Shooting guns and beating ponies silly isn't the only way a pony can make her way through the harsh wasteland…
"If our lives are already written, it would take a courageous man to change the script."
Meet, April Showers. A pony determined to make her life that much more interesting. How? By abandoning the comforts of her safe home and moving out into the wasteland of course!
When she learns of a new threat that could end what’s left of Equestrian civilization, April and her friends must travel beyond their home to save it... and discover something even more alarming in the process. But with no real experience or skill in combat, it's going to be anything but easy.
Of course, shooting guns and beating ponies silly isn't the only way a pony can make her way through the harsh wasteland…
Chapter One: Well Thought Plans “We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.”
In the Wasteland, you take whatever you can. And you keep it. You use it until it can’t be used no more, and then when it’s truly out of order, only then do you switch to something newer. You don’t just throw away a good shotgun that has a couple of years left in it, you’d have to be incredibly stupid to do something like that.
Which is why I think I can call myself “incredibly stupid”.
The glaring rays of sunlight seeped through the various cracks and holes of my home slash store. I was slumped against the counter as I blew a bit of my mane out of my face, the sound of metal bashing against metal ringing throughout the building as Scorcher continued to work on whatever new weapon he managed to find a schematic for. I worked in the general store, selling weapons, food, anything that can make a cap or two really as well as doing repairs. But I never was up for that. Scorcher usually took care of that. I took care of bartering if he hasn’t already beat me to it.
Terra Scorcher was the boss of the shop, he wasn’t exactly a playful kinda guy, but he actually allowed me to goof-off assuming there weren’t any customers around, not that there is any way to goof-off besides making stupid little sculptures out of scrap metal. He also refers to me as “Showers” instead of “April” like everypony else does. Or, sometimes he goes through the hassle of calling me by my full name, “April Showers” despite my protests.
I just don’t get that stallion.
Anyways, he usually took care of repairs. I took care of bartering, although Scorcher was just as capable of doing it, I apparently had a bit more “charm” to me. I mean, if you’re going to barter you’re going to want to do it with a mare as opposed to such an intimidating figure like Scorcher. I also had the job of making sure the shop was clean. Or as clean as things got in here anyways.
*Ahem* going a slight bit off topic here. So, onto the story.
Business as usual wasn’t too busy. Only a measly one or two customers a day, one of which came in just to hit on me. But then again, I wouldn’t expect business to be booming.
Things here in Tortrotto were definitely a lot better than in the other cities. In fact any city in Caneighda in general is pretty harmless compared to Manehattan or Vanhoover. Fewer Hellhounds are here, and there is a smaller amount of raiders. In Manehattan however, I’ve heard that things are a lot better now with a significant drop in raiders and no more hostile Alicorns. Thank the Stable Dweller for that.
Meanwhile over in other states like Detrot or Las Pegasus, things are more or less the same save for like, three or four raiders whom decided to stop their bullshit, try and make peace with the nearest town and only ended up getting shot and enforcing the fact that they still didn’t have a good reason to stop. I mean, no more hostile alicorns is good and all, but we still have hellhounds, and just about every other creature that hates pony guts.
There’s also the huge amount of robots whom are still roaming around. I’m surprised that they’re still in one piece, I would’ve expected them to have crumbled into dust from all that rust and deterioration, much less go haywire and even takeover some buildings here and there.
So, long story short, things are almost the same save for a slight drop in: “Things-that-want-to-shred-a-relatively-normal-pony-into-indistinguishable-pieces”
We made it guys. Wheeeeeee.
So, naturally I never left the town. Ever. I had everything I needed here anyways, food, shelter, a job (granted the pay is horrible), a kinda decent clinic, and kinda friendly citizens (or about as friendly as an irradiated, dirty hungry pony could get anyways). Actually, I don’t live in a town…
A couple of survivors had apparently decided that the Neighagara public school building was a good place to start a small town, and it was… kind of. There aren’t many threats, other than giant ants, molerats, brahmin, and very rarely, an asshole who decides to kill innocent ponies for loot. Compared to Equestria, we had it easy. However, we really didn't have too many traders come around our area, so as a result, we had to hunt for our own food. Ant meat, Brahmin steak and whatnot.
Anyways, boring town, pretty safe, everything I need, yeah.
But what I needed was different from what I wanted. So, what do I want?
It’s kinda boring in the town. And I dream of being able to go out to venture the Wasteland one day. Sure, I’d probably get killed, but I’m willing to try. Things were way too peaceful, I wanted a bit of excitement, some thrill, and maybe finally meet some friends. Friends as in ponies I actually meet, not was born with. I mean, yea ponies come and go, but we only get just over thirty visitors per year, and a meager two or three bother staying. However, it’s these two or three ponies which have helped slow down the inevitable inbreeding.
Which is no surprise that I chose to leave the town. Well, for being boring, not the inbreeding, but yeah, that too.
Yes, I chose to throw away my safe life to pursue a fantasy about turning into a princess with a charming young knight saving my plot from being killed. A fantasy which was most likely to have not come true. Gimme a break, it sounded like a good idea at the time.
Looking up from the top of the filth coated desk, I turned my attention to Scorcher.
“Hey Scorch.” I called.
“You ever feel… y’know… bored sometimes? Like, you wish life kinda did something to make things a little more-”
“Don’t you think things are a bit too-”
“No.” He said, continuing to hammer onto the sheet of metal, not even bothering to turn around to look at me.
I started to question why I still bothered to try and socially interacting with him. Apparently “Throwing-away-a-considerably-good-life-and-risking-it-on-a-dumb-adventure-that-is-more-likely-to-get-you-killed-than-actually-guarantee-a-better-life” wasn’t very high on his list.
“Well I do.” I said, giving out a little *humph* at the end.
“And what do you plan on doing about it?” He said nonchalantly, still progressing through his work.
He stopped and turned around to look at me.
“Are you out of your damn mind?” He questioned, raising an eyebrow at me as he did.
“Exactly where are you going to go from here? How are you going to survive?”
“I can kinda just hop from city to city, Haymilton and Maresisauga, and then go to Detrot...”
“But have you ever thought about the things that stand in between you and any of those places? Hellhounds, Raiders, and probably a lot more. Kid, you’re alright with a ten millimeter, and Tortrotto isn’t as bad as Las Pegasus or Virgineigha, but it’s not completely harmless and you’re gonna need more than just a ten millimeter if you wanna put down anything larger than an ant.”
“But it’s so booooooooooring in here.”
“So? Which would you choose? A peaceful safe life? Or a stupidly dangerous one which is gonna get you killed?”
“Well. He does make a valid point.” Belette said, as she continued polishing her weapon, which she nicknamed “Mirage V”, the dirty washcloth was encased in a pink aura of magic while it ran up and down the unique rifle, going in between every nook and cranny, though it didn’t do much to help clear the patina and dents, or battlescars as she liked to call them. She did it at least once every day, and fired it only once or twice a week.
The weapon itself, although in poor condition, was intimidating. It was essentially a hunting rifle, but instead of a long barrel like any other rifle, it had a custom, rotating minigun-esque barrel, but hers was smaller, with only four barrels as opposed to the minigun’s six, and the magazine was an AK magazine that also doubled as the trigger guard. It was actually the fifth revision of the gun; the other four attempts were… well, there is a reason why she’s using the fifth version. Although nowhere near the minigun in terms of rate of fire, it was faster than any assault rifle or SMG one could find in the wasteland. To any other regular pony, this might sound like a frightening weapon.
It did have a great rate of fire, but it had absolutely shitty reload times and magazine capacity. Around twenty five or twenty six bullets per cartridge. In other words, it only lasts about one or two seconds before needing to be reloaded. That and the unique cartridge made it harder and slower to reload, unlike a regular magazine where it only needed one end to be inserted, this required both ends, otherwise it’d fall out, that and, since it has parts from three guns, she could never really get it into tip-top shape with only hunting rifles or just miniguns, she needed all three. And of course, there’s the custom hoof-made rotating minigun barrel which is one of a kind and has no readily available spare parts unless you make them yourself. Belette says any other gun would have the same problems, I proved her wrong when I managed to load a pistol cartridge five seconds faster than her, and I’m an Earth Pony. That, and the genius idea to use the magazine as the trigger guard means anypony who’s not a unicorn is probably not gonna be able to fire it. Also, did I mention that it’s incredibly inaccurate?
Enough about the gun, time to talk about its wielder.
Belette was a unicorn, purple fur, with a pink and white mane. Her cutiemark was a wrench, representing her skill in mechanics, while I still remained blank. I thought was going to get mine in bartering but apparently I only did slightly average in that. But I didn’t care, I knew it would come sooner or later.
“You’re taking his side on this?” I asked, giving her a disappointed look.
“No, I’m taking the side that makes more sense.” She replied.
“Come on, don’t you want to go out there and be free? Think of the endless possibilities! Think of what lies beyond these walls!”
“I’ve imagined what it would look like. It looks désastreux.” She replied.
