• Published 24th Jan 2021
  • 2,247 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.

  • ...

0-5 Do What's Right

Up among the nobles and those with Bits to overflow in their hooves, Canterlot was in a state of tranquility. Among its crowning jewel, the castle's pristine halls one of the Royal Guards, moved at a steady pace through the halls, passing patrols with a somewhat wary step as he neared the throne room. He had been summoned by the Princesses and by his superior, he hadn't any clue why such an urgent request required his attention, but he kept that to himself.

Once through the ajar doorways, the guard's posture straightened up, even for him, to have an audience with both leaders of Equestria was... tense, "P-Princesses -- ahem, sorry to keep you waiting!" He adjusted his approach, giving a short bow with his left hoof across his breastplate. "You wouldn't believe the number of whiny complaints I get from Nobels, I swear, it's like none of them can even hammer a nail into a wall without several others to help them."

He was a light red unicorn with long blond hair that is held back in a ponytail with bangs hanging on the left side of his forehead and bright orange eyes. Celestia chuckled at the young guard's constant wit. "That is fine, Cliffheart, I am glad to see your new duties are... substantial." Even Luna had to scoff and roll her eyes.

"More like you can just get more time to yourself with your sweets." Cliffheart couldn't hear it but Celestia's eyes widened, pouting angrily at her sister who sneakily stuck her tongue out before pulling back her poker face, snickering under her hoof.

"Yes... well, I wish to request a far more practical job for you," Celestia began, growing more serious with a level of worry in her pink eyes. "I need you to take a small squad with you to Ponyville as soon as you are able."

Sensing the very rise in tension, Cliffheart's face dropped the leisurely smile, exchanging it for a passive-neutral facade. "Might I ask why that is, Princess?" Even his tone became formal and far less approachable, he was meticulously thinking, keen to hear every little detail of this mission.

Celestia nodded, waving her hoof to the windows that refracted the sunlight in various shades of color. "My student, Twilight Sparkle, has given many troubling reports of a strange creature that the town has dubbed the 'Monster of the Everfree', from the numerous reports and findings she has been unable to apprehend this creature,"

Cliffheart's brow furrowed. "This doesn't sound like a creature, more like a pony."

His firm expression mirrored the monarch. "Exactly, and I am aware of your background in matters revolving around cases of unknown creatures across Equestria, it is why I ask for you personally."

The blonde considered the revelation. Before the guard, his talents were more for hire than a stationed job, he really did believe his days of being a nomad were over. Sighing, his hoof removed itself from his chin. "What exactly makes this creature so special?"

Luna spoke next, levitating a scroll over to Cliffheart's awaiting magic. "I believe this should suffice." Unfurling the scroll for him, he took the parchment and began to read the listing of this Thing's capabilities, had he not taken the Princesses words with the utmost respect, he might have believed it to be a practical joke. What he read... wasn't a pony, rather, nothing outside of a ponykind could possibly be capable of half the things he read.

///Unknown Bipedal Creature | Name: W (Supposedly) | Gender: Female (Supposedly)\\\
Several related reports suggest this creature is highly intelligent for a bipedal that may be a descendant of primates with major physical differences. A blacktail tipped red. Curved, red horns on either side of the head, roughly four to five inches in length, and a pair of red antenna. The creature is extremely violent, prone to reoccurring attacks against Ponyville, primarily the Elements of Harmony that have attempted to capture it.

The creature has incapacitated both Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Twilight Sparkle on several occasions, with Rainbow suffering from a sprained wing and bite mark across her forehoof. It also exhibits a strong resilience to magic. It also carries metal objects with it constantly, from blades to explosives powerful enough to shatter low-tier magic barriers. When confronted with acts of peace it has run back to the safety of the Everfree within the ruins of the Castle of the Two Pony Sister, which has been fortified with traps to ensure no further investigations followed.

Further reports are needed, in conclusion, this creature is a threat to the citizens of Ponyville, stealing and threatening the town before hiding within the forest.

A lengthy silence stretched between the trio, not a sound or step to be heard, only the folding of the parchment, revealing the fiery, orange eyes and a smirk to accompany that fire. "Well-well-well... seems I can't just hang up my teenage years just yet, a shame if I really didn't miss it," Levitating the parchment back to the Princesses, Cliffheart snorted. "Princess Celestia, Luna? I'll be there by sundown, count on it."

