• Member Since 30th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen 6 hours ago

Tumbleweed


A guy. A guy who writes stories. Stories about ponies. (And sometimes robots).

T

This story is a sequel to The Prisoner of Zebra


When Octavia's priceless cello is stolen by a greedy dragon, it's up to Flash Sentry, along with a ragtag crew of musicians, scoundrels, and special agents to get it back! Just another day's work for Flash Sentry, "Hero" of Equestria-- that is, until a certain princess gets involved ...

Volume Four of the Flash Sentry Papers.

Chapters (12)
Comments ( 132 )

“You don't need to be one-- everyone's got a role to play in Bon Bon's plan, and from what I've seen, you've got the easy job.”

“You're going to seduce Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

I question Carrot Top's sanity difficulty assessment when she says he has the easy job.

This type of pretty pony princess duplicity is something she must have picked up from cadence! I love how gracious she is here "Your friend" "thank you". She wouldn't ever lie to us.

Yep, this is the true story right here. The show where they meet twice and blush is just sparkle approved red herring propaganda.

This.
This is going to be good.

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Oh god, this is going to end with him fighting Timber Spruce to the death above a ravine, isn't it?

I'd long since learned that anyone who Carrot Top's nom du guerre was dangerous company.

- anyone who knew Carrot Top's nom de guerre
This gun' be sooo good :pinkiecrazy:.

Princess Twilight smiled, as if reminded of some long-running joke. “I've been following your work for quite some time, you know.”

Oh dear.

“That's the problem.” Princess Twilight blew on her tea to cool it. “I've done some research of my own-- and from everything I've gathered, the memoirs you found are the genuine article.”

OK, where is this going?

“Ah, yes.” I shrank down in my chair. “I, er, thought it might be prudent to contact you, given the subject matter. Even if my lawyer says that there's no real grounds for a libel case.”

Smart move.

Twilight Sparkle just smiled again, dazzlingly so. “I'm going to help you annotate the next volume of the Flash Sentry Papers.”

OHO! This is gonna be fun.

Which, I suppose, is a testament to her skills as a secret operative, and certainly not an indication of any sort of obliviousness on my part, much less Princess Celestia keeping secrets from me on a “need to know” basis.

Of course, of course.

No, the poor mare's normally lovely face was twisted into an ugly mask as her tears poured down her gray cheeks. Every so often, she would stop her sobbing in a vain attempt to compose herself, only to launch into a fresh bout of waterworks.

So, actual crying.

I would've made some excuse to slip out of the booth, but Carrot Top sat at my side, blocking me in (no doubt intentional, on her part).

You can never win, can you, Flash?

“Sorry-- musician slang. I ... had a Stallionvarius cello-- the Phoenix Stal, to be precise. One of sixty-three surviving cellos crafted by Stallionvarius, the greatest builder of instruments who ever lived. It's centuries old, priceless-- and ... and ... gone.” Octavia shuddered.

As an ex cellist, this hits right in the heart.

“They don't care about the instrument-- they just want it as a trophy!”

Uh, there there?

“Harvest.” The cream-colored pony nodded to Carrot Top with professional (if not friendly) courtesy.

“Drops.” Carrot Top mirrored the expression and the gesture.

Oh, you two know each other?

“Yes. We are going to help.” Carrot Top said, levelly. “For better or worse, you're a key part of the plan. Besides, I'd think that the great and noble Flash Sentry would be more than happy to help out a lady in need.”

I think you delight in torturing poor Flash.

“Simple.” Carrot Top said, as casually as if she were sending me off to get a fresh round of coffees. “You're going to seduce Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

What makes you think this is the EASY part?

“Who's Lyra?” I said, blinking. I'd used the 'I know a guy who knows a guy'

You seem to be missing the last half of this paragraph.

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Man, you can just feel the snark and the hurt in there. I hope Celly already stopped that. And genuinely asked for forgiveness :pinkiesad2:

Who am I kidding, she'll laugh her plot off when she reads that :rainbowlaugh:

...much less Princess Celestia keeping secrets from me on a “need to know” basis.

Needless to say, this volume will not mention any of the regrettable events of the Gloaming Rebellion or the following so-called Cakeless Decade.

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To be honest, this is from the series time. When she was but a geeky librarian who did crazy world-saving shit with her friends and just recently got a pair of wings. Maybe even a virgin. It SHOULD be easy for the hero of equestria...

Now, easy doesn't mean sane. Even if you disconsider his girlfriend just ask him to seduce a princess (but said nothing about bedding her), we're talking about Sparkle here. To hurt her emotionally would be to have the entire equestrian royalty (blueballs doesn't count) as your eternal enemy.

