• Member Since 30th Jan, 2012
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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


It was supposed to be a routine visit to Ponyville-- as if there's anything such as 'routine' for Lieutenant Flash Sentry (HERO OF EQUESTRIA). But, as always, things soon take a turn for the worse as Sentry finds himself facing stunning news-- as well as yet another ridiculously dangerous mission in a strange and exotic land. Only this time, how will he fare without the help of Special Agent Golden Harvest?

Volume 6 of the Flash Sentry Papers.

Chapters (9)
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Comments ( 84 )

duh duh duuuuuuh...

Woo-hoo! :pinkiehappy:

A Golden Harvest presentation!

Where is the footnote indicated by the star in the letter to Flash at the beginning of the chapter?

9028128

Oops! Thanks for catching that. Went ahead and added it in. I was on the fence on whether or not I wanted to include it due to formatting, but hey, more footnotes is always good, right?

Ri2
Ri2 #6 · July 6th · · · Chapter 1 ·

Right. Clearly this is a letter from an enemy who's managed to somehow subdue and capture Golden Harvest and is trying to keep Flash away. Alternately she's up to something REALLY dangerous and needs him away from it. No way this is legit.

Right?

I have the feeling that Flash is going to do something very stupid, very regretable, and very, very heroic.

Of course, I repeat myself.

Eagerly looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

“You opened my mail? Isn't that illegal?”

And?

I know my students could learn a lot about bravery and loyalty from a pony like you.

All of that would come later.

Naturally.

“As soon as we get back to the school?” Princess Twilight said with an embarrassed grin. “I don't mean to impose, but we've run into a ... few snags, that's all. Rainbow Dash waited 'til the last minute to get the right clouds into place for her stunt flying demonstration, and then Fluttershy had that problem with the basket full of weasels, and long story short is we need somepony to talk to the students to fill in the gap in the schedule. Which is fine because I know you're a responsible pony and you've already used all that time you had on the train ride over to write your speech out on little notecards, haven't you?”

Nope.

On the one hoof, it was entirely gratifying to see my overinflated reputation being promulgated by the likes of the Princess of Friendship herself. On the other hoof, it didn't look like I was going to score any free drinks out of it.

Let's see you bullshit your way out of this one, you're gonna have to roll a Natural fucking 20.

I heard Princess Twilight's gasp from the side of the stage, and took it as a good sign. Before she could cut my microphone, I continued. “I don't like talking about what I've done to earn these medals--” I puffed out my chest a bit, letting the light glint from the ribbons pinned to my dress uniform. “But I will say that each and every one of them was earned through my own sweat, my own blood ... and my own love of Equestria. I never set out to become a 'Hero of Equestria,' as the saying goes-- rather, I'm just a simple soldier, doing his job. Doing a job that, with any luck, none of you will have to do in the future, as you go on to make the world a better, brighter place. In the meanwhile, though, I'll still be out there, standing between you and the sort of thing that would make your blood run cold. So keep studying, and keep working for a better future, and hopefully you'll never have to worry about an angry dragon trying to take a bite out of your--”

Holy shit you DID roll a Nat 20.

But then again, even I'm not enough of a bastard to tell a child 'well kiddo, I've made a career of killing your family, so try not to invade Equestria or else I may have to dismember you.'

Good. Because Ocellus is precious, and sweet and you are not to harm her.

I'm leaving you, Sentry. It'll be better for the both of us.

OK? This is weird.

I was going to get very, very drunk.

So, average Tuesday for you.

Not even Flash is, in his rare optimistic moments, naive enough to believe the letter is anything but a ploy not by Carrot, but by an enemy. After all there's simply no way he'd never get involved with world shaking shenanigans again, abd Carrot is his eternal handler in those.

But then again, he might see it as a "go wild for a week or so, I'm busy doing things not involving you. For once."

And, sure enough, the Purple Princess of Friendship stood at the station, waiting for yours truly. apped me gently

Looks like you accidentally a word or two.

