• Published 14th Aug 2018
  • 629 Views, 7 Comments

The long way around (Revised) - RisuUmbra

How an ending can also be a beginning all at the same time

  • ...

Chapter 16

Michael’s PoV:

An hour or two after Triton and I decided what our long term goal would be we made the choice to continue to the griffin kingdom and to pick up leads along the way so we can do what we want along the way. After we stopped talking we spent the rest of the trip eating the lunch Triton brought, it mostly consisted of fruits and dried meats but they tasted pretty good so it was okay and enough to hold us over. Appleoosa was in sight and off to the side I could see a large apple orchard meaning the problem with the buffaloes is already past which is good as I wanted no part in all of that drama, when we finished eating I went to use the bathroom on the train and when I returned Terren and Eagle were waiting for me in our booth.

“Good Morning you two” I greeted them with a smile and a wave which they reciprocated with a smile, I returned to my seat and this time Eagle sat next to me and Terren next to Triton.

“So where are you planning to go next?” Triton started off the conversation while also bringing out his map.

“Well there’s been some bounties on bandits based off near the Smoky Mountains so we’re gonna take a connecting train through ponyville to Tall Tale then travel back from there, what about you two?” Triton opened the map up and traced the path with his claw and nodded finding it acceptable then turning to me to help him answer the question.

“I guess we’re gonna go to Dodge City first and if nothing is there we’ll take a connecting train through Canterlot and around to Baltamare if possible” The plan seemed to satisfy the duo and they sat back and made small talk with each other while Triton and I did whatever to pass the time.

“Hey Triton, i’ve been wondering… how old are you?” Triton seemed grateful for the conversation and seemed to puff up his chest a bit in pride when he said.

“I just turned 16 in this passing June, I am now an adult in griffin culture” His age actually caught me off guard as I realized he’s younger than me.

“Wow, I didn’t expect you to be younger than me i’m 17” That seemed to deflate him a bit before he got over it and we shared a quick laugh over it, a lull entered out conversation as we thought about what to say next when I had a thought.

“Hey have you ever thought about getting a weapon?” That seemed to surprise him and he thought about it for a moment before replying.

“I’m not really a fan of carrying around a hunk of metal or wood so I usually stick to my fists and claws but if you have an idea i’m open to suggestions” He looked at me for a reply and I thought about how he fights. I only seen him fight a few times and even then it’s always been quick little takedowns and bouts so he’s pretty good with his claws that’s for sure so I just went for the obvious.

“Why don’t we save up to get you some metal gauntlets, I bet metal fists hurts more than flesh and bone” The idea seemed to intrigue Triton and he mulled it over then nodded along with it think it was a good idea. He was about to say something else when he was interrupted by the shrill sound of the train whistle and the jerking motion of the train slowing down, I looked up out of the window and saw we were pulling into the station much to my surprise and also to my mild confusion as the station was void of any civilians besides the crew working there but even they had an apprehensive look on their faces like they didn’t want to be there.

“Does this look odd to you too?” I pointed out the lack of a crowd which made the other three in the booth look out with me and search for anyone other than train workers which there wasn’t. I stood and put my effects back on which prompted the others to do the same, Terren and Eagle left the booth to go grab their things while Triton and I put our bags and weapons on. I walked out into the aisle and strided for the exit while stretching my legs at the same time, I stepped down out of the train and onto the station platform then took a quick glance around. The roads ahead of the station were completely empty I also noted how after a few seconds of looking a dry breeze blew by and blew a tumbleweed across the road and out of sight, I had a quick giggle at the cliche western moment before turning when I heard everyone following behind me.

“Let’s ask about travel times” Triton was still glancing around when he nodded back to me while Terren and Eagle were looking at me when they agreed, I strolled over to an unoccupied light blue unicorn mare who I assumed was working there by her train conductor hat and train cutie mark.

“Excuse me miss, do you know when the train leaves again” The mare was facing away from me when I spoke so when she went to respond she turned to look at me and froze on the spot and seemed to start shaking while she struggled to get the answer out.

