• Published 3rd Dec 2019
  • 618 Views, 52 Comments

Fallout Equestria: Our Will (rewrite) - AngryPenguin



Raised above the cloud curtain, Lietenant Sienna has been dropped in the wasteland thanks to a failed rescue mission. Now, she's in unfamiliar territory and being threatened by a mysterious villain. Can she help her new friends before it's too late?

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Chapter 5: Building Bridges

"Maybe we got off on the wrong start."

Is there a right and wrong way to meet somepony? So far, I've been pretty unfavorable towards the ponies I've met in the wasteland. Can you blame me? I didn't exactly have a warm welcome when I arrived here. I guess I can't just judge somepony by where they're from or how they look. All I've ever known was if it didn't have wings, don't trust it.

When the clinic door opened, I immediately felt cozy. The waiting room was pretty small. A few chairs scattered here and there, a few paintings on the wall. I knew they were Nico's because I saw his signature on the bottom. A large makeshift desk sat on the opposite end of the waiting area. Stepping inside, I saw the hallway. It was longer than I expected. About five doors were situated throughout the hall. There was also a door at the end of the hall.

"Want to come with me to get food? Or are you just wanting to stay and get your bath, now?" Nico asked, checking his saddle bags.

I looked to Fleece, who had disappeared in one of the back rooms.

He sighed and whispered, "I promise, she is not going to hurt you."

"I guess..."

"And, she will not let any harm come to you, either. She likes you." He added.

I relaxed a little. "I guess I'll stay. I'm still kind of sore." I rotated my shoulder.

"Alright. I'll go find us something good." He nodded and walked back outside, closing the door behind him.

Spotting a dusty mirror on the desk, I tiptoed over to it and peeked at my reflection. My mane and tail were a mess. I was covered from head to hoof in dirt and muck. There were a few spots of dried blood. My bandages were filthy, too. I sighed. I looked like an absolute mess. That bath was going to be great!

"Enjoying Floater, so far?" Fleece said, behind me, making me jump.

Inhaling, slowly, I replied, "It's a nice town. It seems quiet."

Exactly how I like it.

Her pride showed through. "It is such a lovely town. I traveled for years, until I finally decided to settle here."

She told me about some of her travels. About her life before the war. Right when a megaspell hit, she had hid in a closet in one of Fluttershy's clinics outside of Manehatten. We talked about my career, my anxiety, and even about my friends and family. We gossiped about her hobbies and mine. As it turned out, her mother worked with Rarity. I was always a huge fan of the ministry mare. I wanted, more than anything, to have a closet full of her designs!

We lost track of time, so just as I was about to ask where the tub was, Nico walked in, his saddle bags a little wider than usual. "You still haven't taken a bath?"

"Oh, leave her be. We were chatting." Fleece came to my defense.

He rolled his eyes and levitated out a clear container of a sandwich, a clam shell box with a picture of a tiny pink pony eating cake, and finally, paper folded around something. "Okay, so I got a sandwich, their last slice of cake, and a 'veggie' skewer." He said. "You both pick."

I scrunched my muzzle at the cake.

"What? You don't like cake?"

"Not when it's almost two-hundred years old."

He sighed. "Pinkie Pie created this special kind of cake for the soldiers. She made sure to enchant the recipe so it would last while they were in battle. It's fine."

I looked to Fleece, skeptically. She smiled, picking up the sandwich.

I narrowed my eyes and opened it. The smell wafting out was the most amazing combination of confectioneries and vanilla.

I finally took a small bite and carefully chewed. It was great! No, it was the best piece of cake I have ever eaten! The fragrant, strawberry frosting complimented the vanilla sponge cake, so well. I swallowed and dug in, some more, splattering a majority of frosting on my cheeks. I could not get enough of it. I was sad to have bit into the last of it. When I picked my head up, Nico tried to hide his laughter behind his hooves.

"Whah?" I muffled through the mouth full.

"N-nothing." He snorted.

"Just... remember to clean behind your ears. Come, on. I will go start your bath." Fleece spoke up.

I followed her, peeking in the mirror and seeing my face had turned into a strawberry frosting monster. I facehooved, running to catch up with her. We passed the examination rooms and got to the end of the hall. She had to use little force, as the door was so used to opening, it practically opened itself. Upon walking in, I spotted the sink on the wall and a large square bathtub, complete with a shower head. This part of the clinic was cleaner than the rest. It almost looked new!

She turned a nob on the tub and ignited her horn. I didn't think a cracked horn could even work, but there was the soft, red glow of the aura of her magic. Some of the clear water coming from the faucet filtered through the flat, translucent aura. It was coming out of the other side, soapy. "Unfortunately, I don't have any bubble bath, but lucky for you, all unicorn doctors and nurses had to learn a spell which changes water into antibacterial soap." The water definitely had the familiar smell of a medical room.