While the brief meeting was quick dismissed, not a soul noticed the pair of eyes watching from atop a small outcrop along the walls, their form slipping back into a hidden door pressed flush against the brickwork, having gathered all the information they needed.

W sat in her - well, hers and Astra's room - working diligently to reattach her newest creation without accidentally blowing herself up, though that was par-for-the-course. Meanwhile, she listened critically to Astra's self-teaching of aura and how to sense others outside her own and W's.

"I felt it... a dark aura around them too," Was the first thing Astra spoke about when concerning her 'aura sensing' as W more than happily called it jokingly, but the name stuck. As for what the filly was implying, it now had W drawn away from her work, a mere millimeter away from blowing them to kingdom come if she wasn't careful. This was a talented explosives expert, but the mentality of an irritated twenty-year-old stuck in the middle.

Spinning around on her chair, packing away the last of her grenades, W gave the studious girl her undivided stare. "You mean the Infected Slugs?" One nod, and now W had what she yearned for, a single lead. "Oh ho? Well, color me impressed, continue."

Nodding, Astra poked at the rim of her left eye. "They had an outline like yours, but it was... black, and bubbly, yours was sharp and bright, and, um..." Astra soon pouted, slumping with her book from Zecora. "Sorry... I forgot."


She blinked up at the hand on her head, ruffling her ears. W gave her a sharp grin, chuckling as it made the filly's chest tighten again at the warmth atop her head. "No worries, kid, that's more than I've come to know - I just blow shit up, a round of applause for the obvious," W pulled her hand away to give a fake cheer, then sighed through her smile, pointing with her tail's tip. "So, all packed? Got to make a last-minute stop before we leave this dump behind - Thank God!"

While W felt the sweet release of leaving behind the decrepit, dangerous forest, she noted how Astra's ears folded down, suddenly becoming gloomy despite the prospect of liberty from such a harsh world. "...but this is home, right?" The rational side of the somewhat unstable woman's head was telling her this was just a case of a child becoming unfamiliar with anything outside of the status quo. However, Aoi understood where the young pony was coming from.

Tugging her hood over her antenna, she smiled as she knelt down to ruffling the fellow whitette. "Don't get your tail in a twist, a merc never stays grounded forever, but we'll come back someday." Hope sprung in the filly's eyes.

"Promise?" A hoof was held up in front of her fanged grin, and her own fist tapped to the fuzzy appendage.

"Through hell itself for you."

Retracing her steps had to be the most nauseating sensation W had felt in her life. Each step through Ponyville carried with it a new layer of tension that hadn't presented itself when she first arrived. Instead of walking with confidence and swagger her posture was hunched, reserved, and hidden under a dirty cloak to conceal herself. The only discernable features were her boots, antenna, and a few flicks of her hair. Astra walked close to her left leg, so while they received odd looks, given the filly's presence many tore their eyes away from them both, believing the pair to be nothing more than relatives.

"Guess the idea of interspecies relationships isn't so despised," And a good thing too, that purple drake, Spike, would probably be the first many would turn against if there was racial conflict. W shook off those societal issues in favor of just moving forward. They needed to grab a few remedies from Mir, then head back to grab their supplies. "Good riddance Ponyville, can't wait to scream that from the top of lungs..."

"Me too," Astra added, earning a small chuckle from the concealed woman whose hand reached down to ruffle her mane.

"Happy to hear it, kid."


"Ah." Both Astra and another pony bumped into one another, the latter having not paid attention while balancing a basket on her back, thankfully empty. In a southern accent, the earth pony shook her head. "Sorry 'bout tha', you alright?" She helped Astra stand as she nodded shyly.

"I-I am..." Her voice was meek, and W knew why; Her own posture taut under her cloak. It was an orange earth pony with a stetson hat, three apples for a cutie mark, braided blonde hair too. A pair of emerald eyes soon crossed with her demonic, burning stare, even under the hood her eyes contained a sinister glow to them, and a frown certainly made her unapproachable. "I... we should g-go."

"Wait..." Applejack put her hoof out, not seeing W's hand shift across her thigh, slipping her hand against a smoke grenade the second things got rowdy. Unlike Sparkle or Crash, Applejack had the strength and endurance to keep up with W, it would have been a good rival had things panned out differently that day, sadly, only a venomous glare was shared between them.