“T-T-There’s a l-list of t-times over t-t-there s-s-sir” When she got the last word out she scurried back onto the train with her tail between her legs leaving me a bit confused at her reaction to me, the ponies at the last two towns didn’t have a problem with my appearance but now their skittish? I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and walked up to a wall that had a list of travel times on it and a analog clock next to it, the clock said it was around 11:45. I looked at the list and saw that the next train to Dodge City would leave in three days while the train up to ponyville would leave tomorrow as the longer trips had more priority which irked me a little but I got over it. I walked back to the group who had relocated to a nearby bench to wait for me.

“So good news is that the train to ponyville will be leaving tomorrow while our train for Dodge City will be leaving in three days as its closer and not as important so tomorrow might be where we part ways for now” The mention of parting seemed to sadden Terren judging by the low whining coming from him, even Eagle looked a bit more down compared to before. Triton seemed to pick up on their moods just like I did and tried to help.

“Hey cheer up you two it’s not like we’re gonna be gone forever, you’ll see us again and most likely with your sister in tow” That seemed to do the trick for Terren but I wasn’t sure for Eagle because she had put on an emotionless mask so I couldn’t tell so instead I pressed onto the next problem.

“Well next problem would be to either find a place to sleep for tonight or we can find out why this town is so dead” My ending statement made everyone take another glance around the empty streets for any signs of life but still came up with nothing, everyone stood and we set of into the town to look for some answers.

We started with the local tavern called the Salt Lick, we walked up to the building only for me to stop them when I realized something off.

“What’s up?” Triton seemed puzzled as to why I would stop them but trusted me enough to hear me out first before assuming anything while the other two just assumed I wanted to talk about something so they stopped and waited for me to say a line I always wanted to say.

“It’s quiet… too quiet” Triton actually seemed to get what I meant and squared his shoulders and readied himself for anything while Terren and I rested our respective hands and paws on our swords and Eagle pulled out her bow just in case. I slowly opened the swinging doors and walked inside, what greeted me was a dark and empty bar with only an earth pony bartender washing a glass. I reached back out of the door and signaled my friends that it’s all fine letting them drop their guard slightly and follow me inside. The sound of us entering seemed to scare the pony a bit make him almost drop the glass mug he was cleaning.

“W-well I wasn’t expecting any customers today or this month” He seemed to falter when he saw me and Triton but quickly recovered and kept talking, the mention of no customers for that long made me curious so I asked him about it.

“Why haven’t you had any customers lately?” I sat down at the bar as I asked my question and the others followed my lead and sat next to me.

“Ya haven’t heard? The whole towns on lockdown, there’s a murderer loose” The thought of there actually being a murderer in equestria caught me off guard for a bit but I recovered in a moment and gestured for him to continue speaking.

“Well I only know the general story that was told to us towns folk, but apparently the husband of a mare named Bright Dawn was found murdered in his home while the wife was out getting groceries. The husband was well known and always had a smile on his face so everyone knows it isn’t a suicide so someone must have done him in while his wife was out” I was listening close and it had my attention so I questioned further.

“Is he the only victim or is there others” The bar pony nodded and explained.

“There’s also a young griffin child that’s gone missing, a body hasn’t been found but after all this time he’s been declared dead that’s all I can give ya” I stared at him for a few moments which seemed to unnerve him slightly.

“Are you sure that’s all?” My stare continued for about a minute until he broke.

“Alright alright i’ll tell ya just stop that, while the husband was well liked he had a few enemies because of his job as a landlord for a good bit of the town. He had recently raised his taxes on the areas due to the recent closing of his wives store, if anyone would want to do him in check them” I nodded to him and asked one more follow up question while I started to stand up.

“Do you know where they lived?” He seemed to chuckle a bit at the question as he answered.

“Just look for the house with road blocks in front of it and guards patrolling it, you can’t miss it” I gave a short goodbye and turned to leave with my friends following me, outside a moved a few feet away from the door so the bar pony couldn’t hear us.

“Michael are you okay? You aren’t usually so… blunt” Triton questioned me first out of concern for his friend to which I grinned at him and answered nicely.

“Sorry, but when children get involved I tend to get a bit more serious especially when they could be hurt” Triton seemed to get a bit more serious as well when he hear my reasoning which means he might know what I want to do, after speaking to Triton I turned to address Terren and Eagle.

