Tales by Balefirelight (a Fallout: Equestria Group Collab)

by sophos

First published

There are a million and one stories in the Wasteland.

With dangers around every corner and death always on the horizon, life in the Wasteland is never easy and rarely pleasant. But not everypony is a hero or a villain. Some of us are just trying to get by. That doesn't mean we don't have stories to share.

Come, warm yourself by the fire and share a story or two.
(Authors are linked at the start of each story.)

Light by uselessnavy theseal

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by uselessnavy theseal

I watched the fire with suspicion, the north was cold and unforgiving, and it was only a matter of time before some gust of wind or sudden blizzard removed my only source of heat.

Perhaps more important than the heat, was what was heating in the pot hung over the fire. The cast iron pot held molten lead. I telekinetically gave it a stir with the steel ladle, then checked what I had resting in the snow near me. I took the Iron mold, undid the clasps that clamped it shut, tried opening it, failed, banged it on a rock, opened it, and let the ball, a perfect 0.704 inches in diameter with a slight ribbing to facilitate the rifling of my weapon, fall out. I held the ball over the pot, and used a pair of wire cutters to trim excess lead from the ball, allowing the trimming to fall into the pot to be reused. After that I refilled the mold with lead, and gave it time to cool on one of the rocks outlining the fire pit, then allowed it to finish cooling in the snow. I continued the process for some time, civilized ammo having long since became scarce in the old Equestrian Province of Quebuck.

As I continued to labour at my fire, three of my kinsmen arrived back at the fire. One had came back from a successful hunting venture, one had made a run to a nearby settlement for powder, and the third had been scouting. As we ate, and resupplied on ammo and powder, the scout delivered his news. “Imposer bushwhackers have begun making their way into our territory. They are following the old foot path, and if we are quick we can cut them off.” He said and we proceeded to debate on which route would be most effective.

After settling on a route and finishing our meal, we set off into the woods following the hatchet marks left on the trees that would lead us to a point on the foot path that should allow us time to set a sufficient ambush.

The Imposers, or the New Canterlot Republic as they called themselves, had came to our lands three years after the skies opened. We tried extending a hoof of friendship, but they flaunted their superiority, mocked our way of life, and insulted our oligarchs. Their demand that we submit to their reunified Equestria was unacceptable, and with our ways of life at stake, we had chosen war. The conflict had quickly diffused into skirmishing, as our environment was not conductive to their style of fighting, and we are too few in number to strike at them.

We reached our destination as night began to fall, and took up positions on either side of the path behind bushes, trees, or snow banks. As we waited day became night, a light snowfall began, and the sky was lit up with the ribbons of light only visible during the winter.

Then they came along. They trotted along the foot trail, bundled up tightly in their over coats, with their heads hung low signalling a low morale. I aimed my rifle from where I lay in wait, and, on the mimicked hoot of an owl, fired. The expanding gas burst into my face, and the heavy lead ball smashed into the unfortunate Imposer I had aimed at.

After the our opening volley, the remaining Imposers frantically turned their flashlights on the forest. They would have been better off blindly firing their weapons, as the light only allowed them a chance to see us bring our bayonets down into them.

In the dim light of the moon, and the northern lights celebrating our heroic deed we dragged the bodies off the path, and kicked snow over the blood spatter, come morning there would be no evidence of what had transpired. There would be more Imposer incursions, there would be more raids, the north was in a dark time, but on nights like this a tiny light would shine.

Swag by dekkonot

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by dekkonot

I walked towards the fallen body of the bandit. Her breath was still being drawn, moving her chest. Just barely though. It mattered not. For in the end, I was supreme.

A quick shot was all it took. Her torment ended and she was left to rot. Quickly bending down, I grabbed the gun that had caused the skirmish to escalate to the point of death. It was perfect. Amazing. Absolutely stunning.

I smiled a bit as I put the silver colored weapon within my saddle bags. I wouldn't fire it, of course. That would be a waste. No, I'd just hold onto it. Perhaps sell it off for some outlandish price. It didn't matter. I was supreme.

I ran off back towards my awaiting caravan. They'd all probably been worried sick, while I was mentally kicking them all for staying put this long. The Equestrian Wasteland was no place to stand still, dammit.

"Nice little firefight you got into up there," a light yellow colored earth pony said to me with a slight frown, "Was it worth all that? You could've've let her live, you know."

Ahh. But he didn't know. None of them did. And that made it even better. I was the only one who knew this weapon even existed. This beautiful weapon from the sky. I had never seen anything like it.

"No, I suppose. I just shot without thinking and by the time I realized what I was doing I had her to a point where killing her was a mercy. And isn't that what DJ-Pon3 is always going on about? Mercy?"

He seemed to stop and consider that for a moment, then went back to his job of watching the road behind us. He didn't see me kill of the others with my throwing knives, and he definitely didn't feel me killing him. "You knew, Dandy. Don't ask me how but you knew. All of you knew and this was the consequence. Now I'm the only one," I whispered to his freshly made corpse. None of them knew anymore. They knew nothing.

And so begin my slow spiral into a world of inner peace. It is surprisingly therapeutic: to kill somepony because of what they know. It isn't murder. Nor is is it self defense. It's just killing. Plain and simple. And I loved it.

Honey by Honey Mead

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by Honey Mead

I’m good at hiding. It’s not my special talent or anything, just something I can do really well. Mother, and everypony else I guess, has always hated it, but I figure they’re just jealous. My special talent is actually ventriloquism. My voice can run around a room all by itself.

They’ve both been really helpful lately.

I think I smell pretty bad, but after awhile you stop noticing, you know? It’s been so long since I took a shower that my sweat has carved rivers from my mane down to my hooves. Truthfully, I don’t mind most of the time, except like now, when it’s running between my eyes. I have to hold my head up or it will splash on the floor.

My breath has finally started to slow down along with my heart. Those last fifteen minutes were really tense. It’s a good thing I found this closet.

A growl of protest comes from my stomach, reminding me why I’m here in the first place.

I press my ear to the steel door and listen. The coast is clear, or it should be. I decide to wait a few more minutes to be on the safe side. Another loud growl makes me re-consider. If she’s out there, she’d have heard that.

Slowly, oh so carefully, I open the door and peek.

The hallway is empty… of life. White fluorescent lights buzz and flicker in the ceiling. There’s nowhere to hide out there, and I can’t decide if that’s good or bad. The hollow in my stomach makes it moot.

I close my eyes for a moment. I imagine the hallway the way I remember it. It helps a little. Then I step into the first puddle. It’s not really a puddle anymore, too dry, but it is sticky and disgusting. There’s no way around it, though, and jumping is right out. Trying not to breath doesn’t really help with the smell, but I do it anyways.

“Honey!” I freeze, my throat squeezing so tight that a scream suffocates and dies inside. “You’re in big trouble missy! I’ve been looking all over for you—”

I take off, galloping as fast as my hooves will carry me. Five paces. I make it five paces before tripping over a leg. My chin hits the floor and I slide through a stain, the dried blood barely noticeable against my once golden coat. I taste copper.

Before I can recover, she’s on top of me, a hoof pressed into the small of my back. “That’s a naughty girl! Running away from momma like that.”

I try to scream but only manage to garble as my bit tongue gushes inside my mouth. I start crying. I don’t know what else to do.

“Don’t give me those alligator tears, Honey! You have to face your punishment like a big girl.”

The knife presses into the top of my muzzle. It’s shiny, like a polished mirror. I can see the leg I tripped over reflected in it. There is a moment there where I wonder where the rest of him is, but it doesn’t last long.

“Momma’s very disappointed in you, Honey.”

The blade shifts.

I manage to scream this time.

Crater by Scattershot

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by Scattershot

Slowly, slowly I lift my hooves over the window sill. Slower still, I pull myself up until my eyes can just barely peek through the triple-reinforced glass. Just as we were told, just like the radio said. The lights, the fire, the death.

The bombs.

I watch in horrified fascination as the lights fade into dust and that dust forms a giant mushroom. I can’t hear the panic behind me, but I know that it’s happening. Ponies banging on doors, on glass, flipping beds. Let us out! Let us out!

I don’t hear them, I just watch. I watch as something glints in the sky. Watch as it grows bigger. Watch as it falls right outside my window. Light, noise, pain, thump, everything glows and everything hurts…

Slowly, slowly I lift my hooves over the window sill. Slower still, I pull myself up until my eyes can just barely peek through the triple-reinforced glass. Just as we were told, just like the radio said. The lights, the fire, the death.

The bombs…


“It’s not hostile…” I say, watching the ghoul pull itself over the lip, only to fall again.

“Not yet.” My partner says, aiming his rifle.

I watch the cycle repeat, my rad suit insulating me from the poisonous green goop all around us. Crawl up, gaps at something, fall back down. “What do you think its problem is?”

“Don’t know.” Blam! The ghoul’s head explodes. “Don’t care.”

We watch the body slide down one last time, settling in the remains of a prison cell. “How long had it been doing that?” I asked. “Since the bombs fell?”

“Don’t know.”

I look up and through the tinted glass I can see dozens of other ghouls milling about the bowels of the crater that was once a maximum security prison. As we descended into the crater, I noted the number on the ghoul’s cell door, 205.


My hooves tap away at the keyboard, backing out of the system several times as my bulky suit hits incorrect keys. Eventually, I get the system open and a prisoner log appears on the screen. I sigh and turn to my partner who is watching the door for more ghouls. “It’s not here either, let’s move on.” He nods and starts to leave the room, but something catches my eye as I step away from the terminal.

“Wait up.” I call back, selecting the entry that sparked my interest, “Cell 205”.

I scan the entry. The data is corrupted with age to the point that even the pony’s name is gone, but I get the gist of it.

“What is it?” He asks.

“It’s an entry on that ghoul from the lip.” I say. “Apparently he was locked up for protesting the war, but they ignored the fact that the evidence never said he was involved in the riot that he was arrested at.” I rub my chin, though I can’t really feel it through the rubber suit. “Didn’t you mention something about your brother…?”

I don’t finish my question as the screen explodes. I scream and leap back from my partner, pointing his gun at the destroyed screen. The long silence is broken only by the hissing machinery before he says “Let’s go”. Without waiting to see if I’ll follow, my ghoul partner turns and ventures back into the crater.

Live by Tylertlat

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by Tylertlat

I was alive for the first time in months. I'd been a trader back then. Then one of the guards had found a landmine with her hoof, and I was unlucky enough to be standing next to her. I'd woken up, my body shattered, with an explosive metal yoke about my neck. And you couldn't call that 'living', anymore than you could call that zombified thing holding my radio-leash 'alive'.

Since then he'd continued to prey upon caravans, and it'd used my carcass to help him. Occasionally another victim would survive, and wake up to the same fate. Most refused to prey upon their former companions. They were sold or killed, whichever made the most profit for the ghoul. But with every sundered caravan, I secreted away a few caps. From every slain guard, I pocketed a few junk rounds that wouldn't be missed. Slowly but safely I gained enough currency worked to buy my life back.

The riskiest part was just making the purchase. The ghoul had grown to trust me, and used me to carry his stuff to markets. It didn't trust me enough to let me talk to anypony though, so I had to set up the purchase through slipped notes and dead drops. If the ghouls saw me, he would've killed me. If the I couldn't find a buyer, or was scammed, I would remain dead. But somehow things worked out. I left a bag of caps, ammo, and trinkets in a particularly sharp tangle of rebar and scrap, and when we returned I found it replaced by a fragile looking device made of wonderglue, wires, and scuffed up gems. It's blinking light turned solid as I picked it up. Apparently, the device would scan for the frequency of my collar and overwhelm it with an “all-clear” signal, rendering the ghouls detonator harmless. Now I just had to wait until we were out of public.

As we back to camp to the ghouls camp, where the other slaves were kept, I kept a lookout for possible weapons and witnesses. The best seemed to be a vacant area and a large, long dead branch. So I picked it up.

“Put that down” the ghoul growled.

“Muck ou” I spat out around the tree branch, as I slowly walked towards him. That seemed to surprise the ghoul for a moment.

“I thought you cared more about your life than that” the ghoul threatened in faux concern. He then made a show of taking out the detonator. I could've killed it right there, and let my device replace its short-range stay-close-to-master signal. Heck, with this device, I could've just walked away when it turned its back. But I wanted to see its reaction when it realized I'd cut it's strings. To enjoy it's terror when it realized I was alive again, and it was about to die. So I revealed my device, and glared at him in smug satisfaction.

“What is that, a flashlight?” It asked in annoyed confusion. Then I saw comprehension dawn.

“Ah fuck, you think you got some magic radio that'll save you?” That was my cue, I began to stalk towards it again. “Well it won't. You still got two choices. Live”, it ranted out, as it cowered back from me. Then it shook the detonator, continuing “or Die. You are worth more to me alive! You wanna die?!”

“My choss WIV” I shouted swinging my head back to strike.


Drunk by Windmill 7

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by Windmill 7

Tunnel Vision mounted the final flight of stairs, counting steps by their echoes, muttering a different name for each. Veiled panic—or was it something else? He felt himself shaking. Thoughts raced, melted into nonsense, drained back into a neat reality. Fragile like his head. He asked himself if he would forget, but the only answer was a hoof searching for a step that wasn’t there. Stumbling a bit, he knew he wouldn’t. Like a firebrand for the mind, mnemonics drawn in blood. He drew his rifle, mounted it on an upturned desk. One bottle capsized target, bright in the darkness of the city.

One more name to remember.

He could see him. His features were crystal through the magnification of his scope, from the grime that edged his mouth to the grease that smeared his coat. Dirty like the worm he is, like he deserves to be. All the soap in Equestria couldn’t make him clean. All the suits in the world couldn’t stop him from looking like a rat out of the garbage. Tunnel Vision could feel his blood boiling beneath his skin.

But he didn’t shoot.

Chill out, T.V.

Laughter. A ghost trapped in his mind. He shook his head. He couldn’t remember her smile, but her voice haunted him.

And whose fault was that? He gritted his teeth.

Pinstripe, you worthless piece of shit.

Dark, dark as the Wasteland. And they had thought they found a fire to light it. This city was supposed to be a beacon. And it was, until one pony snuffed that fire out to split profit with the devil. Raiders, Fiends, Slavers. Even the Great Fawns of the north, who never would’ve come had Pinstripe not given them the city on a silver platter. Now everypony was dead or gone.

Boxer. Matchstick. Flinch.

Click. He chambered a new round.

Jackal. Tailwind. Wanderlust.


His friends, his family. His love. Their corpses were rotting in the streets below now, their flesh stuck in the blackened teeth of raiders, their wills bound by the cold steel of Slaver collars. And for what?

For what, Pinstripe? For what?

A mountain of caps you couldn’t hope to spend? Control of a city now more worthless than the dust of this irradiated Equestria?

It’d been 10 long minutes since he first scoped onto him, but Pinstripe had hardly moved an inch. His horn glowed a brilliant orange, and a wheel of glasses bobbed in the air around him like fish lures in a sea of darkness. One long gulp, he downed one of the drinks like second nature. The glass flew across the room to some dark corner, and the wheel of liquor spun. Drinking while poison floods the veins of your city. A drunk, in metaphor and in life.

Tunnel Vision hated him. But he hated himself too. Hated himself for trying. Hated himself for wanting to believe that the Wasteland could be saved. Hated himself for trusting Pinstripe.

He should never have come to this city. He would never have met them, the ponies he had spent every day of the last ten years with, the ponies that he loved with all his life, but they’d still all be alive. She’d still be alive.

Tunnel Vision lined up his crosshair. He stopped. Pinstripe was crying. His eyes were wet, red-rimmed. His body shook with tremors. There was something in his hooves—a picture. That first day they had found an old camera. It was as grim and gray a day as any other, but they were all smiling. Pinstripe. Marigold. And himself.

That’s right. He remembered. Even Pinstripe was his friend once. And even Pinstripe had lost something from all that’s happened. He had sold the city. But the city was his too, and maybe he loved it more than anypony else. Pinstripe’s horn glowed brighter as he poured himself one last drink, the only light in the darkness of the city. Tunnel Vision pulled the trigger.

One more name to remember.

Caravan by Honey Mead

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by Honey Mead

I found everything I was looking for, and everything I feared.

It was the smell that led me to them, that stomach churning, noxious mixture of ash, cooking meat, and burnt hair. I nearly retched from that stench a long mile away. Nothing I did could cover it up, seared as it was on my memory.

