• Published 23rd Apr 2017
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7DSJ: Downtempo - Shinzakura

7DSJ Sidestory. Sometimes you can't escape truth. And worse, sometimes it comes after you.

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March 27, PM: L'Aventure Fantastique

I’m having that moment again, except that this time, I know it’s not just a moment. No, it’s something else. And unlike last time, I’m pretty sure I can trust this.

That girl from before, the one in the armor? She’s here and she’s looking at me, an uncanny smile on her face. That’s a good sign – I like uncanny smiles!

She says to me, “I can see you’re preparing for a noble struggle, one fraught with peril and danger.” Aside from the fact that she seems to have gotten an English upgrade from Glorianan to the Gilded Age, she seems less standoffish and more approachable. Well, as approachable as any strange girl dressed in armor and bearing a sword is going to be in a daydream.

“Are you ready to assume your mantle, to step forward into the light under your Lady’s banner? To be her blade and ægis? To see through the grand parade of justice?” She smiles and gestures to that sword from earlier. “It is yours, my friend. It has always been yours.”

“I’m not ready yet,” I tell her. “Someday I will be, and someday I hope to meet you in person. I hope we can be friends.”

“We are already more than that; you just don’t know it yet,” she tells me.

“Sorry, you’re cute,” I tell her, “but I already have my sights set on someone.” I can see a slight frown and I wonder if I just turned down someone who was interested. Well, no matter, now that I know what I want, I have my eyes on the prize. And now that I think about it, said prize has one hell of a cute ass.

But she laughs and says, “I see you’ve chosen the harder road. The Shield did and he finds that to be perfect. Meanwhile, both the Star and the Nova chose theirs and failed, the latter worse than the former. I sincerely hope the best for you; I would not want to hunt one of our own again.”

Um…yeah. “I just realized that I feel that way about her.”

The girl pats me on the shoulder. “Though that was considered sinful in my time, My Lady has disabused me of such notions. I wish the best for you, my friend and compatriot, that I do.” She then looks at me with an appraising glance. “But you have a battle now to a-come. What fares your plans for that?”

“Well,” I tell her, ticking off my fingers, “my uncle always says there’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.” Which, now that I think about it, is weird, because as far as I know, he’s never been in the military. “But I’m me, so…I’m going to do things the Pinkie way!”

“Which is?”

I give her a smile. “No idea! But whatever it is, it’s going to be effective and fun!”

“But will you be safe? And will justice be done?”

“That’s not for me to say; I have no idea what Hope has done since she arrived, and my main concern is saving Jolly. And while I can stop Hope and her gang, it’s up to the local authorities to decide.”

“Good. Justice without mercy isn’t justice at all. And saving a life is more paramount a virtue than capturing a villain. A villain escaped can be eventually made to see their fate, but a life lost cannot ever be regained.”

“Well, thanks. But now I gotta go and do my thing. Will I see you again?”

“On a future day to come, we may become as close as sisters.” She bowed to me. “Fare thee well, Pinkamena.”

I’m getting ready to leave (and how does one do that in a dream, anyway? Just blink your eyes? Click your heels?) when I realize I’ve been extremely rude. “Wait!” I call out just as she’s about to depart, herself.

“Yes?” she asks me.

“I, uh, never got your name, and it would be rude of me not to ask,” I admit. And I feel like a heel for not saying that earlier, especially since she knows my name.

“Of course,” she tells me. “It’s—”

My eyes open and I look at the sky. The sun is starting to sink over the horizon. I then focus my eyes on Cov and Merry, who are both talking to some of their friends. He then walks over to me. “Are you sure about this?” Cov asks me. “Because I’ll be honest: this is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Yeah, Pinkie, I gotta admit, this plan of yours has me worried,” Merry then says.

I give them my most honest grin. “Don’t worry, I promise I got this!”

Another one of Cov’s friends came up. “Hey, we set up everything. You sure this is gonna work, man?”

“Not a fuckin’ clue, Stringheart. But she says it is,” Cov tells his friend, pointing at me. Stringheart then focuses his tan eyes on me, as if he’s trying to measure my worth. In turn, I look straight back into his peepers, taking brief looks at his stringy rose-and-gray hair and sad attempt to grow a soul patch, as if it’ll make him look more mature. Give it a decade more, dude.

