by Ghost Cobbraaa

First published

Vinyl Scratch falls for a musical pony. Now she has to protect the one she loves from the Mafia

It started out as a simple assignment from the top of the mafia--remix this classical song. But when bullets start flying left and right in an all out mob war, Vinyl finds herself caught in the middle of the conflict. Her only desire is to protect a mare that she is beginning to fall in love with, a mare that may or may not share her affections, however fate has other less romantic plans for her. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash, a hit mare for the Apple Family, is falling deeper into depression as she tries to deal with the reality that she is a murder for a living, while desperately trying to hold onto the relationship she has with a mare that is next in line as the head of the criminal organization.

so don't forget to 'favorite' or something if you want more of the story each day.

Chapter 1

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A long, gorgeous note came from the stereo that sat on the wooden coffee table. The violin note peaked to a soft yet powerful sound, and then subsided into a mellow, fading sound. The music danced with life as the violin playing continued into a mellow tune. A white hoof reached out and clicked the ‘off’ button on the stereo, and the music died.

“Yeah, yeah, I can make this funky. I can remix anything.”

“Yes, Miss Vinyl. We are aware of your talents. We were merely wondering if you would be willing to agree to the contract to use this particular song. I suppose the ones in the suits are trying to give you a challenge; turning classical into dubstep.”

“I can remix anything those muthafuckas throw at me! Any copyright issues?"

“Nope. The musician apparently wasn’t very business savvy; she signed away all the rights to her music to the company. Now they can whore it out however they want, and she can’t do shit about it. Shame, ain't it?”

“Yeah, but that’s what happens with ignorance. I’ll have the remix for you in about a week. I mostly need the time to wrap up all my other projects. What’s this chick's name, anyway?”

“Octavia. She plays down at the art hall down the street often. Here is her latest album cover.”

The silver pony sitting across from Vinyl Scratch dipped his head into his saddle bag. He emerged holding a record case. He placed it on the coffee table and Vinyl used one hoof to bring it closer. Her eyes were concealed under the blue goggles, so her face was unreadable.

The record cover depicted a lonely stage with bright wood floors and red curtains. In the center was a lone, silver earth pony. She had a long and graceful blackish-gray mane that flowed fluidly with her stunning features. The pink bow tie with a white strap she wore around her neck added a very proud and mysterious touch to her looks. She leaned against a violin in the center.

“Damn, this bitch pretty fine!”

“Ya know, we all know about your sexual preference, but why you announce it like so I will never understand....” The gray stallion sighed and rolled his eyes.

“Hehe... because it bothers you.” The white pony flipped her shining blue hair and pulled the goggles down to show her very playful pink eyes.

“You really like bugging me don’t you?” Not giving her time to reply, he continued, “The company also wants you to personally present the finished product to her. I guess they got a sick sense of humor, so they wanna force her to see what they do to her art.”

“My shit ain't any less of an art form then this. And to force someone to hear how her own creation, the music that she spent all her blood, sweat, and tears on, get utterly abused and manipulated into something less? That’s cruel! That’s sick! That’s just plain mean!” A sly smile stretched across the white ponies face, and her pink eyes glowed in the dimly lit room. “And I love it!”

Vinyl sat in a soft chair in a blue room. There was a mini-fridge, a phone, a large and expensive looking glass coffee table, and a bowl of snacks and sodas in the center. It had been a week since she was assigned to the task, but she had completed the remix in less than three hours. The remixed song was entitled “Swagger Jams”, and it would be on the album she had collaborated on with deadpon3y, a very famous DJ. She was satisfied with the results. Now she waited for her personal assistant, the gray stallion earth pony, and Octavia to arrive. She smiled at the thought of seeing what she assumed to be an artsy-farty snob get wound up and offended at what she had done to her music.

The assistant arrived first. He took a soda from the coffee table and sat down next to Vinyl Scratch on the green couch.
“Let's get this over with,” he sighed. They both sat there in silence as they waited for their guest to arrive.
The door opened and revealed a very beautiful pony standing in the doorway. Vinyl’s eyes widened. She was struck by the sudden realization that she was more stunning in pony. Somehow, the album cover failed to capture her mystical looking eyes; eyes that were subtle and gentle.

Vinyl’s eyes trailed to her flank. She couldn’t help it. It was rather natural for her. Vinyl was at a level of fame where, in most cases, she could stare at a pony’s flank and they would be more flattered than offended. This was not one of those cases. She forced her eyes to focus on Octavia’s face.

The pony walked in slowly and sat down in a chair across from the couch where the other two ponies sat. She obviously wasn’t exactly thrilled about the whole meeting.

“I received a letter from the Record Label saying that they wanted me to see the newest project they have undertaken with my music. I have a rather ominous feeling about this, since they reminded me of my… contract deal at the end of the letter.”
“You mean the part that says, ‘you have no say in what they do to your music’?” Vinyl said, suppressing a giggle.
“Precisely.” She was obviously very annoyed at that comment. “So what is it, then? I will have you two know that I don’t care very much for surprises.” Vinyl and her assistant looked at each other. A few seconds of taunting silence passed.
Vinyl's assistant grabbed a stereo from behind the couch. He placed it carefully on the coffee table and pressed the 'play' button. A single mellow note of a violin emanated from the stereo. The note continued for a few seconds, gradually getting louder. A one-forth beat began to play and the note started to sound 'wavy'. Vinyl sat back in her chair and began to giggle, forcing back a full laughter. The sound grew choppier and cut up, in an arrhythmic and harmonic way. It was the sort of music you could dance to. Real nightclub-style dubstep. Deadpon3y would be proud of Vinyl; after all, Vinyl had learned all she knew from him. Here eyes were still shut tight from suppressing the laughter. Her head automatically began to go up and down to the beat of the song.

She forced her eyes open to see the expression on Octavia's face. Her amusement died when she saw it.

Octavia sat there solemnly. Not a thing could be read from her facial expression, but a single tear slid down her left cheek. Her eyes told the story. They were shrouded with gloom; with hopelessness and utter despair. Vinyl regretted what she had done. How was she to know that this beautiful pony was so sensitive about her music? It wasn't entirely her fault. Still, she had ruined someone's work. Even if the remix was good as a song, she had made it out of the art born from someone else's conception. That was wrong.

"I-I need to leave. Thank you for showing me this. Tell Granny Smith that I appreciate her keeping me informed as to what her and her company are doing with my...... art." She shut her eyes tight and bit her lip before exiting through the door at a slow pace.

Vinyl pressed the 'off' button with her hoof. The room was silent for a few seconds. Nopony expected such an emotional response, and Vinyl's assistant surely felt just as guilty as her. She decided that she needed to make things right! A blue glow encompassed the 'eject' button and removed the CD from the machine. She used her unicorn magic to carry the CD to her saddle bag and she rose from the couch without a word to her gray assistant.

Where could that pony be? When Vinyl needed to leave a room for emotional reasons, she always went to the bathroom, so that would be the first place she would check. She followed the path to the ladies' room, opened the door slowly and peered in with her vibrant pink eyes. Sure enough, there was Octavia, crying over the sink. Vinyl pushed the door open and entered, ensuring that the door closed softly.

"Uhh, hey." Octavia jumped and turned around quickly. When she saw the white pony, her eyebrows lowered, and her expression quickly soured.

"Oh, it's you. The pony that sodomized my music," she spat.

"Well, yeah. That would be me. Look, I don't know you, but I'm re-"

"No! You don't know me! And you obviously don't know my music."

"I'm sorry! The Company told me to remix it, so I did what I was told. I didn't mean to hurt nobody."

"Anybody. You didn't mean to hurt anybody. Double negatives are improper."

Seriously? She was worried about grammar at a time like this? "Yeah, whatever. But I'm sorry for the whole remix."

"I suppose your guilt seems genuine. But what is done is done. Nothing more to it. That CD will hit shops all around Equestria soon. I may not care for your genre of music, but I already know you are very famous," she sighed.

Vinyl wanted nothing more then to cheer this pony up. She looked so helpless and, watching this stranger like this, and knowing that it was her fault, made her heart break. Suddenly an idea came to her. A blue glow pulled the CD out of the saddle bag and dropped it on the floor. She lifted one of her front hoofs and lowered it with a grin onto the CD. It smashed upon impact into three large pieces and countless smaller pieces.

"Huh, that's funny, I could have sworn that I had that CD somewhere in here." Vinyl was searching her saddle bag with her hoofs. She flashed a wink and a grin at Octavia.

Octavia stood in shock, her vibrant purple eyes wide in amazement. She obviously didn't know exactly how to respond.

"But.... what about Granny Smith?"

"What about the old hag?"

"Yeah, what about me?" Both ponies turned their heads simultaneously towards the door. Standing there was the elderly green pony with Big Mac at her side. "That was a darn-tooten good gesture ya gave there. What with the CD smashen' and whatnot. Hurten' other pony's feelin's is bad apples. But Ah got money that needs to be made. And by my calculations, Ah'm losin' several hundred bits a week that Ah ain't got that CD. Now Ah'm a pony of kind heart and generosity," she said, leaning against her walker, "But Ah can't be havin' no setbacks like this."

"Granny Smith-"

"Quiet, unicorn! Didn't anypony ever tell you interruptin' was rude? Well, as Ah was sayen', Ah'm gunna need that CD back by one week. Big Mac!!!" she called out, almost losing her false teeth in the scream. The big earth pony walked calmly into the ladies' room.


"Give the white one a good lick."


A lick? Before Vinyl had time to think, she felt the impact of two back hooves buck into her chest. She hit the ground. Confusion overwhelmed her. What just happened? One second she was standing, and the next, she was on the ground. She curled up tight as she struggled to breathe. After a few fighting breaths, her breathing became slightly easier, although she found that she was spitting up small amounts of blood. She felt hooves holding on to her chest, but she was too confused to know whose, and too confused to know if the hooves were there to hurt or help her.

"Don't fuck with the Apple Family," was all she heard—from the sound of the voice it was Big Mac speaking—before everything turned black.

Chapter 2

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It's important to understand exactly how powerful Granny Smith and her "company" actually are. She is the head of the Apple Family. The Apple Family has had its roots in Ponyville for many years, long before most of you were born. It was started as a drug cartel street gang in the city's early years, peddling zap-apples (an extremely potent hallucinogen drug) locally, and expanded over the years. The revenue for the drug operations was unfathomable. With money comes power.

When Granny Smith's father died, she became the official head of the organized crime. After years of very good and very shady investments, the organization had branched out into other industries. The Apple Family at this day has Ponyville by the balls and Equestria by the throat. The money flows to the very top. On a local level, the Apple Family runs the whole thing: the mayor, the police department, the press, a majority of the stores and commercial arias, all are on the pay-rolls of the Apple Family. On a national level, they are the second most powerful and influential family in Equestria, right under the royal family.

