• Published 20th Sep 2012
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Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You - Aegis Shield



Pinkamina battles Death incarnate using the mysterious power of the Pinkie Sense.

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Lickity Split

Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You
Part 10: Lickity Split

Lickity Split, unbeknownst to Pinkamina, had a special love in his life that was not her. She also stayed in the ice cream parlor with them, and also took quite a bit of maintenance to care for. She was blue and silver. She was always hot in his hooves, and certainly always did her job when the stallion demanded it. Not to mention, she was twelve inches long. I speak, of course, of his favorite ice cream scoop. Sure, the shop had dozens of them, but there was one that he favored over the rest. His father Minty Split had passed it down to him (“With this scoop, son, you’ll conquer the world of ice cream!”) when he’d retired, and he’d kept it like a sacred treasure. If the stallion didn’t have it on him, it was at least nearby.

Turning the scoop (aptly named Steelie) expertly in his hooves, he made up what he was sure would be the final ice cream bowl for the night. The winter time tended to put a damper on his business, but after the whole almost-being-lynched incident, Ponyville had been generous to him with business. He wasn’t one to look a gift-pony in the mouth, either. The lone mare ho-hummed about stallion-troubles, and not for the first time Lickity Split got to play the role of bartender. (Ponyville didn’t actually have a bar, so a parlor like his could sometimes serve the same function for anypony needing to weave a sad story) He listened politely for a time, advised the poor mare that it was probably bad to date friends who dated other friends first, and sent her on her way when her bowl was empty.

“Another day, another hoof full’a bits.” Lickity said when he was finally alone. With Pinkamina out enjoying a night off (he hoped), he had the parlor to himself. Taking the toppings display from its holder behind glass, he took it gently into the freezer and set it in its usual place. Closing up the display case, he started turning off the little neon strips that made the inside of the parlor look happy and gay. Getting a mop, he began to get his soapy water started when he heard the front above-the-door bell chime. Somepony had come into the shop. Rolling his eyes with a chuckle, LIckity Split cursed himself for not locking the door first like he was supposed to at the end of the day. He came out of the little supply room and stood behind the counter, leaning past the display to the barstool area. “So sorry, I’m closed for the—”

Death sat on one of the barstools. Or rather, some semblance of sitting. His cloak covered the whole thing, and Lickity could only guess what sort of configuration his bones had gotten into to make him sit properly that way. The white stallion went icy and rigid, then started trembling like a frightened foal. Death clacked its jaws a few times, cocking his head. Both massive hooves appeared on the counter, one tapping idly. After letting the terrified stallion get a nice eyeful, he shifted and SLAMMED a hoof on the counter.

Lickity jumped with a mare-ish shriek, his body rushing to auto-pilot. He knew the gesture as ‘service! service!’, which was only made when a customer was left idle for far too long and not served. Gulping, he straightened his little chest apron. He really, really didn’t want to be within hoof’s reach of Death incarnate, but his hooves carried him there anyway like a machine. “P-P-P-Pinkie’s not h-here!” he managed to sputter out. “Y-You’ll h-hafta come back l-later!” Death cocked his head, jaw clattering a few more times. Was he trying to say something? The creature didn’t have lips or a tongue, it was hard to tell. “Wh-what? You want ice cream?” Lickity squeaked.

Death gestured to a little sign, the Over-the-Moon special. It was a vanilla ice cream with flecks of cookie and blue dust. It was in honor of Princess Luna’s return, and was fairly popular. Lickity gulped, getting out Steelie and setting to work with quivering hooves. Before long, a little mountain of vanilla had been made, then the cookie bits sprinkled on here and there. Then, he went briefly into the freezer for the blue sugar dust powder. Sprinkling it generously, he surveyed his work back and forth. Putting Steelie in his apron, he moved with quivering hooves to put the confection down in front of Death. The creature leaned back and forth, as though inspecting it for himself. Clatter-clatter went his jaws. One of the massive hooves went up, pointing to something on the far side of it.

“What’s wrong with it?” Lickity’s curiosity got the better of him and he leaned close to see. Death SEIZED him by his mane and dragged him face first over the counter! The stallion screamed as he was held down by his mane, propped over the counter. Death raised a hoof high as it turned ethereal and ghost-like. With gusto he plunged it into the helpless stallion’s back! Lickity Split whinnied, squirming about in spiritual agony. All four of his hooves flailed about helplessly while Death searched briefly. Ah. There it was. The stallion suddenly went limp, his expression glazed over into one of white-hot horror.

Death stepped back, clatter-teeth laughing. In his hoof he held Lickity Split’s soul. Shoving it rudely under his robes, he drew his scythe and turned to the largest flat surface he could, the floor.

=-=-=-=

Celestia’s brow lowered and everypony in the room stopped to stare. Was… was she glaring? “I-I-If that’s not okay with your majesty, I-I’m sure we can find other ways to raise bits for the flower park project!” said the little filly scout before her. She’d been brave enough to approach royalty for the money to buy seeds for her filly scout troupe to beautify a neglected park. Now her princess was glaring at her with all the fury of a thousand blistering suns! “M-meep!” The poor little thing began to pee herself when the princess suddenly rushed back to the present time and situation.

