• Published 24th Jan 2021
  • 2,259 Views, 317 Comments

Renegade - Silent Slender

Equestria welcomes a new stranger, though 'welcome' is a strong term. But it's not like they gave them much of a choice. That was fine, neither will she. The Mercenary W will prove them wrong.

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0-4 Break the System

"Hmm... much better," W sighed while slipping deeper into the hot, soapy water, a small blush on her face due to the heat. Flicking her tail out she pulled back her bangs to gauge her guest's reaction, to her mirth, the little filly shared the same kind of reaction, or atleast her body did. In front of her in the water was Astra, currently an amnesiac that W reluctantly decided to help yesterday when she dragged Infected Slugs into her home, that, coupled with the child's inability to remember anything made it W's mission to ensure the innocent child didn't suffer. Which led to this bath the very next day. "Enjoying yourself?"

Two silver eyes peeked open, big and bright though the solid frown remained a trademark on the pony's muzzle. "Mmmhmm?" Her cheeks were also flushed, then W's brow rose, wiggling her tail from left to right, smirking at the sight of the girl following its movements like a cobra. "Miss W, why do you look different than me?"

A good question, W sat up a little, the water and suds masking her chest under a steamy haze while she pointed to herself. "I'm a human, probably the only one in Equestria - lucky me," Then she smiled knowingly, sitting with her arms against the edge of the bath. "I happen to be what's called a 'Sarkaz', and a mercenary, I'm the best and always will be the best."

"'Mercenary'? 'Sarkaz'?" It was fun watching the young girl fiddle with the words in her mouth. Then W's body flinched, seeing Astra had done what she least expected of the pony. Looking down without moving her head, the woman's ember eyes locked to the hoof poking at her left breast, making it bob slightly. "This is weird, what is it?" Then she pointed at the tail resting against the surface of the water. "And your tail? And red things on your head-"

"Alright, kid, too much at once," W sighed, pushing the hoof gently off her chest, snorting at how nonchalant she was being after the filly essentially groped her. "A mercenary is someone who is hired for jobs; Protecting someone, maybe someone wants someone else removed from the world, you name it, I can probably do it," Rubbing her chin, W flicked at her twitching antenna. "My horns, tail, antenna, and even my fangs are a result of my Sarkaz blood."

There was another issue, though W had yet to confirm if this was the case, lacking both the equipment and intelligence to discover the truth. She was much like the creatures she reduced to slag, she was Infected with Originium particles. They're apparently in her circulatory system as tiny, black granules. The Infection was called 'Oripathy', a fatal illness. Again, she had no way to prove this was the case if her body was the genuine article.

Astra continued with her curious eyes, tilting her head off to one side cutely. "And those things on-"

W smiled wickedly, fondling her own breasts with glee, again at how they stood out more than her previous body's, the devilish grin infectious to her cheeks. "They're a human exclusive, and vary on size, I got the lucky draw with these, hehehe..." Though it was clear Astra had no idea what that meant or why W was so happy, she knew it wasn't something the filly had to worry about. Instead, W scooted closer, tugging the pony between her legs while plucking up a brush she... 'procured' from Ponyville. "Now, no more questions, you still reek of the Everfree, kid."

"Okay..." Astra slumped slightly in the water, letting W work to clean her mane furrowly, and it was surprisingly nice.

Time passed and now the duo were sat in the same room again, a number of books stacked between them on the makeshift bed. W sat with her back against the wall, the little charcoal earth pony snuggled between the merc's bare, crossed legs, a book held in front of them. W admired the kid's commitment to learning more of Equestria as she did, both really needed a top-up of knowledge on the world. Astra, for her lack of memories. And W, for the many enemies she was bound to have made or will soon make.

"-'It was then among the chaos that malformed the world did the two ruling sisters, Celestia and Luna, harnessed the power of the Elements of Harmony, the ancient relics of Equestria's past, to seal Discord away, the powerful being's downfall was merely the result of his overconfidence. With this small flaw in his power, the sisters trapped the Spirit of Chaos within a stony prison for centuries to come'," W finished the tale with a huff, waving her hand nonchalantly. "Then he broke out due to the elements finding new hosts, he caused some chaos, a few funny jokes, then was sealed away once more."

