• Published 27th Feb 2013
  • 7,282 Views, 765 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - The Hooves of Fate - Sprocket Doggingsworth



A young filly in present day Ponyville is cursed with nightmares of post-apocalyptic Equestria. She finds herself influencing the course of future history in ways that she cannot understand.

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The Way It's Supposed to Happen

CHAPTER TEN - THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
"To change the fate of one individual is to change the world." - Terry Pratchett




The trucks were loaded with food, water, weapons, ammunition, gems for trading safe passage, medical supplies, and potions. After a few gulps of one o’ dem potions, I started to actually feel healthy - energetic. At least on the inside. My hoof, however, was still black, and weak, and creepy.

More importantly, Turnip Truck the 14th had access to real medical care – real hope. No more oozy leg. No more desperate measures. Not only would Turnip be able to survive the giant exodus that lied ahead, he would be able to do so from the relative comfort of the back of a truck. That meant that the other kids could too. The mine-o’s, the druggo’s. The sick. The injured. All of us were looking at freedom. Real freedom. Not the kind that lies at the other end of a one-hundred-fifty-mile trot. The kind that was ours for the taking.

It was time to get the fuck out of Trottica.




The five trucks vroooomed as hard as they could down that bounce-itty road. One was full of supplies. The other four were packed full of kids. Morning Flower drove the small one with the big cannon. She’d squee’d like a filly on Hearth’s Warming morning when she first climbed into that driver’s seat. Her job was to annihilate anything that stood in our path. The rest of us simply followed and blasted away any remaining signs of trouble.

I rode in front seat of the big yellow truck. Don’t ask me why it was yellow. It just was. Misty Mountain sat at the wheel because he actually knew how, and was big enough to reach the pedals. Strawberry sat next to him and navigated using some doo hickey she’d plucked off of a piece of dead cloak-o that had been lying on the ground. Twinkle Eyes “rode shotgun.” That meant that she got to use the truck's cannon-majig to blow away obstacles and random structures she thought would look cooler on fire. It wasn't as big as the one mounted on Morning Flower's truck, but it was still a force to be reckoned with.

She hooted and hollered all the way down the road. I thought about saying something, but I'd never seen her like this. Giggling. Happy.

I wasn't about to be a stick in the mud over a bunch of sheds and empty towers and stuff. Twinkle was okay. I was okay. The kids in the back were actually okay too. There was this incredible magic in the air - this contagious feeling that we were right, and that anything we did in the name of freedom must also be right.

Most of all, I thought. They’re just sheds, not ponies or anything. And they do look cool on fire.

Fuck sheds.

"Your turn!" Said Twink, as she passed me the controls of the giant cannon mounted on top of the truck.

"What?"

"Come ooooon."

She grabbed my hooves and placed them over a series of levers.

"Come on!" She said. "It'll be fun."

"Oh, no, no, no." I blushed. "No thanks."

I couldn't even fathom myself blowing something up.

"Do it," said Twink.

"She doesn't want to do it," said Strawberry.

"She's gotta!"

Twinkle turned to me. "What if I'm not around? What if you're surrounded by bad guys, and you need to splatter one of their brains all over the place?"

I winced.

"Twinkle!" Protested Misty.

"What? She may need to someday." She snorted. "To survive."

"Dee brains are safer on dee outside, ees true," he conceded.

"Like she's ever going to be surrounded by bad guys with nothing but a giant tank to defend her." Strawberry Lemonade snorted.

"Yet here we are," said Misty dryly.

I turned to Twinkle. She was just sorta looking at me with her big bright cerulean eyes.

"Do you trust me?" She said.

I stared at her silently. She guided my hooves over the levers. With every little motion, the barrel on top of the truck made a great big motion. I seized up every time. I couldn't help it, it was a panicked reaction. I'd actually made something 40 times my weight move. It was freaky.

Finally, Twink got fed up and tugged on my mane.

"Ow!"