"Back off, Jack," W hissed, "I don't want trouble." For Astra's sake, W bit her cheek and swallowed her pride.

The farm pony snorted, holding her hoof toward Astra. "Young lady, back away slowly from tha' thing." No one else saw W's brow twitch, or her tail beginning to snake down her leg to pull Astra away when needed.

Before a warning could be vocalized, Astra stepped in front of the two adults, shaking her head. "Don't hurt Miss W, s-she's, um... my, um...." A small, embarrassed blush tinged her cheeks, but she finally mustered the courage to say it. "She's my friend!"

The revelation took both women back. Applejack's head looked like it was spinning and W was at a loss for words, merely opening and closing her mouth in a failed response, but her chest twisted again, enough to make her sharp smile return to her. With her tail sneaking out, the tip patted Astra on the head, spotting her blushed but determined face to the genuine smile on W's face. "Ditto, Astra." Glaring back at Applejack, a strange, almost compelling voice forced her next, careful words. "Jack... I don't care what you think or what you do, just leave... me... alone."

The pony stomped the dirt road in a huff. "N-No, that's a lie! Y-You're just making her say that!" What? If disbelief never became evident before, it did now. W's stomach tore open, unable to comprehend what was going through any of these ponies' heads. Did they really despise her so much that even the Element of Honest couldn't take a little girl's word at face value? It was unbelievable...

"Do you even hear yourself?" W fired back, eyes snapping to those around them, good, no one had noticed their argument. Retracting her tail, W pressed the issue. "You believe me, that's fine, but she's innocent in all this, so at the very least I expected 'the great Element of Honesty' to tell when a little girl is telling her the truth." The mocking sneer in W's tone made the farm pony vibrate with irritation, tail flicking sharply.

"It's clear she's just bein' used! You attack and scare innocent folks and now stealin' their foals!?" She was going to cause panic to erupt at this rate. That didn't matter to W right now, her teeth bear at the ignorant pony under her.

"I don't steal ponies, you tub of factory glue!" Applejack gasped at the mercenary's tone, only until Astra's wide eyes blinked slowly, face lost in a mild shock of her own.

"...it's dark..." It was a whisper, but both of them heard her clearly. Then she pointed a hoof at Applejack. It was hard for her to focus entirely on the mare, but Astra had felt something was off when the farm pony spoke, and unlike W and her own, the aura surrounding the Element bearer, her once light orange aura was now tainted with twisted, dark smudges, draining color and clarity from her outline. "...her aura, it's tainted..."

"What's tha' supposed to mean?" Applejack demanded, not realizing the lax expression seeping across W's face. Now that she thought about it, why of all the elements was Honesty unable to tell her words were fact or fiction? Not even Astra's? Something had always bugged her about the elements the most, she could understand the fear of the unknown but this level of distrust and anger was abnormal.

A small fragment of her mind was praying on some explanation, perhaps to hopefully rewrite the wrongs so far, maybe that part of her was just being helplessly naive to the harsh reality of her situation. W was a cold, calculative mercenary, if the ponies hated her, so be it, she'll just prove them wrong with a smile on her pleasant face. But Aoi, she just wanted things to be right again, to... be liked again. Was that mere, innocent wish so wrong that the people of two worlds had to be pitted against her? Was this... how it had to be?

"Ja... erm, Applejack," W stepped forward, keeping Astra behind her legs while glaring down at the irritated pony. "All I ever wanted was to save a bunch of random ponies from harm, I'm still intended to that whether or not you believe me,"

"Lies!" She was going to go for that lasso around her waist. Then Astra poked her head out.

"Miss Applejack!" This caused hesitance to arise in her jade eyes. "If Miss W was so bad, why did she save ponies from monsters before?"

"That was just ah show of power, that's what Twi said." W's bit her cheek again at Sparkle Butts twisted story.

Astra didn't let, putting herself forward sternly. "I was lost and scared and she hurt herself to fight off those same monsters like when she first came here." Her body was shaking, so were her big, silver eyes that burrowed into Applejack's. Then both saw it, the older mare's features were hesitant, raising a hoof.

"B-but that's, I-I don't."

With a sincere stare, Astra put her hoof down, not realizing a tiny, silver trail of stardust separated between the two appendages. "Please think about it Miss Applejack, if she wanted to hurt me she could've but..." For the first time ever, a tiny smile pulled at Astra's cheeks. It was enough to make W's heart clench, "...she saved me."