I paused for a moment to think of exactly what I could use to entice her. Not long after, I found my excuse.
“Think of all the guns out there, more than enough spare parts to upgrade Mirage to prime condition.” I said, a smug look present on my face as Belette froze, the magic that once surrounded the cloth was now non-existent, the cloth itself had been dropped onto the table.
Chapter Two: Beginner’s Luck “Clench your butt this isn’t gonna be good!”
Although my friend’s sociopathic tendencies should’ve worried me, I was carefree and didn’t really bother to think this through. Questions such as: “How do we get out?”, “How do we get them to let us out?”, “How much do we pack?” and of course my personal favorite, “How can we be sure that shit doesn’t slam into the fan the second we step out of this building, this building which has kept us safe for an estimated six to seven years?”. And of course, every last one of those questions, and more, were left unanswered.
“So, what’s the plan?” I asked Belette whilst swinging my hind legs.
“We walk out the door. Or jump out the window. Whichever seems easier.” The purple unicorn replied while she rummaged underneath the workbench I was sitting on.
“What if they try and stop us?”
“The guards are lazy little shits. Pretty sure they’ll be happy that they have two mares worth of free space once we leave.”
“Where do we go?”
Belette stopped scavenging through the bottom of the workbench and looked up at me.
“You don’t have any idea where we should be going?”
“Nuh uh.” I said while shaking my head.
She inhaled a breath of air before letting out a sigh of frustration.
“That’s fine. That’s great. We’ll just bring a map and go from there.” She continued before poking her head down below again.
The escape from our little haven was… it was something.
It pretty much consisted of Belette walking past the little barrier of furniture that the watchponies usually camped out at, one of the guard ponies asking her to stop, Belette saying “no” before unlocking the door, asking me to follow and then barging out. I’m not sure what I expected, but I guess that was okay.
And after that flop of an exit, I caught up to my companion and was promptly blinded by the light as I stepped outside. After my eyeballs adjusted to the sudden change of light, we both feasted our eyes on the Wasteland in all it’s glory. A ruined street deprived of any signs of life, save for a couple of ruined buildings here and there. It might as well have been a flat desert. However, my excitement never wavered as I took my first steps outside of the home I was abandoning.
"So, where we headed?" I asked Belette.
I watched as Belette turned around and rummaged through her saddlebag. After a few minutes, she pulled out a yellow piece of paper, which I assumed was our map. Almost a quarter of it was gone, the black edges suggesting that it was burned off. She turned it around before pointing slightly to the left.
"Where'd you get the map?" I asked.
"We're holed up in a school. It's not that hard to rip a page out of a textbook. This one, the traders used. They drew on it, marked a couple of things and whatnot." Belette said as she rolled up our map and stuffed it back into her saddlebag.
"How'd you get them to give it up?"
"I never said anything about them "giving it up"."
"Don't they need that?"
Belette stopped and pondered for a while, staring off into the distance while I simply watched her.
"Naaaaaaah." She replied.
"What's waiting for us over there?" I asked her as I waved my hoof in the direction that she had previously pointed to.
"A little town. It's a long ways away from here, but if this map is correct, and the megaspells weren't as powerful as I thought, there should be a couple of buildings in between that should be vacant. And that's assuming North is where I think North is."
"So, we walk and pray that we're heading in the right direction?"
"You got a better idea?"
"Of course you don't. Now come on, we're burning daylight." Belette said as she dragged me along with her magic.
I thought the wasteland was going to be exciting. I thought I was prepared for just about everything that was waiting for me outside, I thought I had everything packed and ready.
I thought wrong.
We had been walking for quite some time now, never once stopping besides that one time my saddlebag fell off. The scenery remained pretty much the same save for the absence of our old home and the other old run down buildings. But besides that, it was practically the same. Dirt here, dirt there. Oh hey, what's over there? More dirt!
Aside from that, only what we heard changed as we continued. We would randomly hear sounds of the sand and dirt shifting, being tossed up occasionally. However neither of us could figure out what was causing it, so we decided to just continue walking and ignore it. The once distant sound would grow louder with every time it sounded, putting me on edge.
"How long have we been walking?" I groaned.
"About an hour or so." Belette replied, not even slowing down as she did so.
"Better get used to it. Unless you can magically grow wings, we're gonna be walking. A lot."
As we continued walking, I couldn't help but wonder about what awaited us at the supposed 'little town' that Belette had previously mentioned. That is, if her estimations were correct and she wasn't leading us to a raiders nest. But, I trusted that Belette wasn't nearly dumb enough to do that. I mean, you see the buildings with the dead bodies and you get out of dodge, simple as that.
While I was of course worried about us possibly walking into a minefield and blowing up into little unidentifiable pieces, I was also worried that because we didn’t have a reliable way of telling where an enemy would be coming from, save for our eyes and ears, being blindsided was a possibility. And just then, the universe, in all it's graciousness, decided to show me that I haven't been worrying for nothing.
I stopped daydreaming to listen to the weird sound again, only to realize it wasn’t there anymore. I looked around at our surroundings, trying to look for anything out of place. Only to find the vast wasteland undisturbed. As I continued searching for the source of the now absent noise, Belette had only just realized that I had come to a stop.
“Whatcha waiting for?” She yelled.
“The sound. It’s gone.” I replied.
Just as I was about to continue to attempt describing the noise I’d been hearing for the past hour or so, I was cut off mid sentence as I felt a wave of dirt accompanied by a dust cloud fly up and rain on me, I instinctively shut my eyes and lowered my ears as to not let dirt fall in them.
Before I could reopen my eyes, I felt something solid and slightly hairy smash into my right side, sending me flying through the air, before crashing into the side of a mountain of dirt and promptly rolling down said mountain of dirt. At the moment I couldn't have cared less about how many ribs I’d broken, the sheer fact that something had snuck up on me and forcibly made me reenact Luna’s banishment to the moon had set my mind into panic mode, the adrenaline drowned out the pain that might’ve come with the impact of whatever in Discord’s name hit me and the crash that followed.
As soon as I came to a halt, and the dust had settled, I looked up and saw Belette, standing her ground, glaring at her foe, Mirage was encased in her purple aura and being levitated over her head, aimed at the creature that had assaulted me.
The creature, was none other than a giant radscorpion.
Well, fuck you too universe.
The monstrosity was about as long as two fully grown stallions, each of its legs almost as thick as a pony foreleg, its stinger was easily larger than any pony’s head, and its black exoskeleton reflected the sunlight that shone down on it and practically any other part of the wasteland.
At first, I was confused as to why it was here in the first place. Caneighda didn’t see many scorpions, especially not in Tortrotto, although the idea of such a large predator making its way up North was not completely absurd. Then after the confusion, the panic kicked in again. I froze in fear as I watched Belette simply stand in place and stare down the large arthropod, while the bug pretty much did the same.
I had no idea as to what she wanted to do. I doubted her gun would be able to put any bullets beyond it’s armor; she’d have to aim for the chinks in it’s armor if she wanted to do any immediate damage.
Who am I kidding here, with Mirage, “Aim” simply throws itself out the window.
I watched as she let off a barrage of bullets. It was aimed at the scorpion’s face. And then it wasn’t. The recoil of the gun caused it to shoot along its back and even at its stinger. The creature merely shrugged off the bullets and attempted to nab my friend in its pincers. She merely took a step back and released the empty magazine from her weapon before throwing it at the scorpion. Just like the bullets, it had no effect.
Just as she tried to get another magazine from her bags, the bug arched its back, its rear raised in the air and its tail lashing out in an attempt to sting her. For a brief moment, I saw the very tip of the stinger encased in her purple aura before it smashed into the ground and completely buried itself next to Belette.
I watched as the scorpion tugged at it’s own tail, trying to pry it out of the ground while it hissed and snapped it’s pincers out of frustration. Belette hopped onto it’s tail and from there, she levitated her weapon directly in front of her now almost helpless opponent. She loaded the fresh magazine into the gun, and just as quickly as the bullets were in, they were out. Not every single one hit, but it was enough to do some major damage.
The scorpion gave out a particularly loud hiss and retracted it’s tail, throwing up the dirt that it had been buried under in the process. Belette leapt backwards as the creature swiped at her with it’s pincers again, all the while it hissed and made generally unhappy noises. Every step it took, the ground responded with light vibrating.
Belette managed to levitate a new magazine into place, I watched as it arched it’s back once more, preparing for another attempt at nailing my friend with it’s stinger. Its attempt was futile however as the arched back was a dead giveaway. Belette sidestepped as the scorpion’s tail crashed into the ground again, creating a mini crater as it did so.
Belette capitalized and hopped onto the back of the bug, firing wildly at it’s eyes as she did so. Suddenly, the creature, once struggling and trying to kill everything in sight, stopped completely. Its legs gave out and its body went limp before hitting the ground with a thud.
Even from a distance, I could see Belette was breathing heavily. Her usually somewhat messy mane was now even messier, the semi frown that came with her battle face slowly morphed into a grin as she relished in her victory. I watched as she hopped off the carcass before kicking some dirt into the mutilated face of the now lifeless scorpion before walking towards me.