"He sounds strange..." Astra blinked, not seeing that W was shadowing her motions, tilting her head when the whitette did, and so on. "But... he seemed okay."

"Chaos and Harmony go hand-in-hand, one can't live without the other," Was the Sarkaz woman's reply, then her expression soured. "Astra, let me be blunt - If you see the Elements of Harmony, and I'll tell you who they are, don't trust them." Much as W was willing to send the filly on her merry way in two days' time, something nagged at her mind, an itch she couldn't pick, and it all swirled around Astra.

"Miss W, why are you angry at them?" Seeing those big eyes staring back at her, again, W felt her urge to withhold her words fail, maybe it was a spell the kid was cursed with?

"..." Sighing, she closed the book, turning Astra around to look her dead in the eye. "I'm not from this world - When I woke here I... I just wanted to find my way, like you, I had no one to turn to so I tried Ponyville, and well... those monsters I saved you from attacked Ponyville, so I defended them, even if I were to be injured."

"Then why?" The filly leaned forward eagerly. "If you saved them, then... then you're like the Princesses in the story - huh?" Much as she wished - no, yearned for that truth, that was sadly out of the cards. Smiling sadly at the innocent, naive kid, W let a pathetic chuckle escape her.

"Sometimes the good intentions one makes are often seen as malicious in another's eyes."

Astra's brow furrowed, lost deep in thought. "What does that mean?"

Chuckling, W picked up another book, tapping the filly on the forehead with the corner, seeing her go cross-eyed briefly. "You'll understand when you're my age, kid - just don't put your complete trust in fairy tales." W sure definitely wouldn't, the ponies of this world are no different than humans.

"Isn't stealing wrong?"

"Only if you're caught," W paused, seeing the cute pout on Astra's face, even as her finger booped the filly's nose. "Alright-Alright, it is - but hey, we're still payin', live a little kid, this stuff can get your blood pumping and your laughter roaring."

Four days had gone by in a flash, and now the pair were in the middle of the market place, more accurately, atop one of the houses with a few stalls just a few feet below their feet/hooves. It was time for W to do her weekly shopping, with what Bits she had from Mir, she would handle this with care given the many that would otherwise scream in terror if they saw a bipedal, explosive-carrying Sarkaz walk up to their stall. That was also the reason W preferred this method.

Astra was no longer naked, so-to-speak, the filly now wore herself a small, black and red scarf similar to W's, the woman kept her silence given it was the filly's choice to wear, not minding the fact it was intended to copy her mercenary attire.

"Can't I go buy the stuff for us?" Astra suggested, and while W would have happily jumped on the wagon this was actually very important.

Shaking her head, her tail motioned to the crowds unaware of their presence. "Many places handle districts like these differently, knowing to apply many methods of trade is paramount, especially if you're a wanted monster like my beautiful self," She took some pride in that. Pointing to the distracted stall owner below, W grinned creepily. "Watch and learn, kid, this is but one of many tricks of the trade." Out the corner of her eye, W suppressed a giggle at how the filly's brow knitted and her cheeks puffed out slightly, her tell-tale sign of analysis.

Plucking a small, wrapped ball from her pocket, W grinned while ensuring her route was covered. The ponies remained oblivious as always, shopping, laughing, and chatting away in their blissful ignorance to the so-called 'Monster of the Everfree'. Flashing her sharp smile, W tossed the small ball high into the air, making a whistling noise as it drew closer to the earth in an alleyway. Seconds later, she used her hands to mimic a 'boom' effect, followed in tandem with the smoke bomb exploding, the dark grey gas released, distracting all the ponies, some even leapt in fright.