In addition to having a complete monopoly over the coal industry and the apple industry, The Apple Family, or Granny Smith more specifically, have branched into the music industry and formed a record label. This is the only record label that seems to thrive in the
industry. If one got their music to be signed by the Sweet Apple record label, then they were instant culture icons. This is so because The Apple Family used their influence on the government to convince the Princess to stamp very heavy taxes on all other labels.

Anyone that did something to mess up the natural flow of dirty money would be either stamped out, or arrested by the cops on the pay-roll. Anyone lucky enough to get on Granny Smith's personal good side was protected from everything... even the law. For the most part, this was Octavia's position. Granny Smith is an avid classical music fan. So she signed Octavia up. At least, that's the short version. The long and more truthful story is a little more exciting then that.

Octavia's father was a senator working in the royal castle. He did his best all the time to ensure that Celestia and Granny Smith were always miles apart. The leader of the Apple Family had half the royal guard on her pay-roll and a quarter of the senators. She hated his guts. She hated how the slimy bastard always made business hard, and always got in the way. So she signed Octavia up, manipulating her desperation to become a classical music star. And with his daughter in the firm grip of the most powerful criminals in the world, he stepped down from the senate in order to let his daughter see her dream.

But enough about how things came to be as they are, lets go back to our little DJ friend.

Vinyl could feel that she was on a soft bed. She didn't want to open her eyes quite yet, she was too weak to wake up. Instead, she remained perfectly still, trying to deduce where she was from the sounds around her. The only thing that she could hear was hoofsteps not too far from her, they sounded to be walking on wood floors, and a tea kettle boiling. She was in somepony's house alright. And it sure as hell wasn't hers.

Over a minute went by. She noticed how sweet the bed smelled as she lay there comfortably.

Her eyes slowly opened. She saw that she was in a bright apartment and from the amount of light coming through the sliding glass doors that led out to a porch, she deduced that it was almost mid day. Her head slowly lifted and she examined the living room. She saw that she was on a couch, not a bed. The walls were bright white with paintings hung here and there. The furniture was very modern, yet had a charming humility. Her eyes trailed off to a kitchen area visible from the living room.

Staring back at her was Octavia, looking as beautiful as ever.

"Ya know, you didn't have to destroy that CD just to make me feel better."

"No, I didn't have to. I wanted to."

"A kind gesture from the heart?"

"You could call it that. I guess I just got a soft spot for pretty li'l ponies like yourself. Besides, if I didn't do it, I wouldn't have had such a nice nap."

"True, I suppose. About the nap I mean."

"So this your crib?"

"If you're asking if this is my living space, then no. This is my old condo. I'm trying to sell it now."

"Okay, cool..." her eyes trailed along the room. "Apparently, I pissed the old hag off something good."

"I think you're an idiot."

"How so?" Vinyl flipped herself over and lay on her belly. She used her hands as arches to support her head. She smiled at the comment, and smiled at the question she asked; curiosity crept up as to the context of Octavia's insult.

"For starters, you get cocky and aggressive toward the woman that has the power to make you a star or to have you killed-"

"Nigga please, I'm already a star! I got more crazy fans at my raves than anyone."

Octavia ignored the interruption and proceeded.

"You really need to learn to not be so head strong. You're going to get yourself killed dealing with someone like her like that."

"Aww, don't worry about me. I can handle my flank. Besides, I didn't even say nothing to her directly. She just spied on our conversation, that's all."

"You did give her disrespectful looks."

"Yeah, but....... Yeah, you're right.

"So, do you care to depart any time soon?"

"What? That's it? You're just gunna kick me out?"

"What else is there to do?"

Vinyl saw her chance.

"How about I treat you to lunch? You know, as a thank you for, uhhhh, letting me nap on your couch" she gave a big smile.

"You amuse me. I suppose I can find the time tomorrow. But for now I have an appointment.”

"Swag. See you tomorrow, then. Doughnut Joe's? Around three?"

"Doughnut Joe's? Really? I think you can do far better than that."

"Okay, okay. Where do you want to go, then?"

Without skipping a beat, Octavia replied:

"Sladkia Socrvoich! It's a five-star restaurant. I think you should find it to your liking."

A fancy restaurant? That wasn't exactly Vinyl's style, but she could manage.

" 'Ight, sure."

Octavia left the room as soon as the words left Vinyl's mouth. She called out:

"Don't forget to shut the door on your way out."

Vinyl took the hint and left.


"Dig, muthafucka, dig!"

The pistol never lost sight of the digging pony. The one holding it was an orange mare, with a western-style hat on. She aimed the gun at the head of a sweaty purple pegasus who was rapidly digging his spade into the earth. The cool night air whipped the trees all around them. The purple pegasus had tears dripping from his eyes into the soil he was moving.

"Now that-a-boy. Y'all make mah life just a li'l bit easier there!"

A split second later, all that could be heard through the woods was an ear-shattering crack.

Chapter 3

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The almost barren bedroom in the Sweet Apple Acres farmhouse was silent, save for two sets of calm breathing. An orange hoof traveled gently through a rainbow mane. The two ponies lay there peacefully in each others' loving embrace. Rainbow Dash's head rested upon the orange earth pony's chest as she slept soundly, with Applejack looking down at her sleeping lover with a fond sparkle in her eye.

She leaned over and placed a kiss on the blue pegasus's head. She stirred slightly but did not wake. Applejack could lay here and hug that pony for hours without ever getting bored. She never would have admitted that a few months ago. The farm pony always looked on love as being a sign of weakness, but now she understood. The feeling of pouring your whole heart out with someone that's willing to do the same filled her with an ecstatic glee. True love. It made her want to draw hearts everywhere, and skip through flowers, not caring what anyone thought, as long as she could be with that special somepony.

Her eyes trailed off and examined the gun that was laying on top of the night table next to her bed. The barrel was still stained with blood from last nights 'snuff'. Her smile turned into an unsure facial expression as she looked at the newspaper next to the revolver. The title on the front page read "Famous Artist Deadpon3y Has Been Murdered, No Suspects"

'That ain't even how you spell 'pony'. What idiot doesn't know how to spell 'pony'? Probably the same idiots that listen to that garbage. All that electic music sounds like nuthen' but noise.' Applejack thought to herself. She cringed every time she recalled the spelling error in the name; It's spelled P-O-N-Y, not P-O-N-E-Y.

There wouldn't be any suspect, ever. With her status in the Apple Family, she was untouchable by the law. Upon Granny Smith's death, she was to be head of the 'family'. Granny Smith had personally ordered the death of Deadpon3y, and the orange mare couldn't understand why. It wasn't unusual for things to be secrets (given the nature of the business), but it was unlike Granny Smith to order a pony killed without giving a good reason. In fact, having ponies killed at all was not common. The only time it was usually done was when that pony had drastically compromised the flow of money, or if they had killed a 'family member'. Deadpon3y was extremely famous, but he was a drug addict and an annoying pony in general. He had generated quite a bit of money for the Sweet Apple record label, as far as Applejack knew. She failed to think of a reason for his death. There was something she was not being told. And she was not going to ask any time soon. It simply wasn't her place to ask.

Her green gaze swept over the body of Rainbow Dash, snuggling tightly to her. She made a game out of attempting to not smile when she looked at the sleeping pony. She always lost. Something about that blue pegasus had a stranglehold on her heart. And she would kill anypony that tried to hurt her little special somepony.

Rainbow Dash was the hitmare for the Apple Family. Usually, if someone needed to be whacked, she would be called. However, Applejack couldn't let her go on this one. She didn't want her going on any, actually. A few months ago, every pony feared Rainbow Dash. All they ever saw was the heartless mobster that killed ponies for a living. One day, she came to Applejack, crying. She confessed to the farm mare how the murdering was affecting her, how she didn't want to take anypony's life anymore, how she was losing her grip on reality. Applejack had never dreamed of seeing the strong pegasus cry in front of anyone. Yet she humbled herself to Applejack and cried on her shoulder. That was when they fell in love; when Rainbow Dash finally opened up her darkest feelings in the most intimate way to a pony that she cared for.

Applejack remembered how they hugged tightly, feeling each others heartbeats, when Rainbow Dash needed someone so desperately just as they hugged now. She was grateful to have Rainbow Dash.

As this thought crossed her mind, a series of ear-shattering explosions that sounded like a very loud motor boat pierced the air. Rainbow Dash shot her head up in confusion; Applejack hauled it down with a hoof and she rolled out of bed, taking the blue pony with her. She tried to scream as loud as she could to tell Rainbow Dash something, but the popping noise was too loud. In a few seconds, as the ponies held each other close together in fear, the wall started to pop. In random areas, the wall would just blow into a tiny hole. Furniture got hit by the incoming bullets.

The walls were torn to pieces while bullets flew through the whole house. Applejack's only thought was 'make sure Dashie is safe'. The sound of bullets flying inches from her was like nothing she had ever heard before. They sounded somewhat like a 'wizz'. The orange mare rolled over so that she was on top of Rainbow Dash, her back facing the front of the house (where the bullets were flying in from). She felt Dash protest and try to get out from under her, but she would not submit. Applejack figured that she would act as a living shield.

Almost as soon as the attack had started, it stopped. Dead silence filled the house. Rainbow Dash looked into Applejack's eyes with a look of confusion mingled with fear. The silence felt unnatural.

Applejack immediately got off of her lover and ran to the night table to grab her pistol. With the gun in hoof, she went to the window and peered out cautiously. The attackers were nowhere to be seen. She pointed the barrel of the gun out of the window and three cracks filled the air. She was aiming at one of the apple trees. At least nopony could say that she didn't get to fire back.

"What the hay just happened?" Applejack turned to see Rainbow Dash looking at her with the same fear/confusion in her blue eyes.

"Somepony decided ta shoot up ma house!"

"Who? The Apple Family hasn't had a war in years! Why would somepony try to kill you?"

"I dunno, but Ah got a funny fellen' that it's got somethen' ta do with that DJ I had to snuff las' night. C'mon, we're gunna go to Granny 'bout this." She gestured with a hoof for her lover to follow her out of the bedroom. Rainbow Dash reluctantly followed without a word.


Vinyl stared into Octavia's eyes as she talked about her work at the Arts Centre. It surprised Vinyl that the the gray mare was enjoying the lunch. She seemed too stiff to be somepony to enjoy anything. Of course, there was never a good first impression. Vinyl had asked one question ("So, you work at the Arts Centre?") and now she had been listening for ten minutes to Octavia's description of her work. Vinyl actually was interested (much to her own surprise) because she could relate to what it's like making it big in the music industry. The restaurant was extremely high-class, and the white DJ dreaded getting the food bill. She sat with a subtle grin as she listened to Octavia's calm though joyful ramblings.

"So how exactly do you even make your, uhh, what's it called? Dubhoof? I have often wondered how such futuristic sounds were made."

"It's called dubstep. And it's made with a turntable and some computers. All computer-generated sounds," she replied, pleased to talk to the pretty pony across from her.

