• Published 30th Apr 2018
  • 524 Views, 38 Comments

Fallout Equestria: The Great Hoard - RuinQueenofOblivion



A few years after the end of the Enclave War, a group of friends sets out into the Dragon Lands after a legendary treasure. But they're not the only ones, and they have to brave the dangers of this wild, unexplored land to survive.

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Chapter 3: Ghost Town

“The farther backward you can look,
The farther forward you will see.”
-Winston Churchill.

“Come on you two, we need breakfast, you can make out later,” Calypso’s voice said from outside the tent as my eyes fluttered open.

“Ugh, what time is it?” Pure Heart asked with a yawn as she levitated up my PipBuck to check the time. “Dang it, its almost 0930, why did we sleep in?”

“Because we forgot to pack the alarm clock?” I suggested with a chuckle as Pure Heart tossed me my PipBuck and started gathering up her things.

“Hey why does this taste so awful? Oh wait that’s because I made it.” Fishy chuckled weakly.

“Well, it sounds like we better not make them wait much longer,” Pure Heart said to me.

“Hmm, I don’t know, maybe we should have or own breakfast before we serve them,” I said loudly enough for them to hear and gave Pure a wink as I leaned in and nibbled on her ear, a very sensitive spot that made her let out a moan.

“Mmm, yesss, more Serenity, more!” Pure Heart called out. “I want you so badly.”

“Oh, but what about our friends?” I asked with a grin as I bit down a little harder.

“Mmm, they can wait, or eat Go Fish’s terrible cooking, lovers take precedence,” Pure Heart said with another moan as I ran my wings along her back slowly, brushing them against her flank.

“Hey Callie have you seen Crow?” Go Fish called out.

“No, can’t say that I have,” Calypso answered. “Where do you think he went?”

“I don’t know he seemed pretty upset when I took over the watch.” Go Fish answered “He said something about I refuse to fail again.”

“You don’t think…” Pure Heart asked as I released her ear from my muzzle.

“I really hope not,” I said with a shake of my head. “Crow, are you in here?”

I saw or I thought I did a little spider skittering out.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Pure Heart screamed at the sight of the Spider and levitated up a bag to try and squish it.

“Pure, calm down, what if its Crow?” I pointed out.

“WELL IF IT IS HE SHOULDN’T BE A FREAKIN’ SPIDER!” Pure screamed.

“Something wrong?” Crow looks in the tent from the outside. Looking at the spider. “I heard screaming.”

That was all Pure Heart needed as she slammed the bag down on the spider but it just skittered out of the way and out of the tent. I held her close and she was breathing heavily.

“Sorry, Pure’s terrified of spiders,” I said.

“Well I went out hunting and found myself some meat.” He set down a bloody bag. “Pretty nasty creatures out here. Also that spider is just a baby.. I have seen bigger. Oh Serenity lets avoid the caves.” He chuckled smirking

“We’re going into the mountains, I don’t know how easy that will be,” I pointed out as Pure started to calm down and I gave her a kiss on the nose. “Come on Pure, everything’s going to be okay, let’s go make them breakfast before Fishy gives Calypso food poisoning.”

“Yeah, okay,” Pure said.

“Oh come on!! I did a good job this time, I didn’t set anything on fire. Other then the tip of my left wing.” Fishy shouted out.

“Uh I wasn’t gone that.. Long..” Crow softly said lifting the bloody bag up and setting it back down away from us.

“Okay, from now on I cook all meals, or at least we keep Fishy away from the fire,” Pure Heart said as she shook her head and started making breakfast. “Its safer that way.”

“I agree,” Crow nodded. “Would you like some help Pure Heart? I know a thing or two about cooking.”

“Sure,” Pure said with a nod. “Serenity, Callie, make sure Go Fish doesn’t make it to the fire. I’m sure Callie can think of some way to distract her.”

I chuckled a little as Calypso blushed and shook her head a little. “Yeah, yeah, very funny, how was breakfast by the way?”

I blushed and the light blue Pegasus just laughed at that. “Well, you see, we were…”

“Don’t bother, besides Pure’s a whinnier, we’d have known,” Calypso said which made Pure stumble a little as she blushed deeply. “Come on, we’ve got a job to do.”

Crow chuckled. “Now let’s see if I remember that I packed it.” Crow looks through is bags and brings out a strange salt. “Ah I got it Pure.” He sets the salt shaker down.

Fishy came up to me and whispered in my ear. “I have noticed something Crow and Pure heart seem to be very close. Crow barely can stand me.”

“Pure was the first one to really treat Crow like a pony,” I said with a soft smile as I looked back at my marefriend and the Changeling.

“Oh I remember my mothers tried to make me talk to him when he first showed himself. I am still kind of scared of him.” Go Fish admitted.

“He’s not bad,” I said with a shrug. “Trust me, I fought Changelings, but I also fought alongside one. If I can work with him and try and be his friend so can you. Pure’s got a talent for seeing the good in others, as long as they aren’t spiders.”

“Just how did he get those scars? They look like he was hit by some nasty creatures.” Fishy said like she didn’t know.

“It was during the war,” I said as I looked between the two. “At the Battle of Thunderhead.”

“Oh, yeah I remember now,” Calypso said. “He distracted General Cloud Chaser’s forces so Scootaloo and company could get into Stable 102. Mom gave him the Silver Thunderbolt for that.”

Go Fishes eyes open wide. “He almost died… to save me and Callie? No pony told me this.. Not even my mothers.”

“I can’t really explain that,” I said with a shrug. “It was in Scootaloo’s book, he’s lucky he made it out of that alive, but I’m glad he did. He’s a nice guy.”

“My ears are burning. I think I am being talked about.” Crow chuckled.