“Where the fuck did you go?” Belette asked as she approached me.
“May or may not have frozen in fear.” I replied while rubbing the back of my neck.
“You hurt? Took quite a flight there.”
I took a look at myself and assessed the damage. From what I could see at the moment, I had a couple of cuts and bruises here and there on my forelegs, I should’ve been feeling pain right about now, but I couldn’t feel them. It was as if they weren’t there at all.
“I dunno. Heart’s still pumping at a million times per second. Probably not gonna feel very good post adrenaline.”
“You’d better hope that adrenaline lasts you, because I am not gonna drag your broken body.”
“Aye aye cap-i-tan. You gonna get the poison gland or…?”
“Yea yea gimme a minute.”
I watched as she returned to the corpse of her fallen foe and tug at it’s tail with her magic. It refused to move. After several more tries she shook her head and gave up. I tried to lend a hoof and attempted to pull it out alongside her magic. Still, the results remained the same.
“Sore loser.” Belette said as she spat on the carcass.
“We’d better go, before something else decides we look tasty.” I said.
Belette nodded in agreement before using her magic to summon a portal out of nowhere. She then proceeded to levitate Mirage into said portal before closing it. All the while I watched with my jaw open.
“What.” I said out of confusion.
“What’s the problem?” Belette asked me.
“All this time you’ve just shoved your stuff into some pocket in an alternate dimension? This whole time?”
“Sorta. Think of it as a magical locker. How else do you think I’ve been able to keep walking so long?”
“... Can you keep my stuff for me?”
After having my load significantly lightened, I felt much better and I could put a little more pep into my step, despite having my life endangered. Enough time had passed for me to gather my thoughts and calm myself, which took a lot shorter than I thought it would considering I was fairly close to meeting the same fate both my parents met. However, having almost half my belongings not inside of my saddlebags helped tremendously. My hooves no longer ached, and my heartbeats had dropped back to normal.
And the adrenaline wore off.
Soon after that, I felt aching pains on both my sides, and stinging on various other parts of my body. Black spots danced around in my sight as the world began to go blurry and I struggled to stay standing. It felt as if Celestia’s chariot ran over me, backed up, and parked it’s wheel right on my torso. I tried to blink the spots out of my sight to no avail.
"I take it back. I don't want the thrill anymore." I said, nearly throwing up as I did so.
Before I could hear Belette’s response, my legs gave out from under me, and I found myself crashing into the ground, my eyes gradually closing and blocking out my blurred vision as I tried to make out Belette’s muffled voice.
Chapter Three: Suppress “Eeyup. That wasn’t good. That wasn’t good at all.”
I’m not sure how long I was out. Two hours? Three hours? Somewhere around that time.
The sun was already setting, bathing the land in its orange light. When I woke up, the first thing I saw was dirt. My body was limp and I felt pressure on my stomach, while my body gently swayed to and fro. I looked to my left and found out that Belette, despite rejecting my request earlier, was indeed carrying me anyways.
I rubbed my eyes and craned my neck to stretch my sleeping muscles, when suddenly Belette tilted to the left and I found myself landing on my rump.
"What was that for?" I asked, rubbing my butt.
"I don't want to carry you any longer than I have to. My hooves are killing me." Belette complained, sitting down as she did so.
"I don't see why you couldn't have just used your magic the whole time."
"I did. Then I exhausted my magic."
"I'd also like to note that quite a bit of that magic went into healing a broken rib."
"Relax. It was only one. But I healed it, even if it did take up an absurd amount of magic."
We both sat in silence as the sun continued setting I decided to take inventory while Belette massaged her hooves. As I rummaged through whatever was in my bag, I also took into account the items that were in Belette's magical locker. Then I noticed that something was amiss.
We'd forgot to pack one crucial item.
"Hey Bel?" I asked, pulling my head out of my saddlebag
"Would you happen to have any armor?"
Thankfully for us, we found shelter after walking approximately seven times around the planet. Granted, it wasn't as good life sustaining supplies, but it was something.
It wasn't a singular, lone building, instead we had run into a small town. Which, from a distance, looked like it mostly consisted of buildings that looked like they were gonna collapse at any given moment and a couple of stores that had seen better days. I felt the ground beneath my hooves make the sudden transition from soft dirt, to solid cobblestone as we continued approaching the town.
We’d reached a junction. In front of us was a street, with a row of buildings on either side, all of them had signs on the roof or on the front of the building. The road that went left was another stretch of cobblestone that had a ninety degree turn to the right. This street, however, was filled with houses, all two stories tall and average in terms of area.
Directly to our left was a small, fenced enclosure littered with short buildings, each spanning no larger than two applecarts. Most of them were already half destroyed, revealing their insides. The small buildings that were closer to the town seemed to be in fairly good condition if you ignored the bulletholes. However there was one that caught my attention.
The little home was in relatively good condition. There was, of course, the peeling paint and rotting wood, but other than that, it was a-okay. Oh wait, I forgot to mention the moon sized hole on the side, how could I have missed that out?
"What do you think happened to that one?" I asked, tapping Belette on the shoulder.
"Only one way to find out." Belette replied, her horn lighting up with magic.
In my opinion, it probably would've been a tad bit easier to just hop over the fence, but apparently, somepony thought it was too tall. With the destruction of an innocent fence off our to-do list, we hurried over to the little house before we had to cross out "Get eaten by monsters due to unnecessary destruction of property".
Upon reaching the hole, I realized that there was actually a crater a few steps in front of the hole that had been blocked from view by one of the other houses. There was what appeared to be broken scraps of armor inside the crater. I decided to take a look at it later and hopped in the house to take a look inside.
"What in Celestia's name happened here?" Belette asked as she followed me.
It looked like a tornado had hit the place, a bookshelf had toppled, scattering its scorched contents all over the room. Remains of a wooden table were found from the ceiling to the walls. To my right was the kitchen, it's pots and pans in various positions. And straight ahead was what looked like a bedroom, which looked surprisingly tidy. A weird scent hung in the air, it was somewhat metallic, like wet metal.
I took a step forward and noticed that instead of being dusty and full of splinters like my previous position, it felt slightly smoother and somewhat sticky. I looked down and saw a puddle of dark red substance.
I was about to point it out to my friend when I heard the familiar sound of a shotgun being loaded.
"Welcome to Sunshine District, now you'd better have a damn good reason for destroying that fence."
"From Tortrotto eh? A little far from home. Where you two headed?" The sheriff asked us.
"Mareshigan. Or Chicacolt." I answered.
“Without armor and limited supplies? Are you two on a suicide mission? What kind of firepower are you two packing anyways?”
Belette summoned Mirage and placed it onto the table in front of us. The sheriff let out an impressed whistle as he first laid his eyes on the unique weapon. While that was going on, I went through my belongings looking for my weapon. I found it and placed it on the table. It was essentially a modified revolver, instead of having the cylinder right in front of the trigger however, the cylinder practically was the barrel. It was covered in rust, not a single speck of the original paint was on, but performance wise, it was more than good enough for me.
“A pistol?” He asked as he watched me take out my weapon.
“It’s a revolver but okay.” I answered.
Before we arrived here, there was a moment where my life flashed before my eyes as Belette tried to summon Mirage while I ended up tackling her. I’d also like to say that climbing stairs with a shotgun pointed at the back of your head while your friend threatens to murder the wielder of said shotgun is not easy.
The office itself wasn’t all that fancy. Windows allowed the sun to enter the room, little dust particles could be visible as they floated into the rays of golden light. In the center of the concrete room, was a table with two chairs positioned in front of it. Behind the table was a single chair, which was being occupied by the sheriff. To the far left corner was an iron barred door that presumably lead to the jail cells.
“What was with the hole back there anyways?” Belette asked as she levitated Mirage back into her magical pocket.
“Pegasus stallion fell out from the sky. Presumably hit the ground before bouncing back up and crashing through the wall. The blood on the floor was his.”
I shuddered upon thinking of how anypony could possibly go through that and still vaguely resemble an equine.
“What made him crash?” Belette inquired.
“I dunno. Nopony knows. He did have laser burns on him, might've been flying a bit too close than the Enclave would’ve liked.”
Ah, the Enclave.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the Enclave is Equestrian, so why then, are they found in Caneighda?
About a year and a half after the good ol’ Stable Dweller brought back the light, and gained the power to make the Enclave her bitch, they began to run low on food. No matter how they rationed it, no matter how much they planted, all she had to do was move the clouds, and just like that, it was more than likely that they would end up saying goodbye to a good number of crops. So, what did they do?
They found a loophole.
The S.P.P. only has control over Equestria and Equestria only, countries like Caneighda, Germaney and Faustralia still had their own self controlling weather. The Chineighse made an attempt at the S.P.P. and succeeded… to some extent. Ponies in their S.P.P. never lasted too long before dying. It was too much power, and they didn’t know how to control it. So, naturally the Enclave spread out, with various bases all over the world, one of them just so happens to be in Caneighda.