"So, shouldn't that be easy to make?" Vinyl knew the subtle 'you-don't-have-real-talent' comment anywhere. That always annoyed her, because anyone that actually tried to make computer-generated music would find that it's a lot harder then one might think.

"Let's see you try it." Octavia obviously took the hint and did not press the matter.

"So why all this? Why the lunch?" Octavia inquired playfully. She had something on her mind, but Vinyl couldn't figure it out. Vinyl was also surprised at how bright she was now in comparison to the dull and stiff pony she imagined her to be.

"I told you. It's a 'thank you' for the nice nap."

"Is that so? So, if I asked you if you wanted to head off to my living quarters and fool around, how would you respond?" Her eyes looked challengingly at Vinyl. She smirked when she asked the question. Was she serious? Vinyl had no idea what to say in response. It caught her off guard. She stared with a gaped mouth for a few seconds. She secretly hoped that Octavia was seriously asking.

"Well," she began, recollecting herself and speaking as coolly and slickly as she usually did, "I would say, 'lets get the fuck out of here and head to your crib'," she whispered seductively across the table.

"That's nice. Because you're not going to hear me ask that anytime soon." Octavia closed her eyes in clear amusement while her lips curled into a grin. "But now I know how you truly feel."

Chapter 4

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Vinyl stared down into the casket. She knew the purple pony too well. For some reason, she shed no tears. She just stared somberly at the pony that was now peacefully at rest. The funeral was filled with only friends of the dead; however, just outside the gates of the graveyard literally thousands of fans were mourning the loss of the pop culture icon.

The funeral was being sponsored, conducted, and accompanied by the Apple Family. About fifty mobsters were there for the event. All the biggest names were there: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Big Macintosh, and Braeburn, to name a few of the biggest names. Even so, most looked disinterested in the procession and acted as if they were ordered to be there, which they probably were. This came as no surprise to Vinyl, because the now dead stallion had not only been signed onto the Sweet Apple record label, but was also in many very tight and shady deals with the Family, all the way up to Granny Smith herself. Granny Smith herself was nowhere to be seen.

Deadpon3y was a character. Vinyl knew the stallion by his real name, Live Mouse. Vinyl felt so grateful at that moment to have known him, not just as the music artist, but as a pony. She had known him since long before he was the legend of dubstep that he was today, back when he was doing shows at the local nightclub. Live Mouse had taught Vinyl Scratch everything she knew about music, and it was no secret. Many of the tabloid magazines would often create false rumors about a relationship between the two. She silenced these by becoming open about her sexuality. Later on, the two had done quite a bit of collaborative work together. Sometimes the CD's would read "Deadpon3y, featuring Vinyl Scratch", or they would reverse the names, but most of the time they went under the name of "D2". Luck had hit Live Mouse. He simply was always at the right place at the right time, so he became a big name long before Vinyl did. In fact, it wasn't until the “D2” albums were released that Vinyl Scratch became a household name. But the thing that Vinyl loved most was all the long talks and the simple hanging out they did. She had learned early on that Deadpon3y was just a character played by Live Mouse.

The memories stung her. She opened her eyes, only to see the pony that she had so many distant and joyful memories, dead. As the tears welled up, she smiled. She smiled because she had no regrets. She was glad for all she had gone through with Live Mouse, and she would go back and do it all again. She was glad that the purple pony in front of her died knowing that he had friends that loved him. And she was honored to be one of those friends.

No regrets.

Her eyes closed and her face cringed as she began to cry. They weren't tears of sorrow, however. They were tears of gratitude. Grateful for all she had been through with Live Mouse.

The white pony felt a hoof on her back. She opened her eyes and turned around only to find that she was staring deep into Octavia's vibrant purple eyes. A look of understanding, as well as an encouraging and genial grin, greeted Vinyl.

"It's okay. He was a good pony, and he is now at peace." Octavia's genial voice almost sang with the flow of the wind.

"Ya know," Vinyl began with a sigh, "he was a damn good pony. I loved him. As a friend, I mean. And.... Shouldn't we be having a party?" Vinyl grinned softly.

Octavia seemed appalled by the suggestion. She recoiled after hearing Vinyl's words.

"W-what? That just disgusting! Of all the morbid and dark jokes I have ever heard in-"

"No. I don't mean it like that. What I mean is..." another sigh. "Well, every year you have a birthday party to celebrate the past year of your life. Well, a funeral is much bigger then a birthday party cuz it's a party to celebrate your whole life. When I die, I don't want people mourning my loss; I want them celebrating the legacy I left behind. This whole 'mourning' thing seems wrong to me. We should give thanks to the dead for the life that they left behind and reminisce on how they touched our lives, not obsess about letting go or saying goodbye or nothen' like that. It should be about the life they had, not the departure. So don't you think that a celebration is better?"

A brief uncomfortable silence passed. Vinyl looked at Octavia with an unsure face, while the gray mare looked around at the ground. Vinyl finally broke the silence with:

"I dunno, it makes no sense but-"

"No. No, it makes perfect sense. I know what you're trying to articulate and I... I never thought about that. And, well, when I die, I think I would much rather have the ones I love celebrate my life too, instead of mourning my loss."

Vinyl smiled. She just stared into the piercing purple eyes of the mare in front of her, admiring every bit of her as she stared back with fondness in her eye.

Just then, something caught Vinyl's eye.

What the fuck?

On a top of a hill stood one of the Apple Family members, a green earth pony with a pair of sunglasses on. Just behind the stallion, there was some sort of shadow. What was that? It was..... Mare-Do-Well? A pony dressed as Mare-Do-Well? Vinyl strained her eyes to see, only to recoil at the sudden observation. The pony dressed in the Mare-Do-Well costume was in possession of an Equestrian made AK-47 assault rifle.

Oh shit. This ain't gonna end well.

Vinyl looked in shock and horror, ignoring Octavia's questions as to what she was looking at. She froze. The Mare-do-Well pony brought the rifle up so that it was inches from the green stallions head.

A single crack filled the air.

Vinyl had always imagined that a pony getting their head shot would be something like a small hole and a splat of blood. Instead, as soon as the crack rang through the air, a thick cloud of crimson engulfed the green stallion's head, as if the blood were a gas instead of a liquid, before the pony hit the ground. Mare-Do-Well quickly ran to cover behind a tree.

Other mobsters pulled out pistols and began to shoot at the assassin. Within seconds of the green stallion's death, the air was filled with a mixture of the cracks and pops of guns and the screaming of ponies who were in the crowd of the thousands of fans outside of the cemetery gate. Vinyl looked back at Octavia, who was in a state of frozen shock. She grabbed Octavia by the hoof and yanked hard.

"Come on, we gotta get the fuck outa' here!" she screamed in urgency.

Vinyl practically had to drag her out of that state of shock and bring her to cover behind a carriage. She looked at Octavia's eyes and saw nothing but fear in the purple irises. She looked to her right and saw that their cover was being shared with an orange 'Family member'. The orange mare tipped her hat and winked at Vinyl before loading a few more rounds into her revolver, peeking over the side of the cart, and discharging a few bullets in the direction of the Mare-Do-Well.

Three more ponies, all armed with assault rifles, came to lend assistance to Mare-Do-Well. One had a bandana over his mouth with a pair of sunglasses concealing his eyes, while the other two were dressed in long leather duster jackets. The air filled with the sounds of the battle. Vinyl just stared at Octavia the whole time. She returned her gaze with one of desperation, like a helpless filly.

A bullet hit a rock next to Vinyl and a piece of shrapnel flew through the air and hit Applejack in her shoulder.

Chapter 5

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Rainbow Dash quickly pulled the 9mm handgun out of her holster when she heard the first shot; to her, a natural reaction. She cocked back the chamber and released the safety before diving for cover behind a particularly large gravestone. When more shots began to ring, she peeked over to look at who was shooting whom. Mare-Do-Well? Are you kidding me? Well, at least this time, the assassin is going in style. She placed her sights on the pony and discharged three rounds before diving back to cover. When she looked over to fire a few more, a cart had arrived with three other ponies to lend aid to the Mare-Do-Well. A horrifying thought occurred to Rainbow Dash.

All of the attackers were armed with assault rifles made for combat. The stone she hid behind would do very little in stopping most of the bullets that would fly at her. From experience, she knew that a round from a standard Equestrian AK-47 would pass through stone like a nail being driven through hot butter.

She looked around in a panic, trying desperately to order her thoughts as the cracking of guns became more frequent, the pops from the many handguns being wielded as well as the automatic fire from the assault rifles. There was a hill that she could lay down behind and take cover. It was funny, she reflected, how bullets can shoot through stone and other things, while they get stuck in sandbags and dirt.

She ran for the spot she had spied earlier. With a few leaps, she was there. No time to look at back. She stuck her gun out and shot some not-so-well-aimed shots in the direction of the attackers. Her hooves began to shake as she peeked over the hill only to see that one pony, a green stallion 'family member' named Neon, was laying on the ground with part of his head missing. As far as she could see, three other family members had been hit and the Mare-Do-Well had a wound to the left back hoof.

Three more rounds. Shit, why is this all happening? Why did they try to kill Applejack (and possibly Dash herself) yesterday? Who were they? What did they want? Rainbow Dash knew this was not the time or place to be thinking these thoughts, but she couldn't help herself. Something just didn't seem right about the whole mess. She sat behind the hill thinking.

Her thoughts were finally interrupted by a pair of ponies dashing past her at lightning speeds. One of them appeared to be a gray mare wearing a pink bow tie, while the other was the very famous Vinyl Scratch, who was all white with a bright blue mane. Rainbow Dash decided that she would need an autograph sometime. Her music wasn't half bad after all. Again, Rainbow Dash kicked herself for thinking that when this obviously wasn't the time to entertain any thoughts other than survival.

She used her left hoof to put another clip in the handgun and then cocked the chamber. She positioned herself so that the gun was sticking out of the side of the small hill. The party of assaulters was gathering into the carriage now. Oh, hell no! She wouldn't let them all get away that easily. Not after Neon's death.

The confederates were all loaded into the vehicle now. The Mare-Do-Well pony had the back door to the carriage open so that she could shoot out of it. Rainbow Dash brought her sights to the masked pony.

Lets see you die, mutherfucker!

She squeezed the trigger once, and watched as the pony rolled out of the vehicle and rolled over in her cape a few times, painting the road a crimson red. The cart immediately shot into motion and rode off, taking fire from all the various mobsters in the cemetery, and drove through the back gate which was wide open.

The blue pegasus jumped from her position and took flight. She sped to the body laying in the street. When she got there, before anypony else, she saw that the Mare-Do-Well was still alive and barely holding on to every breath.

Rainbow Dash carefully placed a hoof on the bottom of the mask and made a quick upwards motion to pull it off of the assassin.

She gasped in shock. Hatred flowed through her veins, along with anger and a burning desire to see the pony in front of her in pain.

"You fucking traitor....."

She brought the gun up to the wounded pony's head.

"I want to see you dead!"

"Please, don't...." The voice sounded strangely weak and drained of emotion.