Inside a half-mile, I spotted the first curls of smoke as they dissipated into the air. Ten? Fifteen? I couldn’t count for the watering of my eyes. Those thin tendrils wafted, almost dancing, over the charred remains. Black corkscrews, like temporary tombstones, that marked where they’d fallen.

By the time I reached them, there was nothing left in my stomach, and only the sour tinge of vomit on my tongue.

Stumbling, I fell against the still smoldering wreckage.

I heard them coming back, their whoops and hollers echoing between the hills, but I couldn’t make myself care.

One Last Round by Seize the day 23

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One Last Round

by Seize the day 23

He had no idea my cross-hairs were dancing on him as he slowly crept out of his hole. He had been hiding in an old-as-dirt mineshaft for three days. And you can bet I had been waiting for him, dusk to dawn. I could tell by the relieved look on his face that he thought I was gone--he was sorely wrong; I was a revenant. He was good, but now I had his number. He had all but asked for this.

I remember what my sister would always say, and apparently she got it from our mother. She would say; "Krrigié artt enn arivi tecríe alieas" Which meant, "live free and fly hard, or die trying" She said it came from our forgotten bloodline or something.

Now, I'm no Pegasus, but I guess a little filly takes things like that to heart right quick. And that's just what I was doing. I could be 'home', but instead I'm on this unholy quest. I hope my sis would be proud of me. I was her henchmare. He had taken her from me, and now I was going to tell him how I felt about that.

I blinked my sleep deprived eyes and steadied my breath.The sand had blown almost completely over me. Two weeks I had been stalking my prey, three of those days I've been waiting here, and now here he was, standing before me. He stood there on shaking legs, obviously as sleep deprived as I. He slowly looked around at the hell-scape before him. I gently eased all the slack off my trigger, then pulled it that last millimeter.

A dull roar overtook my hearing, and my vision blurred as my scope slammed into my muzzle. I rolled onto my side, holding my hooves to my face. I looked back at my rifle. The whole bolt had been blown open with the barrel ripped entirely from the receiver from the force of the discharge.

And thus my luck reins eternal, but that was inconsequential, I wasn't turning back now.

"Oh--it's going to be one of 'those' days," I said to myself, wiping my muzzle with my forehoof.

I levitated up the scope, which was smeared with my blood but relatively undamaged. He was gone; fled back into his hole like the animal he is. Guess I'm going down the rabbit hole.

I dropped the scope next to the useless rifle that had exploded in my face. I took off my saddlebags and bandolier for my rifle and dropped them in the sand.

I levitated my sisters pistol out of my bag. I pulled the slide back, the empty magazine locking it in place. I ripped the bullet from my necklace, and slid it into the open chamber.

I looked up at the sun that I had gotten to know very well these last two weeks, tears streaming down my cheeks from my recent injury--mostly. It does seem like a good day to die, time to seize it. He should have known not to mess with somepony who has nothing left, especially when you took what she did.

One last round; Thirteen millimeters of lead...and it just so happened to have his name on it.

This is for her, you bastard.

Forget by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

What am I supposed to do again? I tend to forget these things easily. Where in the world am I? What am I doing here? Something important needs to happen and it starts with this blade.

Who am I? What is my name? From where did I come? To where am I going? It’s so hard to remember? Vaguely I hear the voice of another. It speaks of a bullet stuck in my head. It missed my vital brain matter by that much. What nonsense is this voice speaking?

The blade sits just to the left of my damp mattress. It needs to go somewhere. I think I need to take it. But to where does it need to go? I forget.

A stranger wanders in. Her eyes look weary yet stricken with desire. I can’t stand to look at them. I pull a tiny switch. I pick up a similarly small piece of metal and replace the one that went flying. I hear a short scream that leads to silence. At least I no longer see the eyes.

The voice tells me that I have done this before. But, I don’t remember doing anything like this before. Surely it knows not what it talks about.

What am I supposed to do again? I tend to forget these things easily.

Turnabout by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

It was one of the most peculiar situations he had ever faced. That was saying something considering the fact that he was fighting a bunch of spore-grown pony-shaped monsters last week. The week before that, he was severing heads for oddly specific bounties. Three weeks ago, he was having a conversation with his own brain. Every time he thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the wastelands decided to throw one more slider.

He was being walked into an open courtroom already filled with various angry folks. But that wasn’t the weirdest part. The peculiarity of the occupants was that no one was trying to kill each other, at least not with visible weaponry. In fact, the most threatening thing that permeated the atmosphere was the number of angry stares and the choice of words being exchanged between those of opposing opinions.

The fellow was shoved into a stand that was falling apart while some pony not much older than he was stepped into the other stand. Both he and the stranger turned when they heard a loud whapping noise. It turned out to be a piece of cinderblock being slammed by a mutant.

He heard that court was in session. He was baffled by the statement. Since when did ponies hold court? Usually sentences were carried out by who was quicker to the trigger and who survived explosions next to their eardrums.

The receiver in his ear sent his client’s voice to him. The orders were crystal clear: Defend or die. Against his better judgment, he declared himself as the defense and ready.


Through orders, he fired at the judge’s hoof just before a guilty verdict could be declared. The witnesses fired upon the plaintiff as well as the rest of the jury. Ah, now this was more familiar to him. Questioning and objecting wasn’t really his style.

The only turnabout he cared for was returning grenades to their senders.

Sweet Tooth by TundraStanza

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Sweet Tooth

by TundraStanza

You’re all alone and you wonder why. You can’t shake this strong feeling that death is quickly approaching you. Using the various corners of the building, you hide from the motion-sensitive cameras. In light of these circumstances, you refuse to release any liquid from your eye ducts. After all, you feel pretty sure that the promise of a baked reward was falsified information.

Whoever it was that placed you in this sterilized facility had the foresight to take away most of your weaponry. It seems that you’re more of a threat to the scum of this world than you could even imagine. The only “gun” that one of the rooms gave you was a space-bending device that rips holes in reality. The catch is that you can only have two holes open at once and they must be ripped in flat surfaces such as the walls and floors. Additionally, they don’t seem to work on all the surfaces in these hallways.

Eventually you pass enough of the “testing” phase to satisfy the mechanical voice overhead. You see the robotic pony waving at you and smiling as the moving platform carries you over an oven-heated area that is stated to be over 4000 Kelvin. Of course, you’re having none of that and rip two holes in reality just in time to escape dehydration of the extreme variety.

It seems that the android wasn’t as smart as you originally assumed. All of your gear is in the box on the floor that you just propelled yourself to. You pull out your favorite gun before delivering a few well-placed bucks into the cyborg's joints. It seems to shiver on the floor, which begs the question of whether a robot such as this can experience fear.

“But… there was going to be… cake,” murmurs the android.

You briefly pause, not out of mercy but out of pity. You click your weapon.

“I don’t have much of a sweet tooth,” you admit before pulling the trigger.

Slots by Yoater

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by Yoater

I walk around the fallen metal letter partially blocking the entrance and head inside what was once the Sands of Time Casino. The receptionist’s desk at the front had been smashed long ago by a statue that is now rubble from many gun-toting fools. A look to the right reveals the rows of toppled slot machines with debris from the floor above piled atop them. Diffuse yellow light illuminates the room from the daylight filtering in through dirt covered windows. Checking my Pipbuck’s map, I can see that my destination is not far away. In fact, it was within sight if I am able to measure the distance on the screen correctly.

I set the leg down and begin my trek towards the machine. It stands out among the others in that it is still standing, and running, The neon green glow of the neon lights around the three dials is like a massive beacon in the room. As I approach the machine, I stare at the slightly charred front and its shattered red light atop it. The game is simply called ‘Sunrise Surprise’. Each of the three dials has a picture of a full sun on it, above and below are other things including Princess Celestia’s face. Below the dials is what appears to be a drawer that I cannot open. Above the dials is the payouts, three winged suns is the jackpot while three full suns is the next highest payout of times fifty.

Rooting through my bags, my hoof hits the old pre-war bits I was given. The machine easily takes five of them. I cringe as they clink to the bottom almost too loudly. However, the job board wanted the jackpot, which is supposed to be something grand. My hoof grabs hold of the old dusty lever and I yank down on it. The machine responds with a loud clank and a loud bell as the slot machine’s dials begin spinning until they become a blur. They whirl around as the bell dings on each revolution, causing it to constantly ring out.

I sigh deeply and wonder why the old farm pony only gave me five bits, which was enough for one pull of the lever. Perhaps he expected me to win more from it, or perhaps he assumed I had more. He didn’t seem at all there.being that he was a ghoul. The first dial slams into position on a winged sun, causing me to tilt my head and break my thoughts. I glance up at the payout and see that a winged sun and any combo pays out twice what you put in. The second dial slams into position with a ding, drawing my attention to it and I see it is also a winged sun. I feel my lips curling into a small smirk as I watch the last dial in the hope that my luck holds.

It slams down with a ding and the machine says, “you’re a winner!” the bell begins dinging like crazy as the light above tries to flash, but only succeeds in sparking wildly. The drawer pops open and a red banded metal apple jumps out. My gaze follows it, my eyes widening when I see that the stem to grenade was missing.

“Oh, buck,” I mutter.

Zebras by Interloper

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by Interloper

They came in the night, searching for the one who had taken the lives of their own. If they could not find the murderer, they would find blood.

And they did.

Masika slogged through the snow, tears freezing along her cheeks as her village burned behind her. Her entire village, slaughtered … butchered like animals. By ponies. The zebra mare turned her head over her shoulder as the snowfall began to thicken, and she watched, with contracted, glistening pupils, as the inferno that burned over her village consumed every corpse, every hovel, every memory of her life until there was nothing left.

Nothing left. Her family, her friends, her neighbors. Dead.

All because they needed firewood.

Winter had come, and it, like the last nineteen years of her life, brought not a warm hearth and gifts like it may have two hundred years ago, but death and darkness. It had only been three weeks into the winter and her village had lost many a zebra to the frost.

In the forest that her kind had been forced to reside in, there were many trees – but of them, very few could actually burn. It was difficult igniting a log that had been charred to a blackened husk. Without fuel, there could be no fire.

Without fire, there could be no warmth. And her village would continue to die.

Like many scarce resources, it was fought over. Killed for. Just like in the war her ancestors had fought with the ponies. The past had repeated itself, and now everyone was dead. Her father, Baako, had told her, the night before, that ponies never changed, that for them, the war had never ended. That war never changes. He had told her to not leave the village, lest she lose herself in pony territory.

She knew not of the world outside her village. But she did know that there were not enough zebras, not enough ponies left to afford bloodshed. The war had ended two hundred years ago, and she had hoped ... she had hoped that it had ended for them too.

She was tired of freezing in the snow.

Despite her efforts, she was still freezing in the snow, but now, without a home to return to. She was the only one left, spared from the slaughter by sheer chance. If only they had listened … if only her father had listened … if only he had let her turn herself in. This never would've happened.

She had killed them. A stallion and his two colts.

Her village had not had firewood in nearly three days. Since winter came, there were not enough stallions to work outside. One would bear the responsibility of two, or three, or four as more of her kin perished to the cold bite of the Northern Wasteland’s frozen wind.

In the darkest hours of the night, defying her father’s whims and the roles of zebra society, she had ventured off into the forest to ease the burdens upon the shoulders of her village's weary stallions, in search of firewood to enkindle her family’s cold hearth. She had hoped the ponies would understand her village’s suffering. That they would be charitable souls who pitied the zebras who froze and died in the forest while they lived within their metal shelters in the pony settlement of Dusktown.

She was wrong.

That night, she had found herself lost. In pony territory. Like territorial beasts, they descended upon her. They would not listen to her pleas for pity, nor pleas of reason – not even when she begged upon her knees. They simply didn't care if two dozen zebras perished in the snow. They simply wouldn't understand the plight of the zebra.

She killed them that night. They would not let her leave with her firewood.

That night, her family warmed their hooves by the fire.

And on this night, her family had burned in the fires that had consumed her town.

All because they needed firewood.

As she plodded away from the inferno she began to understand. Her father was right. War never changes. And neither do ponies. She understood this now. The ponies could never let go of the past; for them, the war had never ended, and old hatreds continued to burn even as the world had burned out.

As she waded through the snow, she found herself lost once more amidst the shifting, ashen tides. In pony territory.

A light shined upon her face, as a wagon approached.

She lifted her hoof to them, clinging to a sliver of hope and denial that the ponies within would take her with them to warmth and safety. She hoped that they were not the same, that their hearts were not blinded by the ancient hatred that burned between their two races.

Again, she was wrong. In the back of the wagon she rode, in chains.

War never changes. And neither do ponies.

Masika knew this well.

Fixation / Tongue Tied / Not Again by Sophos

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by Sophos

My sweat soaked through my coat and the first layer of the thick, dark robes weighing down my supple frame, but the Sun and wool were not the sole sources of the heat. My heart thumped in my chest faster than I thought Equinely possible.

“Revenge.” The word passed through my lips without the force to escape my wrappings.

“Halt!” Somepony called from behind me, but I didn't turn around.

“Revenge.” I exhaled again. The city was bustling, perhaps they were speaking to somepony else.

“HALT I SAY!” I picked up my pace, purposely shoving down every passerby in reach of my hooves. Beneath my hood, the corners of my mouth turned up despite the woven resistance tightly wrapped across my muzzle. When I was out of Ponies to shove I galloped; eyes trained on a central square, the robes tightened around my crotch.

“REVENGE! For my family! For my friends! I will never be without them again!” I screeched as I reached the square. Two guards were on hot pursuit, though one had tripped over one a passerby. I looked to the white castle hanging on the side of the mountain, on the far side of the city. I tore off my outermost robe, the Sun glinted off the bulky device strapped to my chest. “SIC SEMPER NIGHTMARES!!!” I kicked a switch on the device, and the onlookers had scarcely time to gasp in horror before the world went...


Pink. Then black. My eyes opened to pink veiled ruins, both stone and flesh, indistinguishably formed. Warped, eroded, and overlapping; one, no more than a melted statuette, moaned while another writhed. The writhing one had metal jutting from its exposed skin and, in one great convulsion, tore an appendage free from a fleshy mass that might have once been another Pony.

“HRWAAAAGH.” The metal one roared, pink vapors escaping the orifices of its skull. Then, it crawled. My body was wrapped more tightly now, more tightly than skin, and grossly restricted my movements. My muzzle fought itself open and reached for a knife handle at my side. Handle and cloth between my teeth, I yanked out a blade with a sound like tearing papyrus. I rammed the leather-coated blade through my chest, just over the metal breastplate, and obscuring pink vapor spewed from the wound; it stopped a moment later, and the blade was no more. The metal one advanced. My hooves lifted one after another and, in a mockery of our previous chase, we stumbled through the wreckage. The pink hid everything more than twenty feet away, but my hooves proceeded. After what felt like a lifetime, I came to the cliffs edge. My weight shifted to my haunches- “HRAAAWAAGH!”

Black. Pink. Black.

Tongue Tied

Cold and dark and damp. The sewer smelled like old meat and sulfur. Tears ran down either side of my face, mixing with the water and blood and Celestia-knows-what. The filly in my hooves gasped for the last time.

“Don't.” Sobs echoed like the steady drops filling the sewer. “Don't you worry, Ah'm gonna get them back! So this never happens to anypony evah again.” A soft green glow enveloped a rifle with a grenade launching attachment. Judging from the weight, it was loaded. Still sobbing my body charged through the dank sewer, in the direction of the smell. Soon enough, we came upon and through a door. A cluster of ghouls, one was glowing. A hoof kicked the panel, closing the door.

“HSSSS-AH.” The glowing one rose from its obelisk, and led a charge. The rifle fired everything. Only too late, did my eyes catch the swirling light of the Balefire egg placed against the obelisk like a relic.


“C.B. are you in there!” I tasted muck and ash, I tried to spit but realized my teeth were exposed. My eyes opened wide, one underwater, revealing a small corpse-lit room. “C.B. are you in there!” Somepony's muffled voice called from behind the door. “We heard an explosion, but we can't get the door open!”

“Hggggggggth...” Coughing, I rose to my hooves and walked to the door; it was bowed outward and welded shut. I needed help. “Hel...”

“I think I heard something! Everypony get over here! C.B. is it you!”

“HEL...EEe” I rattled, realizing how hard it was to pronounce a ''P'' or a ''M'' without lips.

“What the fu- What was that!?”


“Let's get out of here, now!” The voice faded. “C.B. where are you?” And was gone.


Not Again

“I b-bet'cha wondering where I got th-that-those last two!”

I felt like the chair I was strapped to might mold me to it. Now that the doctor's little movie night over, I gave her my critique. “Let me GO you sick, demented bitch!”

