• Published 22nd Sep 2020
  • 105 Views, 5 Comments

Paradise Company - UnkleBumbleHeck

  • ...

4: The Compound

"We'll take my Alto," Reid said to me, gesturing to the RS5.

"What about the STI?"

"That car belongs to my neighbor Fluttershy, she works at the hospital. I picked it up after riding over with Lilac," he explained as he opened the door to his car. It was a flat grey color with a few high gloss red accents, including a sticker that said 'NO MERCY /// ONLY VIOLENCE' on the back bumper. A little weird for my tastes but, it was his car. "The crew's doing some work on it tonight then I'll return it to her in the morning when her shift ends."

I entered the passenger side of the vehicle after doing a walk around. It wasn't a bad looking car really, it just looked fast. I had no idea if it actually was, but the interior kept up that aesthetic. The majority of the interior was stripped, with Bridle branded race seats, hydraulic hoof-brake, custom gauges... Definitely not a street car.

Reid started the car and I heard a distinctly Alto-sounding V-Eight come alive. Original motor, or at least in the same family. The still relatively new model shipped with a 4.2 liter V-Eight that made somewhere around four hundred horsepower. I got the feeling this particular RS5 made more than that as Reid flicked the custom paddle shifters and the car gave a gentle kick in the back of my seat.

We were going to a place called "The Compound," I was told. I inquired, and was given a short description as Reid pulled us out of the shop, through the shallowest part of the snow covered lot, and eventually onto the road.

"We call it The Compound, but it's technically the old Woodson's homestead. That's the family that runs Paradise Company." We were turning onto a different road than the one we came in on, I noticed. This one snaked back behind several businesses on the other side of the street, and eventually took us Northeast. The car was a stiff ride, not something I'd want to spend more than an hour or two in. "The Woodson family was one of the first families to move into this region, along with the Apple family and Pear family. Not a lot of their history remains, but the old family homestead still remains. You'll be meeting the patriarch of the family today, Ash. Most ponies just call him Boss, though."

This road was tightly wound, with blind corners, severe elevation changes, and irregular markings. A definitive country backroad. "Ash has two sons, Walnut and Chestnut," Reid continued explaining. "Wally's in our band, and will be on stage with us at the party. Chestnut on the other hoof..." he trailed off as we came to a ninety-degree left turn that he downshifted twice for then hooked into with a mild squeal from the tires. Ahead of us was a tight, sweeping right-hoof turn that tightened towards the end before transitioning to another harsh left turn. Once the drama was done, he resumed. "Chestnut has some issues, if you ask me. Not talking shit, just a personal observation of him. You'll tell the brothers apart easily enough. Wally is a joker, and Chest just kind of keeps to himself. They look a lot alike though."

We had been surrounded by tree cover since the road first wound towards the Northeast, but now I was seeing an opening in the trees ahead, just after a four way intersection. We were going a little too fast for me to see the road signs, and with us coming off a long downhill into an immediate right-hoof turn, I decided I'd rather have my eyes focused forward. Again, Reid hooked the corner with a couple downshifts and a squeal of the tires, then we were off to more S-curves and trees either side of the road.

"That's about the gist of it though, we're almost there." After another sweeping right turn, we came to another open area with a gravel road to our left, and ahead was a dam, presently inactive. "That there's Mirror Lake. It sits more or less in the center of the county."

"I guess that means we're inside the Everfree right now then," I pondered aloud.

"Majority of the county is, yeah. You'll get used to the weird weather, don't worry. Just stay out of the way of the clean up detail when it's time for the Winter Wrap Up. Those ponies go hard." We turned left onto the gravel road, which surprised me considering the car we were in, but Reid kept it calm and slow on the uneven road surface. "This is usually referred to as County Road, but it supposedly has a real name. Nopony knows, we all just call it County Road. There's like, fifty County Roads though. You'll get used to it." I doubted that.

After maybe a quarter mile, with mostly trees to our left and inactive farmland to our right, we came to a fairly substantial fenced area on our left with a gate, which opened as we approached and turned in. Reid stopped at the driveway of a small white house and a pony came out to speak to us. He was wearing a black polo shirt and grey cargo pants. Security detail, likely. I figured we had just entered The Compound.

"You sure got timing, kid," the guard said. He was a middle-aged earth pony. I spotted a pistol on his hip, likely a Glock 17. "Guess who just came in about five minutes ago?" Reid inhaled deeply and rocked his head back, probably to get a better look at the guard from under his bangs. That just raised the question in my mind of how he managed to see well enough to drive like he'd just done...