But then he looks closer and sees something in my eyes. No idea what it is, but he suddenly backs off and looks at me like I’m some sort of live snake. “Dude, this bitch is stone cold. Where the fuck’d you dig her up?” I just look at him again and give him a smile, and he backs off, mutters something to Cov, and then walks away.

“What did you do to him, Pinkie?” Cov asks me. “Stringheart used to hang with Hope’s crew before she showed up, so he knows some hardasses. And you just made him walk south. What the hell did you do?”

“I was just me,” I answered honestly, then got up from where I was sitting. “Now, is everything set up?”

“Yes, as weird as this sounds. We set up all the amps we could find, as well as small cameras to record everything,” Cov says. “Why you want me to do this, I have no idea.”

I give him another of my patented Pinkie grins; unfortunately, he’s not from Canterlot, so he has no idea what that means. “Trust me,” I tell him. “I have it all under control.”

“You keep saying that,” he tells me, “and so far, you haven’t proven anything.”

I give him another one of my patented Pinkie looks. “I don’t need to – I’m Pinkie Pie.”

He groans and with that, I know I’ve got his complete attention, because I’ve just frustrated him to the point of near-pissed-offness. (Is that a word? It is now!) “Pinkie, I’m being serious!”

“And so am I. I can’t explain it, because…well, you’ve never seen anything like it. Nothing like before, or after – and I promise you that when this is all over, people will be talking about this for some time to come.” I decide to show off a little and kipup back to my feet.

I see that gets his attention. “How…?”

“Because I’m Pinkie Pie – and that’s all the answer you’re ever going to need.”

I look into the sky and see that it’s almost time for sunset. Oh, how I wish it was time for a different Sunset, but I need to put away my personal feelings for a moment or two, now that I know what they are.

I decide to go sit in the middle of the Club grounds, with the coliseum of rusted cars and oxidizing trucks, all of which show detritus from vehicular ages long past. At one time, these cars were new and shiny and bright, filled with promise of the open road and the chrome-and-polyster future that they expected. But those times are gone now, and instead of Detroit steel we have aircraft-grade aluminum and fiberglass from Oppama or Mexico City.

It makes me wonder about those that came before: are any of these cars that of my relatives? Did my father drive that 80’s Chevy that’s lying there, a half-ruined memory of what it once was? Did the Peugeot next to it belong to my mother when she was younger and (theoretically) less of a tightass? What about my aunt and one of those cars? My grandparents? Hell, some of the cars here date back to what looks like the fifties and forties, so that’s a definite possibility – there have been Pies here practically as long as there have been cars here. Even longer than that, even!

I close my eyes and think about the last few days as well as what came before that. This trip has been…illuminating, to say the least. I’ve discovered things about myself, about my parents and my “parents”, that I never would’ve known. I’ve seen things that I wouldn’t have expected to see here in a small Midwestern town, and it’s changed my outlook of the world, to a tiny extent – I expect those sorts of things in Canterlot, not here. Guess that just shows how naïve I am, after all.

Then again, I suppose that’s a lesson I’ve already learned the hard way, isn’t it? Still, it was a wise man that once said that change is the end result of all true learning. And I think after this trip, I really have changed.

I came out a better Pinkie.

And now it’s time to put that Pinkie level-up to good use!

“So you did show up!”

I look up to see Hope dragging along Jolly. My friend looks like she’s been roughed up a bit…and that makes my blood boil. Or maybe broil? Braise? Fricassee? (Knew I should’ve brought along some extra snacks!) Hope, on the other hand, has shown her true colors. She’s out here, dressed so much like a stereotypical 80’s-style gangbanger I have to wonder if there’s enough denim and bandanna’s left in this world after she got her outfit. Seriously, midriff jean jacket, black lacy corset bra top, strategically-torn jeans and red bandanna? Could you get any more Double Dragon than that shit? This would give Rarity an aneurysm!