“Hey, breakfast is ready,” Pure Heart said with a smile as she waved us over.

I smiled as I sat down on the ground as Pure Heart passed the food out. I smiled a little as I looked over at Go Fish and Calypso who were talking quietly before Pure Heart sat down next to me and I wrapped my wing around her gently and started eating.

“Mmm, if you keep cooking like this I may just have to marry you so I get it every day when we get back,” I said with a chuckle.

“Oh, is that the only reason you’d marry me?” Pure asked as she slugged me lightly with a chuckle.

Crow seemed to be working on cooking his meat just like he did when he helped Pure. Using the strange same salt. Go Fish walked over to the Changeling she seemed nervous and Crow just stared up at her.

“Yes spawn of Blackjack?” Crow simply said.

Go Fish seemed very unsure taking a deep breath. “D...did you really risk your life to save me and Calypso.”

Crow sighed putting down the meat to let it cook. “Kid back then I was in it for the glory. Almost dying put things in perspective. That I should be doing what I did not for glory but to save lives. So yes I did it to save you sp..I mean Go Fish. But please I am no ponies hero. I wasn’t a hero when Tiria died and after watching her die from afar. I felt less like a hero, All I can think of sometimes is that day.. Watching her give birth on her bed. Then I saved you and maybe as she looks down upon me.. She forgives me for not being able to protect her.”

“I… um.. Could you tell me about her then?” Go Fish asked.

“What’s to tell a wolf who fought the Enclave. Just like every other creature during that time. It’s just watching one die while giving birth then you know the limits of life.” Crow said nodding. “Now please kid let me get back to making my food.” He smiled nodding to Go Fish and went back to cooking.
Go Fish sat with us and she seemed sad like she treated him poorly. Taking the food that was made.

Calypso sat down next to her and put her wing around Go Fish gently and nuzzled her gently. “Its going to be okay Fishy.”

“Yeah it will be.. Just I never knew that about him.” She looks back to Crow. “I never knew he fought the Enclave before. I wonder what else he could tell us.”

“You never know,” I said and stretched out a bit. “Well, let’s eat, we need to get going. I’m sure you can ask him more later.”

00000

I flapped my wings lightly as I flew above the desert floor, adjusting myself as I went up the side of a sand dune. Sometimes I enjoyed just getting out there and stretching my wings a bit before I finally flew up and took to the skies to scout out a bit.

I flew up higher before resting on a cloud for a moment as I looked out at the desert as it stretched out. I could still make out the shape of the mountains that were our destination in the distance.

The Dragon Lands were beautiful from the air, I could see the ocean behind us and what looked like a jungle in the distance. I hadn’t expected it to be this large or varied, it wasn’t too different from Equestria in that regard.

As I took off again and prepared to turn around to meet up with my friends I paused when I saw something in the distance. It looked like a gathering of buildings, like a settlement or something, that might be worth checking out.

I paused a little, it almost felt like there was something wrong, but I pushed it out of my mind as I turn back and flew towards where my friends were waiting and came in for a landing.

“Did you find anything?” Pure asked.

“We’re still a few days out from the mountains,” I said. “But I spotted what looks like a settlement not far from here. Maybe we should swing by there and see if we can get any trading done, or at least some water, any objections?”

“Maybe I can get some more scotch there.” After Go Fish said this of course Crow smacked her over the head. “Ow what did I say?!”

“It’s to get something that we need. Not something so you can indulge your I need to be drunk.” Crow added. He seemed pretty angry at Go Fish and it was odd to see him angry at some pony. “I am going to go on ahead Serenity.” Crow turned into a Raven and flew off.

“Why do you think he turns into a Raven instead of a Crow?” Calypso commented out loud.

“You know, I don’t know,” I said with a shrug as we started walking again. I checked the maps for a moment before adjusting our course in the direction of the town.

“Why does he act like he dislikes me?” Go Fish asked.

“I don’t think he dislikes you,” Pure said speaking up. “Crow has had a difficult life and doesn’t always open up to others easily. Especially ponies, it wasn’t easy to get him to open up to me, but he came around eventually, I’m sure he will to you too Fish.”

“I see I guess I am expecting him to be open to me too soon. Just I wish I could understand why his life was so awful. Changing into something different would be fun.” Go Fish added.

“Look, he, has his reasons, okay?” Pure asked with a sigh. “He confided in me and I don’t want to betray his trust. I’ll talk to him about it, but you have to give him time and everything will be okay.”

I smiled a little and placed my wing over my marefriend. She really was an amazing mare, she had helped me and Crow. Maybe it was because we had some things in common, I guess in that regard I understood what Crow was going through.

Maybe we could all help him in some way, if he’d open up to us.

“So, did you see anything about this settlement?” Calypso finally asked. “Any ponies or whatever?”

“Well, no but I was pretty far away,” I said with a shrug as we headed towards the town. “It felt weird though, it might’ve just been my imagination.”

“Well we are in a land of Dragons.” Go Fish said chuckling.

“Good point,” I said with a chuckle as we kept walking through the desert towards the town.

00000

“So we were about to…” I was saying as we reached the town and stopped in mid-sentence.

The town was empty, and it looked like it had been abandoned for a long time. There were a few skeletons here and there that looked equine (I couldn’t tell the species looking at them but they weren’t Unicorns or Pegasi), along with a few young dragon skeletons here and there.

As we reached the center of the town there was a large pile of things being piled up as Crow came into view with more things to be added to the pile.

“What in the Fates happened here…” Calypso said as she looked around.

“From what I have seen either a sickness or a battle.” Crow added. “I even saw little foal like bones. Now a battle would have caused some buildings to fall or burn. But it’s to clean so a sickness. But I found a good amount of canned food and other things.” He nodded.