Basically, Flash is fucked, no matter what.

On the bright side, more Flash papers! :pinkiehappy:

Edit: oh, and "should be" accounts for, among others, the possibility she plays for the other team. Or that she's actually extremely freaky in the bed and terrific at hiding her dalliances. Or, you know, standard Flash fare of shenanigans and mind numbing terror.

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I say it'll be difficult because of how utterly oblivious she is.

And so we see why Twilight summoned the author. Good thing he accepted, or she probably would've opted for a more literal summoning.

In any case, a Sentry Papers heist story? You most certainly have my interest.

“Simple.” Carrot Top said, as casually as if she were sending me off to get a fresh round of coffees. “You're going to seduce Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

My biggest question is, will Carrot Top be upset if the seducing goes too according to plan? Because I ship FlashTop.
...
CarrotSentry.

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I am entirely too pleased at someone coming up with a shipping portmanteau for those two, especially given the Flash Sentry Papers are the only fics that actually feature the two of them in the same story.

Now, if the artisty people could start drawing fanart ... ;)

I admit that I haven't read any of the other Flash Sentry stories you've written, but I get the impression that a lot of Flash's "genuine" charm is a bunch of embellishment, what with him being the one who writes it all.

Either way, the story itself is far more charming than Flash could be, whether he actually is or not. Quite entertaining for something with which I'm so unfamiliar.

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I highly recommend reading from the beginning of the series as it really does a good job of presenting flash's character in a way that dose't make him immediately likable but still an actual fleshed out character.

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Dude, read them. You have no idea what you're missing :pinkiehappy:

8400142 The names are CarrotSentry for the fluff and FlashTop for the clop. Hopefully you can understand why.

Another slide, and I nearly jumped out of my chair as I stared at the reptilian monstrosity pictured. Saurian and serpentine, the ruby-read dragon on the slide smiled at the camera, no doubt to show off his rows of chef-knife sized teeth. Almost as an afterthought, I noticed the piles of gold and jewels in the background.

A dragon. Oh dear.

“I'm sorry.” I raised a hoof. “But ... are you insane? I mean, I thought it was bad enough when we were just taking the cello from some rich and powerful pony-- but a dragon? How do you expect to even get to Spitespire? It's not like dragons are known for their hospitality.”

He has a point. This is crazy.

There was nothing sharp about him at all: no fangs, no claws, not even the batlike wings. The term 'roly poly' came to mind.

He may be roly poly, but he can also belly flop into lava and be just fine, can breathe fire and can chomp through gems.

And so, I tuned out the rest of Bon Bon's briefing. This, of course, was a terrible mistake, though I wouldn't realize it until much, much later.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

“And you haven't gotten the chance to repay her? Fine. Save her life by stopping her. That mare's going to get the lot of us killed, all over an oversized violin.”

I'm with Flash here, this is nuts.

“Not physically, no. But your friend Bon Bon isn't the mastermind she thinks she is. Any plan that hinges on me is, by definition, a bad plan.

He has a point.

“No. I'm not going to risk my life on this insane scheme, even with a bottle of de Cheval on the line.”

“Not a bottle.” Carrot Top said, smugly. “A cask.”

Don't do it, Flash.

“It'll take a few days to get you transferred to Ponyville. Until then, we just wait. Although ... “ Carrot Top's smile took on a familiar slyness. “It might help if you ... practiced a little before meeting the Princess.”

“Practice?” I said. “Miss Top, I can be devastatingly charming when I put my mind to it.”

Carrot Top put a hoof over mine, and winked. “Prove it.”

Perhaps it'd be wiser, Flash, to just say NO and damn the consequences one of these days.

8400547 Oh, no. What actually happened is he became a "hero" at the changeling invasion, and it all spirals downwards (or upwards, if you're talking about his unwarranted reputation) from there.

It's quite hilarious, you should read them. I've compiled a list (in order) here.

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Thanks. I'm something of a fan of Tumbleweed's work, especially his Equestria Girl fics, so I'm kind of surprised that I haven't given these a chance; it's probably just my initial lack of interest in Flash Sentry. I'll suck it up and give them a shot.

So, Bon..I mean Sweetie Drops and co.are planning to use a child as decoy in order to infiltrate the fortress of the equestrian closest equivalent to Lofwyr from Shadowrun so they can steal from his hoard?
Ok, this is not merely criminaly insane, this is cruel. Have they stopped to think about what Diamondback will do to Spike if/when the gig is up? Or what Twilight will do to them if the dragon doesn't finish them first?