"Have some fun with it, fuckhead."

Fun. I let that stew in my brain for a little bit. This was a game to her. Violence. Destruction. It was the best way to blow off steam in the Wasteland. Those craters behind us. Those flaming hunks o' shed. They were the aftermath of Twinkle Eyes at play.

"Keep an eye on your target."

She pointed us toward a big empty that we were rapidly approaching ahead. At least I hoped it was empty.

"When you're moving like we are, you gotta lead it a little bit." She guided me gently, easing my shoulder, rather than grabbing my hooves. "Then you just got to focus, and wait for the moment, listen to that little giggle in your head, cause there's like this weird little whisper that comes afterwards that says now."

She'd been a slave her whole life, and probably wasn't allowed to touch a nail, let alone a gun, but Twink understood how this worked. She was a natural. To hear her talk about it, the explodification of random structures by the side of the road - it sounded a lot like my attempts to brain Skull Stomper with a rock back in the cage room. Only she didn't have any mystical forces guiding her toward destiny. Just a lot of anger and a sharp eye. I watched that giant shed carefully. I was hesitant to attack it, but Twinkle, out of nowhere, shouted "Now!" and yanked on my leg.

Boom! A streak of something-or-other whistled through the air, and a few moments later, that empty guard tower was a burning pile of sticks. I couldn't believe it. I climbed over her like a jittery-tea-crazed monkey just to get a better view as we zoomed by. That rubble. That destruction. I'd done that.

"Hahaha!" She smiled at me. "Cool, huh?"

I nodded in awe.

"It's all in the timing, Shedkiller."

It was a longer time than expected, and Twink took the time to explain a few technical details about small arms, and the big ratatatatat-ers too, but we all agreed that a live demo inside a moving truck was a bad idea. And by that, I mean that Strawberry Lemonade threw stuff at Twink until she put the damn thing away.

Then we saw somepony scurrying for cover as we came. The first sign that we were approaching what, in the Wasteland, passed for civilization. We all snapped nervously back to our posts - Twink the gunner, Misty the driver, Strawberry the navigator, and Rose Petal - the kid who just sort of hung around the front seat being useless.





Twink waited a bit more patiently once we saw houses up ahead.

"Don't fire till you're sure this time." Said Strawberry.

"Hey, Misty was the one who shot up all those villagers." Snapped Twink.

"Dey were coming at us with guns!"

"We were coming at them with guns." Strawberry yelled. "They were scared. They didn't know we weren't charging up there to kill them."

"We weren't charging up there to kill them?" Said Misty, genuinely confused by the notion of not shooting first and asking questions later.

"Shut up, both of you cunts." Said Twinkle Eyes.

She narrowed her eyes, took aim. As though not talking would somehow help us sneak up on them in a small fleet of the world's loudest trucks.

Then we came across our first jerkface. He was shooting at our truck from the window of his tin-roofed shack-cottage.

“That the best you can do?” Laughed Twinkle. “Take that, dickmuffin!”

Kaboom! The cottage was no more.

I shut my eyes. It wasn't a random shed. There'd been a pony in there.

Next Twink took aim at a bunch of confused villagers who were literally just standing around.

I just winced. I had made a promise to myself never to turn my back on injustice and stuff, but we were all in the heat of a passionate escape. And the final push was terrifying. It was happening so fast! This wasn't just about a small circle of friends anymore. There were 300 kids in the back counting on us to do everything we could to get them out of this. We couldn't exactly pull over and ask every villager we saw whether or not they planned on enslaving us, now could we? Besides, nopony in the whole damn town had done anything to indicate that they might be anything other than selfish enslave-itty douchebags.

Except for Nursey.

What choice did we have?




We approached the cluster of villagers that I could only presume were unarmed. I closed my eyes - waited for that ratatatatat sound.

But we just drove by. It never came. Finally, I peeked a little, and a hoof landed on my shoulder.