We’ve heard of what they’ve done, and quite frankly we don’t care. For the past four years they’ve been here, they haven’t caused too much trouble, so we didn’t have a proper reason to shoo them away. As for whatever they did in the war, Caneighda was more than willing to forgive them. Besides, even if we did hate their guts, I’m pretty sure they could wipe out half the country before we could do any significant damage, plus, what's stopping them from just sending more troops over?
Their main base is still in Equestria, all their planning, meetings and what not take place there, I don't know if it's true, but it's a what everypony else says, and it hasn't been proven wrong. Yet. Branches like these were usually used for agriculture or storage and what not. The food planted here is then delivered back to the base and everyone gets to eat, yay. However, just because all they do is farm, doesn’t mean the pegasi above those clouds are any less deadly. As peaceful as their job description sounded, they were more than capable of taking out any average pony without even trying.
And why don't they just move their base elsewhere? Because it's the Equestrian government silly! You can't just put the Equestrian government in Neighpan or Marexico. So, as cumbersome as delivering carts full of corn from country to country was, it had to be done. And why is their main base unaffected by the S.P.P.? Rumor has it, that the Enclave managed to produce an artificial cloud, one that was not bound to the Lightbringer's control. But it took too long, too many resources to produce it, so they only reserved it for their HQ. Another theory is just that she doesn't want to let them off that easy, like a cat playing with a mouse. But hey, they're just theories.
“He did have something else on him however, might be a clue.” The sheriff added.
He went below the table and popped back up with a yellow piece of paper, it looked like Belette’s, that is if Belette’s didn’t look like somepony had already used it as toilet paper and gum wrapper at the same time. it was a map covering the entirety of Equestria, except for the fact that it had several areas that were circled. Two of the circles were crossed out, leaving four more left, all of them were more or less equidistant from each other..
“He was dead by the time anypony could go to check out what the noise was about. Nopony knows what the circles are supposed to be marking, and nopony will be trying anytime soon. You can have it if you want, it’s not like it’ll be doing us any good.” He said as he slid the paper over to us. Belette used her magic to roll up the paper and stuff it into her bag, where it would most likely suffer a tragic death of being crushed under the last few AK magazines she had in the bag.
“Now, I couldn’t help but notice the both of you are missing something.” The sheriff said, raising an eyebrow as he looked at the both of us.
“Armor?” I said with a sigh.
“Thanks, I thought we weren’t unprepared.”
“So, I have a proposition for the both of you.” The sheriff said, planting his forelegs on the table and leaning forward. “You complete it, I’ll give you both a total of one hundred caps, should be more than enough to get you both some protection.”
“What do you need us to do?” Belette asked.
“There’s a raider nest not too far from here, they tend to wander over here from time to time, and every time they do it’s never good. But, they crossed the line when they killed a couple of our hunters, hunters who just so happened to be transporting a whole load of medical supplies we need. Of course, we do have medicine stashed, but I’d rather save them for emergencies. There’s no guarantee that they haven’t touched any of it at all, but if you could bring what’s left, you’d be doing the town a big favor.”
“I dunno. Could you maybe bump it up to two hundred caps?” I questioned.
“I dunno…two hundred caps is a lot…”
“I’m sure you have caps to spare for a pretty mare." I said, fluttering my eyelashes.
"Fine. Two hundred caps it is. But I must warn you, there's a reason why I’m willing to pay this much."
"So, where is this nest?" Belette inquired.
"It’s Northeast from the town. Somewhere around that general area. Should be able to make the trip in less than half a day. But then again, I don’t know exactly how far away this thing is.”
“So, uh, which way is Northeast again?” I asked.
“Don’t you both have a compass?” The sheriff replied.
“Nuh-uh.” I said, shaking my head.
“With no Pip-Buck either?”
“If you want to get anywhere, you’re going to need one. Normally, this would cost you, after all, they aren’t that easy to find. But I’ll just take it out of your pay.” The sheriff said before ducking under his desk again, rummaging through one of his desk drawers. He came back up with a small, black, circular compass in his mouth, and placed it on the table before us. Belette levitated it to eye level for a closer look
“There. You should be set to leave anytime you want. Though I wouldn’t recommend leaving right just now. All the nasty things come out at night.”
“You have a common house? A place we could stay?” I queried.
“The whole town only uses up less than half the buildings here. Just look for any old house. Might find a radroach or two, but other than that, should be fine.”
“Thanks for everything!” I said, flashing a smile. The sheriff simply nodded.
“You two take care now.” He said as I got up from my seat. As I did, I noticed that Belette was still staring at the compass. She lowered it and zoned out for a brief moment before her eyebrows furrowed and she glared at the compass, effectively forming a scowl.
“La vache.” Belette cursed.
“Wut?” I said in confusion.
“North wasn’t where I thought North was.” She said dejectedly.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead as I finally set my saddlebags down before leaning back and crashing onto the old, dirty bed. Belette entered the room shortly afterwards, she was just as sweaty as I was. Scrunched eyebrows and a slight pout was more than enough evidence to convince me that she was not a happy unicorn
“One or two radroaches my ass.” Belette complained as she got into bed.
“Oh give him a break, how could he have known?” I said.
While the skeletons we found in our new and probably temporary home were a nuisance to say the least, I was actually relieved we didn’t have to deal with radroaches. They were always so fast and disgusting and just ew. That’s not to say I like dealing with dead ponies…
Belette’s solution however made sure that we cleared out the remains soon enough. How you ask? By throwing them out the window of course. And thanks to her, I get an eyeful of dead stallions and mares should I happen to look down while gazing out the bedroom window.
“You really think we should do this stupid quest?” Belette asked me.
“Well, we could use the extra caps.” I said as I climbed up next to her.
“That’s if we finish the quest. We don’t know what kind of firepower they’re packing, we don’t know how many of them there are. And what if they already used all the medicine up?”
“Well, we don’t know until we find out now don’t we?” I replied.
While Belette started slipping things out of her little pocket dimension, I couldn’t help but think about how it worked. Where did the items go? Could you store a pony? Exactly how much magic does it use up? Why didn’t she bother telling me about it when all along I could’ve just let her carry my stuff and not have unnecessarily carried all that weight?
“Hey, Bel?” I asked, turning to face her.
“Yea?” She said, doing the same.
“How does your magic locker doo-hickey work?”
“Uh, you kinda just send your stuff to another place and then you take them back out when you need them.”
“No, like, how does it feel? Does it take a lot of effort? Does it hurt?”
“Honestly, there’s no way to describe it. The closest thing I can compare it to, is like shoving food down your mouth, but mentally. As for effort, think of it like this. Magic is like a gas tank that regenerates over time, most unicorns have pretty quick regeneration. A completely drained unicorn should take a good five to six hours before they could ever do any kind of magical shit.”
“Does your locker have a limit?”
“Yea, it does. But it depends on the unicorn’s magic I guess. The more magic she or he has, the more stuff they can cram in there. Depending on it’s weight, the cargo could burn up quite a bit of magic. But there’s more to it…. uh, think of it like this. Let’s just say for example, my magic, fully rested, can lift five hundred kilograms. Now, if I add in an item that weighs say, two kilograms, putting it in the magic locker for whatever reason, makes it four kilograms. Probably to compensate for the space it takes up. After I place this little item, I can only lift four hundred ninety-six kilograms. But hey, don’t take my word for it. I just know it lets me keep shit, and that’s what's important.”
“Could you put a pony in there?”
“The dimension is essentially, pure magic. A realm of energy if you will. If a pony went in, they would breathe in the magic, it’d go everywhere, and they would be incinerated inside out. It’s like inhaling fire and electricity at the same time. But then again I tried it with a radroach so I dunno about ponies. Aside from that, it would automatically drain my magic, the radroach alone made me take a three hour nap.”
“So… how do you get stuff out of the locker again?”
“You gotta concentrate on it when you’re opening the portal. Then it kinda just appears and you pick it up.”
As Belette finished up her lecture about the unicorns and the mystical powers they possesed, I nodded and rolled onto my back again, staring at the ramshackle ceiling that looked like it was going to rain down on us any second now.
“This is gonna suck. I can feel it in my gut already.” Belette groaned.
“Don’t be so negative.” I scolded as I turned to my side, snuggled the pillow and closed my eyes.
Early next morning, we set out on our quest following a hearty breakfast of cherries and oats. The cloudy sky cast a sort of grey light over the land as we travelled towards our destination. As we walked, I would stop to look around from time to time, and by time to time I mean every five minutes.
"Lightning doesn't strike twice April." Belette said as she continued walking.
"Easy for you to say. You didn't get hit to the sun." I retorted.
“Look at the brightside, you’re still alive. That’s what matters.”
“Well I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for you!”
“It was just a broken rib.”
“Oh yea, sure. I could’ve walked my way to town if you ignore the fact that I would’ve passed out and been dead meat.”
“Well, sucks to be you then.” Belette snorted.