One crack.

One loud and distinct crack filled the air. And that was it. Rainbow Dash looked at the body in front of her. Pink, fluffy hair, now stained red with blood, and eyes that usually twinkled blue just looked into nothingness.

No more breathing, or heartbeat, or speech, or pain, or love. For the 15th time, Rainbow Dash had taken all of that away from a pony unfairly. She dropped to her knees and wept softly. She threw the gun to the side and buried her head into her hoofs before the pony she had just murdered. Like a soulless monster, she had again taken the life of somepony in cold blood. It just wasn't fair. She shouldn't have the power to choose life or death for somepony! Nopony should. But out of cruel fate, she was faced with that awful power quite often.

"I'm so sorry, Pinkie Pie!"

Her dear friend Pinkie Pie, the absolute kindest and funniest pony she had ever met, now lay dead.

As she lay there in agony, she felt a tap on her left hoof.

"Um... Rainbow?" Twilight Sparkle began. "We need to talk. It's about Applejack"


"That ain't how ya do it!"

"Of course it is, Applebloom."

"You're both wrong!"

"So why don't y'all show us how it's done, Scootaloo," the yellow pony with the bright red bow challenged her friend.

Scootaloo, an orange pegasus filly with a purple mane, grabbed the colorful fruit from a young white unicorn named Sweetie Belle. She turned the fruit over with her hoofs a few times examining it.

"Where'd you get this anyway?"

"Ah was cleanen mah big sister's bedroom like she asked, and Ah found a whole bunch of 'em in her closet."

"Really?" Sweetie Belle squeaked. "I knew that she was in that organization thingy, but I never thought in a million years she was the kind of pony to use zap apple."

"How's this thang supposed ta get ya high anyway?"

"I dunno. Maybe ya gotta eat it?

After Scootaloo said that, Sweetie Bell chipped a piece off with her hoof and then used her unicorn magic to bring it to her mouth. Her eyes screwed up as soon as it was entered into her mouth. She swallowed it, forcing herself not to gag on the piece.


The other two ponies giggled.

"Ay, gimme some o' that!"

"Yeah, me too."


Chapter 6

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Blue smoke sheets drifted over the hickory desk as the pony holding the imported cigar exhaled. The pony sat back in their chair into the darkness. The shadowing was preventing Wood Chuck from distinguishing even the gender of the pony with whom he was conversing, but he knew exactly who he was talking to. And the thought of talking to that pony sent shivers down his spine.

"So, payment for your services will be in the form of cash, banknotes, of the amount of six thousand bits. Any questions?" The voice seemed flat despite the serious subject matter. Everything about the meeting gave Wood Chuck the creeps. He wanted no part in any of this stuff, but it was the only way he could secure a better future for his brother's daughter. The fact that this was the only way just put more stress on him.

"Yeah, I got a few."

"Then speak now, my dear Chuck."

"First off, all I have to do is spy on Granny Smith for you and tell you what I know, and you will pay me for that?"


"Then why me? I'm not that close to her, and I'm definitely not 'in the loop' with the company. I just talk to her or a representative once and a while about record deals for any of my clients who has a record deal with her. I don't know that much."

"True, but you are the closest that we can honestly get to. Those meetings are our window into the Apple Family world."

"What if the cops catch me?"

"Then you'd best not drop the soap, because there is honestly little I can do if you get caught."

"Alright, great job of not scaring me...." He looked at the shadow of a pony with an intent stare, to ensure that he or she got the message that he was damn frightened. "I just have two more questions."

"Very well. Proceed."

"Why are you doing this, anyway? Why do you want 'em all out of the picture? It's not for money, I figured that much out. You're spitting cash out just for this whole thing, and I have a hard time believing that you expect a return investment on all these payments from a dead criminal organization. There is something deeper to this. I just can't figure it out..." Chuck lowered his eyebrows.

"You are a very smart stallion, if I may say so. However, that is, quite frankly, none of your damn business. Your job is to do what you're told, and not question why. We are paying you for this, and we kindly ask that you respectfully ask no questions concerning our ultimate goal."

'That's a kind way of saying “shut the fuck up”,' Wood Chuck thought.

"Fine." That was not a satisfying answer, but he didn't feel like arguing. "My last question, is there any other form of payment I could take?"

"If you would like, we can arrange for some of the finest prostitutes from Canterlot to-"

"No, that's not what I meant."


"Yeah. My brother, he had a wife, and the two of them died from some cupcakes that were poisoned by mistake."

"I'm sorry for your loss."

"Uhh... yeah, thanks. And he had a little filly too. What I'm asking is, can you by any chance arrange for her to get educated in the finest collage? I know she is only in elementary now, but it would mean a lot if you had her pre-accepted into Canterlot University. The money is great and all, but I would rather see her go on and make something of herself. I... I don't like seeing her grow up in this environment. And I hate myself for getting involved. All this spying and stuff, it just feels like I'm part of the cancer. I don't want to see her go on to be a drug addict or a whore, and I'm afraid that around here, that's what will happen if I can't get her out."

Chuck couldn't see the pony's face, but he imagined the pony to be deep in thought, pondering what he had just said.

"That could be arranged. What is this filly's name?"

"Her name is Scootaloo."

"Alright, you have a deal."


After Vinyl and Octavia had escaped the gunfight, they ran into the nicer part of town and hailed a taxi cart. Once inside, the two of them said nothing. Vinyl just told the cab driver to drop them off at her crib. Once the cab had reached the brass gates of her mansion, the two of them exited. Octavia finally broke the silence.

"You live very lavishly, I see."

"Yeah, it's pretty fly, I guess."

A few seconds of silence passed. It was Vinyl's turn to break it.

"So, we ain't gunna even talk about what just happened or nothing?"

"What had happened?"

"It ain't obvious? Some lil' fucktard dressed in a little gay superhero costume just open fire at a gangster, then everyone just started shooting everyone." It wasn't until after the words had left her mouth that Vinyl saw the irony with her calling the costume 'gay'.

"Well.... yes."

There was nothing to talk about, really. It was an uncomfortable thing for both of them. They both saw ponies getting shot at, and at least one pony get killed! Vinyl's chest tightened every time she recalled the bullets flying past her. She also recalled how she had been so worried about Octavia's safety. The fear in Octavia's eyes as she turned to Vinyl for protection. Fuck it all! Go for it, she decided.



Vinyl looked deep into those piercing purple eyes. She found nothing but comfort in them.

"I love you."

"I guessed so."

As anti-climatic as the response was, they just stared at each other with soft gentle grins on their faces. All Vinyl wanted in the world at that point was to see Octavia smile. She approached her, and when she sensed no objection from the beautiful gray mare, she placed her right hoof around her neck, closed her eyes, and planted a soft kiss on Octavia's lips. A few seconds passed, with nothing else in the world but the two of them. No sounds but their gentle breaths. Vinyl pulled away slightly enough for their lips to be separated, yet close enough to still be in the blissful intimacy. She felt two hoofs wrapping around her, and Octavia planted her own gentle kiss on the lips of the dubstep artist.

Nothing in the world, but the two of them.

Together in pure bliss.

The two finally pulled away, only for Octavia to wrap her hooves around Vinyl in a tight embrace. It felt nice to be this close to a pony. To have someone that looked to you for comfort. It just felt natural. Vinyl inhaled Octavia's sweet scent. She just returned the embrace and looked at Octavia with adoring pink eyes.

They finally pulled away. Octavia's face was blushing red. Vinyl wondered if hers was too, but didn't care.

"Ya know, I have a concert tonight. I... I would love for you to be there."

The wide smiles and loving eyes they shared with each other. Vinyl's heart skipped a beat every time she looked deeply into those purple eyes.

"Yeah, that sounds pretty legit. I'd love to watch you perform."

"Great. I'd love for you to be there too."

"Consideren' that we just got shot at, I think a lil' classical music would be pretty soothen' right now." Octavia seemed to brighten as soon as the words were passed through Vinyl's lips. Her eyes brightened and she smiled largely.

"You familiar with classical music?"

"Yeah. Moz Art was one of my favs'. His thirteenth serenade has gotta be a freaking masterpiece. I ain't really big into classical music, really, but I like to listen to it when I'm stressed and need something relaxing to unwind."

"And here I was, thinking that all that rap and hip hop were the only things you listened to." She gave a wink at Vinyl.

"Well, I should get inside now and take a shower. Don't wanna have all them artsy folk complaining about my smell."

"Wait, what about me? I need to get home and prepare for it, too."

"Oh, yeah. Hold up, I got ya covered." Vinyl pressed a big red button on their side of the gate and held it down. "Yo, Chuck, get yer flank out here. I need ya to hop on that carriage and drive Octavia home."

Within seconds, Vinyl's assistant, came driving a stretch limo cart to drive Octavia home. After giving directions, she got into the back of the limo cart and stuck her head out and called out to Vinyl as she was about to trek the long walkway of cobblestone up to her mansion.

"Don't forget, Scratchy. It's at eight o'clock tonight."

"I won't."

They exchanged smiles before the cart rode off. Scratchy? Nopony had ever called her that. Normally she would find it condescending and disrespectful; but at the moment, she didn't mind at all.

Chapter 7

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A single dull light bulb illuminated Rainbow Dash as she huddled in the corner of the hospital bathroom. Her ruffled mane, damp cheeks, flushed red face, and bloodshot eyes all indicated that she had been crying for quite some time now. She whimpered softly as she wrapped her hooves around her knees in the corner of the room.

Pinkie Pie was the owner of a local nightclub known as Sugarcube Corner. She was also an extremely notorious mobster. The pink pony was never 'made' a member of the Apple Family, but she might as well have been. Drugs would be peddled through the nightclub while a small fee ensured that the police would look the other way and pretend they knew nothing. Millions of bits passed through there on a weekly basis. From the nightclub, other gangsters would take the substances and distribute them all around Equestria. It was really amazing how the Apple Family has been turning all of the nation up-side-down for the past thirty years. At the center of all the drug trade was the nightclub which acted as a grand market. Pinkie Pie never actually had anything to do with the sales, but she provided a safe haven for the Apple Family and private rooms for exchanges.

More than all of this, however, she was Rainbow Dash's friend. She, along with Applejack, were one of the very few ponies that actually accepted Rainbow Dash. Dash simply scared everypony off; all they ever saw was the ruthless killer, yet Pinkie Pie had stayed as someone that Dash could talk to on lonely days, and drink with on weekend nights. There were many days that the two would just go around town pulling harmless pranks on the population. It was one of the very few times that Rainbow Dash got to laugh, carefree of the world around her. Pinkie and Rainbow Dash were never extremely close, but the small amount of companionship that was offered by the pink mare meant a lot to her.

And Rainbow Dash thanked her for all the fun they had together with a bullet to the brain.