Twinkle looked me right in the eye and sighed. She knew I hated violence and stuff, so she held back.

Nopony could really judge her for having a bad case of slave rage. Twinkle had come from an entire lifetime of slavery and abuse. All I'd had was one hell of a bad day. Still, she put me first, and spared them.

I smiled at her.

Not one of the good ones, my ass. Twinkle was probably the best pony I had ever met.

BAM!

Villagers on a rooftop pointed ratatatatatat-ers at us. Rooftop no more.

"Choke on that, chum lickers!"

Twink still had a job to do of course.

The tower burned, and folks leapt right the fuck out of it. They were so desperate to bail out of that fiery mess, that they didn't even care where they landed.

"Ugh!" I yelled at them. "You wouldn't die so much if you'd all just stop being jerks for half a second!"

Stupid Wasteland. Stupid tower ponies.




* * *




So we charged down that mountain pass - all five trucks. And it was pretty smooth sailing at first, even as we started to see a little more life around us. But "the gauntlet" was looming up ahead. They could attack us from above over there, and there wouldn't be nothing we could do about it. Cause of the way the road dipped into this weird little chasm, and the way all the town's structures loomed over it from above. The space was so narrow and the trucks so wide that we wouldn't even be able to aim our party cannons of destruction.

"I see it," said Misty.

Strawberry Lemonade, of all ponies, grabbed me by the shoulder. "Don't try anything stupid," she said.

The real reason that they had all wedged me up front in the "bitch seat" of that stupid truck was that nopony trusted me not to run off and do something reckless.

"What do you think I'm gonna do, leap out the window and take on all the villagers one-by-one?"

"Yes!" Said everypony at once.

"Humph!" I pouted.




Nearing up on the final stretch, I could tell that it wasn't quite the death trap it would have been had we ended up walking, but it was still nerve-wracking. All they would have to do is block the road.

We’re gonna make it anyway. I thought. I just knew we were. We'd come so far! As my aching stomach started to churn with unease, I reached out for Twinkle’s hoof. To my shock, she jerked back from me - recoiled at my touch.

"That's fucking cold!" She said.

The other half of the reason I was riding up front: my friends were worried out of their fucking minds. The healing potions hadn't worked. The medical supplies hadn't worked. None of it. The hoof just seemed to be getting colder and colder and colder, and my friends just got worried-er and worried-er and worried-er and worried-er.

I looked down at my hooves, feeling ashamed. The bad one was even blacker than before.

"I'm sorry," I said, wrapping it in the Priestess' old daisy cloak.

The original daisy cloak.

"It's nothing," said Twinkle Eyes. "Really."

She made a point to put her hooves on mine. Just to show that she wasn't afraid to. It was oddly reassuring. Then totally out of the blue, she started babbling nonsense.

"The Cutastically Fantastics."

"What?"

She held up the embroidery on the inside of the cloak. "Property of Happy-Sad, Questor of the Ancient Secret Order of the Cutastically Fantastics."

"Who dee fok are the Cutastically what you call dem?"

I turned the cloak over in my hooves. It looked like it must have been a million years old.

"The Priestess and her BFFs apparently." I said.

I thought of how desperately she had howled for that cloak. Give that back! Gimme me fucking cloak you motherless cunt.

This stupid cape thing was all that remained of the friendships she’d once had. I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the rest of the Cutastically Fantastics.

"Weird." Said Twink.

We rode on in silence toward the gauntlet. It was awkward thinking of what the Priestess must have been like when she was a kid. I wondered if, now that she was gone, part of her was with the rest of the Cutastically Fantastics again. If they had waited for her on the other side, or at least, for the filly they used to know.

Or did they turn her away instead for what she had become. Strawberry Lemonade, Twinkle Eyes, and I all looked at one another. Without saying a word, our hooves came together and interlocked. We were thinking the same thing.

Never ever ever grow up to be like Priestess Happy-Sad.