“Why are you gathering all this?” Go Fish seemed upset.

Crow blinked. “Uh well one how I learned to live through this land. You take what no one else has taken. Then you use what you can and sell what you can’t simple right?” He looked to me. “Right?”

“I mean, yes, that’s what we normally do,” I said with a shake of my head. “But something about this town feels, wrong.”

“Of course it does. Everything is empty and dead.” Go Fish said scared put she cocked her guns. “We need to be ready.”

Crow sighed shaking his head. “Relax I searched all over I didn’t see anything.”

“I kind of agree with Serenity and Go Fish here actually,” Calypso said, her tone turning a little somber for a moment. “I don’t know, there’s just something here that worries me. I think we should just leave it alone.”

Crow sighed. “Alright should we burn this place down just in case?”

“I don’t think so,” Pure Heart said as she knelt down and examined the pile of equipment. “Maybe we should move on, in this kind of world this kind of equipment wouldn’t just be left lying around.”

Go Fish looked through one of the bags. Suddenly Crow’s wings spread out looking around shaking. He grabbed the bag quickly from Go Fish closing it and moving away quickly. He shook like he saw a ghost.

“Crow, did you find anything? Symbols, glyphs, anything around here that might give us a clue?” Calypso asked, she was suddenly on edge, and that worried me.

“I saw Zebra glyphs in one of the buildings. Then I had the urge to grab all these things and bring them all here. I never looked in them.”

Go Fish backed away quickly from the bags.

“Leave the bags, let me see the glyphs,” Calypso said.

Crow nodded. “This way.” Crow leads us into the town and into a building that looks like a town hall. Inside the town hall the entire inside has carvings from zebras “Here you go.”

Calypso studied them and her eyes went wide. “We have to get out of here, now.”

“Why, what’s going on?” I asked, I didn’t know any Zebra glyphs, but whatever she saw seemed to terrify her.

“These Glyphs, they don’t have much of a translation, but they roughly mean Voicestealer or Shapeshifter,” Calypso said, she still sounded afraid. “Its an old Zebra Legend, or, so we thought, we have to get out of here, now.”

“I won’t argue with that at all.” Go Fish yelled. She lifted up in the air and flew towards the door.

And before she could make it the door slammed shut in front of her face. I straightened out my rifles as we all looked around, ready for anything that might happen.

Crow shifted into a large bear standing with us back to back with Go Fish freaking out but still acting brave. Of course her eyes could tell otherwise. “What fun..eh?” Crow said laughing like he was enjoying this. But of course it was a way to keep himself from well losing it.

“Alright, calm down everyone,” Calypso said as she walked over and hugged Go Fish. “They won’t go after us… not yet at least. If it's what I believe it is, they won’t come until nighttime, and we’re trapped in here until then.”

“So, what are we going to do?” I asked as I looked over at Calypso.

“If it’s called this town home, it won’t follow us as long as we don’t take any items from the town out of it,” Calypso said as she started going through her bags. “If we can wait it out for tonight, the spell will have worn off by morning and we should be able to escape.”

“Should be able to?” Pure Heart asked, she was trying not to let the fear show in her voice but we could all hear it. “What do you mean should?”

“Look, we are not dealing with a pony, we are not even dealing with a dragon or a Zebra,” Calypso said as she gestured over to Pure Heart. “I’ll need some of the herbs you have to counteract that thing.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“The Zebras have a name for it, but I dare not utter it here in fear of bringing it upon us,” Calypso said. “So, there is only one thing we can call it, Skinwalker.”

“Wait I remember that zebra teaching you all this. I don’t remember her name sadly.” Go Fish said. “I think i was not paying much mind during a lot when you were doing her teachings.”

“Eana yes,” Calypso said with a slight smile. “She was a Starkatteri Shaman that was one of our tutors growing up before the Enclave War broke out. Since unlike somepony I actually paid attention, I know how to protect us from this thing.”

“Wait, why was a Zebra teaching you about how to fight… Skinwalkers? When you were what, 9 years old at the most?” Pure Heart asked.

“There are a lot of spirits in Equestria, some are good, some are bad, others are just neutral,” Calypso said. “And given some, reports of Go Fish’s mother’s encounters with one such spirit, she was concerned about her attracting more.”

Crow chuckles. “Leave it to Blackjack to be seeing the spirits of the dead.” Go Fish turned to look at Crow she had an angry look on her face.

“Why do you dislike my mother so much?!” She yelled. Crow was suddenly taken aback by this.

“Calm down Go Fish, this isn’t helping anyone, Crow didn’t mean anything by that,” Pure said softly.

Crow looked away seeming to go away from the others to stay by himself. Go Fish snorted she looked very angry but watched Crow go away and sighed saying softly. “Well there goes him trying to open up.”

“I’ll talk to him,” Pure Heart said as she started to walk towards Crow, I sighed and got to my hooves and followed her.

Right now tensions were high, I understood why. This wasn’t easy to deal with, but right now we shouldn’t be at each other’s throats. If there was a, Skinwalker or whatever out there then we had to keep our heads on straight.

I glanced back at Go Fish and Calypso who were talking as we headed over to where Crow was.

“Hey Crow, are you okay?” Pure asked.

Crow lifted his head. “Truthfully I am scared Pure Heart. I have never been locked in a place like this before. I was this scared even during the war. I knew I would have either died or come out of the war worse than I did.” I finally got a good look at the scars one of them went from his neck all the way down to his stomach.

“Crow, we’re all scared,” Pure said as she placed her hoof gently on his shoulder. “We’re in unknown territory facing off against some... thing from Zebra stories. How could we not be scared? But here’s the thing, we’re stronger because we’re together, and if we’re going to survive this, we have to work together to make sure we don’t become a meal of this thing. We all have to.”