“Now-ow I c-can't do that.” She shoved a needle into my skull.

“HUH, HOW, why can't I feel that!”

“D-D-Do-Don't w-worry, I'm almost certain this w-will work!”

“I didn't ask that! Why am I even here!” I fought all I could, despite the circumstances.

“I've been st-st-” She cleared her throat. “...studying-ING ghoulification for over a century! It's been my s-soul obsesh-obsession! And f-finally I am ninety-five percent confi-confideh-sure that it has somethin-ng to do with genes and h-hate. If only I had m-memory of my own incident, I might have fin-NG-got here sooner. I'm s-sorry, but you are a p-perfect specimen.”

“YOU are crazy.” I told the decrepit zombie for the millionth time.

“What we're d-doing c-can save Ponykind, you'll be a hero! B-B-But don't let that k-keep you from-m detesting me with every fiber of y-your being.” She grinned in her twisted grotesque attempt at cheer. She flicked switches, turned dials, and pulled levers. Glowing hot lights shone directly on me and though I couldn't feel a thing, I could smell my coat searing.

“What, what if this doesn't work.” I spat at her. She rubbed her chin, a flurry of sepia flakes cascading from it.

“D-Don't-cha have a brother?”

Art by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

Using S.A.T.S. makes it seem like time stops. Hone your aim, though you only have a few action points. Do want to risk that low percent? It’s too late. You’ve missed.

Strengthen up so you can hold more loot. Clear your eyes or maybe you work better with glasses. Give yourself some more health to work with. Work around those choppers you call a mouth. The brain is an important muscle too. You might want to keep in mind your pacing. Fortune isn’t always on your side. Do you have the caps for implants?

Rorschach testing is easy. Just tell the doc what you see. The word games are next. Respond with your first thoughts. Do you have an aggressive personality?

Are you suited for hacking? Pin in lock can lead to loot faster without a key. But you need medicine to stay healthy. What if your weapons fall apart too quickly? Can you survive on pure water alone? You’ve got to balance small guns with the big guns, unless you want to barter for your route. You’ll need to be hardcore.

Wash your face in the dust. What’s your race? Is life just? Run errands for the bums. Will you fight or will you run? Just what is a Deathclaw? All of that and more is the art of post-war.

Legion by Interloper

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by Interloper

“Do you realize what you’ve done? How much trouble you’re in?” Raven Feather, snapping the stallion’s head back with a vicious skull-tap from her baton. “Do you know who we are? What we can do to you!!??”

No answer. Her wings flared as she pointed a hoof at the winged ‘F’ stitched onto her shoulder.

“Fear. F.E.A.R.” She hissed into his muzzle. “We are F.E.A.R, and you will KNOW IT!”

He snorted, amused at the mare’s chortling.

“I do not fear you.”

Raven Feather sent the baton crashing into his elbow, breaking his right foreleg with a disgusting, brutal snap. He clenched his teeth, but smiled, nonetheless, unfazed.

“What. Are. You!?” Raven Feather screamed, swinging the baton into the pony’s skull with every word she spoke. His blood splattered across her black uniform, hardly noticeable as it dribbled down her chest.

The pegasus stallion that was shackled to the chair in front of her grinned through a bloody mouth. She leaned in close, glaring into the stallion’s green eyes, snorting a jet of misty air into his muzzle.

He spat blood into her face.

Raven Feather craned her neck away, wiping away the dribbling scarlet with her black sleeve. The mare smiled curtly.

Then she snapped.

Raven Feather spun around and bucked, sending the chair and the pony hurtling into the cloud-wall behind her with an audible crack. Still strapped to the chair, he could do nothing to break his fall as he careened into the floor, peppering the cloudy floor red.

His gurgling laughs echoed through her ears as she slowly approached, baton curled tightly in her hoof.

“There’s nothing … nothing you can do to me that I haven’t experienced. Nothing that I’ve never seen. Nothing that I’ve never committed,” the pegasus threw his head back, his mane whipping through the air as he laughed at her. “You think I’ll beg? You think I’m in pain?”

The mare circled him like a predatory bird, her baton dragging across the floor with an incessant screech. “You ponies know nothing about pain.”

“We’ll see about that,” the black pegasus mare growled with an infuriated grimace, wrenching the chair and the pony off the floor.

She was getting sick and tired of this pony’s face and his remarks. She dragged the chair over to a tub of water set upon a table, as the pony strapped to it continued to berate her. A hoof slammed into the back of his head and he plunged into the now bloody water, his limbs flailing in vain as she held him beneath the surface.

Curling her hooves around his mane, she yanked him out, ripping out tufts of brown hair from his blood-slicked scalp.

“What. Are. You!?”

Despite his torturous gasps, he managed to spare her an unsettling grin before he was thrust into the tub’s depths once more.

Raven Feather pulled him out once more, his ruined, bloody face dripping with scarlet water as she shrieked into his muzzle, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU!!!?”

He shook his head vigorously, splattering her with crimson. Raven Feather roared, twisted a hoof through his mane and plunged him into the water with a bloody splash, his skull slamming against the bottom of the tub with a dull, brutal crack.

A sick, twisted smile stretched across her lips as the bubbles stopped and his limbs went limp. She pulled him out and sent his head crashing into the bottom of the tub once more, the table and the tub shattering beneath his face, before hurling his soaked body to the floor.

She watched as he choked and sputtered, vomiting the water out of his lungs as he writhed his tortured, battered limbs.

His green eyes shot open and he smiled smugly at her.

“You aren’t equine,” Raven Feather murmured, standing over the stallion’s gasping form.

“What was your first guess … you moron?” he chuckled.

Raven Feather’s baton ripped off the grin and his lips in a splash of gore and shattered teeth.

The stallion looked vaguely amused, his muzzle warped into an unending smile as his laughs bubbled out of his gory lips.

“What the fuck are you …” she murmured as his cackled persisted incessantly.

His flesh rippled and bubbled before her very eyes. In a flash of green light, his coat went from a mottled gray to a vibrant purple. Raven Feather took a step back, unnerved as a different pony lied beneath her.

“I don’t know …” a mare cooed. “You tell me?”

Her eyes widened. “Skidrow?” The pegasus murmured, eyeing the orange winged F.E.A.R and Enclave badges stitched onto her black body suit. “What are you …”

Raven Feather’s voice faltered as the mare grinned at her, wickedly, through a perfect set of teeth - teeth she had demolished only seconds earlier.

The faux-Skidrow flashed once more, this time, the pony’s coat rippling with lightning yellow flesh.

“Who am I?” The stallion drawled, smugly.

Raven Feather’s jaw slackened as she backed away from him in horror.

“Thunder … Loop … what? The fuck … ?”

His coat flashed once more, now a cloudy cerulean.

“Daisy Blank?”

The mare beneath her chuckled, content with the expressions of horror and fear that played across Raven Feather’s face.

Flash. “Who am I?”

Flash. “Who am I?’

Flash. “WHO AM I?!!!”

“NO MORE!” Raven Feather screamed, crashing her hooves into the pony’s face.

Spitting out bloody teeth, the aberration snorted at the sound of Raven Feather’s panicked, breathless gasps.

“What … the fuck kind of … monster are you?” Raven Feather hissed, planting her hooves into the amalgamation’s chest.

“What am I … ?” it trailed off, its voice nightmarishly flanged and distorted. “I am what I am. I am everypony around you. I am one, but I am legion. “

The thing cackled madly, its flesh rippling and warping as a flash of green light consumed it.

Raven Feather froze.

She found herself staring into the mirrors of her own blue eyes, gawking at the mare beneath her.

A switch turned off inside of her. Raven Feather bared her teeth, roaring as she pinned the abomination to the floor and hurled her forehoof into its face, pummeling her with her hooves again, and again, and again. With every consecutive crack, there followed a wet squelch as the pony’s skull cracked against the tile floor.

“RIDDLE ME THIS!” the mare beneath her cackled maniacally, as her left eye popped under Raven Feather’s hoof. “Who am I!!?”

Raven Feather’s eyes widened as she snapped the mare’s head back into the gory, tiled floor. “SHUT! UP!” She screamed, until she had screamed her throat raw.

“STOP HITTING YOURSELF - STOP HITTING YOURSELF – STOP HITTING YOURSELF!” it screamed, hilariously as Raven Feather refused to stop. With every sickening squelch, her hoof connected with flesh. Then bone. Then whatever was left inside.

She refused to stop, even as the corpse beneath her hooves went limp. Even as its face became an unrecognizable crater.

Minutes passed as Raven Feather gazed at the carcass beneath her with dazed, shell-shocked eyes.

The cell’s door opened.

“Commander?” a mare asked.

Raven Feather spun around, blood and gory giblets streaming down her face. The purple pony dropped her clipboard, taking a step back.

“What … in the actual fuck?” Skidrow shrieked.

“Report, LT,” Raven Feather gasped, her heart beating faster than she could breathe.

Skidrow gulped the bile down her throat as she shifted uncomfortably on her hooves, muttering obscenely under breath. Her eyes darted back and forth between the Raven Feather that stood before her and the one that had painted the floor red.


The mare stood at attention.

“Ma’am. The other detainees await interrogation. Orders?”

Raven Feather glanced over her shoulder at the aberration sprawled across the floor.

“Kill them all. Then burn them.”

Oh No, Not Again by MoistGooDragon

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Oh No, Not Again

by MoistGooDragon

Oh no, not again...

A repeat of the mistakes 200 years ago. The hail of balefire, raining down from the heavens to sear the landscape. You would think ponykind would learn, but you'd be wrong. In the time it's taken for society to get back on it's hooves from the fallout of the war, they might have learnt to be peaceful.

They never did.

Ponies, zebra, they grew more aggressive. No chance to survive if you didn't make your time count for something. Theft was everywhere, from the dead, the living, and the was-living-five-seconds-ago. Distrust, nopony to turn to when you need it most. Of course, there are a few kind souls that would help you when you were down but, they're a rarity.

Of course, they'd be even less common after this.

The sound of a balefire detonation rang out across the land, and the explosion was visible for an even greater distance. The location of the bomb? A small town that was just beginning to make a name for itself. The poor citizens had the unfortunate fate of building the town around a live balefire bomb. Of course, it was stable...

...until I got to it.

It wasn't my original plan, not in the slightest. In fact, the sheriff of the town actually asked me to deactivate the device for good. He offered a pretty sum - a good 500 caps for my efforts - but a shady pony in the town's saloon gave me a greater offer. 2'500 caps to set it to blow, and a luxury suite in one of the most organised places in the Wasteland. I jumped at the offer, I didn't even think about anything else. Death is common in the Wasteland, right? Nopony would care if a couple ponies died horribly.

Except the one pony everypony should know - DJ Pon-3.

The suffering I might have caused never crossed my mind at first, until I flicked on the radio while relaxing in one of the cleanest beds the effects of war could offer.

"...The town of Rustbucket has been wiped off the face of Equestria, ponies. Now now, I know it was only new compared to some of the other places around, but they're ponies for Celestia's sake - ponies who aren't involved in mindless killing! And to top it off, the culprit for this tragedy is alive and well, living it up in Tenpony Tower. An outrage! I've been informed that the name of this villain is Aqua Regia, a young buck with a blue coat and..."

I froze. Suddenly I found no comfort in the warm blanket and soft pillows that I wrapped myself up in. How did he know? How could he know? I couldn't go back outside, out to fight my way through the wastes. Not with every decent pony hunting me down. I survived once, but I had no intentions to go back to the way I was.

Not again...

Oh no.

Monster by Honey Mead

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by Honey Mead

It would be more accurate to call a manticore a cuddly kitty than to call Canterlot a safe place. Clouds of pink mist gathered in the alleys and streets, waiting for any pony foolish enough to traverse it. Death sprites, corrupted be the same mist, traveled through the city, searching for any pony to proclaim its message of imminent mortality.

The rain did nothing to make it safer, pushing the mist down into puddles easily overlooked amid the ruins.

Sunny paid none of these dangers any mind. Her happy giggles broke the steady rhythm of rain thumping against the cobblestone before running into the gutters. Rivulets coursed down her slick, nearly hairless body, plastering the single clump of mane to her face. The golden hairs covered her left eye completely, which was fine as she couldn’t see out of it either way.

The cause of her delighted squealing was the small yellow toy boat she chased. Her mother had given it to her a few weeks ago, and this was the first time she’d been able to play with it outside. It zipped down the rain-filled gutters with Sunny skipping along behind, an off key tune on her lips.

She didn’t notice the storm drain until it was too late to act.

“Nonononono!” she shrieked, diving after her toy.

A screamed ripped from her lungs as her hoof slipped on the slick stones. She fell, crashing and sliding across the street. By the time she recovered, the boat was gone, swallowed by the darkness below.

Tears tried to pool in her eyes, only to be washed away by the rain. Her lip trembled along side her torn ears, scraped knees were nothing compared to the loss of her toy. She scrubbed at her eyes, shifting her mane and revealing the black, hollow socket.


The filly’s head snapped up, searching for the voice’s source. “Wh-who said that?”

“Down here, little filly,” the voice said, lilting oddly. A pair of yellow eyes shone from within the storm drain. The odd voice spoke up again, “Aren’t you going to say ‘hello’?”

Sunny shook her head. “N-no, mama said I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“Oh? Well, my name is Iago. What’s yours?”

“I g-gotta g-go,” she said, turning.

The small yellow boat moved into the light, held between thick blue fingers. “This really is a nice boat. Don’t you want it back?”

“My boat!” Sunny crept closer, lowering her head to the storm drain.

Lighting flashed, revealing Iago’s flat face and pink nose. “You know,” he said as the distant thunder rumbled, “there are rivers and lakes aplenty down here. Down here you could play for hours and hours, even after the storm passes by.”

“Can I have my boat back, mister,” she said, and after a pause, added, “please?”

“But, of course.” Iago held the toy a little closer. “Here you are.”

Sunny scootched closer, sticking her muzzle into the drain. “I can’t reach it, mister.”

“Sure you can, just stretch a little further. You’ve almost got it.”

She pushed in further. The rusted metal grate scraped against the top of her head, tearing a flap of skin back to reveal clean, white bone beneath. Rain dribbled down her snout, washing past her eyes and obscuring her vision more than the darkness already had. Barely able to see the yellow boat before her muzzle, she bared her teeth and reached to grab it.

Two teal hands shot out, snatching the filly’s head. Black taloned fingers dug into her face, hooking behind bone and flesh, holding her jaw fast.

She fought uselessly, tears mixing with the pink rain. Her split hooves found no purchase on the slip concrete, and she quickly lost ground against the demon. Slipping further into the gutter, her withers caught on the grate, too wide for the small opening.

Undaunted, Iago pulled harder.

Sunny’s skin bunched and tore where it ran against the grate, ribs splintering and snapping as they were forced into a space half their size. A loud pop echoed down the drain, her shoulder going limp just before the skin tore free and left it behind.

Snow by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“Ma’am, wouldn’t it be easier to see if you took off the blindfold?”

A swivel of her ear was the only indication that she had heard the colt pose the question.

“On the contrary,” she replied, “it would be quite difficult.”

Her pale hide contrasted the orange scarf that wrapped around her head. In spite of the colt’s insistence that she wouldn’t be able to navigate blindly, she surprised him and a few onlookers when she calmly trotted down the steps like nothing was wrong. As she passed the counter, she stopped and ordered a drink. With that, business at the high-class establishment carried on as usual.

She overheard a rumor from a stallion that looked like he belonged in New Appleloosa. Apparently, his son went missing and he was certain that the members of The Masque were holding him captive. After leaving a tip for the bartender, the mare quietly trotted down the hallway past the lobby.

Her small stature worked in her favor as she slipped by the waitresses and into the staff only area. The only sign any pony noticed was that door being brushed by interior wind for the fifth time that week.

While her obvious tools of self-defense were confiscated at the door, she knew where to reach for her real weapon. Bullets could be blocked by various forms of armor. However, blades made from the frigid air itself were nearly impossible to see or avoid. The manager went down before he even realized that his heart had been stabbed.

After doing her best to stuff the corpse into a nearby cupboard, she pressed on to the storage room. One of her bobby pins broke, but she managed to figure out the lock almost immediately.

A young colt looked up when he saw the newcomer.

“It’s your lucky day, kid,” commented the mare, “Let’s get you out of here.”

With a quick swipe with her invisible blades, she freed the colt from his bindings.

“Wait, you’re not one of those creeps,” he noted aloud, “Who are you?”

She stood there as some pony staring in spite of having blind eyes herself.