"I don't mind." I smiled. "I'm just happy soaking in the tub."

She smiled back and finished filling the large bathtub with hot water. I could hear the water heater below us humming. "Okay, let's remove these bandages. The ones covering the worst wounds are enchanted so those injuries should be almost healed. You won't have any scarring, really. Your wing will stay in the splint while you're bathing because it really shouldn't be moved." Her magic activated, again, and the bandages slowly unwrapped. I was asked to remove the disgusting barding, as well so she could get those. I obliged. Once she removed them, I was happy to see she was telling the truth. They were almost completely gone! I didn't even need bandages, anymore. It was nothing but pink marks.

She looked over them. "These will heal up nicely. No more wrappings needed! I'll dispose of these and go grab you a towel. I'll set it on the sink for you. When you're done, let me know and I will take care of the cleaning."

Nodding, I watched her leave and close the door behind her. I stuck a hoof in the tub and felt the amazing sensation of a spa. Careful not to splash and make a mess, I tiptoed in. I let out a sigh as my body sunk under the water. I scrubbed my mane and face, then leaned back on the rubber pillow. My sore wing went numb as the warmth calmed my aching muscles and bones. It was so therapeutic!

Too bad I was alone with my thoughts.

My mind wandered as I stared at the ceiling. The first thought was of my grandparents. I couldn't wait to see them, again. I'd have to tell them everything, for sure. Grandma would press me to tell her the truth. I think she always worried about my psyche. She's the one who pressed me to go to a psychiatrist. PopPop was different. He said I didn't need any "quacks" and that I was mentally strong enough to get through it. I thought I disappointed him for the longest time, but he always told me I could never disappoint him. I still remember their smiling faces at the Enclave boot camp graduation ceremony. They cheered the loudest in the crowd.

"Hush now, quiet now..."

I began singing the lullaby she sang to me as a foal. Or was it my mother? I couldn't remember. I barely remembered my parents. It was all a blur. Part of me wondered if they were here. Another part wondered if they were just... gone. A tear escaped my eye. Unknowingly, I dozed off. I had probably been in the water almost an hour. As it cooled, I decided it was time to get out. Grudgingly, I stood up and let the water run off my wings. I took the towel from the sink (when had that got there?) and patted my fur dry, being gentle around the tender scars. Lastly, I wrapped the towel in my mane. I could see my cutie mark, at least!

After ruffling my mane with the towel, I threw it into a hamper next to the door. The splint on my bad wing was water-logged, so I went to ask Fleece if she could change it. I emerged from the corridor and back into the waiting room. Nopony was here tonight, it seemed. Fleece waited at her desk, reading a book. Nico napped on the larger chair next to her. I guess he fell asleep waiting for me.

"Sorry I took so long." I said, sheepishly.

Fleece looked up and smiled. "That's okay! You're all squeaky clean, now! Let's change the splint on your wing." She closed her book and grabbed the supplies from her desk drawer. Using magic, she took off the splint and bandage. My wing was definitely still sore when it was moved. I winced.

"You are going to look beautiful in a dress! I'll try to wrap the appendage as neat as possible." I winced again as she set the splint and began wrapping. "Sorry, love. The ligaments are still healing. It will be at least a few more days. I've fixed as much as I could with magic, now it's up to your body to do the rest. The process is has been sped up, thanks to these bandages."

"I thought unicorns could learn mending spells that instantly healed?" I asked, curiously.

"Well, It depends on the body part and what type of break. I could mend a broken leg in no time. I mended your ribs, too. They're probably still tender, but they are completely healed. I know this anatomy. However, I've hardly ever worked with a pegasus' wings. They are mostly made of ligaments and joints. Don't worry, you will definitely be able to fly, again." She informed me.

"Phew." I wiped my brow in exaggeration.

She finished the wrap. "All set! Just take care of those precious wings."

I nodded and yawned. "Thank you, Fleece. I guess I'll wake up that oaf. I'm getting tired."

"It's getting late. You can stay here, if you want. A couple of rooms are available, if you don't mind the doctor decor." She chuckled.

It couldn't hurt. I really didn't want to spend half the night walking. I also would hate to ruin my nice, clean coat. Danger probably flourished at night, too. "That sounds good. The Wild... Formal.... is tomorrow, anyway and I doubt I could handle another walk. My hooves are killing me!" I shook a hoof in front of me.

"Great! Just pick any room and enjoy your stay! Let me know if you need anything. I'll be in here reading or fixing up patients. It has been pretty quiet today. I figured the ponies of Floater are waiting until after hours to begin their... dangerous shenanigans." She shook her head with that smile.