“The reasons I tend to insult Go Fish’s mother. Is well if I insulted Scootaloo when I always felt scared.. What would that do? You ponies are strange to me of course I understand you most of all Pure Heart. Also why you love this warrior beside you. Just I do it to keep myself from losing it.”

“Well, tell that to Go fish,” I said. “We’re all in this together, we need to be able to trust each other and work together if we’re going to get through this. Not just this either, we’ve got a long trek ahead of us, we need to work together and avoid any problems if we want to finish this.”

“You see why I love her,” Pure said as she nuzzled me gently. “And I’d like to think I understand you too, we both do right Seren?”

I smiled a little and nodded.

“I got an idea then.” Crow softly said. “Come with me.” He walked to the middle of the room. “We need to learn to trust each other. So I got an idea..” He took a deep breath Looking to Pure Heart. “To keep ourselves from losing it. Let’s be open about our lives. I don’t normally push myself to do this... But if I can keep myself from going nuts... Then I will open up to you all like I did to Pure Heart.”

Go Fish looked to Calypso. “I guess we should?” She seemed unsure.

“I’m fine with that,” Pure Heart said and Calypso nodded.

“There’s, really not much I can tell you guys, my life’s pretty much an open book,” I said with a sigh and a shake of my head.

“Well I was born in a empty hive. Of course there were other Changelings there but they mutated into something even worse. But I ran and ran and grew up on the streets of many places you could say. I even learned to change into different things by well” Looks over to the side. “By watching lizards.”

Go Fish chuckled. “I um well Oh Caly knows this. I’m well I feel I am in the Shadow of my mother. I feel I can’t do anything to make her happy. Even though she is always happy for me. Just I feel I am always in her Shadow.”

“I spent my whole life on a flying city with luxuries most ponies on the ground could only dream of,” Pure Heart said with a sigh. “Some ponies seem to think that means I think I’m better than them. We’re trying to help ponies, but, well it's not always as easy as just parking over a settlement. I, guess I just want to get out there and help ponies, but sometimes it feels like being from where I am doesn’t help them at all.”

Crow nodded. “After almost dying from a creature that I found with others in a stable. I didn’t know what to think. I was very shy when it came to ponies. I was asked to follow those that could help the land. So after Silver Gunner met Scoots he had me follow them. Scoots trusted me with much. Of course you all know how Silver is. You don’t know if he is joking around or joking around.”
Go Fish chuckles. “We talked about the crazy Robot now? The robot that told me and Caly once that if we got together our foal would be a foal called Crazy Eights.”

“Well, your family does tend to name their foals after card games,” Calypso pointed out with a chuckle. “But, yeah, there’s not a lot to tell about me either that isn’t already known. With my parents both being former Presidents, I feel like I’ve got a lot of pressure on me to be something I don’t want to be. They don’t really care what I do though, but it doesn’t stop everypony else from acting like I’m going to be some great pony when I grow up. I just want to be me, and take everything one day at a time, you know?”

Go Fish nodded. “Oh and Caly remember when he walked in on us during that one time.. We um got drunk?”

Crow face hooves. “Now I am sorry if I seem to be mean when it comes to Blackjack. But have you have to admit she makes it very easy.” He chuckles. “Because she dressed as a jester once during a nightmare night.”

“Oh yeah, I remember that,” I said with a chuckle.

Go Fish sighed. “I remember that to.” She sighed. “Look Crow I am sorry for getting upset.”

Crow shrugged. “I understand perfectly.” He shifted into a ferret curling up. “I feel less scared now.”

“Good, but we’re far from out of the woods,” Calypso said as she finished making what she was making. “This should negate the curse placed on this building, but it won’t stop the spell. We’re still trapped here.”

“I think, we’re going to be okay,” I said with a soft smile as I looked back at the others. “We’re going to be just fine as long as we stick together.”

“As long as you all don’t start making out. I will not try to find a way out through the wall.” Crow laughed.

“I dunno, that might not be a bad thing, we’d get out of here sooner that way,” I said with a chuckle as I leaned in and gave Pure Heart a kiss on the lips.

Go Fish laughed. “Maybe it will help us get out of here sooner.”

“Or at least make the time less unpleasant,” Calypso added.

“We could be like the ponies of old and sing.” Crow smirked.

“What old song is that?” I asked with a chuckle.

“Hmm why not just a simple song that we all sing hmm?” Crow chuckled. “I have seen some ponies still do it.”

We all just laughed a little. I wrapped my wing gently around Pure Heart as Calypso painted something over the carving from before.

“What does that mean?” Pure asked.

“Sanctuary,” Calypso said with a smile. “It will keep us safe, I hope.”

I nodded and relaxed a little. I hoped she was right, but for now, I just wanted to spend time with my friends.

Crow curled up around my leg and fell asleep.

00000

True to Calypso’s word, as night fell outside the doors opened, but we remained inside the old town hall. We set up our weapons just in case the, thing tried to go for us in here even though Calypso was pretty sure it wouldn’t.

I sighed as I looked out the window towards the ruins of the town around us. “I don’t see anything out there yet, what are we even looking for?”

Go Fish looked to Calypso. “Please tell me we will be alright.” She had a great deal of fear in her voice.

“It will be alright,” Calypso said as she wrapped her wings around Go Fish reassuringly. “It won’t come in here. But it will try and lure us out, we have to do everything we can to make sure we stay in this building until dawn.”

“Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be getting much sleep tonight,” Pure said.

“So it will try to use something in our lives to well bring us out?” Crow asked he finally woke back up. “Alright how do we know when it will try?”