The next few hours that followed were filled with nonsense and debauchery. Should anypony have been in the vicinity, they would have been lucky enough to catch two mares arguing about alcohol, whether or not to turn around, and of course, who got to eat the last marshmallow. All in that order.
The raider nest was… larger than I thought it was going to be I’ll admit.
I thought it was just going to be an old, run down little store or a tiny town. I honestly thought we were going to be lucky enough to get that. Instead, what stood before us far exceeded my expectations. It was essentially a little city of towers and apartment buildings, all old and dirty, some of them possessed blast marks and even missing chunks. Of all the buildings, only one seemed to stand out.
Said building would've been the tallest of the buildings in the city, if it weren't for the fact that the top half had collapsed and was now leaning on the structure next to it. Various corpses and severed limbs hung on the building, blood splatters were also visible on various areas of the tower. The upper half, although collapsed, was not left untouched. Various rotting, mutilated bodies could be found being hung from bloodsoaked chains, swinging in the wind.
While I looked over the demented, broken edifice, I couldn’t help but think about how many raiders could possibly be in there, all waiting hungrily for a new victim to torture. The very thought had caused my heartbeat to quicken and the first few beads of cold sweat to gather up on my forehead.
Before we arrived at the front of the tower, I made the wise decision to take out my gun beforehand, gripping it with my mouth. The familiar taste of rubber and rust greeted my tongue as I did so. Which admittedly wasn’t very good, tiny stuff like that tends to hurt a pony’s gunmanship, not by a lot, but it does. I, was no different, I could never hold the gun for too long before needing to drop it and instinctually spit at the ground in an attempt to get rid of the metallic taste.
As I stood before the doors that led to inside of the massive building, I couldn’t help but notice the gut-wrenching stench that hung in the air, a little taste of whats to come when we set foot into the nest. Ignoring the foul odor, I decided to focus my attention on the white words that were printed onto the glass doors, which were believe it or not, still standing. Sure, one or two of them might have a hole or two and it was too dirty to properly see through, but besides that, it was alright. Oh right, almost forgot about the skull they hung above the door. My bad.
A couple of letters were gone from the door I was inspecting, the remaining letters spelled out: “ST I HO EL “.
I did one last look around at the streets behind us to make sure we wouldn’t be receiving another surprise attack, again. Unsurprisingly, the scenery remained unchanged, the streets were still cracked and broken with wild grass everywhere and various forms of debris littering the path. After ensuring our safety, I pushed the door open and entered, while Belette followed.
The inside of the building was without a doubt one of the most disturbing things I ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes upon..
Rotting bodies hung on the walls and even from the railings on the floors above, bound by rusty chains, one or two of them were even impaled, their cause of death varied from spears to daggers, most of them still very much stuck inside them, pinning them to the wall like papers on a notice board. Skulls, ribcages and other bones also adorned the walls, accompanied by crude graffiti and various vulgarities painted with blood. The horrifying sight, even so early on in our quest was testament to their unnerving presence.
I groaned as I struggled to keep my breakfast inside of me. Belette simply gave a look of disgust.
Besides the mutilated corpse ornaments, the place looked somewhat grand. At the far end of the room was a reception counter, with a wooden flight of stairs on either side that lead to elevators, and probably stairs. The wooden stairs had a couple of steps missing, but they looked navigable. To the left was an open hallway where I could see a bar and a sign for a restaurant, and possibly more.
“Alright, I think I have a plan.” Belette said, as she continued to look around.
I spat my gun out before responding.
“Really?” I said with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m gonna go look for their water pumps, pipes, electronics, anything really, and mess with it. Should keep them distracted while you go and sneak up to wherever they keep their loot.”
“What if I run into them on the way up?”
“It’s gonna be way too loud.”
Belette thought for a moment before walking up to one of the walls, encasing one of the daggers on the wall in her magic and pulling it out, causing the body to fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes with a sickening squishy thud.
“Here, use this.” She said, dropping the dagger in front of me.
“Why don’t we just wait for them to come down first, and then I go up?”
“And how long until they send another guy?”
“But what if I get caught?”
“Don’t you worry your little face, I’ll go and get you if I think somethings up.”
I gulped as I picked it up with my mouth, almost immediately I taste the dried blood and dust. I spat the blade out, sending it crashing to the floor with a clatter, gagging while Belette simply watched me.
“Yea, you’re gonna have to get used to that. See you when I see you.” Belette said as she walked to the hall with the bar and the restaurant.
I spat out saliva a couple more times before reluctantly taking the handle of the weapon in my mouth once more. Again, the bile-inducing taste washed over my tastebuds as my mind told me to drop the blade. However, I had a mission, and I doubted things were going to be any more different in the future. If I wanted to make it out here, I needed to buck up.
Let me just be the first to say that I was never the best at melee weapons.
I knew how ponies generated power, there were two ways to go about it. Either you could use the force from turning your neck, which wouldn’t kill anypony anytime soon unless you broke your own neck or you were seriously jacked up, or you could rear up and let gravity and your body mass do the work. Being a mare who rarely ever worked out much meant that neither of the two options would work for me.
As I climbed the stone stairs, my heart pounded against my ribs, sweat poured down my forehead as I clenched onto my dirty dagger, my teeth digging into the old, used rubber. Every step I took, it was not without caution, I made sure to keep my steps as quiet as possible so as not to alert any possible raiders in the area.
The whole journey up, I stopped every flight to listen out for any of them, however, the rapid throbbing courtesy of my heart wasn’t helping, at all. Every time I stopped, I was greeted with the ringing sound that always accompanied deafening silence.
Eventually, at the fifth floor, I could make out the faint sound of a door being slammed shut from the upper floors, accompanied by what sounded like angry grumbling and the clopping of hoofsteps. Next to me was a red, rusted door, I instinctively tried it, luckily for me, it worked. The downside, there was a large hole right behind it.
At this point I shouldn’t have been surprised. The other floors were more or less the same.
First floor, besides a small area, debris closes off any sort of access, second floor yielded the same results. Third floor was barricaded, and I doubted I could remove the furniture without alerting them of my presence. Fourth floor wouldn’t budge, at all.
“Always has to be me doesn’t it? Fuckin’ me.” A gruff voice said from above.
I panicked as I was forced to make a decision, do I go to the fourth floor and try my luck again? Or do I try to make the jump? My vision started to blur, all I could concentrate on was the hole in front of me and the hoofsteps which grew louder every time they sounded.
“Screw it.” I thought to myself.
I pushed the door open as wide as I could, backed up and charged. However, I failed to notice the crucial fact that the door had a door closer installed.
As I barrelled towards the open door, I could see it slowly closing on it’s own, to which I made the smart decision to continue running anyways. My reward, a nice door to the side which botched my jump, causing me to fall through the hole. It all happened too quickly for me to process anything, all I saw was the fifth floor, and next thing I know, I was sprawled out on the fourth floor, groaning in agony while my saddlebag landed elsewhere.
All could hear were my own moans of pain and the sound of dirt as I got back up to my hooves. I brushed myself off and looked around my new environment.
The place smelled like the ground floor, maybe not as strong, but the smell was more or less the same. The putrid stench of death flooded my nostrils, once again coaxing my breakfast to find it’s way out of my stomach.
It didn’t look as bad as it smelled however, holes from the upper floor and the walls granted rays of sunlight access to the room, revealing tall piles of rubble and old furniture with wild grass growing. Directly in front of me was a hallway that led to a railing, most probably the ones I saw back at the bottom. I walked over to where my bag had landed and bit on it with the intention of putting it back on.
“Anypony there?” A somewhat feminine voice called out.
Once again, my mind kicked into panic mode as I looked around for another spot to conceal myself. After a quick look through, I dragged my bag over to a pile of rubble and prayed that I could get through this unseen.
“Come out come out…” The voice called out as I picked up the familiar sound of hoofsteps once again.
My heart continued thumping, making me feel like it was going to jump out any second, I trembled in fear as I lay against the broken stone and wood, my sweat causing the dust and dirt to stick to my fur. I tried to steady my breathing, making sure to keep my breaths a silent as possible.
While I tried to prop myself up instead of leaning on my cover, a piece of stone broke off, falling to the ground and causing me to yelp as I fell onto the rubble.
“Pleaseignorethatpleaseignorethatpleaseignorethat.” I desperately thought to myself.
Before I had the chance to do anything else, I heard the sound of metal slicing through rock and looked up to find a dagger impaled on the wall, causing me to jump. If my cover wasn’t blown before, there was no doubt now.
“It’s time to die shit for brains!” My aggressor taunted as she ran towards me, running off the walls and doing all sorts of other acrobatics.
I stood up from my cover and wildly swung my head, letting go of the dagger as I did so. I watched as it tumbled through the air, end over end, before completely missing her. I cursed and ducked again, sticking my head into my bag in search of my gun. I rummaged through my inventory before finding the grip, I bit into it and pulled it out, only to find the raider mare standing over me, a crooked, rusty sword in her mouth.