"That's I... I didn't..." Applejack began to hesitate, and while Astra seemed perplexed as to why, W saw it all transpire with her own two eyes. Astra couldn't just see a person's aura, she used the element's very trait to contradict everything Applejack was led to believe with logic and reason. And that stardust effect, was that her special talent or something else? Many more questions as to what exactly Astra was arose in her mind, but so did the dark skies above.

"When did that roll in?" Shaking her head, the merc quickly rushed forward to keep Applejack steady, seeing her eyes spin in a daze. "You alright?"

Taking a few, steady breaths, Applejack met W's wary gaze with a far less aggressive voice. "I... I didn't know..." Nodding to the mare, W helped to keep her standing, Astra doing the same despite her size. Placing a hoof on her mane, Applejack looked down. "I really messed up, haven't I?"

W tilted her head off to one side. "Weeell, you did kinda lasso me through a window that one time," The blonde mare slumped. "And into several carts one Friday afternoon," She lowered further, and W pipped up with a mock grin. "Oh-oh, and you gave me that killer bruise when I was-"

"I... think she gets it, Miss W." Even Astra looked a little queasy after the small listing of their many confrontations. "Are you okay, Miss Applejack?"

"I'm sorry..." She muttered, and while W was far beyond accepting mere words as a valid apology, given how the situation could've turned out she'll let it slide for now. "It's all still a little... much."

"Just so long as I'm not lassoed in the near future I won't have to hog-tie you to a railroad and wait for the 'splat'," Now her mind raced with a new revelation. "If Applejack's aura was tainted, does that mean someone's purposefully throwing Infected into this world? Were they manipulating some of their minds too? I guess that could explain the acts of aggression..." "But why...?" Her whisper caught on Death's ears, sadly, nothing could be answered from a single experience. Chuffing dryly, she ruffled Astra's mane again. "Knew you were a strange one, kid."

"I... thank you?"

"It's a compliment," W assured her, then came a deathly rumble in the clouds. "Huh, that really moved in fast?"

"But... there wasn't a storm for today?" Applejack's muttered words made W's body slowly rise, flinging back her cloak to reveal the many explosives strapped to her belt, and a small, black bag over her back. Pulling out her grenade launcher, she too felt it, something strangely acrid in the air. "What are ya doin'?"

"What does it look like, blondie?" W huffed, loading the receiver while a harsh wind pulled her hood back, letting her silver locks flow freely, revealing the burning embers in her eyes. "I'm going to do what I do best," Then came a dark bolt of lightning between the clouds, followed by a sharp rumble. "Blow shit sky high."

At the border of a road leaving the town of Ponyville, a large, jagged rock protruding from the earth, a charred piece of volcanic rock that now encompassed a house. Many shadows shifted around the rock, snarling. The skitter and nipping of spindly legs crawled from the rock, bodies radiating with a dark red substance. From under the basalt rose two, bipedal creatures dressed in a white coat with a dark grey tint along the hem.

Red belts crossed over their chests, with black sleeves attached to gloves. A pair of dark red cargo pants and black boots too. A hood obscured their faces in darkness, say for the two, glowing orbs. The most horrific addition to their bodies were the clusters of semi-transparent crystals jutting out from their backs, some of them tinted a shade of red at the tips of the hardened minerals. These same, blackish-red crystals infected their arms, causing them to twitch and crackle, lines like red webs melding their clothing to their skin, deforming their arms.

Atop the spire of basalt, a single person stood, admiring the overhead view of the whole town, his face obscured by a mask, dressed completely in rugged, black clothes fitting of a traveler. With his left arm raised, the many abominations festered under the cliff stirred with hisses and disgruntled groaned of pain, all slowly corraling toward the innocent, ignorant town.

To Be Continued...

Author's Note:

Time for some action! And what's this, seems the hatred toward W stems from an outside source, but things are never solved so simply. I was meant to upload this tomorrow but I couldn't wait ^_^. I hope you enjoyed, appreciate the support as always, seeya, maybe, in the next chapter!

Next Chapter: Live a Life of Sin
The Infected have started to invade Ponyville seemingly out of nowhere, good thing there's a mercenary with a knack for such extreme pest control.