Of course, it also shows that Hope’s…well, got no hope left. Any chance I had to reason with her is clearly out the window and was probably never there to begin with. That isn’t her parents’ fault any more than me getting raped was that of my aunt and uncle’s. Despite what my mother would say, at some point you have to stop blaming the world and start taking responsibility for yourself. And sometimes saints will beget sinners and vice versa – I’m sure the parents of Helter Skelter weren’t expecting their son to grow up to be a satanic serial killer, for example.

Besides, even despite all that, Jolly’s in trouble and she needs someone to help her. That someone has to be me.

Hope looks at me with a predatory leer. “Okay, you know the drill: drop the clothes and prepare to make a lot—” She pointed to all her buddies, none of whom look like they know how to treat a lady like one, “—of people happy. Oh, and you’re going to start with her.” She pulled the knife away from Jolly’s throat, and I know right now Cov wants to come in and play hero, and the only thing stopping him is Merry.

I can see the terror in Jolly’s eyes, and I know how that feels – the fact that your life isn’t yours anymore, and that your next breath depends on what someone else does next. She’s afraid she’ll be destroyed and ruined by people she knows. She’s practically an element of fear right now and nothing I can say right now will make that moment abate. All I can do is prove I’m better than fear.

So I fold my arms and say a single word: “No.”

“No?” The look on Hope’s face is apoplectic, and I know advantage just got handed to me. “Let’s get something straight, bitch: you either hand over your ladybits, or we’re going to take them!”

“No, what you’re going to do is you’re going to let go of Jolly, then you’re going to turn yourself over to your parents – yes, I know the truth. And if that happens, then you and your ragtag band of idiots that only think with their lower head will see another tomorrow…”

“Oh, yeah, sure, like that’s going to happen—”

…buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut…” I add, letting my grin slide onto my face, “…you’re going to regret the day you crossed me.”

She laughs. “‘Regret the day I crossed you’? That shit only works in the movies!”

“Oh, trust me, I’m a living fantasy,” I tell her, and my mind feels with the blue of the sky, beginning to rush through me. I’m calling to something, and it’s responding back. I can see a smiling girl who’s not really a girl, and I can see myself, as something else, something powerful.

You have to believe we are magic,
Nothing can stand in our way….

I look within and I see myself that is not myself. And she has the same smile and she has the same gleam in her eyes.

Hope, you are so screwed.

“I’m going to give you one last time to surrender,” I tell her, “or you will be the last thing I take down.”

“Last? Wow, you’re stupid. You’d better be as good as you look, little cunt licker.” And with that, she starts reaching down, clearly ready to tear off Jolly’s shirt.

Jolly whimpers.

I move.

“HIT IT!” I roar to the air.

The world fills with sound: a bouncy, jaunty rhythm that I know so well.

“Bievenue à le monde Fantastique en Plastique”

It’s one of my favorite songs. And normally, I would sing along, but right now I’m focused on target acquisition.

“Welcome to the Fantastic Plastic World”

And right now, this is one hell of a target-rich environment.

“Bievenue à le monde Fantastique en Plastique
Welcome to the Fantastic Plastic World”

“What the fuck is this?” I hear one of her minions say, but I’m not worried about that. In turn, Hope looks at me with a look as though I’ve suddenly gone out of my mind.

Instead, I give her a wolfish smile…

“This is recycled out of material”

…and then I flow.

This place is a coliseum of metal, rust and potential tetanus. It’s her seat of power, and with her gang standing around, she thinks she has an advantage, surrounding her victims like a fat spider in the center of her web, eyeing the trapped fly who flew too close, an insect Icarus. Problem is, some bugs know how to fight back against attercops in their native environment.

I move from one place to another, letting the flow take me. Part dance, part art and all Pinkie, I learned it from the karate instructor at the community center. She believed me when I said that I wanted to learn it to improve my dance and cheerleading skills, and it was she who helped me develop this…battlerythm? Martial routine? 刀剣乱舞? Well, whatever it is, it’s a part of me, and I’m letting it take me.

I owe ya one, Bonnie.

I move in close, let the first fist fly. I snap the guy’s head back and the one next to him is smart and fast enough to react. Too bad by the time he does, I’m already on the other side of the ring, feet finding purchase in spots too nimble for these lugs. I do a sliding kick, knocking his buddy off the ground and before he can even react, I’m already gone…

…as the guy twenty feet away just found out when I elbowed him in the gut.