I yelped and rolled out of the way while she sliced the ground where I once was. While I laid on my back, I tried to aim my weapon at her, unfortunately for me she was smart enough to get out of the way. I watched as she ran off towards me, zig-zagging and jumping off a pile of debris as she did so, which really didn’t make things any easier.
Once she was within reach, she decided to forgo the fancy maneuvers and charge right at me. I shut my eyes and wildly fired, the recoil from the gun bashing the back of my head into the floor. After my head stopped imitating a cotton ball in a tornado, I looked at where my attacker last stood only to find her dead, on the stone floor, in a puddle of her own blood.
I dropped my gun before resting my head on the stone floor as I took heavy breaths. While I rested, I silently prayed that the others weren’t as agile and quick as she was. Stationary targets, I can hit seven times out of time. I don’t think I need to say anything when said target is bouncing around the walls like a supercharged rubber ball.
As I was about to get up, the sound of hooves tapping against the floor alerted me. I shot back up to my hooves, looking down the hallway I was greeted with the sight of two stallions walking towards where I was. As soon as I did, I ducked back down and cursed myself for not taking caution.
“Wonder if they saw me?” I thought to myself.
“She’s over there!” I heard one stallion call out.
“Great job, April. Great job.”
As I was about to switch covers, I heard the sound of a rifle being fired, followed by a number of bullets whizzing over my head before smashing into the stone wall. As soon as the bullets stopped coming, I stood up and fired at the raider, who just so happened to be running towards me. One of my two shots hit him as he clutched his neck where he had been hit, falling over, his momentum forced his dead body to tumble forward a few steps before coming to a halt, blood spilling onto the floor.
His friend however, remained unfazed. He was still making a beeline towards me, using the same acrobatics the raider mare had used. I aimed in his general direction and pressed my tongue against the trigger, only to hear an empty click and the cylinder rotating. The loud *BANG* and flash from the barrel that usually followed were absent, a sure sign of a lack of ammo. I cursed myself for not reloading when I had the chance.
I backpedalled as the raider got closer, too panicked to do anything else. A metal pipe was present in his mouth as he rolled and jumped his way towards me. Eventually, I managed to back myself up against the wall while he closed the distance. I made one last ditch attempt and tried to run off to the side, only to feel his weapon strike me on my temple. I crumpled onto the floor as pain flooded my mind, dark spots danced around in my sight as my eyelids grew heavy, the sound of the raider’s taunting sounded muffled.
“Deja Vu.” I mentally grumbled to myself.
And then I blacked out. Again.
When I regained consciousness, the first thing I noticed was the fact that my head felt like a melon that had been dropped from twenty stories high. After much groaning, I looked around and found myself on a dirty queen sized bed in an old room. To the left of the bed was a door which probably led to the bathroom. The floor was covered in pebbles and splinters, the walls weren’t any better, however they instead bore blood stains.
As I tried to get up, I found myself being yanked back to my original position followed by the sound of metal clinking. I looked up to find both my forelegs bound by a pair of cuffs that were chained to the wall.
“Well, shit.” I said to myself.
I kicked my legs up and over my head to try and kick the chains loose. Unsurprisingly, I fail to get enough power, and ended up kicking off the chains and sending the lower half of my body crashing into the bed. Each of my attempts failed miserably and did nothing except hurt my hooves, cause a good bit of noise and move the bed a couple of inches. None of which, was going to aid me in my escape.
Eventually, I gave up and instead resorted to just randomly thrashing about. About fifteen seconds later I ran out of energy and laid on my bed, panting. As I did, I debated just swinging my legs over the bed, but then decided that the chains were too short to let me do so and I would probably end up hanging myself by my forelegs, which really didn’t sound fun.
My only hope now, was to pray that Belette could make her way up here.
Waking up, the first thing I heard was the muffled sound of a grenade going off somewhere in the vicinity, followed by dust raining down from the walls and the ceilings as the building shook. I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and tried to regain my bearings. Looking around, I noted that I was still in the same room, with the only difference being the fact that I could hear gunshots and battle cries.
The sounds of chaos started to grow louder, less muffled, sounds of bullets going through walls and hitting through metal rang through the corridors outside. The only thing that was separating me, from whatever kind of bedlam that was ensuing outside, was an old, wooden door. I struggled against my shackles in a desperate attempt to break free, only to end up achieving the same results as before.
I yelped as bullets began to riddle the walls, a line of bulletholes suddenly appearing. Straying off course, some embedded themselves in the floor, others hit the bed, causing fluff to burst out. While that went on, I made the smart decision to curl up into a ball and shake in fear.
Bullets sped through the air, whistling as they did so. I was showered by shards of broken wall and splinters, which did nothing if not worsen the situation for me. Over the sound of the transpiring pandemonium, I could make out the sound of the raiders threatening their assailant.
“Hold still so we can eat you already!” I heard one raider mare bellow before letting loose a barrage of bullets.
Suddenly, the thud of a body falling to the ground was heard, followed by the ceasing of gunfire.
“Hold her down, I want to kill this one myself!” A raider stallion growled.
The sound of an assault rifle emptying it’s magazine was soon heard. I uncurled myself just in time to catch a glimpse of blood splattering through the holes in the wall, the muzzle flash of the weapon illuminating the hall outside.
For a solid few seconds, I froze, paralyzed with fear. My jaw hung open as my heart continued to pound in my chest, the absence of any kind of sound from outside only caused me to panic even more than I should have.
Suddenly, the door swung open and slammed against what was left of the wall, at the doorway stood Belette, covered in blood. Straightaway, I noticed the bleeding gash just above her right foreleg and the irritation and anger that the very, very pissed off expression on her face radiated. She walked over to me and shot off my chains with Mirage, ignoring the fact that the bullets could very well have deflected and killed either me or her. Fortunately for me, it worked and nopony died a stupid death. The cuffs were still on and still very much chafing my hooves, but at least now I could move.
“I am not having a good day.” Belette growled as she walked out of the room.
If you thought things got better following my glorious rescue, you are sadly mistaken.
Following my liberation, we ran down the hall, turned a corner or two, and then ran into a group of armed raiders. Even worse, my revolver was gone, the one weapon I’d spent a good portion of my life fine tuning specifically for my preferences and my style, was now probably in some raider's mouth crying for it's mama. While here I was, behind cover, under fire with nothing but my own bare hooves and a very pissed off unicorn.
I hate to interrupt here, but I suppose I must explain the custom, built from scratch weapons.
You see, weapon factories are, logically, gone. No more mass produced weapons and what not. But nopony thought about it because we had a load of weapons left over. It’s one of those “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” oversights.
Anyways, fast forward a couple hundred years to the present. Guns, especially working, original ones are regarded as a treasure in the wasteland. Most of them were most likely overused to the point of being irreparable or they were simply lost. So, what do we do? Simple. We use whatever’s left.
Most guns nowadays are hybrids. Perhaps a pistol rebuilt to fire grenades, or a minigun that fires shotgun shells. It is rare to find an original gun that still hasn’t been modified one way or another, much less one in pristine condition.
Besides not having a choice, ponies got to customize their firearms to fit their needs. A weapon tailor made for them. Plus, thanks to this a new way of living was born in the form of gunsmithing. Ponies pay ponies to make guns and perform modifications. Everypony’s happy.
So, yea. Where were we again? Oh right! The fire fight.
"Come out and plaaaaaaaaaaaay!" A raider said as he fired another cascade of bullets, most of them hit the walls, only a fraction of them came anywhere close to nailing my cover.
Belette responded by levitating her weapon above her head and blindly firing it with her magic while she remained behind cover. A spray of hot lead mowed down the closest pair of raiders, both of them soaking up the shots with a splatter of blood before dropping to the floor with a thud. The remaining three ponies were undeterred, watching their comrades die in battle must’ve been common for them because they frankly did not give a shit.
As they continued to spray bullets at us with the accuracy of a drunk, three legged dog on a carnival ride, I looked to the side to quickly glance at Belette, who was in the midst of reloading. I could barely hear her growl over the sound of the guns as she rummaged through her magic portal. Summoning a magazine, she quickly stuffed it in the gun and turned her head to look at me.
“I don’t have too much ammo left on me! About three or four more magazines! I’ll cover you while you move up ahead and get yourself a piece!” She yelled over the ensuing firefight.
I nodded my head, ready to carry out the plan. As soon as she popped up from her cover, I ran out from mine, dashing into one of the now vacant rooms, I spotted a faded, green SMG on the floor on the floor, outfitted with tape, and a strap, resting next to a dead raider. I ignored the corpse and equipped the gun before crouching by the doorway. My heart was pounding, Sweat trickled down my head and into my eyes, stinging them. I blinked a couple of times before focusing my attention on the action.
I watched as Belette cut down yet another raider. Which, in all honesty probably wasn’t that hard. All she had to do was levitate her gun out from the safety of her cover and just fire. Simple as that. Before she could continue her massacre, the raiders turned the tables and lobbed a grenade at her.