Oh dear. I can imagine all kinds of reasons why Flash will come to regret not paying attention for the rest of the briefing, and that's saying nothing of Twilight potentially expecting him to be identical to his naked ape counterpart. This could go wrong in so many hilarious ways, and that's before we even factor in the dragons.

That ending gave me a Team Fortress 2: Expiration Date vibe.

Flash: "Hey babe, I got a bucket of chicken-"
Carrot: *slaps Flash* "I'm not one of your fried chicken tramps! I'm a princess. I like my men dangerous, mysterious. You want to be my lover? Earn it. Seduce me!"

clicks the next chapter button only to realize it's not there
Huh? What do you mean I've caught up on the Flash Sentry Papers? That's ridiculous, I just started yesterday!

There has to be more... there has to be! This is one of the only decent Flash Sentry stories I've read!

Seducing Twilight shouldn't be too difficult. I'm sure nothing will go wrong.

Okay, but the purchases are all completely legal. It doesn't matter if they are just for a collection. This entire operation is blatantly illegal and immoral.

FTL

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Okay, but the purchases are all completely legal.

Maybe, maybe not... Red Dragon with chequered past and a reputation for 'legal on paper' business dealings... no guarantees.

It doesn't matter if they are just for a collection. This entire operation is blatantly illegal and immoral.

True in an absolutist way... but it may depend on what their solution to the issue is.
They cannot simply 'steal' the cello because there would be 'consequences'. I would look on to see what the plan is... or at least what the result is after the plan inevitably falls apart because Sentry is involved, before passing judgement on the crew.
Also, plenty of individuals will argue that having unique and priceless items in a private collector's hands is a crime against humanity (ponydom?) in general and therefore possession which leaves the public unable to enjoy these artworks or items is 'illegal' and 'immoral' in its own way.

That said, remember, we are dealing with self-confessed spies and a scoundrel... their definitions of 'immoral' and 'illegal' will differ from ours! :twilightsmile:

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Yeah. A lot of what's going on feels off. Carrot still treats Flash like crap (wouldn't be surprised if she still hits him but it's okay cause he's a guy, even if she's repeatedly stated to be much stronger than him), Bon Bon treats him like crap, they're planning to do several somethings immoral and illegal and they don't have Equestria's interests in mind.

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Diplomatically and legally, Diamondback could even sue the Equestrian government: Flash is at this point a famous, condecorated hero and Spike is easy to identify as Princess Twilight 's assistant.
Celly wouldn't be happy to learn about this.

Bringing a mail mare? Really! This is a Mickey mouse operation

So ditzy is the embodiment of the mail service ethos. Cool.
Flash's fucked, though :rainbowlaugh:

Set

Nice, really loving this right now. Though, last time i checked, wasnt Ditzy Do's name Derpy Doo?

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i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy302/zeframmann/Facepalm/ccfacepalm.jpg

Seriously, even Flash admitted any plan involving him was doomed to failure, and Bon just had to add the Flim Flam brothers and Ditzi to the team?!
This is like watching a train in a movie speeding up before the inevitable wreck.

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Agreed. It was nice seeing Twilight stand up for her brother and take Carrot to task for once, that happens far too little. Because Flash is right, it's mostly his life on the line, he's being blatantly manipulated, and even if things don't go horribly wrong, he has a life outside secrecy that might end up destroyed. I hope Twilight keeps on commenting on Carrot Top's attitude about things.

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Don´t forget Celestia is aware of Carrot and Bon Bon´s secret identities for obvious reason, and is canny enough to finding out what happened. North Yakyakistan  may not be far enough to keep hem safe from her reach (and wrath).
I predict the group will find (and foil) enough illegal activities in the Spire to more or less justify the operation and make Flash look like a hero, again. Not that will be enough, however, to prevent Celly giving them a kindly warning about putting similar shenanings ever again.:trollestia:

I'm a bit surprised that Shining's still acting as captain of the guard given his status as Emperor-Consort. Still, the scene works very well.

Be advised that horizontal rules and side-mounted footnotes do not play well together in Fimfiction's formatting.

Twilight, crass manipulation was pretty much the bedrock of that relationship. From both ends, with varying degrees of crassness.

Still, Flimflams aside, I have a good feeling about this team.

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Not a mailmare. The mailmare. Neither rain nor sleet nor season finale will stay that messenger from her appointed rounds.