“My name… is White Snow.”

Delicious by Sophos

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by Sophos

“Can't say I'm surprised, partner.”

The living Private Eye Pony snaked the corpse's cigarettes and notepad.

“You don't say, Chasey!” said the young Pegasus buck, nearly spitting out his pencil.

“I wasn't talking to you, Numb-Bucks!”

She flipped through the notepad until she found what she needed. Once satisfied she turned her attention to other itches; she took off her shady Pork-Pie hat for once, ran a hoof through her smart brown mane, and fished out the gold-plated Hippo lighter from her charcoal trench coat. She took a long draw off a cigarette, then blew multiple rings into high-class suite.

“Chasey!.” The colt cried. “There's no smoking in here.”

“No murder either.” She said between puffs. “So just cool your jets.”

“Ha, ha. Very funny.”

The colt continued to jot down clues, but he could make little sense of all this.

“I don't get it, Chasey. Supposedly, your ex-partner was looking for a missing mare, but there isn't any sign he found her. Even if he had stumbled onto something heavy, it would be way easier for The Masque to just pay him off. So what gives!? Why murder him in your OWN racket? Who was he working-”

“Hush up, Bucko.” She cut him off. “Don't rack your brain like you should that outfit! Seriously, that leather jacket and a shoddy fedora; are you a grease-pony or with the press?”

The colt was visibly hurt. His eyes settled on the fresh corpse; dressed in a fine, chocolate trench coat and matching Sten's hat with a golden band. He reached out for it, and got a buck in the hoof for it.


“Sorry, Prancy, I hate to see duds like that go to waste too but I owe the fella too much to rob him.”

Just then, three formally suited Ponies wearing white masks and brandishing canes piled into the room.

“You goons wanna talk this out?” Prancy asked smugly, still puffing away.

One of them locked the door.

“I guess not.” She chuckled.

A Masque goon made his advance, cane levitating at his side. She spat her cigarette into the his face. It bounced off harmlessly, landing on the plush carpet. The goon stared incredulously at it, just long enough for Prancy to put a hoof across his face.

“Yeah!” The colt cheered. “That's why they call her Trick Chasey!”

“Well, amongst other things.” Chasey mumbled to herself.

Goon #2 came in swinging. Chasey ducked two swings then threw a left hook into the goon's ribs, knocking the air out of his lungs and the cane out of his mouth. She didn't give him any time to rest before hitting him with an uppercut, jab, jab, straight combination. The young buck hid away in the corner of the room, mocking punches and cheering.

“Watch out!” He cried.

The third goon had circled around and caught Chasey around the neck with his cane. Now the first goon was back up and looking for payback. He swung his cane at Chasey's head. She covered up with a hoof, losing ground in her fight for air, the clash of the hardwood cane and her foreleg let out a soft crack. She wanted to scream, but found herself gagged. Chasey was losing the fight.

“Take this!”

A large vase shattered over goon the 3rd's head, putting him on stilts. Chasey took the opportunity to buck the masked strangler into the dresser, right next to young buck. Chasey launched herself at the first goon, taking another caning to the shoulder. She reared and headbutted the goon with enough force to crack his mask; she followed with a straight, jab, right hook, left hook, right hook, left hook, right hook...left hook...UPPERCUT that sent the poor goon sprawling. That's when the second goon got back up.

Meanwhile, the third goon came back to most of his senses; he wanted to paint the room red, starting with the little silver Pegasus.

“Do you have any idea what vase was worth, or who's paycheck it's coming out of?” said the goon.

The frightened buck gulped, and ran. The goon chased him into a corner; with no where to run, he threw that straight Chasey had shown him. He busted the goon's lip.

“Chasey! I did it!”

“Kinda busy right now!” said Chasey, between conking goons #1 and #2's heads together.

Goon #3 licked the blood off his muzzle and charged at the Pegasus. He dipped under the goon's legs, sending the masked ruffian headfirst into the wall. The goon was angrier than ever, turning on colt and demanding blood. The young buck backpedaled and tripped over the finely dressed corpse in the center of the suite; landing on something metallic and compact.

Chasey heard what sounded like tiny balloons popping, or perhaps a volley of blowdarts. She turned and saw the goon clutching his chest, where a mess of red spots were growing; the silenced .22 was rattling in the Pegasus's teeth.

“This only the second time I've killed anypony...and that first time that machine did all the work.”

“Well, a gun is a machine.” Chasey replied to the young buck.

“Oh yeah...but this doesn't make sense! If your old partner had a silenced gun, why didn't he use it? Why did he let them get that close. Unless...he didn't know, or trusted-”

“Come on, Bucky, we gotta book it out of here.”

“W-Wait!” The colt rose to his hooves. “What about the rendezvous?”

“You wanna walk in on another corpse and ambush, kid!? Do it on your own, 'cause I'm not having it.”

“But we're just leaving!” He mad a miserable attempt at standing tall. “What about the truth!”

“Shut yer yap!” Chasey lit another cigarette. “I thought you started tailing me around everywhere 'cause you wanted to see how a real P.I. does it. If your so stuck on that journey for truth bologna, you'd better just curl up somewhere with your Daring Do or Prancy Brew. This is the real world, kid, get used to it.”

“Am I interrupting something?” said a pale stallion with a Top hat and dark circles under his eyes.

“Sure are, Top hat.” she took a draw. “We were just about to call in housekeeping.”

“Yeah, but it seems your specialty isn't room service.” The colt interjected. “Ya see, what these goofs were delivering is best served cool.”

“Alright, kid, that was a good one.” said Chasey. “Now shut up.”

“Uhm, it's Mort, and listen. I think we have a mutual friend, and a chance at mutual profit.”

“I'm listening.”

“No we're not!” cried the colt.

“Just me then, boss.”



The colt turned away as Chasey and the newcomer stepped into the hallway. He grumbled and kicked over a piece of vase, revealing a notepad.

“I got what I needed, pal. I'm just waiting to leave.” said Chasey.

“You have to understand my position-” started Mort.

“And what position might that be?” Chasey ran a hoof across Mort's chest, colour rising to his cheeks.

“Well, uh hrmn.”

The colt saw Chasey was batting her eyelashes at this poor mook. His mentor had the ''right stuff'' as she called it, to get what she wanted out of mares and stallions alike.

“Chasey, you dropped-”

“What did I tell you kid.”

“It's probably important!”

“Probably doesn't cut it.” she pointed a hoof back into the suite, the little Pegasus reluctantly obliged. “Hey kid, thanks for having my back in there. I know I give you a hard time, but your a smart cookie.”

The young buck smiled and closed the door behind him. He decided to flip through the notebook himself, it wasn't long until his smile faded.

“Is that true?” asked Mort.

“Yeah, too smart; and a goody two shoes. He's a liability, I don't care what our ''friend'' thinks.”

“The clients always right-”

“Maybe when they're the only ones at risk! I'm not fixing a sandwich here, you are.”

“Well, that would be a fine show of good faith, for my other benefactors.”

“Exactly, almost everypony wins.” Chasey dropped her cigarette and stamped it out.

“Well, he seems healthy and we NEED a replacement, fast. You have a deal, Miss Chasey.”

“Good, let me go knock him over the head for you.”

“You're doing it yourself!?” Mort asked, more intrigued than anything.

“Like I said, he's smart. Just chock it up to my line of business, like with every other crime I commit.”

“That's what I always do.” Mort cackled.

Chasey disappeared into the room, never to be seen again. After about ten minutes, to Mort's surprise, a young silver Pegasus emerged from the room; eyes puffy as he had been crying. He wore a black leather Pork-Pie hat that matched smartly with his leather jacket, and dexterously rolled a gold-plated Hippo over his wing.

“I think you'll find a whole lot more meat in there than you originally bargained for, which is why you're gonna pay me double what you offered Chasey.” said the young Private Eye. “I won't be partaking of the main course, but I'm expecting an invitation to the after party. Savvy?

“And if I refuse?” asked Mort.

The short Pegasus deftly placed the .22 barrel against Mort's knee, at an angle, and pulled the trigger. The small round tore through Mort's flesh like it did his sleeves, but ricocheted off the bone. As he began to fall over, the young buck propped a cane under Mort's shoulder.

“HMMN!” tears welled up in Mort's eyes. “You drive a hard bargain.”

“I learned from the pretty darn good.”

“What name shall I put your table under?”

“Cool Jets.”

Morale by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“We don’t have enough ponies and supplies for an operation of that magnitude,” argued the leading general.

“Horse feathers,” the courier swore. “I took out an imprisonment camp with nothing but a few sticks of dynamite, a 10-mm pistol, and a drunken ex-caravan holder. What’s your real excuse?”

“We don’t have the troops and equipment for such an operation,” the general reiterated.

The courier spun around on his hind legs and muttered, “Amore Plucking Cadenza, it’s like talking to a brick wall.”

“You talking about me again?” asked his current companion.

“No, it’s the other britches this time, Cast,” sighed the courier.

“Oh, okay.” Cast smiled as she took another swig. Twilight above knew where she got the full booze bottle from this time.

As the duo trotted out of the tent, a random soldier wearing sunglasses ran up to them.

“What the Lancie?” wondered Courier quietly.

The uniformed stallion levitated over a two-way radio. “Word’s gotten around about how much help you’ve been to the N.C.R. Here, take this. Whenever you call for assistance, somepony will come running to your aid.”

The soldier galloped away after that. Courier looked at the device rather dubiously.

“Considering how bad morale is around here,” he reasoned negatively, “I’m not holding my breath for that help.”

Chainsaw by G-man64

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by G-man64

I saw the unicorn walk into the store that I used to peddle my goods, “Alright, stick ‘em up,” he said obviously inebriated. There was a flower pot on his head and he was waving a chainsaw, “I know how to use this, I think.”

Honestly, it got to the point that I didn’t care anymore, this seemed to happen every other week, the local drunk would come in with a pot on his head in a vain attempt to conceal his identity, wave his chainsaw, and I’d give him about a hundred caps to make him feel better. But this was just getting tiresome.

“Come on man,” I told him, “This was funny the first couple times, a nice break from monotony but now this is just getting sad,” I told him.

“Wha, who said that?” he asked trying to locate me by my voice.

“This is the last time,” I said pulling out a small leather pouch with some caps, “Come here again and I’m using that chainsaw on you got it!?” I asked forcibly.

After getting his ill-gotten gain, he left only to return not minutes later sans the pot and chainsaw, “Hey man, got anything to drink?”

“You know I do, we do this every couple of weeks!” I yelled, “Why don’t you just trade the chainsaw to me for some booze? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he responded, “I don’t own a chainsaw.”

“Yes you do, you rob me every couple of weeks with it and a flower pot, I knew it was you the first time you did it!”

“But if I sold the chainsaw, how would I make more caps?” he asked wholeheartedly.

“Come on, that’s like a thousand caps easy, you only get a hundred every two weeks, just listen to me it’s simpler and won’t annoy the whole settlement,” I said very seriously.

“Could you just give me the booze for the chainsaw?” he asked.

“Probably,” I replied, “That’s what would happen in the end anyway,” I told him.

“Alright, I’ll go get it!” he said.

He returned with the saw and the flower pot, “So how much for these?” he asked.

“Thousand for the saw sixty for the pot sound good?” I asked.

“Sure,” he replied hurriedly as he ran over and grabbed equal value in booze.

“Great,” I told him, “Now, get out, and if you try and rob me again I now have a means to fight back,” I said lifting the saw.

To put it simply, that was the last time anyone stole from my store, yeah others tried but they never made it out the door.

Can’t say I can complain to much, after all griffons walk in here sometimes, and they’re carnivores.

Rock-a-by by Bluemoon1996

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by Bluemoon1996

"You'll be safe my little angel ..."

A bright beam filled the dank basement as the door opened. "Hello? Anypony down there?" A stallion's voice called out as the stairs began to creak as a unicorn ghoul slowly made his way down the stairs, a flashlight floating next to him.

"Daddy will keep us safe from the monsters..."

Upon hearing those words, the ghoul glanced over at the poorly mummified corpse slumped against the wall. It was a unicorn stallion clad in the tattered remains of a business suit. A small revolver laid on the ground next to him, a single hole in his head.

"We'll never let anything happen to you sweetie..."

The ghoul slowly scanned the room with his flashlight till he saw her sitting on the floor. She was a fellow ghoul and she appeared to be gently rocking something back and forth in her hooves.

"Rock-a-bye baby in the treetops..."

The ghoul sighed. "Not this again," he muttered under his breath as he slowly pulled a revolver out of the holster on his leg.

"When the wind blows..."

The revolver floated towards the mare.

"... The cradle will rock..."


The mare's head snapped back, a hole between her eyes. Slowly, her body fell over, landing with a small cloud of dust. The mummified body of a small filly rolling out of her grasp.

Family by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“You look like you’ve been down some bad roads,” commented the filly in rags. “What’s your story?”

“Bad roads?” echoed the sleep-deprived mare before scoffing. “That would fight for the understatement of the century if sentences could fight.” She shook her head. “Which story of mine do you want to hear? There was that time I sabotaged a launch mission of a ghoulish cult. I convinced an innkeeper to take the hit for a kidnapping/smuggling operation and was proven right by sheer luck. No, wait! How about I start with the time I was buried alive? Would you like to hear about that?”

By this point, the filly was slowly stepping away from the half-shouting mare in front of her. But unlike the average pony that felt uncomfortable, she maintained her stance.

“O…kay,” the little girl slowly responded, “In that case, I take it back. You look fairly well, all things considered.”

“I resent that!” snapped the mare.

“Well, I’m Harmonica,” declared the filly, “I live in a hole in the ground.” She then looked up thoughtfully. “Well, when I say ‘hole in the ground’, it’s more of a bunker.”

The mare’s temper was momentarily replaced by confusion. “A bunker? You’re not from a vault are you?” She waved dismissively. “Never mind. What brings you to the surface?”

The filly smiled. “I’m one of the few ponies that picks up the groceries for the family. Actually, I think they prefer me to be up here anyway.”

“I’m not a therapist,” pointed out the mare. “If you want philosophical solutions, you’ll have to look elsewhere.”

Harmonica chuckled. “At least you’re an honest whack job.”

The mare spat to her left before staring back at the filly.

“Hey, you’re travelling long distances, right?” asked Harmonica. “Can I tag along? Maybe we can help each other.”

“Filly, you don’t know half of what I’ve had to put up with over the past few days,” commented the mare solemnly, “Besides, you don’t really look like somepony ready for a fight.”

“Hm, good!” piped in the filly, “That’s the look I was going for.”

“It is?” The mare stared at her incredulously.

“Besides, if you feel that I’m a bother more than an asset, we can part ways at any time,” added Harmonica with a smile. “No hard feelings.”

The mare sighed. “All right, fine. But I have one ground rule. Stay out of my line of fire. If you’re going to die, it’d better be because of a clever enemy, not from your own stupidity.”

“Works for me,” said the chipper filly.

The mare started to head out.

“By the way…”

When she heard the interjection, she turned back to look.

“I’ve only heard a few rumors about them, but what do you know about a group called the Steel Rangers?”

The mare scrunched her face in thought, trying to remember. “Bits and pieces more than anything solid. I know that they’re one of the groups out here with really loud guns. They typically stay with themselves. You should be fine as long as you don’t draw their attention by carrying any big energy weapons.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem for me.” Harmonica shrugged. “I can’t afford any of those shiny toys.”

“Why do you ask?” inquired the mare.

“I’m asking because… I’m a Steel Ranger.”

A pin dropped out of the mare’s duffle bag and tinged against the cracked pavement.

“You… what?!”

“I know. I know.” Harmonica held up her hoof defensively. “I just wanted to gauge how you reacted to them. Still up for letting me travel with you?”

‘Crap,’ thought the mare, ‘If the New Canterlot ponies that were keeping tabs on me found out I was allying with one of those ponies, I’d be forcefully introduced to the life sentence. I need to dismember this partnership.’

She exited her inner thoughts and prepared to give Harmonica the bad news.

‘Artemis darn it! She’s mastered the kitty cat pout.’

The mare let out a low sigh. “You know what? It’s fine. Just… keep your past under a low profile. You’re on a short leash, little filly.”

“Hmph,” snorted Harmonica. “I can live with that. Maybe after a while, I can get the luxury of a longer leash.”

“Whatever.” The mare shook her head. “Let’s just get going.”

She envied Harmonica’s family that they wouldn’t have to deal with her for a long time.