"Okay. Good night. Thank you, so much, for everything. I-I don't know how I'll ever pay you back for all that you've done." I drooped.

She laughed. "That's the first time I've ever heard somepony try to pay me back. Normally they avoid that conversation like the plague. Don't worry about it, hon. Sleep well." With that, she went back to her desk and opened her book, again.

I found the room and locked the door. Just in case! I ignored the equipment, pulling the white blanket over my head. Yawning, I tried to fluff the flat hospital pillow. This bed wasn't as comfortable as Nico's, but I couldn't complain. I did sleep in the mud my first night here, after all. Sleep was really the only thing I cared about, right now. That, and getting home.

I didn't dream, thankfully. I was, however, awakened by voices in the next room.

"Well, you shouldn't be playing with fire, ya crybaby." Fleece scowled. I wondered if she was talking to Nico. I stretched and hopped down off the bed. Unlocking the door, I peeked out before opening it completely. Nico stood in the doorway of the room next to mine. He wore a grin on his face.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Weights, here, burned his flank last night and waited until this morning to come get the burns treated." He snickered.

I lowered my head and hid myself as I looked inside. I had to kind of hold back a grin, myself. A buff, blue stallion lay on his belly as Fleece applied an ointment. The body builder's tail had scorch marks where it should have been longer. His face was twisted in pain, holding back a cry.

Fleece saw me. "Good morning, Sia. Sorry if we woke you." She said, unrolling some gauze.

"I-it's fine." I said. "It sounded like somepony was in pain, so I came to see if you need my help."

"I have everything under control. It's just a minor burn, nothing too serious." She replied, focusing on her work. The gauze was halfway on before Weights noticed me standing there and turned his flank away from me.

"Pain?" He guffawed. "I am the reason pain hurts! Pain is how I relax! Pain is-" He let out a mare-like scream when Fleece patted the wrapping down. I hid my grin.

When Fleece finished, he got up and sauntered over to me, tears still in his eyes. I gulped. This guy was massive. His confidence oozed as he looked down and smiled at me. I gulped, rubbing my chest. I almost ran, until he grabbed my hoof and brought it to his lips. "M'lady. My name is Tonno Weights. Yes, my parents had a terrible sense of humor." I looked on, dumbfounded.

"I don't think she's into you, dummy." Fleece laughed.

He glared at her, letting me pry my hoof out of his. "Aw, Doc, you don't have to ruin these things." He turned back to me. "So, do you have a date to the Wild Formal, tonight?"

Before I could speak, Fleece stepped next to him. "This fine gentlecolt has already claimed her." She gestured to Nico, whose eyes were wide and his face was red.

"But, I thought-"

She cut me off that time. "Therefore....She's taken, already."

Weights slumped. "Damn it, you lucky bastard, Nicky Boy." He whispered in my ear. "Let me know if this guy drops you. I'll be there to pick you up." He winked and trotted out.

The three of us went into the waiting room. I sat next to Fleece's desk while she wrote down a payment reminder. Nico leaned on the desk, face still red. "So..." He cleared his throat. "You could have told him the three of us were going instead of... that." He sighed and shook off the embarrassed demeanor.

"Technically, I'm not wrong. I just didn't mention that I'm part of the date." She winked at us. "Besides, Sia looked uncomfortable. I had to get rid of him."

My red cheeks puffed out. "I have never and never will go on a date. Especially, not with him." I pointed to Nico.

He rolled his eyes. "Like I would date a mare like you, anyway."

I turned my nose up. "Hmph. At least I'm decent enough to catch somepony's eye."

"So?" He said, sipping water from a canteen.

I stayed silent. Fleece shook her head, facehoofing. I wasn't considered a model, by any means. A small part of me liked the attention. Nopony ever flirted with me back home. I was just... there.

"What? I just figured it happened often for you. So, you got a compliment. You probably do all the time." He shrugged.

I grinned, slyly. "Ah, you assume I get compliments because you think I'm attractive?"

Nico's eyes bulged as he choked on the water. His whole face turned redder. "I... I-uh..."

Gotcha!

"Hey, Nico, could you go to Ma's place and pick me up some more syringe needles?" Fleece saved him. "Sienna can go with you"

He sighed, in relief. "Of course."

We didn't speak on the way there. Mostly to avoid any confrontation.

She gave him a bag of bottle caps (weird) and we were on our way. I didn't even bother to put that stupid barding on. It's not like we were going far, anyway. We strolled down the dusty street, passing a few other ponies. All of them gave the friendliest smiles and greetings. How they could be so cheerful down here was beyond me. It didn't take but a few minutes to reach the center of town. Right between two buildings, sat a shack. I had missed this building at first, it was hidden so well. It was run down, having been repaired over and over.