“I— forgive me, I was elsewhere for a moment. I cannot give you money, little one, but I can certainly give you seeds from the royal gardens. Take your troupe and gather seeds from there. Off with you, now!” she gave what was quite possibly the worst fake-smile she’d given in three hundred years. “The Sunshine Court is in recess! Neigh! Done for today!” she amended, standing quickly and beating the little filly out of her own front door.

“Princess?” said one of her twin private guards as they rounded a corner to finally be alone. The two solar stallions would follow her into oblivion, but Faust-confound them both if they had EVER seen the sun goddess scowl like that.

“You’re both dismissed. The remainder of the day is yours.” She said over her shoulder, walking forward with authority. Both stallions stopped, slack-jawed. She NEVER shed her private guards. But the way she just said that, it was as though they were both dead weight! The solar stallion on the right felt his lip begin to quiver. After perhaps ten paces, the princess stopped and turned, “Neigh, a new order.” She told them, and they eagerly leaned forward. “Summon Father Time.” The solar princess bade them. Both stallions nodded, snapped salutes, and rushed away. The note would cover a meeting location, and a precise time.. “Death just crossed a terrible threshold.” She whispered, more to herself than anypony.

As soon as Celestia arrived in the royal gardens a blue booth of some kind sputtered into existence. The door opened and Father Time poked his head out. “Ah. Your Majesty.” The brown on brown stallion greeted. “Came as soon as I got the note.” He held up the short letter that had not actually been sent yet.

“On time as usual, Father Time.” Celestia smiled graciously. “Come, we have a few strings to pull.”

“Ah yes, come aboard then. Awfully important, this string-pulling business. Lotta rot going on, if you need to step up and interfere, I bet.” His short and gibbering phrases were all a part of his charm, the frequent pauses making him quite adorkable. Celestia briefly entertained the idea of introducing him to her most faithful student Twilight Sparkle, but there were more important things to do right now. “When to, princess?” Father Time adjusted his bowtie with a chuckle as the alicorn went inside the blue booth. It was much, much bigger inside than outside.

“Right after Lickity Split was attacked.” Celestia said firmly after filling Father Time in on what had happened. “ We need to be there and gone again before Pinkamina arrives home.”

“Right-o, then. Hold on. She jars now and then.” Father Time shut the doors and they were off. The blue booth winked out of existence, travelling backward through time. Precisely three seconds later they returned. “That was it, really? That’s all you wanted to change in the scheme of things?” The brown stallion was a little shocked, to tell the truth.

“Yes.” Celestia said serenely, all the stress gone from her now. She lifted her wings just a little, having returned to her loving expression and lack of anxiety. “Hahh… I think I’m going to get some tea. Would you like to join me?” she said with such a charming smile that Father Time could not resist her. He bashfully took his bowtie off, assuming mortal form, and followed her into the palace. He didn’t pretend to understand what the princess had done, but the sun goddess’ staff did make a right-good pot of tea. He couldn’t miss that.

=-=-=-=

Pinkamina was glad to have a clean coat and such after all the measurements had been taken. After much fancy mathematics had been had, Twilight Sparkle had been able to tell her much about Big Macintosh just based on the hoof print. Of course, she’d never said that it was Big Mac, but Twilight worked under the assumption that it was a suspect. He had to be a massive stallion, at least a hundred and fifty pounds heavier than most. The width and thickness of his hoof alone told how much weight had to be distributed. Not to mention his age and height range. Much could be found in a hoof print.

Rushing finally to Lickity’s ice cream parlor, she flung the door open, happy to be— home? All the tables had been flung to either side, several windows cracked, and the tiles sliced all to tartarus by some unknown tool. But that wasn’t what drew the mare’s eye. Laying limp over the counter, still in his apron, was Lickity Split. Her mouth went dry and a little agape while her pupils shrank into dots. “LICKITY!” Pinkamina whinny-screamed, thundering over the broken glass and tile. “No! No nononono!” she held his face, saw his lolling tongue and terrified expression. Using all her might she pulllllled him off the counter, sending a melted ice cream bowl splattering wildly across the floor. “Lickity! LICKITY!” she sank her teeth into his ear, pulling back and forth feverishly. She whacked him over the face several times, hyperventilating.

“Huhh…” escaped his mouth, and she dropped him, wide-eyed. When he made no movements or further sounds, she fell to her knees and leaned her face over his. “Huhh…” he said again after a time. She felt a slight breeze between them. He was breathing. Pinkamina felt her body flush with relief, then leaned over him more carefully. Why was he frozen like that? He looked so terrified! She tried to shut his eyes to rest them, but they sprang open again. A creeping, aching feeling began to build over her like the tingling of a sleeping limb. Turning, she looked around again, then finally to the floor. There was a method to the madness.