Dance by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

As the radio played artificial strings and woodwinds, he shot a few times to the slower beat. Meanwhile, she crossed the room while ducking and reloading her pistol. Then, she took a few shots to the four notes of the woodwinds while he bent down to reload his small gun. They stood somewhere near the center of the large ballroom. But they did not look at each other. Rather, they stared directly passed each other, focusing on their respective far walls.

“So,” he initiated, “any particular reason you aren’t filling me with some of those holes?”

His hoof leaned back against hers while he fired a crippling shot at the approaching goon.

“My Pipbuck marked you as a friendly target,” she answered.

She twirled in place before putting that same goon out of its misery.

“Why aren’t you trying to blow my head off?” she asked.

“Same as you,” replied the stallion, “Apparently you’re a ‘friend’.”

They both rolled around a bit as a round of machine-gun pellets flew over their heads.

“How very curious,” commented the mare, “I don’t believe we’ve ever met before.”

Both ponies emptied their guns firing at the bothersome turret. It exploded as the radio played an artificial brass section. Reloading was a bit easier this time around without the loud machine gun.

“Perhaps these devices think we have something to gain by helping each other,” he suggested.

“Like what?” she pried.

He pulled the plug on a pineapple and bucked it over the tables.

“Need an explosives expert for something?” he asked.

“Well, I suppose I do,” she admitted. “Need a terminal hacker?”

“For at least four things,” he acknowledged.

The grenade blew up and tossed some guts into the farthest wall. It also sent a rose flying down to be caught in the mare’s teeth. She twisted it around to nibble at the petals.

“Care to dance a little longer?” she inquired.

“I’d love to,” he said with a smirk.

Perception by Natsirt-Tenenkei

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by Natsirt-Tenenkei

I stood in the center of the ring. I had three opponents. Each opponent was at least twice my size. They were all grinning at each other, then looked to me.

“Can’t believe this old fart has the nerve to challenge us!” one of them said, approaching me.

“Yer right! He musta gone senile!” the second began drawing near.

I closed my eyes, focusing on the world around me. I could hear their hooves against the dirt. I felt the tiny tremors the ground made with each step they took. I opened my eyes.

The largest one was looming over me now. He had a nasty sneer on his face.

“Ahhh the foolishness of youth!” I exclaimed dodging the first swing.

The look on his face was priceless. I looked over his body, I noticed the muscles in his legs flex.

‘He’s going to lunge’ I noted. Stepping to the side as he launched himself at me. I gave a quick jab to his spine. Disabling him.

He fell to the ground unconscious.

“What the hell!” the third one exclaimed charging me.

I listened to the sound of his hooves hitting the ground. One of his hooves hit the ground lighter than the others.

‘Must have suffered a leg injury at one’ I hypothesized.

I leapt over him as he closed in on my. I watched how his muscles moved when he ran. ‘There!

I landed behind him, he turned to charge again. I bucked him in his left hind leg breaking the bone.

He fell to the ground cursing.

The last one took a swing at me from behind. I activated S.A.T.S. I heard the *whoosh* of air from his hoof as he took the swing. ‘From the left, aiming downward.’

I whipped around targeting his shoulder with S.A.T.S., using the force of his blow to dislocate his shoulder. I then turned and bucked his dislocated shoulder. Causing him great agony.

I had won this match. “Lesson number one.” I began.

“You must perceive your enemy through all the senses, not just sight.”

Space by Veradon Chimera

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by Veradon Chimera

He peered out through the tiny window of the artificial satellite and stared down at something only a number of ponies had ever seen before: Equus, full and round, a bright, blue planet and the most beautiful thing out there in space. Not even the sun or moon could compare in its majesty! But its beauty belied the darker forces operating on its surface.

There! Just on the curvature of the planet, where the Zebra Empire was just about to pass beyond his sight. Dozens of tiny pinpricks of light, arcing through the sky towards Equestria.

He knew what they were, fear had whipped them into a bogeyman down on the ground. Every buck and mare, young or old, lived in the shadow of their threat.

Balefire missiles.

He grabbed a bottle of Wild Pegasus and undid the screw-top. He took a swig, watching the lights make their progress. It was happening, they finally did it. The world was ending and he had a balcony seat for the entire event.

Cloudsdayle was hit first, the entire city just washed away on a shockwave. Next was Splendid Valley, for some bizarre reason. Then Manehatten. He took another swig.

After that, he lost track of just what was being hit, but could recognise that it was a laundry list of cities. Any significant population centre just wiped in a split second. He could almost pretend it wasn’t real, just an extravagant show involving the whole of Equestria and millions of fireworks! Fireworks, because the war was over! They’d won!

The glamour cracked when a balefire missile hit his own home. Baltimare went up just the same as anywhere else. Only this time he could practical see the flames licking the streets he walked as a foal. It tore through homes and businesses, no regard for who or what stood in its way. Strangely enough though, these images had now no sound. In his head, they were as silent as the apocalypse he was watching. He drained the bottle and let it float away.

Then, twenty minutes later, everything stopped. The megaspells ceased, leaving Equestria pockmarked. It was almost as if the country was ill.

After a few days of calling on the radio, he realised nopony was coming for him. There wasn’t anypony there to come for him. He was alone up there, with no way to get back to Equus. So all that he had left was to wait for the end. That satellite would become his tomb and eventually his tomb’s orbit would decay until it eventually burned up in the atmosphere.

Nopony would even know that he’d been up there, his unique perspective of the Last Day to be lost forever.

Resolve by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

This was rather embarrassing. One minute, he and his gang had the whole town hostage. The next, an even stronger group had tied up the metaphorical net, catching his gang along with the local townsfolk.

There was one rule he had taken to heart when dealing with Kai-Czar’s stallions: Don’t deal with Kai-Czar’s stallions. While they lacked up to date technology, their sheer numbers and strength put them in the same power league as the Republic. When the pluckers took charge of any land, he preferred to vamoose rather than try to take on more than five of them at once. Sadly, that option no longer existed for him.

He was trapped in this town along with all the other cock-suckers. The old-school soldiers were passing out tickets for one of their sick ‘lotteries’. The grand prize winner got to leave alive without any torture or even a black eye.

He watched five of his buddies along with five of the townsfolk get sent to a swift decapitation. Those ponies were considered lucky since they didn’t have to feel any pain for long.

The next level of punishment felt like it was dragging on for hours. Pony after pony were dragged over to wooden crosses and nailed to them. They took an especially long time ramming the rust into the horns of the unicorns and the wings of the pegasi.

‘Hurry up already,’ he groaned internally.

After an eternity and a half, they held up two last levels: second place and first place. He vowed that he would get that first place freedom no matter what. This was his resolve.


“That lousy bastard,” he swore as he laid there on the stone hard mattress. No matter what he tried, the only hoof he could move was his front right one. How the two-timing lowlife in his gang had stolen the first place ticket, he would never know. His thoughts were interrupted by the last pony he wanted to see opening the door.

“Are you flipping spitting me?” His eyes widened before lowering to a livid glare. “First I get my legs smashed and then comes walking in the Gangers’ Grim Tripping Reaper! If you want me to die so badly, just give me fifteen shots of Med-X and I’ll OD for you. Frig!”

Train by Sophos

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by Sophos

“Why do they call her the Conductor?” Asked the new puller, a lanky green Earth Pony with ridiculously large farmer's hat and gown. “Ah mean, shucks, Ah don't know where she'ad keep a band.”

“You must be joking.” I wished with every fiber of my being.

“Oh, it has sumthin' to do with the pre-wastes right? They'ad worked that E-let-tree-city.”

“You green-horn piece of...work.”

“Ah thank ya!” She blushed as she gandered at her own coat. “But Ah'm an Earth Pony, not a Unicorn silly.” She giggled.

I fixed my eyes straight ahead and waited for the whistle, in an attempt to ignore the pullers behind and to either side of me. It was one of the luxuries of being the lead.

I say,that is a lovely dress, Miss Hoof.” Rail cooed in his mimicry of a gentlestallion's voice; I seriously had no idea who he was trying to fool. He didn't have that much to inherit, and a long while to do so.

“It's a lovely safety hazard.” I muttered under my breath.

“Ahhh, y'all are SO nice! It's from the pre-wastes too, Ah wanted to look good for my first day.”

“ But of course Miss, first impressions and such; but you do mean pre-WAR, don't you?”

“Well, that'ad be silly. The war went on for like, twenty years 'fore them bombs dropped.”

“Oh indeed, that is quite the observation lass. I do believe ''pre-wastes'' is a more accurate term.”

“Except trains were a pre-war technology.” I spat to my side.

“Mr. Catcher! There is a lady present.”

“Don't remind me. I'm trying really hard not to mind either of you.”


“Alright,” *Huff* “...let's get going.” *Puff* “Woo, I need to get back to pulling.” Said our hefty Conductor, after putting all her lung power into her whistle.

“Finally.” I walked forward, until my straps were taut, and started pulling. This was always the hardest part, unless we had to make a sudden stop, but it's just a matter of picking up momentum. Once we got started it was smooth sailing, just like when I had traversed these tracks as a colt; now that I had grown, it was just a workout, a stroll, and a paycheck. An hour went by, then another, and then-


“Hit the breaks!” Rail shouted as loudly as possible while staying in character.

“Horse.” I stomped my forehooves into the dirt between the tracks. “Feathers.” I bucked at the train. My back hooves rested against the face of the locomotive, while my forehooves skidded across the dirt; I angled them upwards, allowing the tracks to come under heel. Forget to do that last part, and you'll wind up under the train or hung at the front of it. Both pictures weren't pretty but the second had the most potential, in fact, I once saw a Pegasus get their spine broken and innards squeezed out them; the straps aren't quite thin enough to cut, so they just hung over top of them like a soggy sack. That image in mind, I turned to what had befell our newest addition. She was clinging on the railing on the face of train, fighting against her dress; which was caught in the wheels and attempting to drag her with it. As the train slowed, my eyes wandered across her flank; a pistol over a bag of ''$,'' not what I expected.

“What's going on out here!?” Cried the Conductor.

“Oh DUDE, thanks, well I wanna say thanks but also ''screw you!'' 'cause now I'm gonna feel bad about this and I really don't wanna feel bad about-” She rambled as she hopped off the railing and undid her straps.

“What happened to your accent?”

“...right now, you know? Especially after all this excitement but a plan's a plan's a plan, right?” A maroon glow spilled from under her hat, as it was lifted overhead and discarded to the wind; in it's place was a horn and a beat up .357 revolver. “Normally this is where I would shoot one of you, you know, to get the point across ''I am mean and dangerous!'' but given the circumstances just mind the noise.” She fired a shot into the air, forcing my hooves to my ears; it sounded like the pistol had exploded. My ears ringing, a mess of ill-looking characters trotted over the hill and spared not a moment to beleaguer the train. The mare's coat shined, and became a deep indigo. She continued talking as a few of her cohorts kept rifles trained on us, or maybe she was just mouthing words.


“...and that's why we wear ankhs, so it really is for a good cause but I'm sure that doesn't make much of a difference for you but thanks for your contributions anyway. Oh, y'all got all of it already? Okay, well I guess this is goodbye stay easy to mug bye.” She galloped to the top of the hill, waved, and trotted off with her partners in crime.

“What just happened?” Cried the Conductor.

“We got robbed, now get in these straps; those wares have our stamp on them and we can beat them there-”

“How do you propose we do that!? Even if we abandon the train-”

“I DON'T CARE! I'm going to try! And your fat ass will at least be helping by getting off the damn train. Speaking of which, it feels a whole lot lighter now that they're toting the goods. Let's go, now.”

“Fine.” She strapped herself in. “You don't have to be a dick about it.”

“Going now!” I ran against the straps, and in little time at all the both of them were struggling to keep up. We still had four hours to go when I saw a Brahmin on the tracks.

“Mr. Catcher, I believe this your domain of-” *WEEZE* “...expertise.”

“Just keep pulling, I'll run ahead and handle this.” I undid my straps on the run and tossed them to Rail. “Here hold this.”

“EWWW, it's all sweaty and shiii.”

“Hey, you.” I called as I approached the Brahmin. It kicked over a rock and grumbled. “If you don't move I'll move you!”


“Son of a-” I got under the Brahmin and hoisted it off the ground.


“Shut up, it'll be over soon.” I walked off the tracks. I heard laughter nearby. “What?”

“MOOOOO, MOOOVE, MOOOOO!” I threw the Brahmin off of me.

“What the, just what?” There sat four Brahmin around a table littered with cards and clumps of black rocks.

“Holy shit! It's the feds- I mean, MOO! Run, MOO!” They all took off, leaving where I stood for who knows how long.

“Mr. Catcher, what are you staring at?” Rail called from somewhere behind me. “I thought we were in a hurry.”

“Yeah, just give a second to think.” I walked up to the table. It I was a betting stallion, they were playing poker. “Huh?” I picked up one of the bargaining chip from the massive pile.

“What is it Mr. Catcher?”


Generation by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

The first life was an Overmare who didn’t give a darn. The second life was a slave driver that wanted to seek his fortune. The third life was a shop merchant that sold weaponry to both sides in a civil war.

I took a deep breath before continuing my trek through the dust.

The fourth life was a Follower who offered all his aid. The fifth life was a raider who was quickly shot dead. The sixth life was so stupid that he couldn’t talk straight. Do I even need to tell you how lucky the seventh life was? She won the pot.

Time passed by every generation. The stats rolled from one to ten. Russian Roulette was more fun when you used somepony else’s head.

These were the paths unto the game. Did you understand the rules? Playing with the dice of gods would leave you all for fools. You were just a puppet being pulled by someone’s strings. I went and rolled the dice of life.

I turned around to make sure no pony was following. It needn’t have mattered.

The eighth life was a ghoul that barely kept her face intact. The ninth life was a hired gun and a part-time p***ph*le. That was a fact. The tenth life was so boring. Just forget I mentioned it. As for the eleventh life, it was too horrifying to go into details.

Different generations held varying degrees. Power, fame, and fortune could lead to greatness or disease. Some paths led to a life of sin, while others were quite nice. Did you want to take a chance and roll the dice?

I drew a sun using nothing but radioactive waste. I then layered a crescent moon on top with two poured streams of wonder glue.

FIRE by Natsirt-Tenenkei

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by Natsirt-Tenenkei

I lit a cigarette inhaling deeply. Today I turned twenty-two, my birthday present to me: a slaver all tied up. I got some useful information out of him. Now I needed to dispose of him. But I didn’t want to get my hooves dirty.

I needed a way to kill him, one that didn't require me to touch him. Shooting him in the head was too messy.

Leaving him to die of starvation was just cruel. ‘What to do?’ I pondered.

I exhaled a puff of smoke. I then inhaled again, noticing the red glow at the end of my cigarette.

‘hmmm’ I had an awful idea, but I’m a sick bastard so why not.

I looked at the slaver, who was currently cursing me out for not releasing him like I promised.

“You know…fire is such a fascinating thing.” I was bullshitting whatever I was about to say.

“It has the power to destroy, and the power to create.” I inhaled deeply, then exhaled smoke in playful little puffs.

“It supplies us with the means to cook, to keep warm, and to keep danger away.” I turned to the slaver “It even gives us the light to see in the dark. It’s so useful.”

I began to walk away, stopping at the entrance of the bar. “Did you know that a phoenix bursts into flame and then rises from the ashes?”

I lit several matches. Grinning I turned to the slaver “I did say I would release you. I’m a mare of my word. Here is your release from that prison of flesh.”

I tossed the matches to the floor. A fire began to spread. The slaver screamed as the fire began spreading through the building. I turned away and trotted out.

I had a huge smile on my face. “I do tend to ‘light up’ a room, you could even say that I have a ‘fiery personality’!” I began laughing.

I’m a sick pony. I did however, discover that fire is also useful for "releasing slavers."

A Gap in the Clouds by TundraStanza

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A Gap in the Clouds

by TundraStanza

Stratus and Cirrus took on the day by day events together. Blending in with the dirty clouds was the easy for them. Flying made ground mines and scorpions a lot less intimidating. For the stray bandit that was also a Pegasus, they could easily turn a stick-up into a suicide. The two of them were practically sisters.

One thing that stood out, however, was their choice of accessories. While Cirrus had a wide-brimmed hat, Stratus had taken the time to string together a necklace made of bottle caps. She liked the unique star pattern on them and she considered it a good luck charm in the face of so many ways the land wanted to kill her.

Cirrus motioned toward a lit campfire. “Let’s go check that out.”

Stratus nodded and smiled. “Sure. It was starting to get boring up here.”

