital. That sterile smell that makes a knot in your throat. The cat he had incapacitated several hours earlier lay in a medical bed, her left wrist was cuffed to a metal bar on her bed. Next to her on a separate table on wheels sat a skimpy assortment of greens and sweets on a plate with a glass of what seemed to be juice. The cat looked unamused by Ray's presence.

“Wow. You're so humble, human.” The cat sarcastically shot at Ray. “Come to gloat? Rub it in my face? Try me. I've heard it all.” The cat crossed her arms and gave Ray a hostile look. Ray only chuckled at her attempts at looking tough.

“You know, I like the cats back home better.” Ray stepped over and picked up the small folder with the cat's tiny medical record. “At least those ones don't talk so much.” He skimmed past all the medical mumbo jumbo and looked at the top for a name. The section that would contain a name simply had the word “Patient #00001” in its place. He placed the folder down and approached the bed. “So obviously you didn't tell the nurses your name. So maybe you'll tell me, at least.”

“Bite me.” She stated flatly.

“Alright, so then I'll give you one.” Ray responded. The cat scoffed and shook her head. “How about…Fluff?" The cat shot a wide eyed look at Ray, who could see her distaste for the name. "Yeah, that's it Fluff. What do you think Keen?"

"Oh I think it's perfect." Keen said with a mischievous smirk, catching on to Ray's simple trap.

"Stop calling me that!" The cat, now known as Fluff spat.

"Fitting for such an adorable kitty cat." Keen squeed.

"Want me to show you cute!?" Fluff threatened through her teeth as she raised a declawed paw to show that she meant business. However, Keen and Ray were unfazed as the cat was in no condition to be moving suddenly anytime soon.

"Try it." Keen said, "Where Ray hit you, yeah you're not going to be moving for quite the minute."

"By that," Ray added, "she means a fatass minute."

"Watch me then." Fluff snarled as she threw her hospital blanket off of her body, exposing the wound on her ankle. Bandaged up tight, magic was used to repair the majority of the damage Ray's knife caused. She attempted to jump off the bed but got caught halfway by the cuffs linking her to the medical bed making her yelp in surprise. Her hind legs dangled off the side of the bed.

"Take your time." Ray sarcastically said. "There really isn't a rush, so we got time, Fluff." She simply growled, climbing back into her hospital bed being careful with her wound.

"You wouldn't be so big if your pet human wasn't here, pony." Fluff hissed, crossing her forelegs and looking elsewhere. Ray and Keen exchanged an indifferent glance at each other for a moment, accepting that Ray's pitfall to learn the feline's name didn't work.

"Okay look," Ray began, trying not to antagonize their captive train robber, "we don't want you here any more than you want to be here. So if you just work with us, I can get you out of here sooner rather than later. Get me?" Her wandering gaze snapped back to Ray.

"You think I'd tell you ponies or humans anything?" She seemed firm in her position. "You can just send me to that prison cell."

Ray slowly began believing that this cat was truly a closed book. He thought back to the train wreck. The group that fled from behind the train seemed small. Not only that, but he recalled the same species comprising their whole train robbing crew. A small, closely knit team with a lot of practicing and teamwork had to have pulled it off. Even with one casualty, they had to have planned for one of them going under royal custody. That's when Ray's plan came to fruition.

"Alright," Ray said in submission. "Cell it is. Once you're feeling a bit better, we'll get a skiff down here to take you to Canterlot." Keen looked at Ray in shock at him giving in to Fluff's resistance. Ray turned on his heels and began walking out. Fluff didn't move at all, glad that Ray finally had given up. Keen followed Ray outside and closed the door behind them. Ray didn't stop as he continued down the hallway towards the exit.

"What was that?" Keen asked, looking into Ray's eyes as he had a smirk on his face. "Whatever you're thinking, I hope it works."

"Oh it will." Ray reassures. "I know my own friends would make the same mistake."

Canterlot Prison

Two weeks later

"Fluff" sat in her normal spot in the cell on her bed of hay. She made the small space a home only a week ago after being released from the hospital the day she would enter this cell for the first time. Becoming accustomed to the cramped space very quickly, she knew it would all be in vain. The details of the cell blurred together for that week as she waited patiently for this moment. The thudding of the thick stone on the outside wall of the cell only got louder and more fruitful, chipping away at the barrier. The guard would not make his rounds for another hour or so. Her colleagues had plenty of time.

The first sign of escape showed itself when moonlight seeped through a small hole in the wall after a hearty thud against the wall. The thudding stopped. An innocent voice whispered through the small opening.

"Hey, Runa. Runa! You there?"

"Yup. I'm here Tug." She said back. "Now are you gonna get me out or are we gonna wait till the guard comes back to say hi?"

"Oh! Sorry! Yes, ma'am!" The voice whispered back, flustered, as the thudding continued.

The wall began to give more and more as they continued. The hole got larger and larger until it was about the size of a beach ball. A large cat head stuck through the hole and looked at the lounging Runa.

"Oh! Hi, Runa!" The amber cat named Tug said cheerfully. "Just making sure you can fit through!" Runa smiled at the larger cat.

"Thanks, buddy." Runa stood and moved to the hole in the wall. Without looking back, she hopped through and landed lightly onto a hastily made pulley elevator. She gave a slight grunt and knelt as her ankle gave in.

"Hey, I know you're excited to come back n all, but you still took a knife to the ankle!" Tug worried to her. Her smile returned as she looked up to the cat. He had fur of brilliant amber, striped with maroon streaks. He was also kind of chunky for a cat. For what he lacked in agility, however, he made up for in strength.

"Thanks, big guy." She responded to his worry with care. "For you, I'll take it easy." She stood back up carefully, making sure not to agitate her ankle any more. "What's next?"

"Oh! Yeah!" Tugs jumped, remembering the plan.

He got to the edge of the elevator and simply waved both hands into the distant city towards the rope's beginning. The rope holding the elevator up extended into the lights of Canterlot. Runa couldn't see its source as the lights of the city flooded her natural night vision. The rope began to lower the two cats at a comfortable rate. Without the elevator, climbing down the sheer stone wall of the dungeon would have been impossible. Especially since her cell was so high up.

"I've got to say," she told Tug as she leaned over the edge to see the oncoming ground, "Tac's really outdone himself this time."

The elevator touched down. She hoped over the railing, taking special care as she landed on the rooftop of a castle building. Tug unhooked the rope from the elevator and gave the rope two hefty tugs. The rope shot up to what looked like a ballista bolt high up the castle wall. The bolt was yanked from the wall and it disappeared in the direction of its source at incredible speeds. Once she brought her awestruck gaze back in front of her, she noticed Tug bent over in front of her with his back turned.

"Here, hop on my back." Tug offered. "No offense at all, but your ankle might slow us down."

"None taken." Runa assured her large friend that she understood her current condition. That, and she can hardly bring herself to say no to Tug's face. She climbed onto his back to where she clung to him like a backpack. He leapt to the next roof over and began his path along the rooftops back to their team's rendezvous point.

During this time, Ray watched the entire escape take place from the castle wall. He looked far down at the large cats' bounds from building to building. Once over and past the gate, Runa and Tug became silhouettes against the backdrop of lights the city emitted. Two other silhouettes joined them and it looked as though they began talking.

"Like clockwork." Ray said to himself. As he stepped from the wall and landed on a rooftop after a free fall from the high castle wall. He moved quickly and remained out of sight once he got close enough to have a vantage point on the group of jailbreakers. The group of four cats continued talking. Without warning, they broke into full sprint toward the edge of the town, finishing their escape. Ray followed, unseen.

"And we're off."