Political hostages make too much damn sense if you view the show as Hasbro propaganda, which it is. And ever since reading the Agent of SMILE book I just treat this and that as real canon

Don't look for me.

Of course he is;

I was going to get very, very drunk.

Alcoholism notwithstanding.

So we know they're going to end up back together somehow...

But how?

9028539
It better not be, or I'm flipping a table.

That's not glimmer!

This chapter becomes a lot more fun when you just imagine a drunk guy playing with his twilight's Castle playset

With that, I finished my cider, paid my tab, and then set out for Princess Twilight's castle.

Oh dear.

But there I was, balanced at that precise state of intoxication to get into the maximum amount of trouble. I can't help but find this to be something of a metaphor for my life in general.

You aren't wrong.

“You do?” Even in my booze-addled state, I realized the trap-- one that I could hardly bolt out of, either.

As per usual.

“My friend has been traveling the world, keeping in touch with me via letter ... until recently. I started making a few subtle inquiries about it-- and I only got a letter confirming my fears an hour ago: my friend's gone missing. Which could mean that something terrible has happened to her ... or it could mean that she turned evil again. I wish I could go look for her myself, but I just can't. I mean, I'm fairly certain my School of Friendship could run without me, but-- and this is a big but –if my friend really did turn evil, and somepony like Chancellor Neighsay found out ... accreditation or no, he'd find a way to close my school. And maybe he'd be right.” Princess Twilight sniffled.

Methinks Tempest Shadow.

“Her name is Tempest Shadow.”

No notes from Twilight-from-the-future?

9033581

Hey now, I'd appreciate it if you didn't give away my secret writing techniques.

Ah. And so we have our hook. Though I can't say I fully follow Twilight's logic regarding Neighsay. Seems to me Tempest's current moral state has no bearing on whether he'd pounce on the School of Friendship. Still, looking forward to more.

Juicy! Specially when the one in question could most certainly wipe the floor with sentry. Or maybe even Carrot :twilightoops:

Comment posted by Nopetrain deleted July 10th

How convenient, a character outside of the show's focus. This gun' be good.

Ooh! Tempestpop Berryshadow, huh? This should be fun.

Man I hope this ends in a fight between Carrot Top and Fizzlepop.

9033581 Is there anything in life that doesn't become funnier if you imagine a drunken man playing with a Twilight Castle Playset?

9034476 "Oh Tumbleweed!" I cry.

"Seeing as how you are the best at writing ponies, how do you plan to write Tempest Shadow?"

Well now. Best Pony just provided quite the intriguing wrinkle. It looks like there'll be quite a bit of butting heads in Cowloon, and given the jagged remains of Tempest's horn, that's even more dangerous than usual.

Also, I can't help but wonder if Twilight subconsciously recognizes the bit of narrativium that marks Flash as a hapless protagonist. Enough exposure to Pinkie Pie is bound to have some effects.

Looking forward to more, especially since we have something resembling context for the cover image.

(Oh, and bit of a hiccup: Twilight puts saddlebags on Flash's back twice.)

"At least she used to.”

Carrot Top's letter was obviously one of those "I'm in a lot of trouble and want you to stay way so you don't get hurt" kind of letters. But the sad fact is that Flash would never write such a letter or think it made sense to do so, thus that thought simply doesn't occur to him.

But on top of that, I've packed binoculars, rope, a first aid kit, matches-- standard kit, as my brother would say. Oh! And there's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the bottom, in case you get hungry. Hope you like raspberry. You do like raspberry, don't you?

Nooooo! Twilight, you fool! Don't put it on the bottom, it'll get squashed! :raritydespair:

So we're starting to get clues. There's five venoms who are presumably friendly in some way, you know what else there's five of? Five letters in Flash, Carrot, Ditzy and Cutie, but that's four, like the letter! This mystery is coming right along folks.

9041579

Carrot has six letters, dude.