She let out a small whimper. She destroyed Pinkie's life out of her own selfish anger. Rainbow Dash imagined all the memories she had, all the friends she made, the life and all of its beauty that she possessed. Then she imagined another selfish pony coming and taking all of that away from her. That is exactly what she had done. Took the life of a pony out of anger. She really was nothing more then a murderer.

It's a feeling that can't really be described in words, the feeling you get when you know that you had destroyed life. No movie nor book could ever describe the feeling. It's hard when you know that you had just had something pure and beautiful in your hoof, and crushed it like a bug.

You begin to feel like you owe the world something. Like the crime you had committed could never be redeemed. And it couldn't. Rainbow Dash could go on living her life and enjoy everything that had been given to her, but Pinkie Pie will always be dead. She will never get to see any more of life's joys. Therefore, Rainbow Dash felt as if she didn't deserve any of them either. The saddest part of it all: nopony would ever get to know just how sorry she was. Nopony would ever know that she truly wanted to die, and switch places with Pinkie Pie. All they would ever know is that a monster murdered her companion out of anger.

She dug her face into her hooves.

Applejack was another issue entirely that also ate away at Rainbow Dash's heart. She had been hit with some shrapnel. The doctors said that she would be alright, but it was just a painful reminder to Dash that she might lose the only thing she had left that kept her clinging to life. It reminded her of how hazardous their job was. Job? Is this a career? She had a career out of taking lives and crushing them like ants, and slowly killing the kingdom of Equestria! What kind of career is that?! Rainbow Dash was contributing to the fall of a once great nation. The world around Dash was burning into ashes.

She got up from her huddled position in the corner and stared in the mirror. All she saw was a killer looking back at her. She stared in anger at her own reflection. Her look softened as she thought of Applejack. The orange mare that had comforted her so many times. The love she had for that pony was indescribable. As if being in her embrace was the only thing that would keep her alive.

She wiped the tears from her face and brushed some of the dust off of her blue coat before exiting the bathroom. She walked down the hall and past the front desk before turning at room 560. She used one hoof to slowly open the door and peeked her head inside, nervous as to what she might see.

"Dash! Where ya been? Ah been missen' ya. It's lonely without my little Dashie to cuddle with." Her voice rang with joy, she smiled widely and closed her eyes as she announced, "An' guess what: they said that the shrapnel weren't nothen' ta worry 'bout. Ah'ma be outta here in two days flat."

Rainbow Dash tried to force a smile but couldn't. She walked into the room and closed the door behind her. She needed Applejack right now, yet she felt guilty that she needed comfort. She was guilty because she didn't want to feel sorry for herself when Pinkie was the victim. She had no right to be sorry for herself. Her emotions tore at her heart. All she wanted was to be in Applejack's arms.

She rushed over to the bed and climbed in it, careful not to disturb any of the tubes attached to her love. She breathed deeply as she placed her hooves around Applejack and squeezed tightly. Her eyes were closed as she let the sweet scent of Applejack fill her, while she felt her mane being brushed out of her eyes with a gentle hoof. Everything just seemed alright at that moment. When she had somepony to hold her close.

"What's wrong, sugarcube?" The voice just sounded soothing and gentle.

"I... I just don't want to lose you." The tears began to well up in Rainbow Dash's eyes.

"Haha, is that all?" came the amused reply. "Ah told ya, the doctors told me that it ain't nuthen' to worry 'bout. Ah'ma be just fine, okay?"

"That's not what I mean." Rainbow tightened her face as she fought to not cry. She let out a few whimpers on accident.

"What do you mean, sugar?" Each word just seemed so soothing and gentle, like a mother trying to reassure her baby.

Rainbow Dash just lay there with her head buried into Applejack's chest. She thought that question over before she was able to look up into Applejack's eyes. She was met with a gentle smile and eyes that danced with love.

"Well.... have you ever wanted to... I dunno. Just, like, run away from all of this? The Family, I mean. And just... get a real job. Maybe, earn a decent living, and have a small house together? Like, normal ponies?"

Applejack looked on with confusion.

"Sugar, tha's just silly talk. You know Ah'm gonna be the new head of the Family after Granny Smith passes away. What would happen to the Family if ain't nobody was there to run it?"

"Why would you want to be the head of all this? Why would you want to be the very thing that's destroying so much?" Rainbow Dash's voice was cold and flat. She gave an equally cold and emotionless stare toward Applejack.

A few moments of silence. Applejack grew uncomfortable under Rainbow Dash's challenging gaze. She shifted her weight around and tried to look at something else. But when she returned her eyes, Rainbow Dash was still giving her that gaze.

"Look, I know how much you don't like-"

"What I want to know is why you don't do anything to stop it!"

"Stop what?"

"All of this. The drug cartels, the killing, the madness, all of this bullshit!"

Rainbow Dash wondered what was going through her lover's mind at that moment. All she wanted now was for the two of them to live together in peace. Away from all the chaos.

Applejack sighed and stared out the window.

"We're gonna have a good life. Just you wait and see. Ahm'a get us a nice house, and Ah'll make sure that Granny Smith don't force you inta the field no more. You know that I don't want nothin' to happen ta you. I love you." Applejack looked down at the cyan pegasus laying next to her. Her eyes just filled with that love that she had for Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash only returned the look with one of disgust.

"This isn't about me. This is about every pony that dies because of the head Family Member's greed for money." She got out of the bed and stood looking down at the wounded earth pony "Ya know, every pony that dies from a gunfight, or a drug overdose, or whatever: there blood is on your hooves. I hope you know that."

"Now wait just a minute! I ain't ordering these hits, and I sure as hell ain't forcen' nopony to do drugs."

"No. But you watch watch Granny Smith order those hits and you watch ponies buy the drugs and you do nothing to stop it. And I'm just as guilty as you are..." she added somberly before heading to the door.

"Dash, please, don't-"

"I'll watch Applebloom while you're in here." The voice was flat and dead of emotion. She opened the door, and slowly walked out without casting a backwards glance.

Now it was Applejack's turn to cry in guilt.


Vinyl sat in the third row of the Ponyville Arts Centre's performing stage. The seats were still getting filled up, and the show was to start in about thirty minutes. One thing Vinyl liked about the demographic of individuals that attended such events was that most of them weren't into dubstep, so the chances of her getting recognized were slim.

Vinyl stared at the closed red curtain, trying to picture what Octavia's performance would be like. She figured that she would look as beautiful as ever playing the soft tune. She felt a tap on her back and spun around to see a yellow pony with green eyes, a bright yellow mane, a brown cowboy hat, a jacket, a red apple cutie mark, and a holster with a 1911 handgun tucked inside.

"Braeburn! Mah nigga! Wha'ch you doing here?"


Rarity sank herself in the bathtub with a deep exhale. Her hooves twitched and she closed her eyes as waves of pleasure tingled through her whole body. She tightened her face and released a deep moan from her lips as she stretched her body as far as she could in the bath tub.

"Oh yesssss, darling!"

She opened her eyes wide for a few seconds as her lower body shook with pleasure. Spike lifted his head from the water gasping for breath. He looked at Rarity with a blushing face and she smiled with a wink. He inhaled deeply before dipping his head down into the bathtub again and the bursts of pleasure returned to the fashonista.

The door to the bathroom slammed open. Rarity quickly jumped and collected herself and stared in shock as the Cutie Mark Crusaders stood looking into the bathroom. Spikes head popped up and stared with a loss of words.

"Hi, Rarity!" Sweetie Belle squeaked in delight.

"SWEETIE BELL! Close the door and knock next time!"

"But we just wanted to know if we could go to Applebloom's house to-"

"That's fine, just LEAVE!"

Sweetie Bell closed the door immediately upon hearing her sister yell. Rarity could hear the muffled voices of the young fillies behind the door.

"What do ya think they were doin'?"

"I'm not sure. Spike has been coming here an awful lot lately."

"You guys, I think that both of them were..." Scootaloo lowered her voice to a whisper, "having S-E-X."

Sweetie Bell and Applebloom let out a gasp. Their hoofsteps grew fainter and fainter until Rarity was sure they were gone. She turned her attention back to the young dragon.

"Now, where were we?"

Chapter 8

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"Don't ya be playen' with me, or I'll have ya brains all over the table."

The click of the hammer of a revolver being cocked back resounded through the room.

"Now, let's be getten' down ta business, shall we?" the elderly green pony announced. "My colts have been droppen' dead lately, an' Ah have a feelen' ya know somethen' 'bout it."

"I had already informed you that all I know of the matter is what is broadcasted on the local news. I have nothing to do with it."

The pony speaking was an all orange stallion with an orange (the fruit) as a cutie mark. He had a neat and trim yellow mane and sported a pair of specials, which were now cracked. His head was being held to a desk by a single muscular red hoof that belonged to a stallion earth pony; in his other, he held a revolver placed carefully against the back of the orange pony's head.

"Slam 'em, Big Mac." On cue, the red pony lifted the head of the orange earth pony and slammed it against the desk. The wood was now beginning to soak with a dull red liquid.

"Please! I don't see why we can't just converse about the situation like pony beings." The voice sounded desperate. Granny Smith pondered it over a while before speaking.

"Two o' mah colts are dead, and my granddaughter's been shot along with a few other ponies. Gimme one good reason why Ah should believe you."

"Not only do I utterly lack any interest in starting a war, but we have no funds, no guns, we are utterly hated by the parliament so even if we did start something, I know that you would use your 'influences' to have the whole damn Equestrian government on our flanks and, quite frankly, our organization is no longer in existence. I had thought that we had made that clear five years ago."

Granny Smith and Big Macintosh looked at each other at the sharp tone of voice the orange stallion used.

"How d' Ah know that ya didn't try to get yer colts back together for some revenge?" The suspicion in her voice bordered paranoia.

"Oh, please! Revenge is for madmen, and I am quite content living in retirement in Manehattan and I have no desire to mix things up. By-gones are by-gones. There is no Orange Family, and that's the way it has been for the past few years. So if you would PLEASE let me go!" The earth pony was making no attempt to hide his frustration. Or maybe it was more of annoyance?

Granny Smith sighed.

"Let 'em go, Big Mac." The red stallion released his grip on the former mobster and stepped back. The orange earth pony rose and brushed himself off.

"Why, thank you." The voice was sarcastic. "If that is all you want of me, then-"

"Ah do want somethen' more of ya. Guns."


"Eyup." Big Mac decided to enter the conversation.

"Ah got mah ear ta the streets. I hear about all them guns that ya got layen around, and we gonna need them if this gets outta hoof."

"Now wherever did you hear that?" The question was sarcastic and rhetorical. "I do happen to have some firearms as surplus from the events that transpired between our two enterprises those five years ago. And you have interest in them? Why? I am well aware that you have the wealth to get your hooves on guns elsewhere."

"Rifles and sub-machine guns kin be found anywhere. But Ah ain't interested in that kind. Ah'm interested in the kind ya can't find nowhere else. Fifty cals, LMGs, RPG's, that sort o' thing."