"Here we go. Ma's." He spoke up. "It's not much but Ma has almost anything you need. She gets a lot of it from a ghoul down in New Apploosa."

"Why do they call her 'Ma'?" I asked.

"She gave birth twenty-eight times."

"Whoah! Where are her children? Shouldn't there be a lot of them running around out here?" I looked around.

He thought a moment. "I supposed they'd all be grown, by now. This was before I was even born when she had her first set of twins. They all just went their separate ways, I guess. "Let's go in."

I followed him onto the porch, then through the door. As it swung open, a loud bell dinged. The shop wasn't big at all. Probably half the size of the clinic. Shelves stocked dusty old books, clothes, and different things. A sign read, "Ask about my ammo!" Behind the counter, an old mare who looked about a hundred napped in a rocking chair. Her white mane and tail were braided. Her magenta coat was thinning. A pair of glasses rested on her nose. Her snoring could have woke a dragon.

Nico tapped the counter. "Hey, Ma. How are you?"

She jumped up with a loud snort. "Huh?! Wha-?!" Fixing her glasses, she squinted and looked at Nico. "Nico, ye little bastard. How are ye?"

"I'm great, Ma. How are you?"

Ma coughed and grunted as she, very slowly, stood. "Good. Fackin' great. We're livin' in a dusty old bowl o' shit. How do ya think I am?" She looked over at me. "Well, well. Ya got yerself a yung'un. She's one o' them cloud hoppers. What are ya tryin' t'do with her?"

He furrowed his brow. "Ma, this is Sienna. She is a new friend."

"Friend. Yeah, I c'n see that from the way yer blushin'. If you were one o' mah bastards I'da whipped yer ass 'til ya got some sense. T'ain't right ye gotta go an' break all these lil' fillies' hearts."

He quickly shushed her. "Fleece sent me for some syringe needles!"

The old mare licked her lips and grumbled. "Damn, old hag. If I had a cap every time she came in here.... Well, I'll be." She cackled. "I reckon I do get caps when she comes in here. I can't remember nothin', no more. That's like the time I went to the restroom and forgot to wipe my-"

"Please! Ma! I just need those syringes." I laughed at Nico's torment.

"Oh, yeah. Alright. Go on back and grab'em. They're in tha usual place. Just leave the caps in mah safe." With that, she nodded off back to sleep.

He groaned and walked behind her chair and opened the door. It didn't take long for him to emerge with a medical box. "Ready?" When he saw me trying to hide a laugh, he straightened his mouth and walked ahead. Outside, I let out my giggles. He facehoofed. "Ma is something else."

I wiped a tear. "That, she is. She seems sweet though."

"I guess. At least she remembered my name, this time." He chuckled.

Once we dropped the syringes off at Fleece's, we walked around town to pass the time. We visited more shops, Nico bought more ammo, and we even got some food from a little stand. I didn't know what "mystery stew" was, but it was pretty good. It turns out, Floater didn't really have a mayor. When important decisions were made, the shopkeepers and Fleece came together and agreed on what needed to be done. I guess they had no interest in politics. Strange, but I imagine it kept the peace.

Late afternoon, we decided to head back and get ready for the Wild Formal. Nico's saddlebags were filled with various trade goods. As soon as we opened the door to the clinic, Fleece stood tapping her hoof. "Finally! The Formal is in a couple of hours! We've no time to waste! Nico, the blazers I have for you are in the second to last closet."

"Yes, Mother." He said, sarcastically.

She ignored him and grabbed my hoof, pulling me to the back of the clinic. There was a room next to where I took my bath. This room had clothing, trinkets, and all sorts of antiques. Kind of like a storage room. There was a small bed in the corner. I assume it was where Fleece rested. She scurried to the rack full of clothes and pulled out a purple and black dress, setting it on the coffee table. The dress had a purple undercoat and black lace covering the rest of it.

"That's lovely!" I admired it.

"Thank you! It's the dress I wear every year. It was given to me long ago by a dear friend." She paused to look over it, then went back to rummaging. "But, I have a few here that you may just adore."


She floated three more dresses between us. "Time to play dress up!" She grinned.

The first dress I tried on was red and black. Red sequins lined the chest area while black fabric trailed down the back. I turned once and smiled. Fleece pondered a moment then shook her head. "Nah." She helped me take it off and hoofed me the second. This one was a brilliant pink. It was a little poofy. Instantly, she shook her head.

The last dress was absolutely beautiful! It was creamy white with a soft, green trim that flowed, barely reaching the floor. It wasn't poofy, but snug. A sash was placed over my left shoulder and chest, the same color as the trim. Small, elegant designs were embroidered into the sash. It even had holes for my wings!