Wow. What is it about Ditzy/Derpy that makes her interactions so heartwarming/wrenching?

Ri2

9041624
It's what makes her the most beloved pony in the fandom.

9041607
D'oh! Back to the drawing board... but wait! Goldy has 5 letters and that is presumably Carrot Top's nickname (unless it's Goldie). In any case it was probably Chrysalis' fault or should we say Chrys? Alright, that's five, turn off the light guys we got this one in the bag.

Even still, Tempest Shadow sounded like exactly the sort of pony that I wanted nothing to do with.

I do not blame you.

“That's probably for the best.” I said, even as visions of exploding umbrellas or switchblade sunglasses and other such devices of impractical mayhem danced through my head. “I never needed much beyond my own hooves anyway.”

That's fair.

Or, if something had killed Tempest Shadow already, there'd be no bringing her back-- not to mention I wanted nothing to do with anything formidable enough to put the likes of Tempest Shadow in the ground.

That is also fair.

Why, this whole thing would practically be a vacation

Oh you poor optimistic stallion.

CANTERLOT CLINK CAN'T CONTAIN CONVICTED KILLER, CUTIE CUE!

Oh.

“It's about Carrot Top.” Ditzy Do looked up at me, eyes (well, eye) pleading.

Oh NOW what?

“I'm sorry, Ditzy.” In contrast to most of the apologies I've given over the years, I meant it. “I ... I've got no idea where she's gone. She could be halfway across the world by now, if she caught an airship or a boat out of Manehattan like I did. But ... Carrot Top can handle herself. And if she doesn't want to be found, well ... she doesn't want to be found. I wouldn't even know where to look.”

He has a point, you know.

"At least she used to.”

Poor guy...

How did Cutie Cue end up in a regular prison? Carrot Top had to have told her superiors that Cutie was a fully trained assassin even better than her in a fight. One of her superiors is Lu... ahem L. Surely she can pull some strings to get somepony that dangerous locked up somewhere that can actually handle Cutie rather than stand by and wait for ordinary prison guards to get killed?

Reference to Sherlock Holmes, Five Orange Pips? Fits with the story title, strange letters etc.

9043028

It's also:

A reference to an old martial arts film that I've never seen.

Mike

9043305

You should remedy this! Oldschool Shaw Bros. movies are a delight, particularly the work of Chang Cheh. Netflix used to have a bunch of them for streaming, but then they took them down for some inexplicable reason.

Namely, both nations claim the island city of Cowloon belongs to the other.

This much reversal made me lose it :rainbowlaugh:

Daaaaaaaaaaamn! Now that is one hell of a cliffhanger. Ooh, it must be one of the venoms!

Ah, I get it now. Carrot Top is one of the five venoms. As is Tempest Shadow and, I'll wager, Cutie Cue. (I've never seen the movie, so apologies if that was supposed to be obvious from the start).

Thankfully the voyage of the Mistmane's Maid was completely uneventful. Some of the crew even made a few comments about how pleasant the weather was.

Always good.

Theoretically, I supposed one of the Princesses could bring her in, what, with the cosmic magic of immortality and all, but they typically had better things to do.

True.

That's when Tempest Shadow walked in.

Naturally.

Instead, Tempest Shadow left the money-- and, after exchanging a few terse words with the bartender, turned to stalk out of the bar, and into the night beyond.

Wonder what she's up to?

Not that I blamed them, of course, but I surmised that Tempest Shadow had been in town long enough to make a name for herself.

No doubt.

And that, I decided, was my cue to run.

Smart.

“You must be Golden Harvest.” Tempest Shadow said, and wiped a trickle of blood from her nose. “I expected you to be taller.”

“You did!” I blurted. “And I didn't! Would you believe this entire escapade is just one awful coincidence after another?”

“I ... would, actually.” Carrot Top groaned, and rubbed the bridge of her nose.

His life is just that insane.

“I didn't want you to watch me die.”