"Dear Celestia!" The stallion sounded appalled. "It sounds as if you are preparing for a slaughter! Over a few gunfights? Don't you suppose that you may be blowing this out of proportion? I would guess that it is one of the small time Marami drug dealing gangs that is unhappy with the product. Frankly, I think-"

"Ah don't give an apple-bucken' shit what you frankly think! Ah know Pinkie too good. Ah know she ain't never one to turn to a small time gang. Besides, better safe then sorry."

"I suppose. Well, you can have them. Free of charge. I have no use for them these days." He grabbed a map of the Everfree Forest off of the work desk. He drew an X on a spot a few miles behind Fluttershy's cottage. "They are hidden in a shed marked here."

"Ah'll get one of mah ponies out to get 'em. Thank you for your time."

"My... pleasure." His reply was sarcastic as always, and had an edge of anger. The orange pony wiped the blood from his nose and proceeded through the door.


Braeburn was an extremely influential figure in the Apple Family. He also had one of the most important jobs. Though the Apple Family had dipped their hooves into many other ventures, the drug business was the one that brought the most power in the underground. He who controlled the addiction of the country, was the one that could manipulate the addicts to do their bidding; a shocking amount of ponies were slaves to the substance, making them slaves to the suppliers. Braeburn ran the biggest zap-apple farm in Equestria. He made sure that the drug was grown pure and healthy in the sleepy town of Appleloosa.

The drug dealing branch relied on him to ensure supply ran well.

In addition to also being a big name in the underground, he was an old friend of Vinyl Scratch. The two of them met in a nightclub outside of Manehatten a while back, when Vinyl was still playing for small time clubs. In exchange for some wild sex, Braeburn introduced her to Granny Smith. Without Breaburn, Vinyl would never have gotten that record deal and would never have seen the level of fame she saw today.

No, after six months, he was standing right in front of her in the least likely place. He smiled and moved over to the seat just to the right of her.

"Now, I didn't expect to see your pretty little face around these parts."

"What are you doing here?" The excitement and happiness in her voice could not be mistaken for anything else. She put two hooves around Braeburn's neck and squeezed tight.

"Well," he rolled his eyes with a grin at the friendly gesture "Ah was just minden my own business when a small time business associate came along. I think her name was Dorpy, or Derpy, somethen' like that. She didn't really look like she was playen' with a full deck either. Probably been smoking too much of the product...." He cocked an eyebrow and stared into space, lost in thought. He quickly recollected himself and looked back at the gleeful mare listening to him. "She told me o' that shootout in the graveyard. Figured I'd come down an' pay my respects to Neon. Glad I did, 'cuz I woulda never got to see you here if I hadn't."

"Sorry I'm late, mare at the counter was bitching about exact change." Chuck came scootching down the row and sat himself to the left of Vinyl. "Who's this?" he gestured with a nod of his head toward Braeburn.

"Oh, just an old friend." Braeburn and Vinyl cast each other glances, suppressing giggles.

The lights dimmed and the curtains parted. Vinyl's eyes glowed in excitement, only to be let down in disappointment when she saw that it was Lyra Heartstrings playing some sort of stringed instrument. A lute, maybe?

"So as I was saying, that li'l mare I was saying about, she bought a whole bunch of product an' the two of us made our way down here together."

Vinyl noticed that Chuck was leaning over, obviously eavesdropping on the conversation. She wasn't about to say anything, though.

"Going on long trips with drug dealing mares, I see? You haven't changed a bit." She spoke with a playful tone.

"Nope. An' I gotta go see Rarity and a few otha ponies at Sugarcube Corner tomorrow after I pay mah visit ta mah cousin, Applejack, in the hospital."

After getting a 'shhh" from a rather overweight pony behind them, the two fell silent to listen to the music. Vinyl couldn't help but to giggle when she caught eyes with Braeburn again. It's good to see old friends.

Chuck leaned back in his chair and grinned to himself.


Scootaloo slowly opened the broken down door to the Sweet Apple Acres farmhouse.

"Wow, Applebloom. You got a lotta holes in your house. And why is all the furniture all broken?"

"Ah dunno..." She looked on in confusion "Ah was just sleepen at Zecora's an' when Ah came back, ev'rythang was all broken. Ya think Applejack got real mad an' poked holes through the walls an' broke the furniture?"

"Naw, she wouldn't do that. She's way too mellow. Where's Sweetie Bell?"

"She went ta the clubhouse ta get... uh, the stuff."

"Ohhh, yah! I gotcha." Scootaloo flashed a wink at Applebloom. Bored, she wandered over to the window and stared out, admiring the flowers and fruit that grew out all over the farm. Her eyes caught a glimpse of something approaching "Is that... Rainbow Dash?"

Applebloom approached the window and looked out at the approaching figure.

"Yeah, Ah think tha's Rainbow Dash. And there's somepony with 'er."

"Who is it?" Scootaloo tipped her head to look at Applebloom, anxious to know who it was.

"I dunno."

Scootaloo looked out again. It was clearly Rainbow Dash, with a pony she didn't recognize. The stallion had a black coat with a green and red mane. He had a tipped fedora on the top of his head.

As Rainbow Dash grew closer to the house, Scootaloo felt her cheeks begin to blush. She couldn't help it. She always blushed and got nervous when Rainbow Dash was around. The orange filly strained her hearing to try and catch a bit of the conversation Dash was having with the black stallion, and briefly wondered if she noticed her and Applebloom peeking out the window at her.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Look, I got a lot on my mind, so I'll just get this over with." She sounded angry.

"Orders came from Granny Smith. Sorry." Unlike Rainbow Dash, this voice sounded calm and collected.

"Whatever. I'll bring them over in a day. A few miles behind Fluttershy's cottage?"

"Exactly." With that, the black stallion walked off.

Rainbow Dash still looked angry. Scootaloo couldn't figure out why she was angry, or what that conversation was about, but it hurt her to see the cyan pegasus in a state like this. She felt bad for Rainbow Dash. Something must have really rustled her jimmies.

Rainbow Dash entered through the front door, only to be greeted by two smiling fillies. The smiles were fake, Scootaloo knew, yet she wondered how convincing they appeared. She didn't want to see Dash mad.

"Hi, Rainbow Dash!" they both spoke simultaneously. The pony with the rainbow mane looked uninterested in the two little ponies.

"Uh, hey." She moved on without even casting a glance in the direction of the two fillies. Scootaloo felt a pain in her chest at being ignored by the pony she so revered.

"Hey guys, I got the zap-" Sweetie Belle appeared in the front door holding a bag of multi-colored dried fruit. The smile and look of excitement died as soon as she saw Rainbow Dash's shocked expression. Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Rainbow Dash all had their jaws dropped in an utter loss for words.

Sweetie Belle, not knowing what to do, sat on her flank and hid the plastic bag behind her back. Her cheeks blushed bright red as she forced a false smile.

"Uh, hi, Rainbow Dash." Her voice sounded quiet and unsure.

"You have got to be shitting me..." The cyan mare brought her hoof to her face, closing her eyes and shaking her head. She brought her face up and now looked on in anger at the three fillies. "Drugs? You have got to be kidding me. You three, of all the ponies!"


"Just.... no. Just shut up. Hand it over." She held her hoof out. The three looked at each other, unsure of how to respond. Sweetie Bell used her magic to engulf the bag of dried zap-apple in a blue glow that carried it through the air and into Rainbow Dash's hoof.

Dash carried the bag over to a drawer beside the front door. The eyes of the three fillies grew wide when they saw her pull out a small tobacco pipe and a lighter. They watched in utter astonishment as she angrily stuffed the dried fruit into the pipe, brought it up to her lips, hovered the flame from the lighter above the bowl of the pipe, and took a deep inhale of the drug.

After a few seconds, she blew out a sheet of smoke and turned her gaze to the fillies that were staring in amazement.

"I need to go and run an errand. Don't do anything stupid!" Rainbow Dash left the house and slammed the door.

Silence filled the room. Each filly trying to comprehend what just happened. If she's that bad, I wonder what other bad things she might do....

A rush of very naughty thoughts filled Scootaloo's mind. The mental images she conjured of Rainbow Dash brought a fiery blush to her cheeks. This wasn't the time or place to entertain thoughts like that. Still, they were pretty hot....

"SCOOTALOO!" the loud voice of Applebloom snapped her out of her risque thoughts.

"Uhh, yeah?"

"Where do ya think RD is headen'?

"I dunno."

"What if she's going to go and tell on us to Applejack or Rarity or Wood Chuck?" Sweetie Belle asked in panic.

"She can't do that! We didn't evin smoke any. She did! And besides, I doubt Rainbow Dash would do that. she's too cool to be a tattletale." Scootaloo rushed to the cyan pegasus's defense. She didn't like to think Rainbow Dash would rat them out.

"I guess there's only one way ta find out!"

"What?" Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo asked in unison.

"We gotta follow her and make sure she don't tell nobody!"


Chapter 9

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The low and mellow note emanating from the instrument was enough to make Vinyl's heart stop.

Here she was, listening to the most beautiful pony in all of Equestria perform in front of a giant crowd. Her purple eyes hung low as she played another slightly higher pitched note. Vinyl felt a lump form in her throat as her heart began to pound harder. The sound from the instrument changed into a series of shorter notes, all woven perfectly together. It was as if each note was a word in a language that all could somehow understand, yet only few can speak. The language of music.

Octavia's eyes settled on Vinyl. The two held a conversation right there, without a single word spoken, or a single topic to be discussed. The heart of the white earth pony felt as if it were perfectly in sync with the tune of the music, beating with every change of note and pounding against her chest.

Octavia played Moz Art's thirteenth serenade, the same song that Vinyl had said was her favorite classical song. There were thousands of ponies sitting and enjoying the music of Octavia, yet Vinyl knew, she only played for one pony there at that moment in time. Time just seemed like a word to Vinyl as she listened to the soothing melody dance in her ears. She could feel herself vibrate from her back hooves to her ears with every changing note.

With locked eyes, the two ponies were suddenly the only ones in the room. Everything else was blocked out in Vinyl's mind.

"Sorry, I'm back. Had to make a phone call." The voice of Chuck broke the feeling. Vinyl felt like yelling at him for interrupting, but she lacked the motivation. Nothing would be accomplished by starting something. So she just cast him an angry glare.


Rainbow Dash couldn't keep her mind off of Applejack. It's funny how hate and love can mingle together. A deep burning hate for the orange pony was starting to develop because of her ignorance in how she is contributing to all this nonsensical death. Yet, Rainbow Dash still wanted nothing more than for the graceful mare to wrap her hooves around her neck in a tight embrace and tell her that it's going to be all right. Why was it so hard for Dash to figure out if she loved or hated her? She was part of the cancer destroying the lives of the innocent, but she didn't seem to realize it. So it's alright because she doesn't realize it? What if she does see it, but she doesn't care? Then she would be a psychopath, and Rainbow Dash couldn't bear the thought of seeing the pony she loved in a light like that. Applejack really did love her. Didn't she? What if it was all just one big lie?