“It will sound like loved ones, but it won’t be, normal,” Calypso said with a shake of her head. “It will try and lure us out by mimicking their voices. If you see one, they’re, not normal, they can look like ponies or animals, but they don’t look normal. Like a dog that lacks a tail or black eyes.”

“Yep, definitely not sleeping tonight,” Pure said as she shivered a little while I wrapped my wing around her gently.

Go Fish shook but she tried to stay strong of course it was easy to see that she was about to scream.

“Shhh, it’s going to be okay Fishy,” Calypso said as she held the grey Pegasus close to her. “I’ll keep you safe, I’ll keep us all safe. We don’t have anything to worry about.”

I shivered a little. It was ironic really, I had run headlong into battle when I shouldn’t have, but right now this was what scared me the most. Not just the Skinwalker out there, the fact that I could lose one or more of my friends.

I knew that I had to keep them safe, no matter what. I looked over at Calypso and gave her a nod which she returned.

“We’re going to make it,” I said with a tone of finality in my voice. “We’re not going to let that, thing get at at us. We’re stronger than any creature out there.”

“ Slithis. ” A voice softly said and the Changelings ears looking around. Crow looked around he looked like he knew that voice. “Oh Slithis come home love.. The eggs need you.”

“What’s going on?” I asked as I looked around. “Who’s Slithis?”

“Oh Slithis please come home.. We need you my love.” Crow looked very scared and looked around with a great deal of fear. “We all need you Slithis.”

“Crow, don’t listen to it, it's trying to fool you,” Calypso said. “It’s not really them, they’re just trying to trick you!”

“Slithis my love.. Please come home to us.” Crow broke down sobbing holding his legs over his head.

“No you died! I saw it... I saw them kill you!” Crow sobbed loudly

“Please come home father.” A younger voice sounded.

Pure stepped forward and placed her hoof on Crow’s shoulder. “Crow… it’s going to be okay, they’re not really there. You’re strong enough to work through this, I know you are, I’ve seen it.”

Crow sobbed softly. “I saw them.. All die in the hooves of raiders. So young… All that is left is memories.”

Pure hugged him gently as she held him close to her. “I know Crow, but you need to hold onto the good memories. Don’t let that thing out there use your memories against you and you’ll be fine.”

Crow slowly calmed down. “Thank you.. Pure. I guess I would have to face it sooner or later.” He sniffed nuzzling into Pure, hugging her tightly

I smiled a little, Pure really did have a good heart and I was glad that she was able to help him. I noticed that the voices were gone and I moved towards the window again and looked outside. For a moment, I swear I saw something moving but before I could get to my rifle it was gone, I thought I saw a pair of antlers but the town was empty..

“It’s definitely out there, and its close,” I said as I looked back at them. “Stay on your guard, and don’t trust your ears.”

Go Fish chuckled weakly. “At this time I wish I didn’t learn the past of somepony from these things.”

“I will explain after we get out of here.” Crow said with a growl. “This creature is something else.”

“Yeah, definitely,” I said with a shiver as I took out some binoculars as I scanned the town. “Remind me to get a sniper rifle if we ever find a town that’s not overrun and sells guns.”

“Noted,” Pure said as she released Crow after a moment. “Do you see anything out there?”

“No, I don’t…” I said as my eyes fell on a shape. When I managed to focus on it I fell back, standing down on the other side of the street was a golden Unicorn mare with a white mane and a metal spine and wings. “No… No… it can’t be… why would they…”

“Serenity what’s wrong?” Crow asked.

“Serenity…” A mare’s voice echoed from around us, a mare’s voice I knew all too well even if I hadn’t heard it in years. “Why do you hide away from me Serenity? It’s been so long since I saw you my little pony, don’t you want to see me again?”

That voice, it didn’t seem normal, but it was one I would never forget. The pony it belonged to had died a few years back, and it had taken the help of Pure Heart and my friends to get me out of it.

The voice of Vanilla Cream, my adopted mother.

Go Fish blinked. “Serenity.” She quickly stood up wrapping her wings around me. Crow hissed in anger yelling aload.

“Damn you creature! Stop this!” Crow yelled in a hissing voice his tongue sprawling out.

“Serenity, its going to be okay,” Pure Heart said as she moved in close and hugged me. “Tune it out, don’t listen to it.”

“I’ve been waiting for you for so long, why did you leave me Serenity?” The distorted abomination of my mother’s voice said again. “You were such a wild child, you weren’t even there when..”

“SHUT UP!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “YOU AREN’T HER, YOU WEREN’T THERE! I WAS THERE, I HELD HER HOOF WHEN SHE TOOK HER LAST BREATH! YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER YOU ABOMINATION AGAINST ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD!”

Tears streamed down my face as I said those words. I hated to admit it, and I would never admit it to my friends, but part of me wanted it to be her. Part of me wanted her to really be out there so I could run into her waiting forelegs and into her embrace.

I had to remind myself that it wasn’t her, that it couldn’t be her no matter how much I wished it. My eyes stung with the years as I squeezed them closed, trying to block out anything that came from the creature.

“We are here for you Serenity your mother was a wonderful mare.” Go Fish nuzzled into me. Crow did the same.

“I may have never met her face to face at the time. But I am sure she was..” Crow at least tried to be kind.

“I was a terrible daughter to her…” I said softly as I shuddered. “I was always getting into trouble and ran off to fight the Changelings when I shouldn’t have. We were lucky to have the good times together we did before… before she died…”

“Serenity, calm down,” Pure said gently as she gently pulled me close to her chest. “She loved you anyway, she loved you no matter what mistakes you made. Isn’t that true?”

“Yes,” I said and sniffed a little. “I just…”

“You’re stronger than you think Serenity.” Go Fish softly said.