After a couple of fly-bys and grenades, the only ‘life’ left in the makeshift campsite was the fire. The Pegasi took one last sweep around before landing. Stratus started digging through the pockets of one of the bodies for loot. A gun clicked. She jerked her head up to see what enemy they had missed. But, there was no pony left at this camp. Was there?

“Hand over the caps.”

Stratus couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She was kind of hoping that her companion wasn’t in it solely for their own gain. She sighed at the realization that such a dream was impossible. She took care not to touch her gun as she untied her money pouch. She tossed her entire bottle caps savings over to the pony threatening her.

Cirrus snorted before breaking out into a huge guffaw.

“No, stupid. Not your pocket change,” she ridiculed, “I mean those caps.”

Stratus looked confused as she tried to connect the dots. Her eyes widened. Her hoof involuntarily reached up to her necklace. She narrowed her eyes and bent down. This was her own little craft, something that was hers long before the other Pegasus came into her life. Who did she think she was to demand such a thing?

Right as Cirrus let loose her first bullet, she found herself on the receiving end of a Power Hoof. Stratus's higher agility was the biggest gap between these two Clouds. Of course, Cirrus didn’t live long enough to learn that lesson.

Powder by Sophos

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by Sophos

She remembered when her father had waded too deep into the water. Beset by terrible creatures, and with all his shells wet, he had no means to defend himself. He simply tossed her his shotgun before he was pinched to death. That was the last time she had cried/wet herself, until now. She whimpered as she crawled to escape the rank pool forming underneath her; leaving behind the majority of her father's shotgun, carrying bits and pieces of it in her face.

“Why?” She asked her absent companions, as she made her way to the dead guard. Information detailing the escape of her partners came over the guard's radio, confirming what she had suspected about an earlier transmission concerning an intruder matching her ''friend's'' description. Based on that transmission, she had risked everything to escape and destroy her captors communications hub; in order to aid her friends as well as make her location known.

“Well, I succeeded at least.” She laughed at herself. Any minute now, they would show up to deal with her, and what did she have to show for it? A busted heirloom, a mess of fresh piercings, soggy overalls, and a safe group of friends who didn't give a mole-rat’s ass about her. She fought out of her smelly denim, and began stripping the guard.

*KrSH* “At...somebody get to the re...station, now!” *KrSH*

“Nonono I need more time!” She stomped on the half-naked corpse, severing its leg. “GAH! How?” She dragged it away from its own rapidly pooling blood, then fished the ammo and loot out of its remaining pockets. Two magazines of rifle rounds, a bottle of booze, and some caps. She searched her own pockets; a rusty knife, a lighter, a few shotgun shells, and duct tape. “I-I can do this. I got a shot!” Good thing she had done everything she could to keep her powder dry.


“Come on, quit dragging your-” *click* “Ruh-oh.” *BOOOM*

“One, two, three...four-”

*KrSH* “What was...units to the area...out. Bring an explosives...” *KrSH* The radio died on her hip, she hoped everyone's signal was that muddled as she made her way up the stairs; she did what she could to stomach the mess. At the top of the stairs she pulled down her mask and upchucked a can of apple slices. She spat, sneezed, and pulled it back on just in time.

“What's the situation here!?” The guard winced as his eyes wandered over her bloody outfit and what was visible of her shrapnel coated face. “Whoa, are you alright?”

“I'm fine, I'm headed to the medic now. Just,” She stammered a moment. “...uh where is the medic?”

“Third tent from the west entrance.” He pointed a hoof. “Are you sure you're okay?”

“Just make sure that bitch down there is dead!”

“You got it.”

“Yeah,” She smiled under her mask as she ambled for the exit. “I got it.”

Tomorrow by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

Year Buffer was snoozing on the one edge of the mattress without springs. Levin Month Sago was killed by an overeager wanderer before his posse could mow the stranger down. Tin Moths Ago was still trying to figure out why the chainsaw wasn’t running after disposing of the useless fuel tank. Nein M. No-Thago literally had her head shoved up her bum by some disturbed Legionnaire. Ater Sven Mossago barely ate and barely slept. Sick Smontha Go had a bad habit of drinking all of the lighter fluid. Favor Fore Massacre somehow gained the trust of the New Canterlot Republic and was never heard from again. Threer Two Matthews was still moaning in pain from that mine that blew up his hind legs. Lash Month said she had a date with Destiny, whoever the heck that was. Oddly enough, Trudae had made a similar excuse before leaving the hideout.

As for Two Marrow, well that was a bit of a strange rumor. You see, it was said that the stallion was always coming. But he never showed up.

Water by G-man64

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by G-man64

“How am I supposed to survive if I have to risk my life every time I need water!?”

“I need a drink… This anger won’t leave me till this thirst has.”

(Choose whichever opening quote you think work’s better)

The end of Equestria hit everyplace, though some harder than others. Out in this desilit desert there’s one thing above all else, water. They who control water, control the entire area.

Not that that matters to me and my friend, we don’t care where we got it from, we were just seeking water.

“I still can’t believe this,” he said to me, “We’ve been wandering for how long? Where’s this fabled Oasis?” he asked.

“We’ll find it,” I replied, “I’m sure of it, or I’m not,” then we both passed out.


I woke up staring at a vision of beauty, a light blue unicorn with a significantly darker blue mane, and in her telekinesis water, a full canteen, “Are you alright?” she asked in a beautiful voice, “Some of the townsfolk found you two on patrol, and brought you here.”

“Alright,” I replied still weary, “But where is here?” I asked.

“Oasis,” she replied pulling back the curtain of the hut revealing one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen in my entire life traveling the wastes. This town was gorgeous (almost as much as her), beautiful houses that looked untouched by megaspells, seemingly happy ponies walking around, and at the center of it all a beautiful fountain.

The fountain itself was a statue of a seapony holding a jug, that jug was overflowing with crisp clear water, flowing into a beautiful pond, somehow surrounded by palm trees.

“How?” I asked stunned, “How can such beauty exist within this desolate desert?” I asked.

“Well now,” the mare replied, “That statue’s the key,” she said, “The water flowing from it made this an oasis in the desert even before the war, and after it, well it just made sense to settle around it,” she said with a gorgeous smile.

“Aren’t you afraid?” I asked, “Afraid of something like raiders?”

“Not at all,” she said, “I mean look at where we are, this isn’t a place anyone can get to easily.”

“Well still, I wouldn’t feel right if me and my friend were to just sit around after you helped us so much, please allow us to join patrols, or guard or something, we’re something of mercenaries,” I said.

“Well, alright,” she said with that same cheery smile, “Be happy the townsfolks trust me.”

Me and my friend guarded for days, listening to the town, helping as we could, and learning more and more about them. Eventually we knew what we would do.


Night fell, and we were ready, he stood guard as I took my screwdriver and pried at the statues jug, “Won’t be long now,” I said, “This thing has to have a talisman in it, we’ll get it, get out, and get our pay, I guess our source was right after all.”

“I know,” my friend replied, “Seemed crazy, a town acting as an oasis in this desert, no way that was true but I guess it was.”

Then it happened, that mare who woke us up, the one who took our offer, “What are you doing?” she asked rubbing her eyes, “Why are you messing with the fountain?”

“Sorry,” I said, “Remember how I said we’re mercenaries? Well this was our job, get a water talisman.”

“It doesn’t need to be like this,” she cried, “You can stay here, be honest ponies, you’ve done so much why do this now?”

“Because we have a job, I’m sorry,” I said starting to cry.

“So am I,” she said as she started to ignite her horn, I didn’t care what spell she was going to do it wouldn’t be good for us.

I took my silenced pistol and shot her right between the eyes, “Sorry,” I said, “We have a job.”

“Got it,” my friend said holding aloft the talisman, it was truly a beautiful sight.

“Great,” I said, “Now let’s put as much space between us, and this soon to be dead town as possible before morning,” I said solemnly.

I really didn’t want to kill her, I won’t lie I kind of had a crush on her, but that’s business.

In this desert, you do what you can for water, even if it means hiring a few mercs to basically kill a town so that you can cement yourself as the sole source.

And when you’re those mercs, you do what you can to finish the job, even if it means betraying the one mare you thought you’d love.

Summoner by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“Muahahaha! Can you keep up with my super-secret techniques?” taunted the masked stranger.

“Dude, I can’t even keep up with whatever the frig you’re saying,” the completely normal bounty hunter answered.

“Well, then prepare to fall prey to even more of my stealthy strategies!”

“Can’t you just talk like a normal feather?”

“Ninpo Art: Bunshin Shokun-no-Jutsu!”

Several explosions of smoke burst in the corridor. Before the stallion’s eyes, several ghostly entities of fire and levitating clothes appeared. They seemed to be following the weirdo’s orders.

“I’ll take that as a no,” muttered the normal gunslinger.

“Go forth, my ninja brethren of the ethereal realm! Make sure his body will never be found by any witnesses! The shinobi way forbids leaving any trace of the target.”

The wails of the departed brought back to the living realm echoed against the stony walls. Six explosions of smoke later, the bounty hunter was holding his machete against the masked ninja’s throat.

“H-How? No pony can best ninjutsu. Could it be that you have also studied the art of stealth?”

The weirdo’s head went flying to the wall. The blood spray hit the stallion’s muzzle.

“Speaking in monologue? That is so pre-war Equestria.”

He then noticed an annoyingly quiet beeping noise. It was coming from the corpse’s neck and it looked an awful lot like a clock slowly counting backwards.

“You son of a bit-!”


The ninja failed at one thing. Whenever a kill must be made, it was dishonorable to leave the body where it could be found. Unfortunately for his honor, the next mare that wandered into the corridor found the victim’s corpse over here… and there… and there… and there.

Devotion by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“Well, well, well,” said High Seat with a commending attitude, “You’ve taken this humble city by surprise. No pony has beaten Crotch Burner until now. I can tell just by looking at you that you’re not one of the regular workers.” He folded his not-at-all creepy looking bat wings. “Now, who are you and what brought you this way?”

‘Don’t say anything,’ thought the colt, ‘As long as you play the part of the mute, he won’t have any leverage.’

“Please, feel free to state your opinion,” encouraged High Seat, “Don’t let that loaded turret behind your head scare you… or the heavily armed guards. Additionally, I’d appreciate it if you try not to pull the mute façade. We have recordings of you being able to shout profanities at the gladiators, after all.”


“Heh, it’s kind of a strange story involving some mare I met just outside this place.”

“Douba-Ewe,” muttered Seat, “I should have known. Let me guess, she fed you some lines about how we of the upper order are doing nothing to protect the miners and smelters.”

“Eh-heh,” chuckled the colt nervously.

“I fully acknowledge that conditions aren’t at their best right now, but make no mistake. We are working toward a cure for the painful mutations caused by the harsh atmosphere. It will take time, but we will get there. As soon as it’s ready, we’ll be able to share it with the rest of the city.”

“Yeah…” The colt needed a topic change and fast. “So, what do I have to do to get into your guards’ ranks?”

Seat smirked. “I like your enthusiasm, boy. Right now, we could use some help restoring some order to the rebellious attitude floating around. It shouldn’t take too much of your time.”

The intercom cracked with a voice. “Sir! The rebels are closing in toward the mansion. There’s too many to gun down!”

“What?!” High seat exclaimed back before cursing under his breath. “Fine. I’ll be right down there.” He turned the microphone off on his end. “I’d really appreciate your help in this endeavor, boy.” He galloped out of the room.

“Um, yeah! I’m right behind you!” hollered the colt before muttering, “… about five kilometers behind you.”

‘Now if I was a cure,’ he thought while slowly walking the hallway off to the side, ‘I’d probably be where there are scientists working twenty-four/seven.’ He entered a room where a mare was trotting around in a lab coat.

“Huh? What are you doing back here?” The mare asked.

“Um, it’s okay,” stammered the colt, “I’m with High Seat.”

“Oh,” said the mare, “I guess you must be important for my husband to let you back here.” She smiled in a welcoming light. “Anyway, I think we’re really getting leeway on researching the cure for mutation exposure.” She suddenly started whispering. “Oh, but please keep your voice down. Malleable is sleeping in the crib over there.”

‘Wait, what?’

“Aren’t you worried about a foal being so close to experimental lab equipment?” wondered the colt with a disturbed look.

“Not at all,” said the mare while beaming, “In fact, work towards the cure would be impossible without her. You see, we were looking for samples of cells that could so much as resist the effects of the mutation. Well, as it turns out, little Malleable there is completely immune to the gas. Why, she’s practically the safest pony in the whole city. With a little time and effort, she’ll be able to offer what the rest of us couldn’t. Isn’t that just the most exciting thing ever?”

The colt nearly blew his cover by choking on his own spit. “Y…Yeah… exciting… That’s exactly what I was going to call it.”

“Well, I’d better get back to work,” said the mare, “You should probably get back to whatever it was that my husband requested of you.”

“Uh-huh,” he numbly replied before stiffly trotting out of the lab and closing the door. He then promptly fell onto his haunches and placed his forelegs on top of his head.

‘F*** you, Douba-Ewe!’ he thought in mixed emotions, ‘You said I was going in, finding an item, and bringing it to you to use as a bargaining chip for the freedom of your little ponies. You said nothing about foal-napping!’

He punched his Pipbuck against the nearby wall.

‘I steal money, kill raiders and monsters, and desecrate graveyards. But I draw the line at taking foals right from under their parents’ muzzles.’

He banged his head lightly against that wall.

‘High Seat may be a corrupt bastard, but at least he cares about his child… his family. That takes something that I thought was extinct in this day and age. It takes true devotion.’

He sighed. “Maybe I can talk Douba-Ewe into calling it off.” He chuckled humorlessly. “Yeah, and while I’m at it, maybe I’ll shed my skin and transform into the next Princess Celestia.”

With a heavy heart, he began to trot the long distance between High Seat’s mansion and Douba-Ewe’s hideout.

“Why can’t things ever be easy?”

Insight by Sophos

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by Sophos



You're gonna die! You idiot! You're gonna die if you don't do something!

“Shhhh!” The mare next to me made eyes like the Moon in disturbed water. “Stop mumbling to yourself” She whispered. “You'll get us killed!”

She means killed quicker, you can't win this lottery! You know you can't!

“S-sorry.” I said so quietly, as to hide my accent. I didn't know what the others would think if they-

WHO CARES!? Not that Zebra, not that headless corpse, not YOU! DO something you fucking COWARD!


This is why your parents never made it in the Legion. This is why they fled. This is why you're gonna die like they did, only to other Zebras instead of Ponies. I bet they smell the fear in your blood.

“Shhhhh!” The mare pleaded again. “Please.”

Please let her die maybe? You're worse than those that stoned your parents. Here you are, acting just like a Pony, when you know the exact outcome. The Legion are right; you do deserve this, but more than the others. Keep clinging to that ticket like the shit stain you are.

“N-no one will follow me-”

That is because they CAN'T DO MATH! That is because, unlike YOU, they don't know any better but to hope that everyone but them gets the short end of the stick! But most of all, it's because you wont even TRY!

“H-HEY, FEATHERED ASSHAT!” My right hooves forward, then left, and then right again. I was out of the line and staring down, mostly because I didn't dare to blink, the Decanus. “You can take this lottery ticket, and wipe yourself with it.” I looked to the townsponies. “And YOU! Don't you know odds! If we fight back, even unarmed, maybe SOME of us can escape! In fact, I hope this IS the winning ticket!” I tore my parchment asunder.

“Kill, that feisty one.” The Decanus said evenly, in Zebra tongue.

ACT FAST! Before you DIE like a fucking FOOL!

“DO IT YOURSELF, or are you chicken!?” I flapped my forelegs like wings. “Boc-boc! BOC-BOC!”

What part of ''ACT FAST,'' ''DIE,'' and ''FOOL'' made you decide to taunt the Decanus like a chicken?

“Belay that order.” The Decanus said as he strolled towards me, cracking his neck. “What is your name? I think I will honour your spine with a proper grave.”

“Uh- uhm. My name doesn't matter!”

“Suit yourself, but I will see your face at least.” He drew his gladius.

You can't hide you idiot. You'll fight better without the hood anyway.

“FINE!” I slipped off my hooded sweater, I felt so very exposed to the gazes of the townsponies, then my droopy pants. “It will just get in the way anyway. Let's do this, ungulam ut ungulam.”

The Decanus halted, smiled, then tossed his blade into the sand.