"You serious?" He asked the guard. The guard nodded with a grin before looking at me, then back to Reid and nodding us on. We pulled away. Ahead of us the road steeply graded uphill, remaining gravel the whole way. There was a fork about thirty yards up, where I could see a brick house to the right. The left route led much further up the mountain, and through the still falling snow I could just make out a spectacularly large timber frame house with adjoined gamble-style barn to the right of it. To the right of the road was a large pasture, and to the left was more woods.

As we wound slowly up the hill, spinning in the gravel occasionally, we approached another turn off to the left, which I couldn't get a good look at. We continued up, following the road as it gently swayed left and right, following the tree line and fence. Finally we came to the front yard of the big house, and yet another fork. The main road wrapped around the left side of the yard, and to the left was a blue house, which seemed unoccupied. We continued on to the top where several vehicles were parked. Most of them were mundane, an old Buckler pick-up truck, a couple of generic Alto sedans, and - impressively - a Fjord Focus RS. "Those aren't even available in Equestria are they?"

"No, we imported it. Hey listen, I gotta go check on something. Just uh, go on inside - use the back door. Somepony will greet you, maybe Wally. Just hang out until you're called back to the office." Reid sounded rushed. Something had definitely changed in his mood once he'd heard what the guard had said earlier. "Don't worry, nopony here bites." Still had some sense of humor, at least.

I got out of the car with him and we both walked up and around to the back. The house had a garage door to the basement, which had a covered parking area wrapped either side by rock walls. The driveway wrapped up and around to the back of the house, and a paved pathway lead to the front deck.

We stepped up onto the back deck, and Reid nodded once to me before turning away and heading towards another path leading further up the mountain, into the woods. I was a little curious where he could be going, but figured it wasn't too important. There was yet another covered parking area here, with a Fjord Excursion and a really old Jeep of some sort under it. I turned to the door into the house, which was already open. A big buck in a similar getup to the guard I'd seen earlier had opened it for me. I walked in nervously. This guy towered over me and didn't seem too impressed. He closed the door behind me before stating plainly, "Take a seat on one of the couches in the living room. I'll let the boss know you're here."

Okay, then.

The interior of the house wasn't very unusual. I'd entered through the back door, which opened into the kitchen. Across to the front of the house was the living room, which was fully open to the kitchen. There were stairs facing the front door which went up to an unlit upstairs area of the house. I sat on one of the couches, which was next to a lit fireplace. To my right was the front of the house, affording a nice view out the big window.

I was fairly certain the house faced to the East, with the adjoined barn being to the North, making it the North wing of the house. In that direction, on either side of the stairway, were doorways that remained open. I assumed that lead to another room and then the breezeway that joined the two structures.

The big buck had gone through there, and after a few minutes another buck came in to greet me. "Hi there, you're Miss Blue?" He asked. I eyed him cautiously, then nodded. "My name's Walnut, nice to meet ya.'"

So this was Walnut. He was an earth pony, and was wearing a simple grey tee and blue jeans. His coat was a light shade of brown, and his short-cut mane was a darker shade with hints of red. His eyes were a pale blue. "Nice to meet you. My real name isn't Blue though."

"Oh? That's just what Lilac had said over the phone. Said your name was Blue Moon. If that's not it, what is it then?"

She'd translated my name from Itailian to Ponish. Clever. "Well, I guess it is my name," I said a roll of my eyes. "It's Azure Lune. Blue is fine though."

"Well then, Miss Blue it is! If you'll follow me please," he asked. I got up and went with him into the next room. Sure enough, there was another room then an open breezeway with a double door leading into the converted barn that made up the North wing of the house. There was a dining table in this room, which we walked past before going into the breezeway which had doors leading out to the front and back decks. "The boss is in here, just take a seat across from him at the desk."

He opened one of the doors and I walked in. With the frosted glass of the double doors out of the way I could make out the details of this room. It was a sort of study, with bookshelves against the far wall, a couch and a few recliner chairs surrounding a gas powered fireplace to my right, and to my left was a closed doorway as well as a staircase going up to a darkened area upstairs. Directly ahead of me though, was the desk. And at said desk was the pony I assumed to be Ash, or the Boss.

"Welcome," he said. "Sit down. And if you don't mind, I'd like you to assemble this for me," he said, then floated a disassembled gun to my side of the desk.

So it was that kind of interview...

Comments ( 3 )

Does the pony equivalent of the Yakuza appear in this story?

I don't have any plans for that. There's room for them though.

'Fjord Focus' was a nice touch of pony name conventions. It's good to see progress on this and I hope for more soon.

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