“Since you two have to leave in the morning lets find a place to sleep in the meantime then we can discuss what’s happening here” The two shared a glance before nodding to me, I turned down the road and search for either and inn or somewhere that would put us up for the night. The walk was pretty quiet as everyone was thinking about the information we just got, I still had the details of the murders in my head and felt that a good chunk of information was left out which irritated me to no end. I lost track of how long we were walking before Triton bumped into me to get my attention, I looked down at him as he gestured to the building in front of us then I turned and looked up at it. It was a regular two storied house that had a sign over the door saying Quill’s Bed and Breakfast, it wasn’t something you’d expect in a western themed town but it was the best option apparently. I went to walk inside and was greeted to the soft chime of a bell and a warm cozy interior, The inside was a nicely decorated front room that led to a desk where a dark brown and red maned earth pony mare sat and waited for us to approach while wearing a smile. I entered with the rest of the group following and greeted her with a smile, I idly noted that she had dark bags under her eyes most likely from lack of sleep.

“Welcome to my bed and breakfast my name is Quill, would your group like a room?” The pony greeted us in an almost robotic tone, is seems she looks like she hasn’t slept in a few days. I remember not being able to sleep because of schoolwork back home so I felt my heart go out to her for a moment before asking how many beds are in a room to which she rubbed her eye with the back of a hoof and replied.

“The rooms each have two beds and a bathroom stocked with all the needed amenities and it co-*Yawn* sorry I haven’t been able to get a lot of sleep lately for obvious reasons, anyway the rooms cost five bits per night but if you want the added breakfast it will be ten bits.” I looked at Triton as he’s the one who carries the money and saw he was digging through his bag and pulled out five bits with little twos on them, he handed them to me which I gave to the exhausted pony who smiled and gave us a room key then turned to Terren and Eagle. I stepped to the side with Triton to ask him something while the other two payed for their room.

“How many bit do we have left?” Triton reached back into him bag and showed me his bit bag showing me we only had enough bits left for another night which means we’ll need a way to get more bits so I pocketed the key and spoke to our friends at the counter.

“Hey, i’m gonna go wonder around for a bit so i’ll meet you guys back her for dinner ok?” Terren seemed a bit disappointed that I wasn’t going to hand out with them a bit more but still nodded while Eagle didn’t seem to care what I did, I looked down to Triton and asked a silent question if he wanted to go with me and he shook his head and said.

“I’m pretty tired, can I get the room key?” I nodded and reached into my pocket and grabbed the keys and threw them to him which he caught with ease then started his way to our room deeper into the building. I made my way to the door unimpeded and exited bringing me back into the warm light of the sun, the streets were still empty so that made it easier to look around. In the area of the Bed and Breakfast are multiple houses and small gardens and further down the roads I can see the beginning of multiple ranches and orchards, there was a turn leading deeper into the residential area of the town so I headed down there first. The scenery didn’t change much from the dry sand and dirt covered area other than some of the houses having a deck built on the front, my gaze traveled up the road and saw the roadblock the barpony was talking about. The house was a generic wooden frontier home that looked like many others in the neighborhood but the one thing that made it distinctly different is the large amount of green plants growing up and around the property, vines were growing up the mailbox in front and on the sides of the house. Once I got closer I saw that some of the vines had been painted on instead of grown giving a nice nature-esque look that I kinda liked, Next to the house seemed to be a shop of some sort as I couldn’t make out what it sold from here. In front of the house were two alabaster pony guards armed with golden swords strapped to their sides, the only problem with them was that they were wearing solid gold armor in basically the desert so both were slouched over and sweating profusely. I kept walking until I was about to pass the two guards, I waited for them to react to my species but they were so out of it that I passed with no problems. Now that i’m in front of the shop I could see that it’s like an Apothecary but full of different herbs and medicinal plants and when I peered deeper inside I could see art supplies and canvas sitting on shelves and propped onto the walls, seeing the art supplies I started to feel the familiar itch to draw or doodle that i’ve been drowning out with traveling. I entered the shop with no problems and saw that the interior was like a mix between a pharmacy and a art shop which would have looked odd but everything was flower and plant themed so it flowed pretty well besides the copious amount of green on the walls. I heard a sound from deeper in the shop so I assumed the owner was back there and wouldn’t mind me perusing their items while i’m here, I stepped down the aisle containing miscellaneous art supplies like notebooks and quills and inkwells or random paints. The first thing that stuck out to me would the large lack of pencils which was slightly disappointing as I didn’t know how to right or draw with a quill, I’ve seen someone write with a quill before but it was just a knockoff fake with an internal inkwell like a regular pen and a fake plastic feather, these quills were real and made from what looks like real feathers. The feathers were dark brown and long and some were pure white but shorter than the others, I reached out and picked up a dark brown quill and felt the feather with my other hand. The feather was stiff and rigid but the edges were soft and flimsy like an actual birds feather, I put it down and picked up a white and did the same. The white feather was much more flimsy and looked much more flexible than its darker counterpart which did feel nicer in comparison, I put it down and turned to keep walking down the aisle and came down to the paint section to see a variety of colors. When my eyes passed over a few shades of red I stopped and had a pretty morbid thought, I turned back to the quills and just stared at them while I thought. There is a small griffin child missing and presumed dead along with the husband of the shop owner who was murdered in his own home while the wife was gone, I picked up the large feathered quill and held it in my hand and looked closely. I thought I saw something when I heard the sound of clopping coming around the corner so I slipped the quill into my sleeve and called out.