The silver apple tumbled through the air, flipping end over end before landing onto the pile of rubble Belette was camping behind. I watched her eyes widened as she scrambled onto her hooves and ran towards me, I backed up as she leapt through the doorway, the grenade exploding as she did so. The walls shook, threatening to fall over. Dust rained over the entire room as the shock wave washed over me and Belette. Shrapnel flew everywhere, burying themselves into the walls and the roofs.
Stumbling, I made my way through the dust and to the door before popping my head out and letting loose. Bullet shells were rapidly dispensed from the side of the gun, opposite to the trigger. I kept my tongue pressed against the trigger, never once easing off. However, the gun had terrible accuracy that could have rivalled Mirage’s. Bullets all flew towards the raider, resembling a weird shotgun spray pattern instead of a steady stream.
Turning, the raider attempted to seek refuge in the room. However, his attempt at escape was futile. As soon as he turned, hot lead embedded themselves into his body, some striking his neck while others found a new home in his stomach. The shots were even powerful enough to stagger him, causing him to lean against what was left of the door, bullet holes materialized all over him, all of which soon began gushing blood.
I ejected the empty magazine and dashed back into the room, where Belette was more than ready to jump right into action. Exiting the room I could hear the electrical whirring of the barrel spinning up before she once again put into action the very same plan she used for just about any problem. Pull the trigger, and watch the problem solve itself. It sounded like a jackhammer, it was loud enough to devour the gruesome demise of it’s victim. Shortly after, it stopped.
Stepping outside, I took in the new, far more abhorrent decor. The walls were now completely wrecked, blood drenched the hall, bullet shells were scattered all over the place. And it smelled like victory.
“Oh hey look, you weren’t useless this time.” Belette congratulated me.
“That’s because I wasn’t snuck up on.” I replied, a triumphant grin plastered on my face.
“Congrats, you’ve got your first kill.”
“Oh that’s not my first, actually wasted a... couple more... on the way up.” I faltered.
I felt my legs go weak. My throat was as dry as sand, the world spun as I tried to stomach the fact that I was now, a certified murderer. I had taken the lives of my fellow ponies, even if they were deranged slayers who probably deserved to die anyways. My legs gave out and I fell on my haunches, trembling as horrible realization hit me. I hadn’t even thought about it in the heat of battle, I was too panicked, too scared. And now that I had some time to think...
“Listen, it can be a little tough knowing that now you’re a killer. But it’s okay. You’ll get over it.” Belette reassured.
“How are you acting so calm about this?! You probably killed hundreds of them!” I snapped.
“I wouldn’t say hundreds, maybe twenty? And the reason why I don’t give a shit? Easy. I just look at them and think about all the lives they’ve taken and how they’ve had this coming for a long, long time.”
I didn't respond. Everything was a blur to me.
“Listen, if you didn’t get them, they were gonna get you. Plus, you wanna make it anywhere out here, you’re gonna have to get your hooves a little bloody.”
And then I threw up.
After I finished having my mental breakdown and upchucking everything my stomach held, Belette had reminded me that we still needed to find the medkits and escape. The sound of approaching raiders and the urge to not become their lunch only helped to move things along.
Advancing through the halls, Belette and I made sure to look into every room. We didn’t want to head inside and search because quite frankly all I wanted to do was to get this quest over with so that I could go back to our likely-to-collapse-on-us house and continue wallowing in my guilt.
The lack of gunfire and screaming ponies at least gave me a chance to catch my breath, and study my new weapon. The SMG was manufactured by Castro inc., a company I knew exactly nothing about. Although it’s name was nowhere to be found on the gun itself, wastelanders have taken to calling it: “Bootlegger” simply because it was easily manufactured, easily repairable and was found generally anywhere on the planet due to them being one of the most mass produced weapons... I think. The history book was charred. Anyways, due to the fact that it used ten millimeter ammo, which was pretty common, and that you could toss it into a river, have it go through the digestive systems of a hellhound and probably still be functional, it became a huge hit among the wastelanders.
It’s performance, was a different story.
Like I said before, it didn’t have very good accuracy. In all my years of being a trader, I’d seen my fair share of them. And every single one of them sprayed, even the best conditioned one had a tendency to miss it’s mark sometimes. What’s more, it wasn’t as powerful as some other guns you could find, usually failing to penetrate anything stronger than combat armor.
Reaching the end of the hall, Belette and I pushed open the large, wooden door, it’s peach paint peeling off. Once the door swung open, we looked inside to be greeted with the stairs. Again. Anyway down was blocked off by an assortment of furniture and random nonsense, the only way, was up.
“So, how sure are we that we didn’t just stumble into the wrong place?” Belette complained.
“Well, did you see any other raider nests around?” I replied.
“Do you see any medkits around?”
“That’s… a good point...”
“We’ve been searching for hours!” Belette groaned as she took her first steps up the flight of stairs.
“We’ve only got one more floor left.” I said, looking up from the staircase.
Looking straight up, I was right. I could see three more flights of stairs, with the third suddenly transitioning to the top of the lower half of the building. Despite that, it was still rather dark, presumably thanks to the top half of the tower blocking out the sunlight.
“The top half isn’t completely useless. It isn’t leaning that much, they could very well have shit stored there.”
“You’re not helping but okay.”
Arriving at the door for the seventh floor, Belette didn’t bother to take caution, at all. Opening the door, she immediately slammed it shut again and ran towards me. Before I could say anything, the door was hit with a barrage of bullets, causing wood splinters and lead to fly about, while I ducked and took cover. Belette cursed, Mirage now summoned, was encased in purple magic and ready to go, despite the fact she was running low on ammo.
I swung the SMG from my side to my front before grabbing it with my mouth and making my way to the wrecked door. The walls should’ve been thick enough to stop bullets, so I was more or less safe as long as I didn’t stand in front of the doorway. As I leaned against the wall, I used my gun to shoot out the door closer before placing my foreleg in the handle and yanking it open. Swinging open, the door was sent crashing into the wall in front of me as a volley of bullets whizzed past.
I crouched low and poked my head out. The hall was littered with upturned tables, couches and various other forms of cover. Rays of sunshine seeped in through various cracks and holes on the walls. Paper and bullet shells were scattered all over the floor, the walls were covered in graffiti and blood. Down the hall, I spotted a pair of heads, slightly peeking out from behind a tarnished white couch.
Firing my gun, I sent a fusillade of bullets in their direction. I knew the couch couldn’t have offered much protection against the high velocity rounds. I heard splattering, followed by groaning and thuds, signaling my success. I stood back up and poked my head through the doorway once more to make sure the coast was clear before entering the seventh floor, Belette following close behind.
The hallway was pretty dark compared to the stairwells. It depended solely on the stray beams of sunlight to illuminate the way. Either it had used light bulbs before Belette screwed with their electronics, or the raiders had night vision. Knowing Belette, it was probably the former of the two.
Creeping down the hall, I noted the odour of the stale, musty air was now combined with the metallic smell of freshly spilt blood. Cobwebs, big and small were scattered across various corners and crevices. Just about everything was covered in a thick layer of dust, the walls were littered with holes and cavities. Generally speaking it did not look like a very happy place.
“Last floor. Assuming the raiders didn’t decide to use the top half. It’s either here or it’s nowhere.” Belette said, advancing forward, taking quick sweeps of the rooms and their contents as she forged on.
“So, how have things been while I was gone?” I asked curiously.
“A little more quieter.”
“You had any trouble coming up here? At all?”
“Surprising how much trouble these guys can cause.”
“Really? Don’t look like it.”
“A couple of empty health potion vials and a nasty gash beg to differ.”
“You might actually want to get that looked at sometime soon.”
“I’ll down another potion later and it’ll be good as new.”
As Belette glanced through yet another room, she let out an excited: “Aha!” before entering said room, emerging with a grin plastered on her face.
“I found AK mags.” She said, her happiness evident by the momentary smile that flickered across her face.
“Gee can’t wait to use them all up in ten seconds again.” I teased.
“Shut your yaps. Got something for you too.” Belette retorted, tossing me a couple of SMG magazines.
I, in all my agility and skill managed to catch neither of the two.
The two magazines flew past me, one over my head and one between my legs and either smashed against the wall or clattered against the floor. Although they were more than durable enough to survive a game of catch-gone-awry, I was more concerned with the fact that we might have alerted any nearby ponies of our presence. But then again we just had a firefight less than fifteen minutes ago and we had yet to be swamped by smelly, ugly raiders so I dunno. While I picked up the ammo, Belette continued on without me, looking through room after room.
"Fucking finally!” Belette said, .
I hastily stuffed the magazines into my bag and trotted up to her. Looking into the room, I immediately spotted three identical grey boxes, all of them sporting a yellow plus with pink butterflies on the top. Neither of the three were in mint condition, the third one was open and also completely wrecked, with shards of glass and dried up medicine coating what was left of it’s innards. In the corner of the room I spotted a fourth one, significantly more damaged than the first two but it was still closed and in somewhat usable condition, more than I could say for the third one..
