• Published 12th Apr 2013
  • 6,809 Views, 557 Comments

Millie - totallynotabrony

In the underworld of Equestria, one mysterious pony is fearfully whispered about. Only Vinyl and Octavia know why he left a trail of destruction through the criminal ranks. Now he's back, and, well...not a he anymore.

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Chapter 8

The ceiling tiles slowly came into focus. They didn’t look like any ceiling I should be staring at. Strange.

A quiet beeping was coming from somewhere nearby. I tried to turn my head, meeting with a little resistance and the feel of something pulling at the skin of my neck. I touched it with a fetlock. It felt like a bandage around my throat.

It seemed odd how I had adapted to pony mannerisms so thoroughly. I hadn’t touched the bandage with a hoof because I knew there was very little feeling there. I even knew how to sit up in bed properly, taking into account the way the equine shoulder moved.

One thing I had not adapted to was the unexpected surprise of meeting ponies I didn’t like. Waiting at the foot of my bed was a Lunar Guard. The grey, bat-winged pony stared at me with his slitted pupils. The beeping sound I heard started to accelerate.

“What are you doing here?” I hissed.

“I’ve come to debrief you. Tell me what happened last night.” His tone was cold and didn’t seem to display much interest in my personal wellbeing.

Still, it seemed like a good idea to indulge him. “I was walking, got attacked, and then somepony pulled my attacker away. That somepony claimed to be Miller the Killer.”

He stared as if I had left out some vital bit of information. “Give me their physical description.”

I frowned. Unfortunately, I was also in the dark - literally. “I have no idea. There wasn’t much light and I had just gotten my head knocked against a wall.”

“You said they told you who they were. What did the voice sound like?”

“Well, obviously they were lying. I’m Miller. The voice sounded...” I paused, struggling to recall. I’d been lying on the snowy ground with a concussion, and to be honest it had scrambled my brains a little.

“Male, female, old, young?” The Guard prompted. I shrugged helplessly. He made a noise of deep annoyance.

“I wish I could give you more.” I didn’t want to use an apologetic tone. I didn’t feel he deserved one from me. At the same time, what I said was true. The quicker we solved this the quicker I could go home.

“At least you’ve finally remembered your purpose,” the Guard muttered, shuffling his hooves and looking restless.

“No, actually. Was this why you brought me to Equestria a second time? To catch some serial killer masquerading as me? Sorry, but I found out about this by reading the newspaper.”

He turned his creepy eyes on me again. “What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I said. I got on this case by chance, not because I remembered anything you told me. Heck, I didn’t even know the serial killer was using my name until last night. That’s a detail that isn’t in the paper.”

“We’ve suppressed it.” The Guard looked irate, but also careful. The news that I still wasn’t with the program regarding my purpose in Equestria seemed to unsettle him. It kind of made me wonder if they’d tried to mess with my mind and it didn’t work. Actually, it made me wonder a lot of things about their competence. I just had to figure out who “they” were.

The batpony turned away, heading for the door. “Your medical bill will be paid. I’ve also left some bits for your trouble. Get back to work on finding this killer.”

Free hospital stay? That was a pleasant surprise. Well, delivered in an unpleasant manner, but still a positive thing. I pushed the call button to get a nurse to bring me the expensive dining menu.

After I’d ordered, I asked the nurse how long I had to stay at the hospital. She checked the bump on my head and my bandage. “You seem to be doing all right. The mild concussion will take care of itself. Your lacerated throat was a little more serious, but we’ve done what we can. Perhaps staying here a few more hours would be best, just to be sure something we didn’t expect won’t pop up.”

I supposed I could live with that. She removed the heart monitor equipment. It had been there as a precaution in case I died from brain swelling related to a head injury or something.

The food was acceptable. I found that it was better if you ordered it specifically instead of just going with whatever the cafeteria was making that day. The veggie burgers were not a perfect imitation of my favorite comfort food from back home, but I could pretend.

Vinyl came in that afternoon. “Dude! I was so worried when you didn’t show up!”

I had forgotten about the show, but didn’t have time to feel guilty as she wrapped me in a hug. I did wonder how she’d found me. Maybe just asking around the hospital when I went missing.