Fleece stomped her hoof in approval. "Perfect! Absolutely stunning! You're gonna knock'em dead, for sure!"

I blushed. "I-I don't know..."

"You're going to have fun! Everypony needs to let loose once in a while." She said as she went to work on my mane and tail, curling them. "Nico will love it!"

"You know he isn't my... type. Actually, I'm not interested in any sort of romance..." I trailed off.

She finished up my mane, setting the style with bobby pins and an emerald encrusted clip. "Well, I don't blame you. Given your unfortunate situation... But I do think we need friends, though. Especially, Nico." Her ears drooped.

"Why is he so..."

"Mysterious?" She finished my question. "That's Nico for you. Since he lost his dad, he's had this idea that nopony knows Nico except Nico. He really is a great guy, just tends to hide his feelings. I've known him for years and not once had he refused to help somepony else."

Wow. He has feelings?

Fleece touched up my face with some of the makeup she had stored. She gave me a smokey eye look, complete with the tiniest hint of blush. The shadow went great with my eye shape. I almost wondered if she had priceless artifacts buried in all her junk, though. There was no telling how much any of it was worth.

"Gorgeous! Now, for the cherry on top! I want you to have something. I found it in an old ministry building last year, along with these dresses and the makeup. I think it was a MoI office. Lucky for me, it was so radiated, no normal pony could get in to loot around." She floated a small, wooden box to me.

"No, Fleece. I can't possibly take anything else from you. Really, I...." I tried to shove the box back to her, but she pushed back.

"I insist! It's never been worn, and you seem to take these things to heart. Think of it as a symbol to our new friendship." She smiled, warmly, opening the box and floating out the most wondrous piece of jewelry I have ever seen. A glimmering emerald hung loosely at the end of a polished, silver chain. I stared in awe. She fastened it around my neck. I could have sworn I saw it glow a little bit and dim back down.

Fleece sighed, staring at me. "You are ready! And you are so beautiful."

I smiled, feeling a tear form. Without thinking, I wrapped my hooves around her. "Thank you so much, Fleece. You're such a great friend. I wish you could have met my other friends."

She squeezed me with her squishy body and sniffed. "I know, love. Just know, they are watching over you. Now, let's go have some fun and forget about the dangers of the wasteland!"

She threw her dress on and walked with me into the waiting room. Nico sat on his haunches, looking out of the window. He wore a black tuxedo and had combed down his mane. He cleaned up quite nicely, actually. Fleece nudged me forward. "Ahem. What do you think, Nico? Our friend makes quite a catch, don't you think?"

"Finally!" He stood. "What's up with mares and... a-and..." He stopped talking when he saw me and stared wide-eyed.

"It's my mane, isn't it?" I asked, looking down. I always thought I looked silly when I tried to dress formally.

"N-no! It's fine!I mean, y-you're fine! Er..." He stammered, trying to loosen his bow tie.

I rubbed my chest, clearing my throat. "Y-you look quite handsome, yourself."

He mimicked my shade of red. "Th-thank you."

"Well? Isn't she... pretty?" Fleece nonchalantly scooted him closer to me.

I saw sweat forming on his mane line as he scratched the back of his neck. "Pretty is... an understatement."

I, unknowingly, batted my eyelashes. What the hell, Sienna?

"I'm so excited! Let's go!" Fleece bounded out the front door. I chuckled and trotted after her. I noticed Nico wasn't with us, so I turned. He was still standing in the same spot, staring at me.

"Nico? Are... are you coming?" I said.

"Oh! Yes! I am on my way!" He shambled over, and held the door open. "After you."

Walking along the broken sidewalk, I kept my head low. It was mostly out of habit, but I was also feeling embarrassed. I wasn't used to dressing up. I was also feeling guilty. This wasteland takes lives everyday, yet I'm vacationing in Floater. This was just all too good to be true. I half expected the building to catch fire or something.

Looking up at Nico, I saw he quickly cast his gaze away. He shouldn't have made fun of me! Now, it's pay back time!

"So, what do you really think?" I asked.

He glanced back at me. "Well, I would say beautiful, but I don't want you to think I'm making a move or anything, princess." He smirked, but I still saw the sweat.

I rolled my eyes. "Please, don't call me that. And thank you."

He laughed a little. "What about me? Smashing, don't you think?"

"Oh, yes. Why aren't the mares flocking over here?"

We shared a laugh as we continued on. Fleece met us at the large awning above the double doors. I gestured for her to go on without us. I wanted to speak to Nico and let him know what was on my mind. I faced him. "Nico, I wanted to tell you that, all jokes aside, I really do appreciate what you guys have done for me. I owe you my life." I looked down. "I-I'm still not sure if I can fully trust you, but I do want to try. You and Fleece are all I have, now. Thank you. For everything, I mean. It means a lot to me. I hope I can find a way to see you once in a while when I go back home."