This ring of ruin is about roughly forty feet in diameter, with very few places to step without getting a foot caught or scratched up. These morons have done this so many times that they know where all the safe places are to stand, so they’ve got that memorized. But doing so lets me figure that out and mentally extrapolate where I can weave and flow.

Float like a butterfly.
Sting like a diesel train hitting at 400 miles per.

“Bievenue à le monde Fantastique en Plastique
Welcome to the Fantastic Plastic World”

What, Hope – never seen anyone teleport before?

I know this song deep within my soul and during some games, the coaches have let me do a little dance routine to it during game halftimes. It’s always been a crowd pleaser, even when the crowd has never heard of the song or doesn’t even know what Shibuya-kei is. At this point, I probably know the song better than Fantastic Plastic Machine himself.

Each beat is a strike. Each counterbeat is a dodge, a feint, a movement fast enough that a trained artist would know what I’m doing…maybe. But to uneducated, unconditioned thugs? I’m Goddamn Chun-Li and this whole world is my personal version of Street Fighter V.

“Bievenue à le monde Fantastique en Plastique
This is recycled out of material”

Out of the corner of my eyes, I can see Hope just lose her shit. I can also see that thankfully, Jolly had enough sense to run out of the area, towards safety. Cov and her friends will make sure of that. Now I just have to do the rest.

I duck, avoiding one of the ones who apparently has a little training. Then again, if we want to be technical, I only have a little training. It’s just that I tend to focus on whatever I want to master, and Bonnie told me with my dance and cheerleader training, I’m a natural for this. Hence why I was fast enough to weave out of the way of his second attack, then land a nice snap kick.

I let out a giggle. This is fun!

Punch! Punch! Kick!
Dodge! That! One!
Take! One! Down!
Pass! It! ‘Round!
I’m! No! Clown!
You! Will! Frown!

“Bievenue à le monde Fantastique en Plastique
Welcome to the Fantastic Plastic World”

I slide right in front of two guys, and before they can even react, I do the splits in front of them and…well, let’s just say that where my punches went? I know at least one guy in particular I’d love to do that to. And as both drop to the ground, I’m gone before they can even react.

So far, Hope and her cronies came in with about forty-one people. And in a matter of…oh, I’d say two minutes or so I’ve already dropped a third of them. Seriously, sparring with Bonnie is harder.

And now someone’s coming towards me, so least I can do is meet him halfway, right? Only the polite thing to do, after all.

I get there, and the moment I do, he aims a blow right where my head would’ve been. He knows what he’s doing. She finally brought in her big gun!

“This is recycled out of material”

His fist grazes my face, and I’m going to have a bruise I’m going to have to explain to my aunt and uncle; it’s worth it, though, as it means I can grab his arm...

…slip around that and his head like a monkey…

…then pull back as hard my leg muscles will let. Doesn’t matter how this guy’s built, those of us in the XX club have stronger leg muscles and right now, I’m using them to cut off his oxygen supply. Probably wasn’t using much to begin with, to be honest.

I let him fall to the ground and look at three others, just as the song ends.

I give them what I hope is a cute smile. “You know, I left the others a whole playlist to work with,” I begin.

I’m not surprised when they run.

As they depart, I jump down to where Hope is. “Seriously, you need to work on getting better minions. Haven’t you seen that movie?”

In response, she spits at me. How rude.

So I treat her how she deserves to be treated: so I slap her as hard as I can. She then tries to stab me with that knife of hers, and I take her wrist and squeeze. As she screams, I take the knife and then palm her in the stomach. Not hard enough to hurt (though she has certainly earned that), but just enough to get the point. I then throw the knife away, not worried about where it’ll land – this battle is over.

“What do you want? To make me beg?” Hope snarls at me. “I’m the one in control, not you!”

“Does this look like you’re in control?” I ask her. “You threatened an innocent girl. You blackmailed me with the intent of causing harm to me and Jolly. You’ve ruined countless lives, all of girls who wanted to be your friend. And now you have nothing.”

“Fuck you!”