"Fuck it all!" she shouted to no one in particular. Right there, in the midst of the Everfree forest, she dropped to the ground. The assignment, Applejack, catching the fillies with the drugs, her job, all of it seemed pointless. It all felt like one big board game that she could never win, a game where she just went in circles and collected two hundred bits upon passing 'Go', only to realize that the money is just game money and couldn't be used on anything. The game of life.

It's a fun game really, with lots of twists and turns. But it was hard to enjoy knowing that you're cheating and knocking other players out of the game without a chance. And even harder to know that the one you love will soon control the game and then let you cheat. Just because you're so special for cuddling up with her.

Rainbow dash felt her torso knot up. She just felt like laying in that grass forever. She didn't want to ever see Applejack again. Yet she needed to see her again.


The cyan pegasus' head shot up at this voice, and she quickly found its source. It was a magenta colored unicorn stallion with a white bandana covering his mouth, a pair of sunglasses, and a matted and filthy green and black mane. He held a rifle, bolt action H&C .177, aimed directly at Rainbow Dash.

The pony with the rainbow mane simply dropped her head back to the ground in disinterest.

"Wanna shoot?" She stared out into the endless vista of trees. "Go ahead. Free me."

"Uhhm, free you?"

"Yeah... free me." She wasn't really talking to the assaulter; more like she was just speaking what she was thinking.

"You armed?"

"There's a gun in my saddlebag. Can't reach it from here, though. I don't feel like seeing anyone die today, anyway."

"Well, aren't you Rainbow Dash?"

"I don't really know anymore. But that seems to be what ponies call me."

"Uhm, why aren't you trying to, like, kill me or something. Or at least panic! I have a gun, ya know. And it's loaded. You should be scared."

"No," She brought in fresh air in a deep inhale, and released it, "I'm not afraid of death. I bring it to so many others that it's only fair to share their fate."

The magenta unicorn lowered his gun. It was impossible to see his facial expression; however, his voice betrayed confusion and interest mingled together.

"You're suppose to be out here looking for guns, right? Well, you're gonna lead me to them."

"Why? So that you can use them to kill more ponies? Go right ahead. Everyone just seems to want to see Equestria burn. I can't stop it, so I might as well just make it go by quickly." The pegasus closed her eyes for a few seconds before getting up and sauntering over to her saddle and pulled out a crunched piece of paper. She threw it it at the magenta unicorn befor swaying back to her resting aria and laying on the blush grass.

"Actually, I want them to stop the killing. You're tired, aren't you? Tired of all the madness?" Rainbow Dash plucked her head up as soon as the words left the stallion's lips. It was as if he had read her mind.

"Yeah... I am. How'd ya guess?"

"Because you're not the only one." The magenta pony placed his rifle on the ground and sat down.

"And you're trying to say that you and your colts are trying to stop it all?"

"That's the plan in a nutshell. No more killing, no more drugs, no more corruption. That sort of thing. You sound interested. Wanna hear more?"

"Who do you work for? And how did you know what I was out here for?" Rainbow Dash sent a challenging gaze to the stallion.


"That was fantastic!" Vinyl threw her hooves around Octavia's neck in excited glee.

"Thank you. It was Moz Art's-"

"Thirteenth serenade, I know! Did... did you play that for me?" She didn't want to assume anything. It would look rude and arrogant for her to just assume things are about her.

"Uh, yeah I did. They wanted me to play one of my original works, but I remembered how you said that that was your favorite." Octavia gave a smile toward Vinyl as the group of four boarded a cab.

"Thank you. But really, I woulda been down with something you made yourself." She dipped her head to the side and scanned out the window. She stared at the rain as the droplets smashed against the pavement. Her gaze swept to the side and she found herself staring into light purple eyes. her lips curled at the ends in reflection as Octavia smiled at her. They held that gaze in each others' eyes for the longest moment.

"I can't wait to hear the remix."

Oh crap! Vinyl had completely forgot about that.

"Maybe you should be there with me."

"Oh?" Octavia cocked an eyebrow.

"It wouldn't be fair if I went along and changed somepony's song without their approval, now would it?"

"I suppose you're right."

Octavia yawned before closing her eyes and laying her soft head against Vinyl's shoulder. The white unicorn placed her left hoof around Octavia and allowed the beautiful silver mare to just lay there. She looked over and saw that the two boys were chatting about politics.

It was funny how Chuck and Braeburn hit it off so well. Chuck could be real friendly when he wanted to be. Braeburn was simply friendly to everypony.

A white hoof brushed the hair away from Octavia's eyes as she cuddled up to Vinyl. She bent over and placed a kiss on Octavia head. The smile she got in return made it feel as if her heart rose from her chest and into her throat. She held the classical musician closer and tighter.


Chapter 10

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"Now remember, we can't just go in and start shooting at every living thing there. We need to take this carefully!"

Chuck looked around the garage room as he listened to the magenta pony. Chuck remembered his name was Shifty Cuts; it was probably not his real name, but that's what everyone called him. He examined the other three ponies in the room. One was a very drunk pony with a gray coat and a long glossy blond mane named Derpy. Chuck knew that she was way too drunk to participate in the operation, so he wondered why she was even there. Probably ponies were too polite to ask her to leave. Another pony was an indigo unicorn with a blue and white mane named Lyra. The last member was an all white stallion who looked like one of those garden variety Royal Guardsmen, minus the uniform.

Shifty continued speaking:

"There is a list of ponies that we need to keep alive at all cost. If these ponies die, then the whole organization will collapse in a less than orderly manner. First on the list is Granny Smith." Chuck raised his hoof, indicating he had a question. "Yes, private?"

"Why don't we want to take Granny Smith out of the picture?"

Shifty looked almost annoyed at the question. "Because she is the tape that is holding a very unpredictable and unstable organization together. If she dies, then there will be nopony to give out orders. There will just be a bunch of very well-connected gangsters and thugs doing whatever they damn well please."

"Oh. I see.”

"As I was saying, if you see Granny Smith, Applejack, or Braeburn, be sure to take them prisoner. We have no reason to believe that Granny or Applejack will be there, but we are almost certain that Braeburn will." Chuck briefly spaced out as he remembered the conversation he had had with the drug farmer just the previous night. He snapped himself out of it and continued listening. "So that will be Lyra's cue to come in with Chuck through the east entrance and secure the area. Is that clear?"


"Uh, huh."


"Now you three just sit tight and go to sleep now." The soft yellow pony shut off the lights to the living room.

"Thanks, Fluttershy."

"Yeah, thank you."

"Thanks a bunch."

The three had been in search of Rainbow Dash well into the night, lost in the Everfree Forest, before they came across Fluttershy's cottage. Scootaloo softly set her head down on the plush pillow the three were sharing on the couch. The heaviness in her eyes grew as the weariness of her journey set in. She pulled the blanket over her neck, with her back to Sweetie Bell, who seemed wide awake, and felt her thoughts clearing into peaceful nothingness.


Fluttershy stared as two of the fillies slept in shared comfort. The third, who was in the middle, placed her hooves around the other two in a snuggle before closing her eyes, prepared to sleep. For Fluttershy, it was impossible to stare at the three sleeping fillies and not smile. So young, so innocent, so ignorant of the troubles in the falling empire they dwelt in.

There a was a soft knock at the door. Fluttershy immediately rushed to the door and unlatched the deadbolt. Standing in the doorway was Apple Pie. She was a dark orange mare with a curly red mane. Fluttershy had called as soon as the three fillies arrived.

"You have the little ones?" Apple Pie inquired in an excited whisper. The eagerness and joy in her voice was undeniable.

"Oh, yes. They came about an hour ago. They're just asleep now, so it's best to be quiet."

"Great. May I see them?"

"They're just on the couch over there." Fluttershy aimed a hoof toward the couch that was bathed in the moonlight that was seeping through the window above it.

Apple Pie rushed over with a delightful smile. She examined the three fillies as they cuddled up together in their slumber.

"Awwww..... They're precious," she whispered, turning her head in the direction of Fluttershy.

"So, what do you think?" Her gentle monotone voice betrayed the uneasiness she was feeling.

"Five hundred bits for each at the very least!"

Fluttershy released a breath she didn't realize she had been holding.

"Oh, thank Celestia. I could pay off my taxes for a few months with fifteen hundred bits. How soon can you bring the money?"

Apple Pie brought a hoof to her chin in thought before replying.

"Maybe an hour. I'll bring over the tranquilizer, too. Don't want them waking up on their ride to Manehatten, now, would we?"

"Oh, no. That would be awful."


Rainbow Dash had boarded a train to Canterlot the previous night. The magenta pony said that he couldn't accompany her because he had business to attend to. If what he was saying was no lie, then this could be her chance to help the country she loved. And to help Applejack.

She shut her eyes in pain. Not physical pain, but emotional pain, as if her heart had sunk right down to her stomach. Applejack was kind and caring, but only to her. It was painfully obvious how she didn't give a flying feather about anypony else. Rainbow Dash couldn't bear the thought of her being so privileged and rewarded for her crimes. She takes life away, and so she earns this extravagant life of wealth and drugs? She wanted to trade places with the ponies getting stomped on by the Apple Family so badly. Yet, she still wanted to jump in Applejack's hooves.

She had to somehow show Applejack that what she was doing was wrong. The back of her mind, the logical part, told her that Applejack was a ruthless and psychotic killer that had no empathy or remorse for anypony but herself and Rainbow Dash. She would kill for Rainbow Dash. The love was real.

The pegasus examined the ponies riding the train. It was just a regular, dirty old metro with a lot of very tired ponies. She might as well rest now. In the afternoon, she would be off to see the pony that was orchestrating the fall of the Apple Family. She just hoped that she could at least convince her to keep Applejack safe.


This was it. The moment Chuck has been waiting for. The moment he earned. He put a clip in his handgun and put it in his holster. He then grabbed his Thompson sub-machine gun and loaded a large drum into the bottom that held about a hundred and twenty rounds. With one hoof, he brought the yellow bandana over his mouth and lowered the sunglasses. One brown fedora later, and his clothing was ready. A shiver went from his ears down to his flank down to his back hoofs. If asked if he was nervous, he would reply with a stern 'Fuck yeah, I am!'

The silver pony had never held a gun before this day, let alone do anything like this. All he could keep telling himself was, 'it's for the good of Equestria.'

Then he remembered the reason why he had gotten involved with the Humble Equestrian Militia in the first place: Scootaloo.

"Oh, Scoots..." he whimpered quietly to himself as a small bead of water rolled from his eye down his cheek. He had taken in the little filly and had been raising her as if she had been his own since his brother's death when Scootaloo was only a year of age. All he wanted was to see her grow up in a country she could be proud of; but when he looked around, he saw a sad country that had peaked many years ago.

The Apple Family had the Equestrian economy by the balls, leaving Granny Smith to manipulate everything and leave thousands to starve at her will. That power over the economy meant power over politics. No one wanted the economy to crash and turn Equestria back into a developing nation like the Zebra Republic, so all the senators and the princess herself all sucked up to the criminal scum.