* * *




"Faster, faster, faster!" I shouted

"Dees cannot go any faster!" Misty shouted right back.

"Twink, gunners at 2 o'clock," Strawberry yelled.

"I can't tell time!" Replied Twinkle Eyes.

"That way, that way, that way!" I shouted.

But it was too late. I could see the pony with the massive ratatatat-tat-a-majig. He had already taken aim, and Twink hadn't even swung her big cannon around to find him yet. I clutched Strawberry Lemonade cause Twink was aiming and Misty was driving, and there wasn't nopony else to hold on to. But the gunshot never came. Some random mare from the town kicked the gunner right into the chasm. She turned to us, still just a figure in the distance, but I could make out her body language. She was waving her hoof around as if to say "Go! Go! Go!" I honestly don't know what happened to her after that. Whether the other villagers got her or not. But the gunner was slurry under our wheels, and she still holds a special place in my memory.

"Did you see that?" I said.

"See what?" Said Twink.




The Gauntlet lived up to its reputation. This truck was already jumping around, swerving, and skimming the walls cause of the park benches that it had run down, and the sheet of chicken wire that it somehow ended up dragging all over the place.

The remaining villagers that the cloak-o's hadn't killed were all running back and forth, cloak-o weapons in their hooves. Luckily they weren't all organized and trained and drilled and stuff like the goons were. They didn't even set up a wall or a barricade or anything to try and stop us. Just a bunch of villagers. They had been expecting to meet us down at the bottom and just kind of swoop us up into some sort of great big old net of weepy whiny cowering slave-o’s. They hadn't expected for us to plow through them like cardboard cut-outs.

With all the junk the ponies left behind as they scattered, the terrain started getting real rocky. We bounced around against each other like rubber balls, but Misty and the other drivers still managed to charge through at a steady pace.

If we were bouncing around all over the place, I could only imagine what the kids in the back were going through.

Bang.

Suddenly there was a hole in our window. The head cushion above me had a hole in it too, and it was raining down stuffing. Somepony had shot into our truck. Had I been a grown-up, that stuffing would've been my brains.

Twinkle pushed my head down with one hoof, and grabbed a lever with the other, even though she couldn't aim too well that way.

"Die, die, die, die, die!" Twink didn't take powerlessness well.

Misty floored it and Strawberry ducked down with me.

"What's going on?" I shouted.

"We're doing fine!" Said Twink.

But we weren't fine. Suddenly, we were in darkness.




* * *




Next thing I knew, Strawberry Lemonade was on top of me, pinning me to the seat. I'd apparently been flailing wildly.

"What the fuck, Rose?" Said Twinkle.

I found Misty's spare hoof on my head.

"There are no shadows!” He said. “No shadows!"

He'd known exactly what I'd been thinking.

"Ees just tunnel. Stop with yelling and dee kicking."

I was kicking, wasn't I? I closed my eyes with a sigh and stopped squirming. Strawberry eased off me. Everypony stared. I laughed nervously.

"Hi," I said.

"You okaaaay?" Said Twinkle Eyes.

"Yeah."

It was so fucking humiliating. It's bad enough my friends had to worry about me when I ran off into danger alone. Now I couldn't even blink without wigging out over stupid darkness.

I poked my head up to get a peek, and got eyeballs full of freezing cold wind, but we were coming out into the open again - into the light.

I held my bad hoof up to my face, and stared at the daisy cloak wrapped around it. Under there, was a bunch of inky black stuff that that stupid thing had left on me. The fact that I couldn’t just wash it off was starting to drive me nuts. My own hoof wasn’t even mine anymore. Fucking shadows.

"Sorry, I'm fine."





Strawberry Lemonade fussed with the dials and screens of her doo-hickey. She’d lost her place in all the commotion and was trying to figure out where in the hoof we all were.

Bang!

Something hit the side of our truck.

"We got one more tunnel guys then we're outta here." Said Strawberry at last.

"Good!" Shouted Misty. "I'm tired of dem shooting my truck."