“She doesn’t want you to remember her like this,” Pure Heart said as she nuzzled me gently. I sighed sadly as I rest my head on the Unicorn’s chest.

I felt as helpless as a newborn foal. Even knowing what had been out there, I had let it get to me, I had gotten angry at it. But the experience had broken me, it wasn’t easy to have lost her, especially because I had been by her side when it happened.

“I’m sorry mom…” I said softly as I shivered a little and closed my eyes as I cried more. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be a better daughter…”

“Oh Serenity. I wish I c..” Go Fish ears perk up as she looked around. “I don’t hear anything anymore”

“Oh little Go Fish.” A stallions voice sounded out.

“No….” Go Fish started to shake. “I have to get out of here!”

“Oh come on no use hiding. Be a good little spawn of that worthless mare and come out like a good girl.” Go Fish spread her wings and started to fly into the air looking for a way out.

“No.. He found me!!”

“Go Fish!” Calypso said as she tackled the other Pegasus to the ground. “Don’t do it, use that space between your ears for once!”

“Oh Go Fish come out. Do you want your mother to face punishment if you don’t?” Go Fish shook so much whatever or whoever this was scared the living Celestia out of her.

“Fishy, shh, calm down,” Calypso said as she held Go Fish down. “Its okay, he’s not going to get us again. Remember, he was thrown in prison for kidnapping and other war crimes? He’s not here, he’s not going to hurt you or anypony ever again.”

Go Fish sobbed nuzzling into Calypso. “I dream of him… almost every night sometimes… I wish I could have be braver and stayed in hiding.”

“Fishy, do you remember what happened?” Calypso asked softly. “You jumped out to try and save me when they came for us. You did everything you could to protect me because you thought they wanted just me. You set aside your own fear to protect your best friend, you were brave that night, braver than anypony I’ve known.”

Go Fish nodded weakly standing up spreading her wings out. “Leave us alone!! Calypso and I finally have a wonderful life away from you and the others. I even talked to the stallion that took us. He was only following orders he never wished to hurt me or Calypso!!”

Calypso put her wing around Go Fish as the sound of the stallion’s voice faded away. She rested her head on the grey Pegasus’ shoulder before she leaned up and gave her a long kiss on the lips.

“My hero,” she finally said after breaking the kiss.

“I try... Who would be...” Go Fish looked over to Pure heart.

“Yeah… Pure you’re the only one left given that Go Fish’s kind of doubled as both her’s and Calypso’s,” I said as I held the Unicorn close for a moment. “This thing has to be getting desperate at this point, we have to be careful,”

“Right,” Pure said as she snuggled with me a little. “But I’ve got all of you right here by my side, I’ll be fine… I hope.”

“Alright, be on your guard,” Calypso said. “We don’t know…”

“Pure Heart,” a new voice echoed, this one was a stallion’s voice that I didn’t recognize as Pure Heart’s ears suddenly perked up. “You’ve become so grown up Pure Heart. Why don’t you come give your old man a hug?”

“No… please anypony but that,” Pure Heart said softly as she buried her face into my chest fur as I wrapped my wings around her gently.

“What’s wrong kiddo? Aren’t you happy to see your dad again?” The distorted stallion’s voice asked. “Come on, I’m not gonna bite. You’re my little girl, you don’t know how long I’ve waited to see you again.”

Go Fish stood back looking to Calypso. “Pure I’m sure if he was who he was he would be proud of you.” She softly said.

“Just come out here, let me see you for myself,” the voice that had to be of Pure’s father said. “And bring your little friends out too, I’d like to meet them.”

But as he spoke the voice became more and more distorted. It became deeper and then more voices started to join it, some that we had heard before others were ones we had never heard before.

“Its losing its hold,” Calypso said as she gave me a nod. “Serenity, Crow, you two are the best shots. Keep an eye out, don’t listen to anything its saying, we’re going to have to be careful but the night is almost over.”

I nodded a little and moved in and readied my rifle as Crow did the same. I kept a close eye out for anything that might be coming towards us.

“Crow she needs you!!” It was the voice of watcher. “She is laying here.. Dying come out and save her.”

“Crow.” Crow’s eyes open wide tears streaming down his face shaking his head. “Please come out and save me.”

Crow yelled in pain. “No she is dead. She died.. Giving birth.. I can’t watch that again!!”

“Serenity, come on out, I just want to see my filly again,” Vanilla’s voice said again as the voices continued to echo.

“No, I’m not going to listen to you…” I said as I looked around and finally spotted it, and when I did a chill ran up and down my spine.

It looked vaguely like a pony or maybe a zebra. Only it was more, unnatural, almost skin and bones with no tail. It had torn antlers on its head and looked at us with hollow eyes.

“There, there it is!” I said and raised my rifle and fired several shots at it. “You’re not taking my friends you freak!”

Crow lifted his rifle and fired. “You will not use my families voices again!!”

There was a loud scream, one that sounded unnatural but at the same time almost like a pony as the creature seemed to melt into the ground. I lowered my rifle and let out a sigh of relief.

“Is it dead?” I asked and looked back at Calypso.

“Not really, but it will take time to come back,” Calypso said with a shake of her head. “It would require a Shaman to cleanse this town of the creature. And I’m afraid I’m not qualified to do that, but for now we should be okay.”

“Oh that was… wait... Calypso you kissed me and called me your hero does that mean?” Go Fish looked at Calypso.

“Well, umm…” Calypso said and rubbed the back of her head a little. “I was… oh who am I kidding, Go Fish, I love you, I’ve always loved you.”

“Duh…” Go Fish just stared at her. Her grey face turning bright red.

“Oh for the love of!!” Crow smacked Go Fish over the head.

“OW! I love you too…”

“About time you two admitted it,” I said with a chuckle and shook my head as I went and shut the door to the town hall. “You’re cute together and its been obvious since we met you two.”