For a few seconds, he stayed silent. Then, he spoke. "It's not a problem. I'm glad I found you and was able to help. I-I hope you can come visit, as well."

I smiled up at him and finally gave him a peck on his cheek. It was the least I could do.

He rubbed the cheek, turning red. "I thought you didn't like us, 'ground-walkers'."

"Well, you're kind of growing on me." I winked. "Now, come on!" I started walking towards the open doors.

Through the golden, decorated doors, was an amazing sight to behold. Seemingly couth ponies were all over the place. Though, they didn't act very polished. They played card games at tables, drank, and even danced. In the middle of the huge bottom floor, was a bar. The marble counter was almost as long as a small house is, wide. Black stools lined it and the neon signs hung above it read, "Glimmer Lounge". The rest of the floor was covered in machines (I now know as "slots") and poker tables. The walls were covered in lights. The floor, surprisingly, clean. To the right of the bar was a large dance floor, lit up by the color-changing tiles underneath the dancing ponies. The DJ booth and stage were also brightly lit. Everything in the building was in remarkable shape, despite its age. I had never seen anything like this. Not even in books!

I heard Nico, behind me. "So, what do you want to do first?"

I scanned the floor. "I-I guess I could try that card game." I pointed to the tables.

"Poker? Do you know how to play?"

I shook my head. "Can you teach me?"

"Sure. Follow me. I'll explain while we get the chips." He nodded his head towards a desk. He explained the rules of the game while we received our multicolored, round tokens. While I played, he was going to watch me. Gambling wasn't really something I did. I don't even think I had ever played anything besides Go Fish. Chaser was the gambler. He would invite me to races where he would bet most of his money on one pony. He mostly lost.

"Alright, sit here." Nico pulled out a small stool for me to sit. Besides me, there were three other ponies at the green table. Two were middle aged stallions with cigars and the other was a young mare. The dealer passed out five cards to each of us. I placed a chip in the area called the "pot". Sneaking a glance at the other players, I watched them put cards down and get more. My good eye for detail allowed me to study them and learn their "poker faces". A few rounds in, I turned and smirked at Nico, who looked on with concern. I had this in the bag!

"Bets." The dealer ordered.

I raised the ante, getting a few glares from the mare and one of the stallions.

"Fold."

"Fold."

The last stallion grinned as he matched the ante. He threw his cards down. "Flush!"

Just as he reached for the chips, I held my hoof up. Everything went still as I stared at the old buck. Finally, I threw my cards and blurted, "Four aces!" Everypony gasped, or stared with dinner plate eyes. I cackled as I scooped up my winnings. "Nico, my guy, put those in a bag, would you?"

He quickly grabbed them and stuffed them in a pouch. As I trotted off, he caught me. I turned and spotted the cocky stallion stomping on his hat and swearing. The others simply glared. I gulped and chuckled, nervously. Nico grabbed my hoof and speed-walked in the direction towards the desk where we got our chips. "Er... Let's cash these and get something to drink."

I had won seven thousand caps (which, honestly, I had no idea what the worth was). It was actually... fun! As we side-winded through the crowd, I noticed I was seemingly the only pegasus. I got a few stares, but mostly out of curiosity. I even got complimented on my wings by a mare in an extremely tall hat. Half of the ponies here were acting like wild animals on the dance floor. A part of me wondered if any were raiders. So, I kept close to Nico.

"Hey! I saved you guys a seat!" I heard Fleece yell above the ambience. She waved at us from the middle of the bar. A bartender stood in front of her, wearing a black and white blazer.

"Fleece!" I called, galloping towards her.

We sat down at the bar with me in the middle of them. You know, for protection. I told her about my poker game as she sipped on a colorful drink with a tiny umbrella. Nico ordered a type of whiskey called "Wild Pegasus" and two shot glasses. The barpony brought the bottle over and the glasses. Nico filled them with the amber liquid and set one in front of me. I stared at it.

"What's wrong? Never had whiskey, before?" He asked, smugly. He downed his shot in one gulp.

"I-I don't drink. I never have and I doubt it's a good idea." I left out the part where I didn't want to be in a cloudy state in this place.

"Really? Wow, I thought you liked fun." He jeered.

"Hush, Nico. There's a first time for everything! You'll be fine! I'm a doctor, remember?" She chuckled. "It wouldn't hurt to try it." Fleece said, smiling.

I gulped and gazed at the menacing liquid. Picking it up with my hooves, I sniffed it. The strong smell made me cover my nostrils with my good wing. It didn't smell bad, it was just surprising, is all. Looking back at Nico, he snickered and nodded to the whiskey. Finally, I took a deep breath and quickly threw it back. The warmth in my gut was immediate. It felt good. It felt... great!