I could see it up ahead. The only road out of town. According to Straw Lem's surveillance, they hadn't bothered to defend it, which is good cause that tunnel would totally be yet another easy way to ambush us. But these were angry villagers, not soldiers. They rushed in toward what they wanted all angry-like. It was all they knew how to do.

You can't really tell a raging mob, "one third of you stay here and wait, just in case a bunch of armed orphans get a hold of the cloak-o trucks for some reason, and break through our defenses."

I could see the mouth of the tunnel. It was so close. I gripped on to Twinkle Eyes tight, determined not to freak out again.

"Come on, come on, come on." I whispered.

We hadn’t even gotten there yet, and already it felt like drowning.

“Hey, Rose.” She said.

“Yeah?” I did my best not to whimper.

“Fucking swim.” She knew exactly what I was thinking.

I looked right at her, and found her staring me down with hard eyes. She’d used my own words against me. When you feel like you’re drowning, fucking swim. I nodded.

Bang.

Strawberry Lemonade ducked and pulled me down with her. I buried my head in my hooves.

Bang! Again. Another hole in the window.

Misty hit the pedal as hard as it would go, and then just like that, we passed into darkness.

"Yeehaa!" I cheered, determined not to let the dark get the best of me.

Misty shouted something in foreign that I couldn't understand. Straw huddled on the floor and paid fierce attention to the doo-hickey. And Twinkle Eyes fell on top of me covered in blood.




My heart plunged into my stomach. I wanted to scream her name, but I couldn’t even find the breath. Twink clenched on to my shoulder as hard as she could and looked up at me with wide, terrified eyes.

“Help me,” She whispered.

It snapped me out of my shock.

“I will, I will, I will!” I said.

I frantically wiped the mine dust from her mane and the blood from her face. I pressed the old priestess cloak down on her wound. It was the cleanest thing I had.

“She needs a potion!” I shouted.

The artificial light in the tunnel flickered, and for a moment, I caught a glimpse of Twinkle Eyes there in the dim. That look. That hole in her chest. Those pebbles. That exact bad lighting. I’d seen it all before. It was the vision. The one I’d seen in the Town Hall basement - the one Misty had seen. Strawberry Lemonade, covered in mine dust, lying in the dark. Only Twinkle Eyes was in her place.

I whipped around and stared at Straw, who was rummaging frantically through her bags. Safe and sound, right on the floor beside me.

The way it’s supposed to happen. Whispers in my head

“Shut up! No it isn’t!” I said out loud.

The truck burst out from under the mountain, into the bright light.

“Ahh, fuck. Fuck! Fuck!” Twink was howling in pain.

Misty made a bit of distance from Trottica's borders, and then skidded to a halt the second he could to stabilize her. The moment we stopped, Twink quit flailing. Just for a moment. I could tell it took all her strength just to hold still and look at me.

“Don’t go anywhere.” She clutched on to me tightly.

I pressed down on her wound as best as I could, but I couldn’t stop the bleeding.

“I’m not.” I said.

She was turning white now.

"Don't leave me. Stick a cupcake in your eye, don't run off. Don't do nothing stupid. Please, please, please just stay."

"I won't. I won't. I won't!” I said, tears running down my face. “Stick a cupcake in my eye."

Strawberry Lemonade whipped out a vial. “Found it!”

I yanked the potion from her hooves, and nudged Twinkle’s mouth open.

“You’re gonna be okay.”

I tipped it back. She sipped on it slowly.

“You’re gonna be okay.” I ran my good hoof over her face. Her head was getting cold.

She nodded and focused her efforts on breathing.

I turned to Misty. The guy who’d been avoiding me ever since we’d shared a vision about this very thing.

“Did you know?” I growled at him.

He started at me in shock.

“Did you. Fucking. Know?!”

Misty broke into tears. Heaving sobs. He reached over me and touched one of her hooves.

He didn't know either.