“I thought we did tell each other we cared for each other on the boat.. But I think it wasn’t good enough.” Go Fish had a smile form on her face. “ But why did it have to be this place of insanity to finally hear it?”

“Well now that is over.” Crow said trying to get the rest of us to ignore what we heard it seems. “Shall we rest?”

“Crow, we’re going to have to talk about your past at some point,” I said with a sigh as I made sure the door was secure and then laid out the bedroll for me and Pure Heart to share. “But I think we could all use a good night’s sleep after all of that.”

Crow sighed he rolled out his own bedroll and lay on it. Go Fish did the same and lay on it to give space for Calypso.

Calypso smiled as she laid down next to Go Fish and snuggled up to her as she gently draped her wing over the grey Pegasus. She leaned in and whispered something in her ear and then nuzzled her gently.

Go Fish’s face turned bright red and lay her head down closing her eyes.

I just chuckled a little and snuggled with Pure Heart as I closed my eyes. “Good night Pure, I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” Pure said as we drifted off to sleep together.

00000

“Serenity…” A soft voice said from around me as my eyes opened, I found myself in a white void. “Serenity, it’s time to wake up.”

“Who’s there?” I asked as I looked around, was this the Skinwalker coming back to get me? “Who are you? I swear, if you’re Discord and you say I’m dead and you are God, we are going to have words.”

A form appeared before me and my eyes went wide. It had the same golden fur and white mane as before, but it didn’t have the same cybernetic implants. She gave me a kind smile as she opened her forelegs as if waiting for a hug.

“Mom, is that really you?” I asked softly as I looked around, half expecting it to be a trap.

“Yeah, it’s really me,” Vanilla said with a sad smile. “I saw what happened with the Skinwalker so I don’t blame you for being uneasy. What can I do to prove that it’s really me and not another imposter?”

I paused a moment, it would have to be something only she and I would know. The Skinwalker seemed to know our fears and anxieties, but it didn’t know a lot of the details. Go Fish and Calypso had taken advantage of that with their encounter.

“When I was 6, you and I got into a fight and then I tried to run away,” I said softly. “You had just told me I was adopted. When you and the others found me, what did you tell me after I had calmed down and come out of hiding?”

“That it didn’t matter if I adopter you or gave birth to you,” Vanilla answered with a smile. “Because you were my daughter and I loved you no matter what and that was never going to change.”

I started to cry as I ran over and hugged Vanilla tightly. She smiled a little as she hugged back and cradled me gently in her forelegs. I buried my muzzle in her chest as I let the tears flow out, there was no doubt in my mind that this was her.

She started to sing, a tune from my childhood that she had always sung to me but one I hadn’t heard in years.

“Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.”

“But, how are you here?” I asked. “Or, is this all a dream?”

“No, I’m really here,” Vanilla said as she gave me a soft smile. “This town you’re in, the veil between the living and the dead is incredibly thin. It makes it possible to visit from Elysium, and after what happened I felt like you needed a little mother daughter time.”

“Mom, I’m so sorry…” I said softly. “I tried to make up for everything I did when I was young in the time we had left but, it feels like I didn’t even come close. I was such a terrible daughter, that thing felt so real, like it was really you and I wanted to run off to see it.”

“Shhh, Serenity, calm down,” Vanilla said as she hugged me. “What happened in the past can’t be changed, but I want you to know one thing. I’m proud of you, I’ve always been proud of you even if I wished you wouldn’t run off. You’ve grown into a fine young mare.”

“You’ve really been watching me?” I asked.

“It’s the nature of Elysium,” Vanilla said with a smile. “I wanted to make sure that you’re safe and happy. You’ve got a nice and loving marefriend, friends who have your back, and you’re on a grand adventure. I’m almost envious of that last part, but I know that you’re going to do fine, and you’ve already made me prouder of you than you could ever imagine.”

“I still wish you were here though…” I said softly as I hugged her more. “I wish you could be here to see everything we’re doing.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll always be there,” Vanilla said. “And I’m going to make you a promise. If you and Pure Heart ever tie the knot, somehow, someway, I will be there for it.”

“Thank you,” I said softly as I hugged her. “Thank you for everything you ever did for me, you were the best mom I could’ve asked for.”

“There are two more ponies who want to talk to you,” Vanilla said as she released the hug and gave me a smile. “I love you Serenity, just keep being yourself and you’re going to be just fine.”

“Wait, who else wants to…” I said and stopped as two more figures came into view.

One of them was a golden Pegasus mare with a long red mane and green eyes. The other was a grey Pegasus stallion with a short cropped brown mane and red eyes.

I recognized them immediately, Winter had given me a picture of them during the last days of the Enclave War. Tears started to well up in my eyes again, even if I had never known them, I recognized them for who they were.

My mom and dad.

“Hey Serenity,” the mare said as she offered me a hoof. “I know you don’t remember us, but when Vanilla told us about everything that was happening, we wanted a chance to talk to you ourselves.

“I’ll leave you three alone,” Vanilla said as she started to back off a little. “Harmony, Highwind, this is your moment with Serenity not mine.”

“Don’t be silly,” the stallion, Highwind said with a soft smile. “Vanilla, you raised Serenity as if she was your own daughter. You don’t have anything to worry about, you’re as much a part of our family as anypony else.”

“Yeah,” I finally said as I gave her a smile. “Thank you, this means more to me than you can imagine.”

“We’re glad to see you’ve grown up into a brave young mare,” Harmony said as she pulled me into a hug. “Now, what’s this about running off to the Dragon Lands with your friends?”

“And who’s this Pure Heart pony, should we be worried about that?” Highwind asked.