IF YOU WANT HIS SOUL BACK COME TO SWEET APPLE ACRES ALONE TOMORROW NIGHT - -D

It was violently etched into the floor like it had been... “Cut with a scythe.” Pinkamina’s lips pursed hard. “It was him! I knew it was him, that BASTARD!” Pinkamina flailed and bucked at air, a great vein appearing on her forehead. His face colored scarlet and her body quivered with untold rage. Heaving a great breath, she let out a great, terrible cry. (Miles away, Fluttershy flinched and didn’t quite know why) She saw Lickity Split’s favorite ice cream scoop laying on the floor, glittering serenely in the moonlight. “I’ll get him. I’ll cave his bucking skull in!” she swore and spat as she grabbed the instrument up. “I’ll do it with a bucking ice cream scoop! Cave it right in and I—!” the pink mare stopped, turning towards LIckity Split. He was splayed out on the floor, getting dirty and sticky laying in all the debris.

Halting her rage and slowly decompressing, she stared down at him. Pinkamina slowly knelt down, putting her head under his side. Trying her best, she found she could not move him. A little ashamed, she dragged him across the floor of the parlor. When finally in their little living space in the back, she turned him on his side. Fetching towels and warm water, she knelt beside him. Then, like a ritual long-since forgotten, she dabbed at him until he was much cleaner. He didn’t appear hurt, per se, his body was steadily breathing and his heart pumping blood at an idle pace. He was just… soul-less. She gritted her teeth a little, using all her might to put him up on the couch. Draping a quilt over him, she sighed. “Lickity…” she whispered, running a hoof over his cheek a few times. Leaning down, she offered him a long kiss. He didn’t stir. This wasn’t the movies, where a kiss could heal any wound or bring anyone out of a coma. Nuzzling up and down a few times, she growled to him, “Just… don’t go anywhere. I have to go get your soul, stupid stallion.” She bopped him on the head, grabbing her saddlebag and backing away at last.

=-=-=-=

Big Macintosh was nearing the end of his work day, according to the position of the sun. Just as it was dipping below the horizon he’d hammered the last nail into place. He’d just fixed over sixty yards worth of fence line, and it looked like it could stand up to a timber wolf a’chewin’ on it. Smiling and using his mouth to put his hammer away in his tool box, he surveyed his work. Thankfully the tranquility of a day’s work had rooted out the hot embarrassment of Pinkamina’s discovery. Had she gone to tattle to Twilight Sparkle? It seemed unlikely, or the lavender librarian probably would’ve swung by the farm demanding her property. She did get temperamental now and then. It was adorable to tell the truth but he didn’t want the anger pointed at himself.

The crimson stallion suddenly frowned, cocking his head. What was that sound? It sounded like rolling thunder, very far away from himself. He looked towards the Everfree Forest, fully expecting some ghastly creature to come barreling out. Leaning into his toolbox he got his screwdriver, the only thing that might be a weapon for his mouth. Hooves and tools would have to do. Wait, no. It wasn’t coming from the Everfr— “MAC! IN! TOOOOOOOOSH!” The crimson stallion turned in audibly slow motion just in time to see a pink mare with a bannering mane do a spider-stallion leap through the air. She hovered there, mouth open in a scream of rage he almost couldn’t hear in his shock. Pinkamina watched his brow rise and his mouth fall open, pleased with the fear in his pin-pricking pupils as she sailed through the air upon him. She neared the apex of her leap and wrenched Steelie out of her saddlebags.

A good baseball swing sent the massive stallion crashing through his own fence with the pink mare riding him like a living sled! They tumbled over the embankment while she screamed and beat him like a mad-mare. Blood splattered from his nostrils and he cried out audibly, scorching his throat. His massive hooves flailed wildly to defend himself, but she’d thrown him into a panic and he was all too easy to beat the daylights out of. Clank! Clank! Clank! She raised her ice cream scoop over her head over and over, beating to tar out of him while he was still off-balance. He whinny-shrieked with each blow, squirming as she straddled him forcefully. Raining down the hurt with all her might, Pinkamina let out a high-pitched whinny of fierce battle while she stained her weapon red!

C-chnk!

A long, curved blade interrupted Pinkamina’s wild abuse and she froze. A scythe had lashed out of the twilight to stop her, coming between the pink mare and her target. Turning her head, she saw him. Death. “Wh… what?!” she staggered off of Big Macintosh, who lay on the ground moaning incomprehensively. “But you’re—! And he’s—!?” she gestured wildly with Steelie, shaking uncontrollably. A phantom breeze pushed Death’s hood back, and he stepped back a moment to let Pinkamina rise to her own hooves. She stared at his ugliness, the matted work of scars she could see even through his crimson fur. A red stallion. He looked almost like Big Mac, but… but even bigger! “Who ARE you?! Who the BUCK are you?!” she shrieked, the panic making her voice high-pitched.

Death’s voice was low and growly as he heaved his scythe into the upright staff position. “Ahm Papa Apple, and you need’a quit abusin’ mah son.”



End of Part 10