That was the place Wood Chuck's dear Scootaloo was growing up in. It was inevitable that she would one day grow old enough to see just how bad things were. She would probably get caught up in drugs, like all the other children, and make nothing of her life. Living in sorrow. Chuck had to stop this. For Scootaloo, if for nopony else.

"You ready, Wood Chuck?" the voice of Shifty snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Uh, yeah. Just a little nervous."

"That's to be expected. On the count of ten, the whole team moves out and goes into position. That clear?"

The group of four mumbled agreement. Chuck held tightly to his sub-machine gun in anxious anticipation for what would happen next.

Sugarcube Corner was just across the street. He would need to dash at lightning speed to get over, bust in the window on the left side with Lyra, and shoot at anypony that wasn't on the 'don't shoot' list, and arrest the ponies that were. He briefly wondered where they would take the ponies they arrested, but decided to save that question for later.

"10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5..." Shifty paused in the count down. Sweat rolled down everypony's faces as the realization that someone in that room just might die today sunk in. Tears streamed down Lyra's face, yet she held her head held high in proud determination.

Chuck reached over and placed a hoof on hers. She turned at him in confusion.

"It's gonna be alright." He flashed a reassuring smile. An unspoken 'thank you' came back to him in the smile Lyra returned as she wiped the tears off her face.

"... 4... 3... 2... 1. GO!"

Chapter 11

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Time slowed. Chuck's eyes drifted over to Lyra, who was the second to last to leave the door. Everything seemed to go in slow motion as he watched the white stallion run out, followed by Shifty. Lyra was to go next. Her hooves lifted off the ground. She was just so ignorant. Wood Chuck had never felt so awful in his life. He couldn't let her die. He just couldn't. The determination in her eyes only made it worse. Seconds dragged into minutes. Every sound seemed louder and every color brighter.

Chuck launched himself with his back hooves in the direction of the unicorn mare. He lunged toward her in a leap he didn't know he was capable of. With a shrill shriek shooting from the mare's lips, she hit the ground as the stallion landed directly on top of her. She immediately squirmed and struggled in a frenzy of what could only be fear and confusion. Chuck wouldn't let himself give in to the struggle. He kept her pinned to the pavement.

"Wha-What a-" Her high-pitched panic was interrupted by a chain of cracking noises undoubtedly from a sub-machine gun. Within seconds of the gunshots, a sound like a hundred fireworks going off at once rent the air, a 'boom' loud enough to wake a deaf pony from his slumber. Both Wood Chuck and Lyra looked in the direction of Sugarcube Corner, only to see it ablaze.

Tongues of flames licked the sky as the wall near the entrance began to crack and give way under the stress of the explosion. Under a sky painted black with smoke, the whole building collapsed like it was nothing more then a house of cards falling in the wind. Chuck had to look away, not only because the bright light of the fire strained his eyes, but because ponies had gone in there, and now there were no signs of life.

Chuck couldn't look the pinned unicorn in her eyes. How was she to react, knowing that someone she had trusted just sent others she trusted to their deaths, and spared her life? He pushed himself off of her and walked over to the rifle he had left on the floor. He picked it up and slung it over his back.

"I... I'm sorry." He had his back turned toward the pony he had just spared. The sounds of flames rustling around like an extremely loud fireplace filled his ears.

It so peaceful, yet the unspoken raked at his heart.

"Why?" He turned around to see an indigo unicorn staring at him in utter disbelief.

"You wouldn't understand." He closed his eyes and turned his head away. One drop of water swelled up in his eye as he imagined Scootaloo's smiling face.

"Pleases. Give me an answer." The voice had no anger or hate in it. To Chuck's surprise, it was soothing, and filled with worry, yet coated in fear.

As the words left Lyra's lips, the door on the back of the empty room opened and an orange stallion with a cowboy hat and a holster holding a pistol stepped in.

"Howdy, Chuck. Those were some fireworks." His eyes followed curiously to Lyra who was still laying on the ground. "And who's this lady?"

"I... She's Lyra."

"Didn't have the heart, eh? Don't sweat it. I know the feeling." He gave a smile. Chuck was disgusted at how lightly Braeburn was taking the situation. Still, he would be spending a lot of time with the drug farmer, so he might as well let it slide.

"You're Braeburn! The mobster!" Lyra shot an accusing hoof at him with a shout.

"That's my name. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but me and Wood Chuck need to run. The cops will be coming soon. Wish we could chat, but I think it's best for all of us."

Chuck turned his face to the stallion from Appleloosa.

"Bro, did you get the guns?" Chuck watched as his partner's face grew dark and unsure.

"Well... no. Somethin' went wrong. Rainbow Dash never came back with 'em."

Chuck stared at the stallion in front of him, trying to let the information he was just presented with sink in. With his mouth wide open and widened eyes, he comprehended what that would mean. All of this would be pointless. Those lives were taken in vain. He suddenly couldn't support his own weight, and sat down on the floor.

"Fuck..." was the only word he could spit out.

"We don't have no time to talk about it! The fuzz is gonna be here. Now you," Braeburn turned his head in the direction of Lyra, who was still in a state of shock. "Either ya come with us, or die where yer standin'."

A shiver passed through Chuck's spine. It was obvious; Lyra was a witness and could testify to what she had just seen. There was no way that she could be let free. The stallion just prayed that when Braeburn said "come with us", it meant that she would be a prisoner. It sent a punch to his heart to think that the drug farmer's intention was to find a more convenient place to kill her.


"Where are we?"

"I dunno."

"This ain't Fluttershy's house... Did we sleep walk or somethin'?"

"No, dummy. I dunno where we are."

"Maybe we are in the castle?”

"Nah." The voices of Applebloom and Scootaloo rang out in unison.

The three fillies looked at each other in utter confusion. Scootaloo's eyes scanned the area. It was a relatively large room with stone walls and a stone floor that felt uncomfortably cold under her hooves. There was one window, way too high off the ground for even an adult pony to see through or for a filly to fit through, that bathed the empty room with natural light. Scootaloo couldn't help but to think of this place as some kind of dungeon, but she quickly set that thought to the back of her mind.

"This sucks!" Applebloom shot her hooves in the air in frustration, "We don' know where we are, how we got here, who or what brought us here, what happened to Fluttershy, and on top of all that, I need to pee really badly! Ugggh!"

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle looked at each other with a sense of panic and urgency. The two wordlessly rushed to the heavy metal door. Sweetie Belle first tried the door handle and then examined the locking mechanism to try and find a way to possibly pick it with unicorn magic. After a brief ten seconds, Scootaloo pushed her aside and violently began smashing against the door with two hooves.

"Heeeelp! Somepony get us out of here!" she shrieked into the door.

The prayers of the fillies were answered. Scootaloo stepped back in relief as she heard the sound of keys turning and locks being deactivated from the other side of the door. She let out a deep exhale.

The three little ponies sat in a single line as they watched the door slowly creak open. Standing in the doorway was a violet pony, with a mane in two shades of pink and bright green eyes.

"Good morning, girls." She spoke with a smile and an almost singing tone. "You three should come with me so that you can meet your new roommates."


"Ms. Cheerilee?"

"Is there a bathroom?"


Rainbow Dash watched as dark purple glows engulfed stacks of banknotes and moved them from one mammoth pile of money to another. She couldn't possibly estimate the amount of money that was in the two stacks, but her best guess was at a mind boggling one hundred million bits. She couldn't keep her eyes off the cash as it moved around.

"So you're Applejack's lover, right?" A very formal and emotionless voice sent the message clear to Rainbow Dash: this was strictly business.

"Uhmm, well, yeah."

"Do you think you could talk to her?"

"About what?" Dash couldn't help but to feel a sense of fear. As if she were prey being hunted. Her eyes couldn't stay focused on the alicorn in front of her. She examined the office very closely.

"About the whole business. Ever try to explain things to her from our perspective?"

"Yes. And I don't know if she will ever listen! And stop taking the obvious route here. I can't do anything about her. And I won't do anything to her!" She looked deep into dark blue eyes with a defiant look.

The alicorn let out a small chuckle.

"Hehe.... from what I hear, you have been doing quite a few things to her."

Anger welled up in Dash. How dare she? There was no reason to make a comment like that.

"Look, all I want is for the killing to stop. Somepony said that you are the pony to go to and so far you've just been waiting my time."

"My apologies. And you are right. Pointing out your personal life is very rude of me. However, your personal life and the nature of this talk are very intertwined at this sad moment in time."

"So what can I do to help?"

Luna raised an eyebrow.

"That is simple. And I think that maybe you will be the best pony we have.”


Vinyl had stayed up until around 2:35 in the morning, remixing Octavia's work with the assistance of the original artist herself. After much laughing, screaming, outrage, hugs, compromise, disagreement, and a final kiss, the two could finally say that they worked together to make it. Octavia clearly didn't care for the club style remix of her music, but they both knew it had to be done. The two had fun doing it.

She stared out of the carriage with heavy eyes from the lack of sleep. Something odd caught her eye. It was a building, or what used to be a building, all destroyed and with smoke emanating from the heap of rubble. Here pink eyes widened in horror as she saw limbs and other discarded pony parts being extracted by police, then cast aside into a bin labeled "trash".

How many ponies died there? Who died there? Why were the dead not going to get a proper funeral or even be identified? They are just treating the deceased like they were roadkill. Vinyl needed to turn her face away in horror. It just wasn't right. The cab rolled along for a few miles.

….Is that Chuck? Vinyl looked out the window and saw the silver stallion on the side of the rode waving frantically toward the cab. What was he dong out? Oh Celestia, was he in the destroyed building?

"Yo, turn right here. This dude's a friend of mine."

"Yes sir." the driver responded before turning the cab to where Chuck was standing. Vinyl noticed that he clearly looked dirty and sweaty, as if he had just been in an intense workout.

"Ay, wa'chu doin' out here? I need to be in the Granny's office in an hour, and you know how far she is."

"Can I get a ride home?" Chuck seemed to ignore the inquiry from Vinyl. She felt a shiver run down her spine. His voice sounded serious and almost zombie-like.

"Uhhm, yeah. Sure. Are you feeling okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay, now get this muthafucka rollin'! Now!" Vinyl turned in a panic and saw a long lost friend holding a gun to the cab driver's head.

"Braeburn? W-wha's goin' on?"

"I'm sorry, but I'll explain on the way there. I'm... really sorry." Chuck looked into Vinyl's eyes with a look of desperation.

Braeburn opened the door opposite to Vinyl and and got in. Chuck jumped in next to the white music pony and looked away. A third pony, a lovely-looking mare that Vinyl remembered preforming at the concert last night, got in and huddled next to Chuck. She seemed sad, as if all hope and faith had been drained from her heart.

"Now, move! We got to get to Manehatten!" Braeburn shouted with his hoof extended, holding the pistol against the driver.