Though I admit, I may be biased. :derpytongue2:

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That's what I thought as well. It's not exactly good logistics to have the captain of your city's guardforce stationed so far away, especially when there's not even telegraph lines yet. Unless Celestia thinks the guards are so useless, it makes no difference XD

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That, and I expect what happens won't leave Twilight particularly heartbroken. She doesn't seem to have that dim a view of Flash, even after all this. But yes, Celestia needs to rein in her secret service agents, it seems. They're not overstepping their bounds, they're leapfrogging them.

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Minor note: the Crystal Empire is to all effects an Equestrian protectorate, right?

“The orders assigning you to be Princess Twilight's bodyguard are coming in tomorrow.” Carrot Top told me. “Try to act surprised when they come in.”

Good luck, bucko!

On the one hoof, I'd been expecting this-- on the other, I hadn't been expecting the orders to come in from so far up the chain of command. What strings had Carrot Top and Bon Bon pulled?

Whatever strings needed.

“Once Cadance found out, she couldn't stop laughing.”

Come again?

“She told me it was a long story.”

Of course it is.

“But. Off the record, I want you to know, Lieutenant ... I know your reputation.”

Which one?

“I know what you did at my wedding. And I know you've worked as a 'liaison' with the Equestrian Intelligence Office on more than one occasion.”

Ah. That.

“That's ... correct, sir. Though I thought that sort of thing was, ah ... classified?”

“My wife sits on the throne of the Crystal Empire.”

“Point.”

A very good one at that.

“If I were a more paranoid pony, I'd start wondering why the E.I.O. had suddenly taken interest in my sister. But, I'm better than that.” Shining Armor said. “So all I'm going to say is this: if my sister gets hurt-- physically or emotionally –I'll have you assigned to the coldest, remotest weather station in Yakyakistan I can find.”

Oh. Oh dear. Flash, don't fuck up.

“Good!” Captain Armor's glare melted away, and he just grinned. “It's a good thing I'm not a paranoid pony, isn't it? I'm sure this is just another trivial political matter that everypony will forget about in a couple of weeks. Something else will come along to distract the nobles, and then it'll be easy to transfer you back to Canterlot. So long as there aren't any ... incidents.”

I frankly doubt that, but, hopefully you're right.

“I promise you, Captain, that there won't be.” It should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that I was (and still am) an adept liar.

“I'm doomed.” I murmured, staring out a window.

“So the usual, then.”

Eh, more or less.

“Remember, his own fiance was replaced by a changeling for who knows how long. Whereas you have seen through multiple changeling disguises on multiple occasions.”

I don't doubt that there was a certain amount of mind control/hypnosis involved.

Namely, during the First Battle of Canterlot, my brother was under the influence of Queen Chrysalis' dark and powerful powers of mesmerism. In fact, that Queen Chrysalis had to resort to such extreme measures when her typical shapechanging would not suffice is only a testament to the strength of my brother's love for Princess Cadance. 

Toldja.

And so, when one particular car of the seven-fifteen to Ponyville happened to seat no less than three musicians, two special agents, and one so-called Hero of Equestria, I couldn't help but notice.

I can imagine.

Though what really caught my attention were the three ponies who I didn't recognize from our conspiracy: two unicorn brothers in boater hats, and a blond-maned pegasus with a lazy eye

The Flim Flam brothers and Ditzy/Derpy? This is, unexpected.

“Flim Flimflam!” Said one of the boater-wearing unicorns.

“And Flam Flimflam!” Said the other. To this day, I forget which one had the moustache.

... I think it's Flam.

“And while calling us such things might be hurtful--” Flam held his boater over his heart.

“-that doesn't mean they're not accurate.” Flam mirrored his brother's gesture, and winked.

I adore these two.

“Thank you, gentlecolts.” Bon Bon facehooved. “And, for added air support, Carrot Top has brought in her friend, Ditzy Do.”

Fairly certain it's Doo.

“She's a mailpony.”

Who is no doubt sharper than she looks.

“She's the most reliable pony I know. Plus, I need somepony in the crew besides you I can trust.”

... Fair enough. She's got my vote.

“You'll forgive me if I find that more than a little terrifying.”

I cannot blame you.

“Better get started, then.” Carrot Top held a hoof above her eyes against the glimmering crystals of Twilight's tree-palace at the center of town. “Because Princess Twilight's new bodyguard is about to report for duty.”

Flash, good luck. You will need a lot of it.

OMflowy-manedG, this is going to be good! :pinkiehappy:

Uh Oh, what's going to happen to Flash now with Twilight glowing like that, also Twilight should have asked Flash if he knew the name 'Sunset Shimmer' it would have been cool to see that Flash did know her and how he would react to Twilight asking him that.

Holy carp! I'm loving the annotations!

Loving the new commentator.

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