Vinyl pulled back to examine my head and neck with a worried look. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Or I will be, anyway. They only want me here for a few more hours.” I told her about the visit from the guard and my horrible experience the night before. Vinyl’s large sunglasses masked her expression as I mentioned the pony who’d attacked me and whoever it was that had come to my rescue.

“Wow, that’s... intense,” she observed. Vinyl cocked her head. “Did they cut your mane all crazy or something?”

I had to explain about that, too. Vinyl’s own mane was asymmetric, but still a little more organized than mine. She shrugged as she looked me over. “There is a bright side, I guess. There’s this bit of mane that’s still long enough to cover that goose egg on your head.”

We were still talking when Octavia appeared. Like Vinyl, I wondered how she knew I was in the hospital. I didn’t have time to ask, as the two of them stared each other down.

Some sort of miracle must have happened, because they both silently put their differences aside and sat down next to my bed. On opposite sides, but still without arguing.

“I came as soon as I heard.” Octavia was a little more collected than Vinyl, but there was the same note of worry in her voice. I did a recap for her of everything I had already told Vinyl.

Octavia listened patiently, looking somewhat more worried as I went on. “It sounds like you were very lucky, Millie. Please be careful.”

I shrugged. She was probably right, but for the moment I just wanted to get back in the thick of things. I still had to finish this serial killer case, but I would be more careful.

I looked at Vinyl and Octavia. “So are the two of you hungry? The government’s paying.”

The hospital released me that evening. True to his word, the Guard had left a bag of bits. It was no fortune, but a pleasant surprise. Good, I needed something to cheer me up. My head still hurt a little and I was careful not to bend my neck very much. I didn’t know how deep the knife wound had gone, but a nurse told me that no arteries had been affected.

Vinyl and Octavia walked on either side of me out the front doors of the hospital. The two of them still weren’t speaking directly, but not speaking at all was an improvement over slinging insults. Plus, the way they flanked me almost felt like I had some sort of honor guard.

I thought a little about that. During my time in Canterlot, Octavia had mentioned that she took some self defense classes. Vinyl had probably seen enough of the underbelly of Equestria to at least know what fighting looked like. I was human, which at the very least made me unpredictable.

Those qualifications in no way made us badasses, but my fear from the previous night was slowly converting itself to anger. I made sure to temper my focus, however. I was hurt, and the city of Manehattan had already proven itself more than capable of throwing surprises at me.

“I know you were in bed all day, but maybe you want to rest back at the hotel?” suggested Vinyl. Octavia looked like she didn’t agree, but said nothing.

“Maybe I will.” I glanced at Octavia. “Why don’t I stop by later? Maybe I can retrace my steps from when I left the club last night.”

Vinyl looked like she wanted to point out that going to the club was the whole reason I was attacked, but held her tongue.

Octavia broke off, nodding goodbye, and I followed Vinyl to the hotel. We went upstairs to our room. In the bathroom mirror I examined the welt on my head. Vinyl had been right; I could easily conceal it with what mane I had left. The bandage around my neck was another thing and I considered removing it. If everything worked out right and I was sent home, I wouldn’t have to worry long term about having a scar caused by interfering with the healing. And anyway, the bandage kept pulling at my skin.

I slowly peeled off the gauze and tape. The slash on the side of my neck was long but didn’t look too deep. The dried blood had already been washed away and if I was careful I could avoid having the injury reopen.

Now that the bandage was off, I did kind of regret removing it. It would have drawn even more attention than my butchered mane, but I wanted something to protect the wound.

A few minutes of thinking brought me to a solution. In fact, it was better than just a fix; it was an upgrade. I went to get the leather belt from my pile of human clothing. I carefully manipulated my pocket knife with magic to punch an extra hole in the belt. This allowed it to be cinched around my neck; not too tight, not too loose. As an added bonus, I could carry my knife in its little holster on the belt.

A Swiss Army knife was not an ideal weapon for self defense, but it made me feel slightly better. At the very least, I could do useful handymare things with it.

I shook my head. Man, handyman.