“No – there’s someone I love who I want to share that moment with. And that person is not you,” I tell her. “Now, we’re going to march you back to your house. If you’re lucky – really lucky – your parents will deal with you. Though, truth be told, that really should be out of their hands at this point, and that’s not their fault. That entirely belongs on your shoulders.” I fold my arms and look at her. “Get up.”

She laughs, as if I just told a joke – believe me, I’m not joking. “And you’re going to make me how, Cali Girl?” she taunts. “You’ll be gone soon, and my parents’ll just lecture me and maybe ground me for a month. And then after that? I’m free to do whatever I want again – and the first thing I’m going to do is make Jolly my bitch. You come back, you’ll see I’ll break her so hard she’ll beg me to let her lick me in the fun zone. She’ll beg for me to put a strap-on and ram her like a trainwreck!” She got up and looked me right in the eyes. “So, why do you think that you have any chance of stopping me from doing whatever I want?”

My eyes narrowed and I saw red. She just threatened—! I…she…. I forced myself to calm down and recompose myself. The rage I’d once felt against Sunny was nothing compared to this. She had just equated herself to Atlas and Cicely, and did so proudly. I cannot….

I feel my body burn like a star, a blue supergiant blazing with the kind of power that just incinerates to component atoms. I take a step away from her…

…and then let my fist slam into the ground. The earth and loam shatters around me, causing a meteoric crater. I then literally blink over to one of the nearby hulks, and slam my fist into its engine. For a normal person, even as old and rusted as these are, is tantamount to shattering their knuckles. So it doesn’t surprise me when I put my fist through the thing, rust and metal shavings rolling around my hand as though it was a rock in an oxidized river. I withdraw my hand to see the rough-shaped paper-like tear. My hand is glowing with azure power and I don’t have to guess what I probably look like right now; after all, I’ve done this once before.

I do turn to look at Hope, and she’s staring at me with horror in her eyes. She’s also wet herself, and ironically, that’s probably the worst I’ve done to her and that didn’t even involve laying a hand on her. But I don’t need to. She got the message.

But just in case….

“Do anything, and I will come back,” I thunder quietly. “And if you think this little display of power is big, well…this is just a fraction of what I can do.” I don’t know if it’s true or not, but then again, I really don’t like playing the heavy to begin with. I take a step towards her, but she just falls back and starts to crab crawl away from me, her terrified eyes never once removing themselves from my sight.

“S-ST-STAY AWAY FROM ME, YOU MONSTER!” she shrieks as tears of terror roll down her cheeks. I feel slightly guilty about it, but as I feel myself shift back to normal, there’s not much I can do. I had to do what I needed to in order to save Jolly and stop Hope, and that’s been done. Whether or not I like it…it’s been done.

A few seconds later, Cov, Merry, Jolly and the others show up, looking at me as though they too, are horrified. “Pinkie….” Jolly starts.

“How much did you see?” I ask.

“All of it,” Cov admits. “We recorded it for evidence, but—”

“Destroy it,” I interject; while I’d initially planned to use it as extra evidence against Hope, things didn’t go the way that I planned and now it could be used against me. “Please. For my sake and for that of those I love, please.”

“You’re…human, right?” Merry asks, pointing at the top of my head and what had been there earlier.

“As far as I know,” I tell her. “I started out human, but…well, that’s not important.”

“We’ll destroy everything,” Jolly says with finality. “I owe you big time, and besides, we have more than enough of what everyone else heard.” She looks at them. “And we’re not going to say a single thing, are we?”

“I don’t think anyone would believe us, anyway,” Cov tells me, shrugging. “Besides, Jolly’s right. I owe you and I intend to keep my promise. He then hooks a thumb at Hope and asks, “But in the meantime, what are you going to do with her? I mean, between you beating up her gang and them running for the hills, she’s alone now.”

“We take her back,” I tell them. “We let her parents decide.”

And as I explain that, I realize I’m going to have to explain my bruise, as well as my abrupt departure, and…oh my goodness, oh my damn, Mom’s going to go ham over this shit.

I sigh. Can’t I just get to the happily ever after with Sunny, now?

Author's Note:

In case you're curious as to what song Pinkie was dancing to....

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