"What do you think?" Fleece asked.

I put the glass down and tapped the counter. "I think one more couldn't hurt."

She laughed. "Looks like we have dragged you from your comfort zone."

An hour and a half later, I felt a little tipsy. As Nico kept pouring, I kept drinking. We laughed and talked until I could barely get my words right. Oh, I felt amazing! I had so much confidence, I felt like I was on top of the world! I wasn't afraid of anything in that moment. Needless to say, I had the time of my life. I found myself flirting with the barpony at one time. I guess he was used to that, because he only stayed silent as I made a fool of myself. It was okay, though. I was having fun!

"Mares and gentlecolts!" I heard a mare's voice at the DJ turn table. I twisted my neck to get a glimpse of what was going on. A neon green mare stood on the stage wearing piercings and sunglasses. "Boom, here! It's time to enjoy this hit music all the way from Jamaicolt! You know him, you love him: Rhythm Song!"

Cheers erupted from the dance floor as a dark brown unicorn stallion emerged onto the stage as rhythmic music began to play. His gray mane was almost silver, but he didn't look old. He looked about Nico's age. His beard matched his mane in style, seemingly just awakening. I couldn't see his eyes behind the dark sunglasses. What was up with these ponies wearing sunglasses with no sun?

I hopped off the stool and stumbled towards the dance floor. I felt like dancing!

"Hey! Wait for me!" Fleece called after me.

I didn't wait. I fought through the crowd as I heard Rhythm start to sing.

"Yeah, come on, ladies!
I see you on the dance floor!
Please, don't walk out that door!
Don't understand why you're here with that buck.
That look in your eyes, ambitious.
I promise I'm not scandalous!"

I finally got to the front of the stage. Fleece caught up and was saying something, but I couldn't hear her. My body started moving to the beat and I couldn't stop. I grabbed Fleece and forced her to dance with me. Eventually, she gave in and joined me. We danced, clumsily and laughed until we could barely stand.

"Looks like we got a fly, young filly on the dance floor!" Rhythm Song pointed to me.

I giggled, stupidly.

"Let's see how you get down, baby!" He yelled into the microphone, pulling his sunglasses up and winking at me.

After a while, the hip singer was finished with his performance. With another wink to me, he disappeared behind the curtain. Sweat fell form my forehead as I panted and giggled some more. Fleece laughed at my messy mane. "Well, your mane was perfect!" She pulled me away from the stage. "That was so much fun! I think I need to get back to the clinic, though. I don't like to be away for too long." She said.

I nodded. "Okay. I want to- hic- dance for a little longer."

She smiled and walked towards the bar, I guess to let Nico know she was leaving.

I tapped my hoof, waiting for another fast paced song. The DJ booth had slow jams playing, now. I hated slow songs.

"What's wrong, princess?" I turned and saw Nico standing behind me. I guess we went from the "Terrific Trio" to the "Dynamic Duo". When he saw my messy mane, he stifled a small laugh. "You look like you're having a good time."

I nodded. "I was, until they started playing these stupid slow songs."

"Well, some ponies like to slow dance."

"Do you?"

He flattened his ears. "I don't consider it a favorite activity of mine."

I took a shot from a nearby tray and downed it. It wasn't whiskey, but I didn't care. I wasn't letting this buzz go!

"You are going to have a nasty hangover in the morning." He pointed out.

I rolled my eyes. "After what I- hic- went through recently, a little headache isn't going to be much. So, are you going to ask me to dance?"

He blushed. "I think you've had too many."

"Non-hic-sense!" I swayed and carefully placed my hoof on his face.

After an awkward moment, he sighed. "Fine. Just one song, then we are getting you to bed. I got us a room so we don't have to walk far."

I grinned as he stood on his hind legs and held a hoof to me. I took it and he pulled me into him, holding my waist. I followed his lead, trying not to stumble. We waltzed around the floor with the other couples. The song playing had a bit of a romantic vibe. I lay my head on his chest, sleepily. "So... warm." I slurred.

"Are... you sure you want to finish the song?" He asked, quietly.

"Yes." I jerked my head up and saw him turn red again.

"S-so, I guess you are still having fun, right?" He said, nervously.

I nodded. "I'm so glad we got to come tonight. Even though Fleece had to leave. Still, I don't think I've ever had this much fun."

One. Two. Three. He could really dance!

He smiled, gazing into my eyes. "I... didn't notice you had green eyes."

"I always wished they were blue." I said, matter-of-factly.

Shaking his head, he pulled me even closer to where I could feel his breath on my muzzle. "They're... like pools of emeralds. More beautiful than even your necklace."