He was on me in a second, his claws dug into both my shoulders. I kicked forward in a panicked frenzy; a few blows landed cleanly, particularly one that landed on the tip of his beak. He responded by pecking me in the eye; I neighed and reared, as I felt a pinch of eyelid get torn from my face. I toppled backward and he followed. I struck repeatedly with four hooves, and he traded each for claws tore at either side of my muzzle. I felt his ribs give a little, but he showed no sings of slowing down. Blood streamed from my flayed lips into my ears, turning every gasp or laugh into one garbled mess. I still hear, and feel, his claws against my exposed teeth.

Fucking try something else! Like, perhaps, a style of combat he's NOT TRAINED IN!

I reached out and hugged him too close to strike, then squeezed. He rose, pulling me up with him, and raked his claws across my forearms and knees. I was practically blind with my right eye in his feathers; I tried to open the left, but fear had sealed it shut. I waited till I felt a claw in my neck, let go, and snapped at it.

*Screeeech* With a savage strength, he lifted me into the air and tossed me into the line of townsponies. They scattered from me, but not far; one Pony lifted me up.

“C'mon! You can do this!” She told me. As she steadied me, I felt cold metal against my chest. Blood caking in my ears, I could barely hear the Decanus approaching behind me; I took the knife in my white-hot, shredded maw. I heard him pounce, and met him in the air. He fell backward, and I followed. The knife was lodged deep between his ribs, separating them, but I drug it across his belly anyway.

“My name is Coal,” I spat a glob of blood in his trembling face. “...Chamber.” I turned to the other townsponies. “What? WHAT ARE YOU PANSIES WAITING FOR?”


We threw ourselves at the invaders despite the odds, despite our wounds, despite our fear, despite every one of us that fell; till the the last Equine, me.

“I think, you wonder why it is you are captured not dead?” Asked a Zebra with a thick accent.

“Mnuuuh.” I mumbled through my broken jaw, then shook me head.

Yes you do. Who are you trying to fool, them or us? Since this started, you've known exactly where this could lead. Where it can only go from here. Welcome home.

Exalted by TundraStanza

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by Tundra Stanza

~We exalt thee. We exalt thee. We exalt thee, oh Atome!~

“Okay,” he mumbled, “That’s not weird or anything.”

He wasn’t even sure why he was here. Sure, the town’s sheriff asked him to figure out how to deactivate the atomic bomb without blowing up every pony in a hundred-mile radius. He wasn’t told how to deal with the strange gathering of religious nutcases.

“Oh, who am I kidding?” he asked. “That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen… and I killed a giant cockroach on my way here!”

“Subhaan Atome! Subhaan Atome! Subhaan Atome!”

He shivered at the scene before him. “Let’s just get this over with.”

He lightly stepped around the ponies as the chants and ominous melodies continued. Even the radiated water that he was stepping in felt slightly more bearable than the earful from the worshippers.

~Barukh ata, Atome Elonheiu, melekeh halo’em~

“Now, is it the green wire or the yellow wire?” he wondered. “Hey, wait a second!”


After pressing that one button, the countdown shut off.

“Are you kidding me?” he asked while stomping out of the contaminated pool. “There was an ‘off’ button this whole time and that sheriff didn’t even bother to check?”

He continued trotting until he made it to the town’s gates.

“Why is every pony an idiot except for me?”

Skilled by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

“Hey, Aru Kab,” he said.

“What?” asked the disgruntled Aru Kab.

The first colt proceeded to open the door to the first building that he approached.

“My skills!” he proclaimed.

Aru sighed bitterly, but he followed after his idiotic partner anyway. Said partner immediately rushed over to the counter with all the bottles stashed behind it.

“Bartender, I require a refreshing beverage to wet my sexy throat,” he said.

“O…kay.” The mare tilted her head in confusion. “What’ll you have?”

The colt chuckled. “This poor woman has no idea what I’m about to do. All she can hear is whatever selected dialogue I choose at this time and respond accordingly.”

“Uh… I’m sorry, sir,” said the mare, “We don’t serve that here.”

“What the frig?” he asked, “A Barter check of 75? How can this be? I thought for sure it was a Speech check. That manual lied to me!”

Meanwhile, another mare leaned back in her seat towards Aru.

“Hey, what’s wrong with that colt?” she asked.

“Oh, that’s just Phallic Blister,” said Aru dismissively, “About two days ago, he convinced himself that he was playing some virtual reality video game on hardcore mode.”

The mare raised her eyebrow. “Are you serious? Wow, what a dork.”

“Sadly, he’s my dork,” Aru said before sighing again.

“Curse you limited skill tree!” Phallic screamed to the ceiling. “Curse you!”

Smiles by Sophos

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by Sophos

It was the sixth time, SIXTH time.

“What. Is. Wrong, with you Ponies?”

“We should be asking you that! Mr. Smiley, if that is your real name!” Barked the Sheriff.

“You all know it isn't!”

“He admits to it!”

I wanted to stomp down the whole of the gallows, almost feasible considering its shoddy construction, but feared I might only break through the trap door.

“How many times have we been through this! Seriously, lets go through them.”

“Uh, the first time was when we found that dog mutilated.” Stated a villager in a straw hat.

“And we found out it was just a landmine.”

“Then there was the time all the pies went missing.”

“And after just a little bit of asking around, we discovered that fat ass.” I pointed to the elderly obese Donkey in the room.

“Heh, guilty as charged.” He said as he rubbed his stomach.

“And then my makeup was stolen.” Said a dark and brooding mare.

“And we found ALL of it on your daughters face.”

“Then there was the doctor who died laughing.” Said the straw hatted villager.

“The one that was a junkie, and over-dosed.”

“Yeah, we should of known that one wasn't you! Woo, am I right?” Everypony laughed.

“Yeah,” I rolled my eyes. “...I'm gonna need ice for that one.”

“Well, it was perfectly reasonable when my colt disappeared.” Stated another mare. “He was always talked about how scared he was of you.”

“He was AFRAID OF CLOWNS!” I looked over the dank, rotten village that was my home. Why I came to this swamp I no longer remembered, I think it had to do with spreading cheer. Why I stayed, was no longer an issue. “That's what this has all been about from the beginning, hasn't it? Is it SO HARD to believe that I'm just an honest to Celestia clown!?”

“Yes!” Nods followed. “In the Wasteland? That's just crazy.”

“None of that matters,” Said the Sheriff. “...this time it HAS to be you. Nopony else had a reason to murder your wife!”

“Now that, I find hard to believe.” Laughs. Really.

“We should hang you more often, it's the only time you actually get laughs out of us.” Said straw hat.

“Fine, how about I make you a deal, Smiley?” Started the Sheriff. “If you can make us all laugh, right now, we'll agree that you're just a clown and let you go.”

*SIGH* If I got out of this noose, I would pack my rubber chicken and go; maybe to Reino or Las Pegasus. The problem was, these Ponies had no taste. I searched my mind for the crudest, most tasteless joke I knew. “What's the difference between an onion, and a dead hooker? ... I cry when I cut up the onion.”

Cathedral by Pokonic

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by Pokonic

The great hall was cold.

This didn't surprise Grave Situation because the hall was a good half mile down underground and wasn't the most well heated place in the world, even with the great care taken by the underpriests and their own acolytes to keep every lamp, candle, and light bulb in working order. Regardless, perhaps it was better if it was cold here; heat distracts the mind, while cold numbs the body, leaving one forced to focus on their own inner thoughts.

Despite the relative cold of the place, it still alighted the hearts of those who truly took the time to travel here and listen to the sermons. Some of the ones who came from the lesser branches of the church, those who were used to the smaller operations that operated in the wastes, tended to be taken aback by the place, which Grave thought was a good thing. Even those who were trained in these very halls for the sake of recruiting new members of the church, after those long years of traveling the wastes, often were brought to tears along with their followers after seeing for their very eyes what they themselves had been preaching for so long.

Grave couldn't be more proud.

It was his job, after all; to make sure the décor was maintained to the proper standards. Every painting and every artifact had to be cared for properly, especially in a place like this where the least regulated places often developed watery film that often cultivated molds and other unwholesome things. He was good at his job, however, and had even gotten a commendation for his works by one of the Cardinals.

He liked that Cardinal. They swore to abandon their old names when they took off their old grey priestly robes and put on the black robes, and dyed their coats the color of coal and sharpened their teeth accordingly. The only real way to tell between them was by the eyes, really, because by the end of the day they rarely lifted their hoods up to reveal if they had horns or not. They rarely spoke to the lower priests, either, because they all had their own groups of bishops and hanger-ons that did their talking for them, in actions and words.

But in the church, especially the upper echelons, purges happened often and promotions were given by merit. While those few who had the ear of the high priest were effectively untouchable unless she herself quietly gives a private sanction for it, the other cardinals had to look for themselves when their years went by, because there were always ambitious young priests who thought they would look nice in black.

The robes were nice, actually. Pure silk. To die for. The offices that came along with them, both the metaphorical and the literal ones, were great as well, but the robes were really friggin nice.

Regardless, the great hall was cold, and the high priest had arrived, finally. The chorus was taking a day off, though, so there was no musical accompaniment to her arrival. A pity, that.

The crowd today was abnormally large, fifty strong and mostly newcomers. A entire town was converted a month ago, apparently after one of the Templars had beat down a raider lord and chased them off. They were a normal lot, the only abnormality being a singular griffon who sat in the piers who followed those strange griffon gods.

The high priest was alerted of this, of course, but she was one to appreciate skeptics. It made it more interesting for her; a closed mind is a fortified fortress, so goes the saying, so if she was successful it would show that her methods were sound.

Grave thought the high priest was eccentric, but effective, but that phrase could be used to describe half the upper priesthood at the moment so he kept that to himself.

It took a good hour after all the new devotees and the griffon for the ceremonies to begin. Normally things were far more efficient than this, but the pomp and the spectacle of the golden decorations and the incense and the formalities were all there to impress, especially for new arrivals like the ones who were sitting in the wooden seats. The four great lambtallow candles on the main pedestal, all in excess of six feet tall and as thick as a pony's hoof, stood like watchful guardians as one of the most high cardinals flanked by two greatly muscled subpriests moved a table used during the last service. Some of the newcomers tittered nervously when they noticed that the big wooden table was stained a deep brown-red, despite being made of steel.

This was good, in Grave's opinion. A little bit of fear was good in worship; grandeur without power meant nothing.

Eventually, with all said and done, the three priests stepped off the main platform, and the high priest made her way up it, looking small but highly dignified in her deep purple robes, the sort of color that had no counterpart in nature besides certain orchids. It was certainty a color that was hard to find in the wasteland except on ponies, truly.

It was even harder for Grave himself to track down the right fabric for it. The high priestess had very specific ideas about her own personal robes, and eventually he just took them up north to have them enchanted to get the right color. Only the zebras had purple dye, back in the day, and this was very far from zebra lands.

The high priestess, from Grave's position all the way back in the upper rows, was a small little thing, but when she took off her hood, a small gasp went throughout the crowd. She was very visible without her hood, even from this distance, because in a environment so steeped in rich, dark colors, the lack of any sharply contrasted with the rest of the cathedral.

She was, after all, an albino. Her coat and mane was a bright white, while her eyes were a pale red-pink.

She also had a small set of fangs, not unlike her cardinals but far more comfortable sitting in her mouth, but it was unlikely that any of the newcomers had seen it, or even their handlers in the priesthood.

If any did, they would do best to keep it to themselves. Such a truth was only revealed to those who had extended contact with her, like Grave's himself. But, she did not shy away from such truths, and it was not hard to learn of it if one asked politely.

Eventually, though, the high priestess spoke. She sounded like any other young mare, and her voice held a slight bit of concern in it, a aspect that she had honed from her many, many years of talking to new recruits, to make them feel better.

"Ah, hello everypony. And everygriffon."

She paused, blinking once and tilting her head to the right slightly. The singular Talon expat in the room coughed lightly, which sent a few waves of laughter throughout the room.

The high priestess was no fool, and this was no normal liturgy.

"My name is Shade, and I am here to let you all know that Nightmare Moon loves you."

Technical Difficulties by DerpyDaringDitzyDoo

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Technical Difficulties

by DerpyDaringDitzyDoo

“-ing... so-... –chnical diffi… -es!”

“Say again Grimes, I repeat there’s too much static say again!”

“We’re experiencing technical difficulties! The guns aren’t responding!”

Captain Sky slammed her hoof on the communications desk, nearly startling the lieutenant in charge of operating its controls out of his chair. “Well fix them damnit! I need those guns online that dragon is tearing the skies apart!”

“Captain as lead technician I have to recommend we fall back to make repairs! We don’t have the ponypower to fix these kinds of problems in such a-“

“That was an order lieutenant!” The captain again slammed her hoof on the desk for emphasis before walking back to the front of the bridge and viewing port. Beyond she could see the chaos in the skies and ground below, Pegasi and raptors alike attacking the massive dragon in a futile attempt to defend the city far below. She knew the zebras had convinced many dragons to fight for them, but she never thought they would have convinced the mighty Brimstone as well.

One raptor flew barely a hundred feet in front of her ship. Flying as fast as its engines could go, it fired every weapon it had at the red scaled beast, the loud booms resonating throughout Captain Sky’s bridge. Of course this gained Brimstone’s ire rather quickly, and she had to shield her eyes as the dragon let out a massive wall of sickly green flame. When she looked back, the raptor that was once right before her ship was reduced to a smoldering wreck, crashing down on the unprepared town below.

“Damnit we need to help out there!” She shouted in frustration, but her blood ran cold when her eyes met those of the dragon. The moment seemed to last for an eternity, and her mind couldn’t stop thinking he must be asking her one question in his own mind: what does it feel like to be so helpless, unable to protect those around you or even yourself? Eventually he snorted in disgust and flew towards her raptor at a breakneck pace, causing the clouds of smoke from the city to swirl madly around him as if he was death incarnate and the fiery smoke was his display of power.

“Evasive maneuvers! I repeat evasive-“


Brimstone crashed into the Raptor and sent it spiraling like it was nothing more than a bath toy to him. He opened his massive jaws and bit deep into the Raptors mid-section, tearing wildly at it until the entire ship had split in two. He held the front half of the ship just long enough to get a good look into the command bridge, to see the fear in the eyes of its crew. But to his disgust Captain Sky remained steadfast, staring him down until he hurled the wreckage to the ground below.

Staring up through the burning debris, a lone survivor of the crash watched the dragon with hatred as he continued to wreak havoc on her home. The last thing Sky saw before she succumbed to the blood loss and fatal injuries, was the familiar trails of smoke left in the wake of the Shadowbolts. At the lead was ministry mare Rainbow Dash, the fiercest and bravest fighter in the air. Of course she’d have to be in order to fight such a monster alone as she was, the other shadowbolts leaving her wing to help drive off the smaller dragons that accompanied Brimstone.

“That Pegasus is the only thing keeping our military from falling apart. And I’ll be damned if they don’t worship her for centuries after this war is over…” The old captain closed her eyes with a small, pyrrhic smile on her face.

I've Had Worse by TundraStanza

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I've Had Worse

by TundraStanza

“Were your pre-ghoul days as bad as having to fight a bunch of ferals and the mole-rats?”

The instant those words leave his mouth, my mind wanders to years before even I thought I could remember.


It was a simple infiltration mission. Just pretend to follow the enemy’s orders and gather evidence to be used in their official war criminal record. Most of the time, we were taking down creatures I didn’t like anyway.

It’s a shame that my Pipbuck decided that my luck was lousy.

The enemy general’s instructions seemed normal. Escort these civilians through the security gates so that they could properly gather rations and leave. Easy, right?

*krrt* “Gun ‘em all down!”

Magical bullets started flying from my assigned squad all at once. I couldn’t let myself stand out as the one failing to follow orders. I took no joy in shooting those three civilians. It was easier than hitting bottles on a picket fence.

We were given the order to retreat. I had to follow the general’s orders. It would’ve been suspicious otherwise. He gave me a hoof to hold onto as I started climbing into the motorized carriage.

“So, what message was that supposed to send?” I asked.

I had a new hole in my chest. The enemy general had shot me. My only thought was a question of how long he had known.

“This is no message,” he said with a sneer. “This is goodbye, little rogue.”

I lay in a pool of my own blood.

The memory ended.


“Actually,” I tell him, “I’ve had much worse.”

Objective by Unspokenpaper

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by Unspokenpaper

"Objective marker dropped, Hill number 236. Coordinates to follow: Whiskey Foxtrot 19968523. Good copy? Over," crackled the radio. Battalion had changed the objective... Again.

"Roger, good copy Command, grid coordinate Whiskey Foxtrot 19968523, Charliehorse is oscar mike, over," The Captain said into the hoof mic.

"Roger Charliehorse, Command out." The mic went dead.