Beg pardon?

Flash is cursed to live in interesting times. Truly, he is Murphy's chewtoy. Still, I have to wonder how Tempest would've reacted if he'd been able to truthfully and intelligibly answer her question. (Also, brilliant interrogation technique, Fizzlepop. Nothing gets answers out of a pony quite like a concussion.)

(it goes without saying Cowloon had a designated weather patrol, the barbarians)

I feel like this is missing some words somewhere, because I'm not processing it as is.

In any case, looking forward to more.

9052892
I know you meant the MLP movie, but this talk of film and venoms has me thinking of Kill Bill. I'm not saying there's a mother out on a quest for vengeance, but we do seem to be dealing with a close-knit band of assassins.

Or I'm completely off the mark. :derpytongue2:

9053367

I know you meant the MLP movie,

No, I meant this one: Five Deadly Venoms. Which, I assume, was the inspiration for this tale we're reading.

9053808
Oh. Huh. Well, that puts an entirely different spin on things, doesn't it?

That last line hit me as hard as Tempest Shadow hit Flash

You can basically play this sound anywhere and it works

“Of course you didn't.” The corner of Carrot Top's mouth turned up in the barest hint of a grin. “I won't bore you with my whole life story-- the important part is that I would never be Golden Harvest if I didn't meet Master Zhi.”

Who?

“Master Zhi died of natural causes.” Carrot Top paused, thinking. “Probably. He died in his sleep, either way. I didn't come here to avenge him.”

Oh, that's good.

“No.” Carrot Top said, flatly. “Nobody dies at the funeral. It's ... what comes later I'm afraid of.”

Of course.

“Master Zhi's students will fight to determine which of us will be his successor. I ... I don't know if I can win.” Carrot Top looked down into her bowl of noodles and let out a wistful sigh. Bit by bit, her bravado ebbed away.

That, isn't good.

“It's not just bragging rights, Sentry. Whoever succeeds Master Zhi will have access to the Manual of 36 Hooves-- a book full of secret, deadly techniques.

Aren't martial arts supposed to be for self defense.

“I'm serious.” I said. “You should know, more than anypony, that the only thing I'm good at-- really, the only thing I'm good for – is staying alive in the most insanely dangerous of situations. So just stick close to me, and I'll ... I'll think of something.”

He has a point, his luck is a hell of a thing.

I'll spare you the details.

Quite.

At that, Orange Sky looked over his shoulder at a familiar-looking mare with a familiar-looking glare. I recognized her face in an instant, even though I knew her by another alias: Cutie Cue.

Oh dear.

She was gorgeous and she knew it, which made her dangerous. Then again, I figured just about every pony at that funeral (save myself) was ludicrously dangerous, so at least she was pleasant to look at.

Smart stallion.

I admit-- though the more sensible parts of my brain reminded me that, as one of Master Zhi's students, Silken Lotus could easily kick me apart if she really wanted.

You're probably right.

“There's more to my job than babysitting you, Sentry.”

Fair.

“He wants to marry me.”

Aye, there's the catch.

So that's how Cutie Cue became a super assassin. Makes me realize that I never asked the same about Carrot. You'd think these five disciples are the venoms but they aren't very friendly.

Here's my guess (for once a real one). Through a bunch of hilariously dangerous shenanigans and misunderstandings they'll cooperate with Tempest Shadow to try and take the book. Cutie Cue and Silk whatever agree to cooperate but betray each other. Orange Sky keeps the book in the end, Tempest will keep on traveling, Carrot is in the military, the other two are evil. The four rectangles arranged in a spiral are the five venoms, the circle in the center being the fifth and secret one or something. The five friendly venoms is an ultimate technique within the school.

Ah. Well then. They may want to rethink trusting Tempest. At the very least, mentioning Twilight to her might help... in theory.

In any case, now that Master Zhi has been put to rest, things have officially gotten very complicated. Looking forward to seeing the opening volleys.

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