“Hey, Misty.” Said Twink.

She barely had any voice left at all. He looked at her.

“Made ya cry.”

She winced in pain.

Misty just wailed and caterwauled.

“Pussy,” she whispered.




Then suddenly, out of the blue, there came a great big old kaboom!

“What the fuck?” Said Strawberry who dropped her doo-hickey full of useless medical files and scrambled to look out the driver’s window.

Twinkle’s face wrinkled. She had the same concerns I did. What the fuck now?

Misty swung the door open, and wandered out of the truck, flabbergasted.

“Looks like Nurse-o blew up mountain.” He said.

Twink smiled for a moment.

And then, everything was as it’s supposed to be. We were finally safe. No hornets. No voices. Just this tension leaving the air - leaving my brain.

Everything was at peace - everything but Twinkle.

“Rose,” she said.

“Yeah,” I sobbed at her. “I’m here.”

She struggled to speak, so I leaned in closer.

“Don’t worry, Rose.” She whispered. “I’ll see you later.”

At that, Twinkle closed her eyes. She was still breathing. She was still alive. Barely. But that was all she had to say. I’ll see you later. Those words echoed through my head as I held poor Twink in my hooves. She was fading. Her heart. Her breath. I turned to Strawberry Lemonade, who just stared on in silent horror. She’d stopped fiddling with her doo-hickey. There was nothing more to do.

I clutched on to Twinkle’s hoof.

“Come on.” I said. “Come on. Please.”

I asked whatever was out there. Whatever had sent me on this stupid fucking mission in the first place. Please. Anything else. Not like this. Not like this. But the hornets were silent.

And so was Twinkle. She lied there, her chest struggling to rise just a little harder each time.

“Please.”

I stroked her pink little head.

“Twinkle?” I whimpered, but she didn’t answer.




* * *




And then just like that, I was back in Ponyvlle. Back in my room. Clutching my pillow.

"Twinkle," I sobbed, still a little dazed and confused. Then I realized what had happened. "Twinkle!"

Blankets. Warm pillows. A cozy bed. A poster of Sapphire Shores staring down on me. No Twinkle Eyes.

“No,” I said. “No, no, no, no, no!”

I turned my sheets and pillows upside down - as though she were a lost ribbon that might turn up if only I panicked hard enough. Roseluck rushed in and leapt up on my bed.

“It’s ok. You’re ok. You’re ok.” She said.

“Not without Twinkle!” I shouted and threw myself under the blanket.

I squeezed my eyes shut - tried to go back to sleep. I'd promised to stay with her. Promised not to leave. Sweet holy Celestia, I'd stuck a cupcake in my eye!!

What had Strawberry Lemonade seen? Had I disappeared? What about Misty? He had wandered off. Did he know it was coming? Why didn't he warn them?

Why didn’t that kielbasa-eating douche warn me?

And Twinkle. What if she’d opened her eyes just one last time, and found me gone. Just totally gone! No. It wasn't going to end like that. I wouldn't let it.

"I'm coming Twinkle!" I reassured my pillow. "Hold on, hold on, hold on!"

I pulled the whole blanket over my head, but nothing worked. I was too revved up to sleep.

Roseluck ran a hoof over my back and another through my mane. That sorta thing had always worked on me before. But Roseluck being there wasn't going to bring Twinkle Eyes back from the dead.

"She's gone." I said, pulling the blanket off.

Roseluck's stunned expression told me she understood. Maybe not the details. But that this was more than just a shock to the system - more than just bolting awake from a bad dream or bad traveling. This was loss.

"Oh, Rose. I'm so sorry." She said as she drew me closer.

I completely came apart. "I did everything I was supposed to. Everything!"

All the way downstairs I could hear the door slam shut. A moment later hooves pounded up the stairs and there was Cliff Diver standing in my doorway, staring in shock and awe. I must’ve looked a mess.

“Is she gonna be okay?”

“How long were you waiting down there?” Roseluck asked.