“Hello? Is this your store?” I had to act like I just got here so I don’t arouse anymore suspicion, the sounded hurried for a moment and around the corner the head of a burgundy pony with a purple mane peeked out and glanced at me. The pony flinched when she saw my size and went back around the bend quickly before calling out again.

“U-um yes i’m the owner of this store s-sir… if you don’t mind what are you here for?” She was very caught off guard by me being here so I kept my voice natural and kind so she doesn’t alert the guards outside.

“I’m sorry to bother you i’m just shopping for more art supplies, are these brand new?” I pointed towards the quills and waited for an answer, She peeked around the corner at the mention of me being an artist and she came around fully when I asked about how new the quills were in an impressed tone.

“Oh yes! Yes they are, I make everything in the store myself so I know just how long they will last and let me tell you those are the best batch i’ve ever made.” She reacted very well to the question and had said the one thing I dreaded to hear, now that she was around the corner fully I could see that she was a pegasus and had the cutie mark of a rose on a piece of paper.

“Do you also grow all the herbs for the medicine over there?” I pointed past her to the various shelves built into the wall showing signs describing the medicins effects and their cost, she turned and glanced at the shelf before grinning again and answering.

“Why yes I do! I grow all of my herb in my garden at my … house.” she slowed to a stop when she got to the topic of her house and slowly her smile fell until her face showed no emotion, her eyes were blank for a moment before she shook her head and turned back to me with her smile significantly lower.

“Look… if your not gonna buy anything i’m gonna need you to leave, i’m… gonna close close up a bit early.” I lost my smile as well at her behavior and nodded then went to the front door with the mare walking me out, before I opened the door I turned to her and spoke.

“Before I leave… what’s your name?” I put my hand on the door and waited, she perked up at my request and responded with a confused edge to her voice.

“Bright Dawn… why do you want my name?” I stepped out while I spoke to her.

“To tell you not to worry about to worry about the whole murderer thing, they’ll be caught soon ok… “ I smiled one last time to her and let the door close behind me then started my way back to the Bed and Breakfast, once I past the guard I spoke out loud to myself as my smile dropped down to a frown.

“Yeah… Real soon” I took out the quill I had up my sleeve and gazed at the roots of the barbs and put the quill into my bag when I found what I was looking for on it, on the root of the feather’s hairs they were covered in a faint red dust that smelled faintly of iron.

Author's Note:

YaY another chapter done!:yay:
I hope you like this one as it took me a while to write.
I might not be able to post and chapters for a while because of life (stupid I know) but I will try to get some out if possible so while it’s here
R&R please

Comments ( 2 )

So I take it this story will be a long one?

I see your sarcasm and raise you this.

But yes, it will be a long story and I hope you enjoy the ride:twilightsheepish:

Login or register to comment