He sighed, then stood up from the chair in the combat out post (COP) headquarters. The tent was made from thick burlap and decorated with maps and status reports from the four platoons under the Captain's command.

He moved for the flap that led out of the tent. With practiced ease, he pushed it open with his hoof and was instantly greeted by the familiar wave of hot air that was the battle field. Distant cannons thumped with muffled flashes behind the zebra lines some three or four miles away. The shells arched through the grey Hoofington skies, and pounded into the almost barren hills around him. The earth shook with a terrible shudder. In the distance hundreds of Steel Rangers were visible, fighting for every inch of ground in close combat with the Zebra filth.

"GRIFFY!" Shouted the Captain, a weathered pegasus in combat barding looked up. The rank of First Sergeant stenciled onto his helmet, "Three minutes, mobilize the troops," Shouted the Captain.

Two and a half minutes later, the company stood in formation beside the walls of the COP. A hundred and twenty of Charliehorse companies best trained combat killers; all armed to the teeth with everything a pegasus light infantry company needed to crush Zebra's

The Captain stood at the head of the formation, his aggressive demeanor certainly setting everypony on edge, and getting them amped for the battle.

"CHARLIEHORSE!" He shouted.

"AHOOO! AHOOO! AHOOO!" They shouted back in unison.

"We've got a new objective. We are going behind enemy lines!... Means more zebs to kill. You go in there hard and fast! Kill anything with more than one stripe, YOU GET ME CHARLIEHORSE!" The Captain shouted.


"On my mark," He said, then turned to his RTO, "Tell command Charliehorse is SP'ing to the objective,"

He nodded and hailed command, relaying the message. Moments after he finished, the earth shuddered once more as artillery batteries began to saturate the air. Massive 155 millimeter shells plummeted onto the zebra lines, suppressing their position. Fire blossomed in massive columns and soaked the objective with a baptism of fire. Now or never, right?

The Captain brandished his saber and pointed towards the objective, "ALLONS-Y!"

The company took to the sky. Battle cries echoed across the land, seeming quell the violence over the rest of the battlefield. A hundred and twenty pegasi took to the sky that moment. And they won back the Objective on that day.

Dread by Songfire

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by Songfire

The colt galloped fast. His legs pumped and he pushed himself past the point of pain. He needed to get away.

Where to? How to escape? Who could help? All these questions flooded his head, clouding his thinking.

Just keep running. Stay ahead of the pink cloud.

The colt chanced a look behind him, and what he saw filled him with dread. The pink cloud was growing, getting bigger as it dispersed. It didn't even spare a thought for the bodies that littered the street, the crows that picked at the rotting carcasses long since fled, for the black feathered birds knew - the pink cloud consumes all.

Turn a corner, leap over the body of a Steel Ranger, dead for many a year.

Breathe: in, out, in, out.

Another look behind. The pink cloud was still there, motionless, yet ever moving and spreading.

The colt pushed on, but he was running out of options. This street had not much longer before it reached a dead end; the houses all barricaded, providing no entry.

It hadn't even been a full turn of the moon since he was in this street last. The colt had been here with his friends, exploring the streets of Canterlot. Of course, there was no massive pink cloud threatening their lives at that time, although at some places in the city you could see the pink seeping up through the pavement. They were still scared, but with friends, it's always easier.

All of his friends were gone now, consumed by the pink cloud. It had been silly Jorgen that had insisted they open the locked door of the bakery, even though the painted slogans read "Do Not Enter". As a filly, you think you are invincible. Jorgen learnt that lesson the hard way. He opened the door and out came the pink cloud. It devoured Jorgen, and the group could still hear his screams as they fled.

Now it just the lone colt who was left. He began to panic now, knowing his time was near.

The colt ran up to boarded windows and rapped his hoof against them, hoping that someone, anyone, would answer his plea.

The fear was fully set in now, and the colt began to cry. He ran in a small circle, shouting, screaming for want of his mother, but she never came.


The colt galloped fast. His legs pumped and he pushed himself past the point of pain. He needed to get away...

That Could've Gone Better by Technic_Bot

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That Could've Gone Better

by Technic_Bot

"This has to work. It has to" The stallion mumbled as he and his friends stared down into the room.

From the air duct they had chosen as their hiding spot they could see them, pacing back and forth, some of them carrying those horryfying Star rifles, while others checked monitors and took notes in small metallic rectangles.

"Are you sure Iron Gear?" a pink coated mare asked him,

"It is our best bet, unless youu want to stay and find out why they abducted us." she winced at those words, he did not mean to sound that harsh, but it was no time for soft words or apologies.

"I will throw the pink talisman in the room as soon as these things start to panic we run to that ship, once inside we can get the hell out of here. Back to the Republic”

“But what about the Cloud?” His pegasus friend asked “We can drink all that strange medicine they have lying around once we get out” Iron answered flatly. To fixated on those damn Star Rifles, they could vaporize him enterily if given the chance, just like they had done with Blueberry…

“But i makes me feel weird” The Little filly in the group, whinned, she was not the only one feeling rather weird, but "them" had took all their healing potions when they beamed them into the ship. It was that or nothing.

“Ok on my mark…”


“That could've gone better” the Equestrian pegasus commented flatly as they were surrounded by the creatures.

They have been a bit startled when the Pink Cloud began spreading around the room, but rather than dropping down dead or runnig away, they calmly raised the alarm and before they even managed to get halfway across the hangar there were several dozens of armored aliens pointning Star Rifles at them, no of them seemed to mind the pink cloud. Hell one of them picked the talisman and turned it off before throwing it away.

“Well Pink Cloud is necromancy and necromancy comes from the stars It is only logical that these monsters are unaffected by it” the Zebra commented with a smug tone, she had been a high priestess in the zebra homeland 200 years ago, when these thing abducted her and locked her in a stasis pod.

One of the creatures approached them, towering high beyond the tallest of the group. He raised its, claw-thing and pointed at them. It bluberred something beyond anypony comprehension. But a word stood out


After it finished a pink light flashed on Iron´s eyes and the world faded…

Wicked by TundraStanza

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by TundraStanza

For the first time in centuries, no… millennia, a certain pony claimed one win from every single casino in the strip. Sure, he had a bit of an unlucky streak of losing almost as many caps, but it was still a bit unusual for someone to tackle every single one of those places on any given day. Where discrimination and biases drove tourists to their specific favorites, this pony’s attitude seemed to screw the norms just because he had so many riches to throw around.

He inhaled deeply. “Ah, there’s nothing like the scent of a wicked stroke of luck blowing my way.”

“But Big Bro,” said a little whiny voice, “you lost two hundred caps after that last round of Omaha which basically negates your winnings from the previous casino’s Roulette.”

He stared in annoyance at the small colt that barely came up to half his height.

“Shut up, Mocha Bah.”

Friends by Defiance

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By Defiance

The guard's head came apart in a mass of blood and grey matter as the slides on my pistols locked back for what seemed like the hundredth time, speedclips hitting the stone floor with a clink as i stepped over the twitching corpse and slid fresh mags into the weapons, the E.F.S. as alive with red as it had been...how long ago? Already i had lost track of time, my world narrowing down to these endless hallways and the targets that got in my way. There was nothing left for me here -- after my rampage i would be labeled Dishonoured, Contract-breaker....my former allies would be after my skull for Red-Eye's enjoyment.

None of that mattered.

A shape rounded the corner, shotgun swiftly raising towards me. In a heartbeat i took in the new assailant, saw the combat armor and feathered head, a living mirror of myself. We fired at the same time, my rounds snapping the griffon's head back even as her blast hammered into my own armor, shearing off a section of my wing. Pain coursed through my body, but i shrugged it off as i had the other wounds so far, intent on reaching my destination.

Up ahead i could hear sobs, the sound quickening my pace as i threw caution to the winds, memories of a past life springing unbidden to my mind even as another raider fell beneath my guns. Finally, i had found her.

The little unicorn filly looked up from her cell, tears running unconsciously down her face even as she shrank back from me, shock warping her voice. "Y....you came back for me?"

I could see my face reflected in her eyes, a featureless helmet attached to a war-ravaged body. For a brief moment the reflection seemed to morph, a face from my past, a blue pegasus looking back at me with a wry smile as i spoke. "Friends don't break promises."

The filly sniffled, a smile creeping across her face as i moved to open the cell. "No...i suppose they don't."

Wind by Tylertlat

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by Tylertlat

The wind was heavy heavy with the approaching rain. Not the muggy damp feeling of after, but the dynamic, tense, something exciting is about to happen feeling of right before a big thunderstorm. Or maybe that's just me reading into it. That before the storm feeling only comes when a storm blows in Everfree-style because the pegasi are caught up doing something else. In a way, these storm were a herald of great event, “the Pegasi are all attending the Canterlot Games or the Best Young Flyer competition and can't make the weather all boring today”. Nowadays, the wind carried a different message. “Sorry, the pegasi can't make the weather boring today, they're too busy dying being the Ceaser wanted to prove he doesn't have a small, er, whatever-zebras-would-find-embarressing-to-have-too-small-of.”

I just know that the MAS or the MOA is working on way of “correcting” the weather issue, so I figure I'll just have to enjoy the tune and ignore the lyrics while it lasts. It's not like there was anything else to do during the night watch. See, as a fire-pony, I was protected from military service but found myself serving the MoM instead. I sat, as I did every week around this time, in what may have been a telephone booth by the highway, with a pair a binoculars and a pink band radio watching for bombs and bad-ponies. If the unimaginable should happen, I was to report it or help with the evacuation...

“CODE STRIPE CODE STRIPE” my radio screeched, awakening me from my pondering. “MULTIPLE MEGA-SPELL LAUNCHES DETECTED. SITUATION ECYLPYSE.” The message repeats as my heart-rate speed up, but not by much. There's no way world is about to end. Still, I follow my training and race off to set up inform the few midnight carriages that this highway has became one-way. It becomes a little more real half a minute later when the sirens go off in the city, more-so as group of police-ponies lead the first sleepy escapees in foot and by wagon down both sides of my assigned street. Then I hear something that makes my heart stop, my blood go cold despite the warm picking up around me. “CLOUDSDALE IS POSSIBLE HIT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL”. My heart picks back up with a gusto now, as I observe the traffic for any possible congestion. Not too much later, my world stops again when my radio shouts to all around me “CONFIRMED HIT ON CANTERLOT”. 'Why are they even telling us this?' I wonder, though I know the answer. The mood becomes deadly serious as those in range of any broadcasting device are now determined to leave the city, a determination that spreads and overwhelms any thoughts of bed or this being a drill. Or maybe it because of the morale boost moments later when “CANTERLOT UNHARMED. THE PRINCESSES PROTECT” is welcomed with cheering.

The cheering never dies out. It is simply overwhelmed by a roar, as the wind turn suddenly very warm.

Earth by Sophos

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by Sophos

“OOOOH, it ain't no trick, to get rich quick, when you dig dig dig with a hammer and a pick-”

“I will kill you, I swear it.”

“Why yous always so grumpys?”

“We've been at this for twenty-seven hours, and you've been singing that same line for the last three. If you don't know the next verse, DON'T SING IT!” The grumpy mare paused a moment, blind in the complete darkness, and listened for her own nightmares. “Don't sing at all!” She whispered to her canine companion.

“Whats!? I ams digging all the hole-”


“Scared-EE cat, if there somepony in hole; me will hears it.”

“Just like you heard this tunnel we've been digging to!?”

“It's not far nows, me have ninth sense for these things.” The Diamond Dog returned to his task.

“There's only five senses you idiot!”

“HEE HEE HEE!” The canine's laughter fell somewhere between giggling and exhaling. “What abouts tastes, and smells, and cold, and ground-shaking?”

“What was that!?”

“Me not hears it, it nothing- OOOOH-”

“I WILL kill you, I don't care if I have to drag your carcass around by this chain.”

“HEE HEE!” The canine yanked the mare close, by the chain that connected them, then lifted her off the ground. “That is stupids, why not gnaw through me neck and just drag chain?” He dropped the mare. “If yous can.”

*Cough* *Cough* “It times like this I wish they used bomb-collars! And I could have made my own damn escape, thank you.”

“Yous welcome.”

“Just keep digging! They could be on us any minute.”

“It take us longs times, it will take thems longs times.”

“They don't have to dig! They just have to catch up to us! Maybe if you hadn't dug in zig-zags, slowing us down-”

“It slows thems down too, that's why me dig that way.”

“I-” The mare did not enjoy being outwitted by s Diamond Dog, so she simply started digging. The canine was much faster and larger than she was, but the loose soil had to packed against the walls and ceiling to prevent it from caving in; or at least, she thought so. Cold, damp, dark, and with unusual scents; the dirt was rich with life. It crawled with bugs and worms, but they did not seem invasive or alien. Moist roots, that the canine handed her, were delicious and wild; they tasted faintly how the earth smelled: like a water lily that had never been cooked by the Sun; raw.

“Waits!” He sniffed, and sniffed, then dug straight down; she assumed, she had lost all sense of direction hours before.

The chain snapped taut, then yanked her down after him. “GAAAAaaaaaaaaahhh!”


She didn't know how long it had been, but she had landed on something soft, hairy- She opened her eyes, there was some source of light in the room but she was more concerned with partner in crime. “Hey, uh- I never got your name. Wake UP!”

“But mommy! Me don't wanna go to schools- Ah!” He sat up with a start, throwing the mare off of him and gripping his side. “Ouchies! Ribs, brokens.”

The mare rolled off the canine, and down a short pile of bones. “What the...”

“What's the- uh...”

“This looks like a bunker, but...”

“Buts whats?”

“But those aren't Equestrian uniforms, and why all the pictures of Zebras?”

Dreams by Songfire

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by Songfire

You are not a morning pony. In fact, you hate mornings. You think that mornings should not be. You think this as you drink a black coffee that your partner made you. It is not a good coffee. In fact, you think this barely registers as coffee. And, did something just move in it? Oh well, you scull it down anyway. Anything to get you out of this groggy state.

The sun beams down on your sleep-ridden face as you step outside. Or it would, if those damn pegasi hadn't blanketed the sky in clouds. You take a look around you to see if anything had changed overnight. And the answer is the same as it was yesterday. And the day before, and the day before. Which was 'no'. Nothing has changed; it is still the same brown dustbowl, and there is nothing to break the barren landscape except your shack and a lone, but dead, tree.

With a sigh, you head back inside to see whether your partner has made any breakfast. It is his turn to prepare the morning meal. And, like always, he has delivered. Also, like always, it is just last night's leftovers - half a can of baked beans and stale bread. You should've saved your coffee to wash this meal down with.

Over breakfast, you and your partner agree that you will need to go into town to buy some more rations, and perhaps trade supplies. Ammo is running dangerously low, and you've noticed a couple of patrols a few kilometres west. These are not the good kind of patrols. Thankfully, they haven't noticed you.

The trek to town isn't a long one, but it is boring without company. Even then, it is still boring with company. Your partner is a pony of few words, considering he lost his tongue when the bandits captured him. You still have dreams, no, nightmares about that.


It was a (somewhat) sunny day, and you were on your way back from town. You had picked up a lovely revolver, at a bargain of a price. The price was eternal damnation, but since you don't believe in that branch of religion, you bought it anyway. And just living in the Equestrian Wasteland was damning enough.

You were a couple kilometres from your shack when you heard this buzzing sound. Slowly, the buzzing turned to a guttural growl and then to a loud roar of an engine, and the vehicle was upon you. Diving out of its way, your revolver falls out of your magical grasp.

The bandits exit the vehicle and surround you, demanding money. You told them you had just spent your money on a new revolver. They said they'll take it. These bandits weren't the sharpest tools in the shed, nor did they end up being the most alive. They forgot you were a unicorn and as they picked up the revolver, you grabbed it with your magic and shot all of them.

After overcoming a moment of shock, you loot their vehicle. While in the process of doing this, you find a body. Why, I could not say, but you poke the body. It shuddered, and tried speaking. Of course, after a few failed attempts at trying to understand what it was saying, you realise the body does not have a tongue.

You decide out of the goodness of your heart that you will take this pony back to town to get him looked after. He was fixed up (minus the tongue) and you have been partners ever since.


That whole flashback took you the entire time to get to town, buy the supplies and be about to walk in the door to your shack. You open the door and drop all the supplies in the kitchen, completely not noticing the blood stain and writing on the floor. After doing a double take, you creep around the corner with your revolver raised. After making sure there is no one else in the room, you read the writing:

"We had his tongue, but we wanted the rest!"

You're going to have nightmares about this one for a while.