It was time for action. W swept down onto the distracted clerk's stand, snatching up fruits and vegetables under her arms and into her cloak, her tail tugged off a tiny pouch containing the allotted Bits before leaping back onto the edge of the stand's roof. With one final hop, she narrowly avoided the pony's eyes, cutting behind the rooftop where she spotted two little ears folded down, Astra's eyes widening at the sight of the colorful verity of foods.

"Ta-Da~" W sang, Astra, helping her tug all of the food into the bag Mir gave them. While W was gleeful for another successful bounty, her tail snapped sharply at the familiar sound in the sky, followed by a fizzle and pop in the air. "Oh, crap..." Scooting up the edge of the roof again, Astra copied the woman, following her hateful eyes to the cyan pegasus and purple unicorn now on site. "I'll give Sparkle Butt credit, she's starting to learn my tricks faster than I anticipated, cute."

"Isn't that bad?" Astra murmured, earning a playful pat atop her head from the ever-so-confident merc.

"Not unless they catch us, and what's the answer to that?" Awaiting the filly's answer, W would be lying if she said hearing the short-stack recite her own words didn't make her smile grow.

"'A mercenary who is caught is not fit to call themselves one at all', r-right?" The girl cut off her horrible impression of W's unique accent, making the silverette giggle, ruffling the kid's mane.

"On point as ever, kid - let's go." One thing was certain at that moment. W's mind completely overlooked the reason she brought Astra to Ponyville in the first place.

Time marched on, and W's fist was an inch from the door pulled away from her grasp. "You came as expected, W, but who is this friend with you?"

"Yah!" W ripped her hand away from the door, startled by the rhyming zebra as Astra poked her head out from behind W's legs. Glaring at the slight curl of the mare's lips, the mercenary cleared her own throat. "One of these days you'll run out of words to rhyme with."

Nodding on to the banter that W tended to bring with her, Zecora let them both inside her home. It was a regular occurrence that W would make to the 'witch doctor' of the Everfree. It was her only source of socialization outside of Mir's own dry tone. Despite the odd way the zebra punctuated her words, it was a far cry from the greeting Ponyville gave the woman upon first meeting. Once settled inside, both Zecora and W noted how the filly's eyes wandered to every little fine detail of the hut, not a trace of wariness to be had.

While distracted, W intended on getting to the point of their visit. "This kid-" She poked Astra's cheek, noting that not even her finger could lull the girl from her curious inspection. "-I found in the Everfree, not only that, she's lost her memories and I've been keeping her from killing herself out of cluelessness for nearly a week."

Zecora considered her words for a time, dedicating her thoughts as she moved around the room, gathering a few interesting and possibly unhealthy items from shelves. "Um..." Zecora shook her head, which meant it was time for W to zip her lips and watch. Astra did the same, sitting beside W's hip eagerly, despite the lack of a smile, her eyes were glowing with interest. Something Zecora could see was bouncing between the two.

Once back at her mysterious cauldron, the mare quickly went to work, biting off a few corks, pouring the colorful contents into the liquid, making a light blue vapor simmer at the lip of the pot, the watery substance turning a silky white. Moving closer to the filly, Zecora ran her hoof through her mane, finding a loose strand of hair to seep into the mixture over the flames. W and Astra shared a look, the former shrugging with a 'Like I freakin' know' look.

The pot glowed brighter, and Zecora stepped back to observe W directly, noting how her tail was wrapped around the young filly protectively. "Her memories I am unsure of their mystery, but her aura shares no such secrecy," Zecora motioned to her own chest, then back to Astra. "Her spirit seeks to see all that impure, to bring to light that which is obscured."

"'Aura'?" Astra blinked, not quite understanding at first - then she gasped, looking up at W's raised brow. "Miss W's body has a light red glow, like the pot!"

"Really now?" W inspected her hand, flicking it around then shrugging with a deadpanned stare toward the zebra. "So what? She can see energy now? Dead People?"

Shaking her head, Zecora motioned to herself, then to the pair. "Aura is the life of all living creatures, the light is yours given exterior," Moving around her cauldron, Zecora smiled at the confused filly, tilting her chin to eye the older mare's kind orbs. "It is a gift, one you should not let slip."