The collar-like leather belt combined with my terrible manecut gave me a punkish look. Good, maybe it would scare stallions away. I hadn’t seen very much leather in Equestria. Most that did pop up seemed to be pigskin. I should probably avoid mentioning that mine came from a cow. My stomach grumbled. Speaking of pigs and cows, a bacon cheeseburger sounded good right now. The veggie burger for lunch hadn’t really satisfied me.

Vinyl was tinkering with her electronics when I came out of the bathroom. I told her I was going out. She started slightly. “Are you sure?”

I took a moment to think about it. No, I wasn’t; however staying in bed wasn’t going to solve any problems. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

I left the hotel and headed down the street towards The Metronome. A few well-dressed ponies looked at me oddly, like I was some kind of hoodlum with my hacked mane and leather collar. The old belt with dirt and grease rubbed into it over the years was not a fashionable item, but it did provide some small comfort to have something familiar near me.

While there was still some daylight left, I took a detour to where I had been attacked. The snow was still scuffed up and I saw a few drops of blood scattered around. Some of the drops were where I had fallen, some were at the other end of the alley.

I paused to think. The Lunar Guard seemed to believe that my savior the previous night had been the same serial killer that stalked the streets. But weren’t murders like that planned ahead of time? Certainly the killer using my name hadn’t expected me to get attacked. Or had they? Was I being followed?

I might have to look into the history of the killer’s victims. Perhaps I was actually dealing with a vigilante. A pony fighting against criminals, hmm. There was a terrible thought - maybe I had accidentally inspired them to such acts with what had happened in Canterlot.

Based on the lack of blood at the scene, my attacker must have been killed with something besides a sharp object. Blunt force trauma? I didn’t really want to think about it. I couldn’t feel satisfied with his death, but it was certainly better him than me. Also, thinking too much about that might remind me just how close I had come to my own death that night. It might have been a matter of fractions of an inch. If the cut had been any deeper...

I shook my head and turned away, heading for the mouth of the alley. The sun slipped a little lower, and I hurried faster.

I continued on to The Metronome, taking a look around as I entered. Ice was there, as well as a few regulars like Gilda that I was coming to recognize. Iridium met me and I asked him for some cider. This time I had the money to pay.

I didn’t know what I was going to do with the bits the Lunar Guard had given me. Probably spend it on food. After Iridium came back with my drink I went to find a table. Gilda motioned me over, so I sat with her.

“Heard you got beat up,” she commented.

I raised my eyebrows. “Where did you hear that?”

“Word gets around.” She shrugged and glanced at me. “What did they look like?”

“Which- the pony who attacked me or the one who attacked him? I don’t really know. It was dark.”

Gilda grumbled and made a slicing motion with her sharp talons. “Sounds terrible.”

I had been told that Gilda could be protective, and I suppose it was lucky that she seemed to like me. While she was talking, I decided to see if I could learn a few things.

I was betting Ice knew something about the supposed serial killer. His appearance in Manehattan was just too much of a coincidence. I nodded towards him and said to Gilda, “Who’s he? I haven’t seen him around.”

Gilda shrugged. “I think he’s a cop. He looks like one to me.”

That made sense, although I didn’t know if Ice was still with the Canterlot Police. As I watched him, the door opened and a dark grey pegasus came in. Ice jerked a little at the sight, but soon relaxed again at not recognizing the new pony. I smirked slightly. Had my time as the supposed Miller the Killer really left that much of an impression on him? I almost felt sorry for the guy.

I wondered how to go about getting information out of him. My current appearance was not suited for flirting, but there was no way I was going to do that anyway. I thought about following him back to wherever he lived to see what I might learn there, but quickly shot that idea down. Sure, let’s follow around a pony who is police trained and is clearly paranoid about something.

I decided to find Octavia. Not only had I promised to stop by the club and see her, but maybe she could help me. I didn’t know how, exactly, but hopefully we would come up with something.

Author's Note:

Hello, we're back with normal chapters! There was no big cliffhanger at the end like these things usually contain, but as Millie gets into more trouble I can promise that we'll go back to dropping bombshells on a regular basis!

Edits by Treilacl