Apparently, he had no better place to be at six in the morning.

I looked at him through blurry salty eyes. The portrait of innocence – actual innocence. The way a kid is supposed to be. Everything we'd been fighting for.

“No.” I yelled. “It’s not over!”

This wasn’t right. We were the fucking good guys.

“I don’t care what the hornets say!” I shouted. “This is not over.”

The Universe had sent Misty and me thru time and space to right a wrong. To make a difference. And all that time, no matter what else was going on, we felt electrified. We were starting a revolution - a rescue of hundreds of children - and for a while, it felt like some deep secret force was on our side. Turned out it that the whole time we weren't righting a moral wrong, just fixing a clerical error. Working to make sure the right pony lived and the right pony died.

Well fuck that. It's not over till I say it's over.

"I'm going back." I said.

"I don't think you c--;"

"I'm. Going. Back."

I'd never spoken that way to Roseluck before. Defiant. Assertive. For the first time in my life, I didn't care what she thought. What she said. I didn't care about anything. I was gonna go back there. I was gonna fix it. I was gonna save Twinkle, or so help me, see to it that the last feeling she ever knew was comfort and the magic of fucking friendship.

I leapt out of bed. Past Roseluck. I darted for the door, but my legs wouldn't listen to me. I fell on my face, scrambled to my hooves and scurried past Cliff.

"Celestia!" He exclaimed. "What's wrong with your hoof?!"

Picking myself off the floor I saw that my condition in this world wasn't terribly different from my condition in Trottica.

"It's black." I said all matter-of-fact-like.

I scrambled down the stairs, or rather, tumbled. I came up trotting, swerving around three-legged, knocking over lamps and things. Finally, I got to the kitchen, flung open the cupboards, ransacked the shelves, tossed this and that on the floor.

"Where are you? Where are you?"

Finally I found it - a tin of sleepy tea. Without even pausing to catch my breath, I popped the lid, tilted the whole thing back, and started eating it raw.

"Hang in there, Twinkle." I coughed. "Hang in there."

My mouth was full of bitter leaves. What can I say? Fear makes you stupid.

I hobbled to the foot of the stairs and found Cliff and Roseluck perched on top looking down on me.

"I'm coming," I said to Twinkle, already too drowsy to climb the stairs good and proper.

Roseluck and Cliff rushed down.

"Rose!" My sister cried. Literally cried.

"Don't worry about me." Was just about the last thing I remember saying before I passed into a long dark dreamless sleep. "I'm fine."

Author's Note:

SUPPORT: Hooves of Fate is a labor of love. However, I also have mouths to feed. If this story, or my Heart Full of Pony essays have touched you in any way, and you can manage to spare a few bits, I'd very much appreciate your support on Patreon.
https://www.patreon.com/sprocketwriting

If you can't, no pressure. For those of you who already are pledging, seriously, and for real, thank you. Your support makes a difference, and it means a great deal to me. /]*[\

NOTE: When I first started writing this, I imagined that Hooves of Fate, despite its explorations into dark subject matter, would give people a reason to smile. For the most part, I like to think that I succeeded in this goal. However, this latest chapter took strange turns. For those of you who have been reading for those uplifting moments, I would like to start by assuring you that I have not drunk the grimdark Kool-aid. The events in this chapter played out that way for a reason that will become clearer as the story goes on. Both to me and to you.

Twinkle Eyes, of all the characters in this story, was by far the most fun to write, and I took no pleasure in her fate. If it were up to me, I would just write thousands upon thousands of pages of just Twinkle, Misty, and Rose bouncing off of one another. I love these characters like siblings, and feel that they make a great team.

However, Trottica was only the beginning, and at the end of the day, I write what my own brain hornets tell me to. There is still a much larger story unfolding. One that, as Pinkie Pie said in the original Fallout: Equestria, is building toward "sunshine and rainbows." I hope you'll stick around to discover it with me.

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