"How do I use it?" Astra asked, squinting forward at the witch doctor, only for nothing to appear. "I can't see yours, Miss Zecora."

"And why does it matter? Seems like a pretty weird gimmick if you ask me." W snorted, it was cool, but again, what was it really? Why of all the ponies W could have crossed paths with, why was Astra so special?

Hopping back on three hooves, Zecora held out a book with her right, offering it to W who ran her hand down the hardcover bound of rough, aged leather, the pages inside more akin to someone's notes and journal entries than a published piece of literature. "To find what you seek, practice what you can see, and all will become distinct." Again, the mare smiled at how the silverette's feature slumped.

"Did you read a freakin' dictionary when you were growing up?" W half expected to start hearing haikus if Zecora ran out of words that she could fit into a steady beat.

"Thank you, Miss Zecora." Astra quickly bowed her head as W had taught her, the woman smiling at the kid's manners while nodding to the Zebra herself while scratching the back of her head, smiling.

"Yeah, really helped us out of a bind." While their praise was welcomed, Zecora couldn't take her eyes off the two while they said their goodbyes, smiling as their auras ebbed and flowed between one another.

Nightfall came by the time W and Astra arrived back at the ruined castle, the crickets making their existence known to the pair. "So, you can see the aura of people, huh kid?" W chuffed. It was just her luck to stumble across another strange pony in Equestria. The book clipped to her belt was old but seemed to hold a few answers to the filly's strange ability to see W's aura, maybe it could be useful. That's when W blinked, nudging the filly in her arms. "Kid? Astra? Come on, we're across the ravine now."

Despite her shaking, the filly was unresponsive, say for the light breathing accompanied by her closed eyes. She had fallen asleep somehow when W failed to notice. Her antenna twitched, it wasn't the first time but it wasn't fun carrying the child around like a sack of potatoes when she wanted to nap. The Sarkaz woman parted her lips, yet Astra beat her to the punch, murmuring in her sleep. "...don't go..." Why did she say tha- "...mama..."

"!!!" W froze on the spot, her posture growing rigid the moment that word entered her ears. Goosebumps shivered up her body, ending at the tips of her horns. Looking down with her eyes glowing in the dark, decrepit ruins, only the moonlight could shine a light on the silverette's face, her features blank, say for her lips formed into a small 'O'.

It was the prominent question that plagued W to no reasonable end. Where were Astra's parents? All they knew is that she 'came from the sky', which was both vague and unhelpful given the magical world they lived in. She wasn't from Cloudsdale since she was an Earth Pony, and Astra never really seemed so hung-up on the subject, only now did W realize how terrifying it must have been for her. A child lost in a dangerous forest, basically forced to trust the only person for miles on a whim. Astra never said it, but her mind couldn't rid itself of the thoughts, like W, the world took everything from her too.

Astra snuggled closer to W's chest, unaware of her voiced thoughts. Gradually, W's feet found the strength to move again, her heart beginning to beat in a faster tempo than prior to her engagements with Astra over the week. She forgot the very reason she kept the filly around this long, only now... she didn't want to conform to the original plan. Clutching onto the sleeping pony, W didn't mind letting her sleep in her arms a little longer, just for tonight.

"Sleep well, kid..." Her red-tipped tail slithered high, stroking her mane gently where her arms could not.

To Be Continued...

Author's Note:

A number of moments over the time W and Astra partnered up, growing closer unsuspectedly. W has a very disagreeable personality originally, but since Aoi is the mentality underneath the confidence and sharp wit that part of her personality has become rather reserved. Oh, and things are about to pick up, so I'll try to get the next part out as soon as I can. I hope you enjoyed, appreciate the support as always, seeya, maybe, in the next chapter!

Next Chapter: Do What's Right
It was time to leave Ponyville behind, but before they do that, W and Astra make one last stop at Mir's to ensure he doesn't suffer from involving himself with W.