I did not expect that. How cheesy! Man, those pick up lines do work!

"Y-you don't mean that." I shied away.

"I do, actually. I don't see a lot of green eyes. They suit you." He said. His own dark blue iris' gleamed in the spotlights. They were so...

Keep. It. Together. Lieutenant!

I couldn't speak, just listen to the rest of the song as we twirled and stepped. The whiskey was amazing, but I didn't like this... extra closeness it made me want. This was the closest I had ever been to a stallion and I, honestly, was okay with it. Considering all things, the romantic compliments were almost enough to make my heart flutter. I had to hold back as my head spun more than my body. There was no telling what he was really up to. The possibility of him trying to get under my dress was just about to make me say something, until he twirled me and held my back as I leaned backwards to end the dance. There went that anger.

I giggled. "Does the song have to be over?"

"Unfortun- I mean, yes. We better get out of here. It's getting late. We can get our things from Fleece tomorrow." He hurriedly urged me towards an elevator.

I stumbled and fell over my hooves. He rolled his eyes, helping me to walk the rest of the way. The journey to the room was a blur. I know the elevator was a little rickety, and that there were about three others in the elevator staring at me as I laughed. We finally made it to the room. Once the door was open, I noticed the sweet, clean smell. There were a couple of noticeable stains, but whoever cleaned tried to hide it the best they could. There were two beds, a closet, a desk, and another door to a small bathroom.

"Tonight was awesome!" I trotted to the middle of the room, clopping my hooves.

"Yeah, but I think it's time for you to sleep it off. You are more diverse than usual." He started to take off his tux, exposing his torso.

"You know, you're-hic- kinda hot."

He facehooved. "Thus, proving my point. You really need to sleep." He said, lying back on the bed closest to the door.

I carefully pulled my dress off, lying it on the desk.

Once I climbed in the other bed, sleep pulled me in. I would probably regret drinking the next morning, but that was deepest sleep I had ever had. It only took a second for me to open my eyes to day light. A few seconds after I woke, I felt the crashing, pounding pain of a headache. I buried my face deeper into my pillow and groaned.

This hotel has some warm pillows. The fur on them is... Wait, fur?!

My eyes flew open and I jumped up. There, with his foreleg around me, was Nico. I was no longer in my bed, but his. I screamed and staggered backwards, falling to the floor. He jolted awake. "What?! What happened?!"

"Why am I in bed with you?!" I said, instinctively covering myself.

He relaxed. "Shit, you almost gave me a heart attack! I figured this would happen."

"Y-you violated me in my blackout!" I accentuated the word "blackout".

He rolled his eyes. "No, I didn't. You got up in the middle of the night and climbed in bed with me. I tried to put you back in yours but you kept coming back. I tried to sleep on the far side of the bed, too, but you weren't having that, either."

"Liar!"

"I swear, Sia. Even if I wanted to, I would never disrespect a mare when she's out of it. And believe me, you were out of it." He opposed.

I squinted my eyes. "I'm watching you."

"I know. You think I'm hot, so you gotta keep your eyes on me, huh?" That dumb smirk!

I scoffed. "Whatever!" I grabbed my pounding head, trying not to throw up. "Ugh. Is this the dreaded hangover?"

He stood and stretched. "How about you wait here while I go find us a bite to eat. Maybe it'll help with that."

I wasn't hungry, but I nodded as he grabbed our bag of caps and walked out. As soon as the door shut, I put the pillow over my face and screamed. He better not have touched me! I threw the pillow off my face and turned away from the extremely bright window. I just had to trust what he said. It would drive me crazy if I didn't.

Suddenly, a shadow flew across the room. I twisted my ears to the soft clop of hoofsteps. A hooded figure stood at the edge of the bed. I couldn't see their face, only the dark colored cloak over them. I tried to scoot further away, but my back hit the headboard. "Wh-who are you?"

The figure didn't answer. It simply walked towards me, menacingly. I had no choice but to try to fight. Ignoring the pressure in my chest, I staggered off the bed. They stepped even closer at a slow pace. I got into an attack stance, ready to throw as many punches as I could, but whoever was under the cloak just stopped in front of me, unfazed. I glared, trying to listen for breathing. I couldn't even hear it breathe! Finally, the figure quickly pushed me down, catching me off guard. The high pitched grunt sounded female. I tried to stand back up, but she placed a hoof on my bad wing. I hissed in pain. Then, she pulled out a rag and held it to my nose. It smelled like a strong chemical.

"Why... are you..." I suddenly became dizzy. Struggling to stay awake, I heard the pony snicker.

Then, everything went black.


Discovered The Beacon

Author's Note:

Thanks to Kkat for this amazing world! As always, constructive criticism is always welcome! Any mistakes you may find, please let me know!