I chuckled lightly at that as I hugged her back. “We’re doing this because we want to do this as friends. As for Pure Heart, well, she helped me get through a tough time in my life and it moved from there. She’s an amazing mare and she loves me as much as much as I love her.”

“Well, that’s good enough for me,” Harmony said with a chuckle as she looked at Highwind. “What do you think honey, should we go visit her in her dreams next?”

“Well, she is dating our daughter,” Highwind said with a chuckle. “But, what about the Changeling though, Crow right? Do you think he can be trusted after everything that’s happened with the Changelings?”

“Yes,” I said without hesitation. “He’s a good Changeling and has been through a lot in his life. He just wants to keep others safe and is here to protect us, I would trust him with my life and I already have. He’s not a problem.”

“Yeah, he seems fine to me,” Vanilla said with a smile.

“Alright Serenity, take care of yourself out there,” Highwind said as he ruffled my mane a little. “You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, just make sure you don’t let yourself get into trouble again okay? We’ll always be watching you.”

“I love you, all of you,” I said with a sigh as I hugged the three of them tightly, tears of happiness were streaming down my face. “I’m so glad I finally got to see you.”

“We’re glad too,” Harmony said with a soft smile. “You’re our daughter, all of our daughter. We’re proud of you and everything you and your friends are doing, we’ve never been prouder of our daughter.”

“Even though I went to war?” I asked.

“You did it because you thought it was the right thing to do,” Highwind said with a shake of his head. “Even if you shouldn’t have done it, we’re proud of your reasons.”

“Now, get out there and find this treasure you’re looking for,” Vanilla said with a grin. “Keep making us proud.”

“I will,” I said with a weak smile as I gave them one last hug before the world around me went white as I returned to reality.

00000

The rest of the night passed without event as we woke up the next morning. I yawned a little and stretched out as I gave the sleeping Pure Heart a gentle kiss on the forehead. She yawned a little as she woke up and gave me a smile.

“Good morning Serenity,” she said with a smile as she snuggled up under my wing.

“Morning Pure,” I said as I pulled her in closer to me. “How’d you sleep?”

“Pretty good, other than a couple of ponies that said they’re your parents visiting me,” Pure Heart said with a yawn which just made me chuckle. “Reminded me a bit of what my moms put you through.”

I laughed a little at that. “Come on, we should make breakfast before Go Fish wakes up and gets desperate for food again.”

“Crow please speak…” Crow shoved Go Fish away from a moment hissing at her in anger. His bug faced looked drenched in tears. Go Fish backed away gulping and looking to Calypso with a worried look.

“Come on Crow, it’s time to get up,” Pure said as she walked over to the sleeping Changeling. “This isn’t the time to sleep in, we’re already falling behind.”

Crow stared at her he wanted to scream at her. I could tell whatever visited him hit him hard. “I have to see them again… I have to speak to them.” He said in a strained voice.

“Crow, I understand, I saw it too last night,” I said as I realized what he was seeing. “But they wouldn’t want you to spend all your time like this. They’d want you to keep going.”

“Please tell us.. Crow..please?” Go Fish begged.

“I…” Crow looked at me. “You’re not going to let me get away with saying what I don’t want to are you?”

“Crow, you don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to,” I said with a sigh. “But I think it would help you if you did tell us.”

Crow sighed and hissed softly. “Alright.” He stood up and rolled up his bed roll. “My name name is Slithis. I was a guard of the hive that I lived in and protected our queen. I fell in love with one of her nurses. It was kind of forbidden in a way the love of a guard and a nurse.” He sighed putting his bag on his back.

“Before I go on do you have any questions?” He asked

We shook our heads a little. “Just keep going,” I said.

“Well like I told Pure Heart. I went behind the Queen’s wishes and well did the pony way and married her. We changed ourselves into ponies and got married. Then…” He looked away. “The war happen. The Queen picked only a few of us to be frozen in a strange bubble to save us. She picked me and my family along with others. Then all I remember is that fateful time boom. I woke up with them years later and learned our home was now a raider base. My children were killed and eaten right in front of me.”

He looked away starting to sob.

Me and Pure hugged him gently. “It’s going to be okay Crow, we’re here for you, we’ll always be here for you,” I said softly. “You’re part of our family now, we all are, right you two?”

“Yeah,” Calypso said with a smile. “One crazy family, but you’re with us.”

Go Fish tried to find something to say with respect. “What was the Scotch like back then?”

“Calypso slap her for me please.” Crow asked

“Fishy, you’re not helping,” Calypso said with a roll of her eyes as she smacked the back of Go Fish’s head.

“OW! Okay sorry I mean.. What happen to your mate?” Go Fish asked.

Crow sighed. “The spell didn’t work to well for her so when the spell ended she was already dead. I went on the run for along time looking for a meal and I mutated a bit to being able to eat meat. Then one fateful day I was found by a flying robot named Watcher. He named me and well asked me to help him. By spying on those he wanted me to watch. Well here I am.”

“Well, we’re glad to have you,” I said and looked at the others who nodded in agreement. “Our group wouldn’t be the same without you.”

“Thank you.” Crow nodded. “It wasn’t easy for me.”

“Well I’m glad you could open up,” Pure said with a smile. “So, how about you help me with breakfast and we get going out of creepsville?”

“Oh I would be happy to. I have everything ready.” He nodded putting all the spices and herbs on the ground.

I smiled as they started making the food. After we finished eating we headed out and left the abandoned town behind.

We had a lot of time to make up for, and it was time to get back on the road.

LEVEL UP!

Perk Received: Family Ties.
Details: You’ve gotten closure on your family thanks to an unexpected source of help as well as formed bonds with your companions. You get an extra boost to damage dealt while fighting with your friends.