The first two were also battered and worn out with most of it’s paint scratched and faded and it’s edges rusty, but despite the wear and tear, it it looked relatively good and most of it’s contents were probably still in good condition. That is, if the raiders haven't used them up yet.
Unlatching the two metal latches on the top two corners, Belette opened the first med kit and peered inside. It’s contents were aged, it’s bottles and bandages covered in a thin layer of dust, some cotton swabs and half the roll of strapping tape was gone, blue liquid coated the bottom and the sides, presumably from a shattered health potion. The color of the health potion always depended on the skill of the brewer, however medkits always had blue health potions, signifying that it was well brewed, and it was also far more potent than the yellow or pinks ones that are so commonly found in the wasteland.
“Grab one and go. Raiders probably won’t be too happy to find us here.” Belette urged as she stored two of the medkits in her magic pocket.
“You don’t want to check the others?” I chided.
“The sooner we leave, the better the chance we survive. ‘Sides, if they didn’t use up this one, what makes you think they’ll have used up the others?”
I swung the saddlebag off my back and re-organized everything, moving everything to the right bag so as to make space for the medkit on the left. Luckily for me, it fit, but only just barely. With my newfound cargo, in all it’s bulkiness, stretching my bag to it’s limit, I doubted that I would be as agile anymore.
“See, it’s only afternoon and we’re already done!” I said cheerfully.
“We left at six in the morning.” Belette mumbled.
“Oh quit being such a sour-”
A loud *BANG* sounded, followed by shotgun shells whizzing through the hall, effectively interrupting me mid-speech. A good deal of the pellets had found themselves riveted into the wall above the bed, mere inches away from me and my companion.
“WHO’S FUCKING IDEA WAS THIS?!” Belette screamed as she continued to scramble across the debris, stumbling from time to time as she did so, the raiders behind us occasionally stopping to send a deluge of hot lead flying our way.
"Lets see, who hasn't been here before? Oh that's right! IT'S ME!” I yelled back.
Let me just be the first to say that traversing a building that’s been tilted to forty-five or so degrees really isn’t fun. The slanted floors meant you’d naturally attempt to run yourself into one of the rooms and out of the window before falling to your death. So, a good deal of the time me and Belette spent leaning against the walls and hopping through doorways. As if that wasn’t enough, there was furniture who’d managed to slide into the walls thanks to gravity. Oh, did I mention all the holes in the walls and the floors?
Despite our new walking style that vaguely resembled a drunk monkey with wheels for feet, we still managed to maintain the distance between us and our pursuers who were having just as, if not even more trouble negotiating the new, weird terrain. Even though Belette fell down a doorway and slammed into a bed, we still accomplished the task of staying away from the murderous psychopaths.
Fortunately for me, years of free time spent running around the school meant I had agility to spare. It was no cakewalk, but I would’ve preferred this over shooting any day. I managed to hop, skip, and run my way past the whole twisted obstacle course undeterred by the med kit in my bag. All the while Belette did decent, but it was clear she was struggling to keep up.
Realizing that we were on the highest floor and that there was literally nowhere else we could go, I stopped, turned around to face Belette and and found her leaning against the wall, sweaty, dirty and out of breath.
“Where do we go?! It’s the highest floor!” I asked, my heart racing, probably from the workout and not the danger considering the raiders were still lagging behind and seemed intent to keep walking towards us like ragdolls that failed walking school, which pretty much demolished any form of intimidation whatsoever. I had no reason to be afraid.
I was given a reason when a bullet hit my bag, undoubtedly penetrating the medkit and presumably decimating a good portion of it’s contents before exiting on the other side. I yelped and ducked down, staying as close as I could to the ground.
“We’re gonna have to jump.” Belette answered, looking into the doorway.
I peeked in and noticed she was staring at a window, which just so happened to be positioned in such a that jumping across to the other building was actually a survivable option, that is if you don’t miss the window on the other side and you actually make the jump.
“Excuse me, what?!” I asked, questioning Belette’s sanity.
“Just follow me.” Belette reassured.
Before I had time to object, she stood up, dashed into the room and leapt through the window, curling up into a ball at the last second. Glass shattered and wood splintered while she shielded her face with her forelegs. I watched as she tumbled through the air and crashed through the other window, clipping a bit of the frame before landing and rolling through the dark insides of the building, where she was probably rolling around probably covered in her own blood and screaming in agony. Oh hey, sounds like my first period.
I gulped and followed suit, hoping that the glass Belette had smashed would lessen the pain to some extent. Hopping onto the windowsill, I sprung myself into the air. Less than a second later, I found myself tumbling across the floor, which probably wasn't doing my cargo any good.
Once I came to a halt, my body wasted no time in telling me I was an idiot. I responded with groaning as my whole body ached, my head hurt, newly formed wounds stung, I was dizzy, disoriented, and I was very convinced that I might've pissed myself while I made the jump.
"Never. Never again." I groaned.
Pain shot through my body again as I brought myself back up to my hooves. A quick survey of my body revealed no serious injuries, a scrape here and there, but nothing a health potion or two couldn’t do. The med kit most likely earned another dent in the process, but at least it wasn’t completely obliterated.
“You okay?” Belette asked as she lumbered over, looking just as, if not even worse than me. The gash above her right foreleg had stopped bleeding, but it still looked like it was going to need medical attention.
“Could be worse. That uh… gash looks serious...” I replied, eyeing her wound.
“It’s nothing.” Belette said, brushing it off.
“Oh no, we’re not going anywhere ‘till we get it disinfected and dealt with.”
“Oh will you just sit down? It’ll only take a minute. Plus, I’m tired and hungry. We could use the rest.”
“Fine.” Belette mumbled as she sat down scowled at me.
Craning my neck, I poked my head into the bag and bit onto the medkit. I pulled it out and set it down next to Belette, who was in the midst of laying down all the loot she had gathered from the nest. One of the corners was caved in, which made opening it troublesome. When I did manage to pry the thing open, I studied it’s cargo, letting out a huge sigh of relief that the decimated corner had only split open a pack of tissues and a medical mask. The rest, was a little cramped together, but usable.
“I could just drink a health potion or two and get it over with, I mean, how many ponies really get sick from an infected wound anyway?” Belette
“Most ponies don’t get their wounds from a gore filled, diseases ridden slaughterhouse.” I
I gripped the bottle of antiseptic with my teeth and pulled it out. Once I set it down, Belette assisted me and unscrewed the lid while I grabbed one of the tissues. I picked the bottle back up in my mouth and slowly tilted it sideways, letting a few drops of the yellow liquid fall onto the tissue before getting soaked up.
Placing the tissue on my right hoof, I slowly brought it to my friend’s laceration. As soon as I made contact, Belette flinched while I rolled my eyes.
“Just tough it out, bite down on something.” I urged.
“Whatever you say doctor.” Belette muttered.
Continuing my work, Belette started to get accustomed to the stinging pain, soon enough, I was done and she was free to ingest a potion. She grabbed a vial of pink liquid and wrenched the cork out before sending it my way. It bounced off my chest, and rolled away having done no harm.
“Now that wasn’t very nice.” I said with a pout.
The building we had landed in was abandoned, devoid of any life save for the occasional radroach or molerat. Both of which, weren't dangerous so much as they were annoying. Opting to conserve ammo, I decided to borrow one of the machetes Belette had managed to loot from the raider nest. Needless to say, it was messy. But nothing a quick shower couldn’t clean.
Gotta admit, I can’t even imagine how the early years of the wasteland must’ve been. The Enclave taking control of the sky meant not a lot of rain got through, they often used it up for themselves before the clouds got too heavy.
Now, things have changed.
With ol’ Lightbringer controlling the skies now, we got plenty of rainfall. We reinvented showers, got plenty of water to drink as well as to water crops, and it was a huge step forward to rebuilding civilization y’know? For once we finally had more than enough water to drink and we didn't have to worry about radiation poisoning!
Of course, we didn’t stop there. About a year ago, we had the pleasure of meeting all kinds of foreigners. Folks from Haywaii, Alascolt, heck there was even a guy from Faustralia. How? Supposedly, boats were starting to become more and more common. We even have pirates now! Which is bad! But cool!
But yea, ever since boats were reinvented, we got to trade from different countries in the world, so long as we survived the sea creatures that supposedly dwelled the ocean bottom and the aforementioned pirates who wouldn’t hesitate to decapitate their victims.
The next few hours were uneventful, the only highlight being me almost falling down the stairs, but besides that, it was mostly just me and Belette going down staircase after staircase, the molerats and radroaches weren’t exactly ‘life threatening’, and that’s if they even bothered to attack. They seemed more concerned with scrounging for scraps than anything and wisely left us alone.
Things had been all smooth sailing up until that point. We had the loot, we more or less lost the raiders… ish. As long as we stayed away from windows they didn’t have much of a chance to take shots at us. Eventually they’d have to lose interest in us. The change of pace gave birth to a lot of… interesting dialogue.
“Pew pew.” I muttered under my breath.
“What are you doing?” Belette asked, stopping to turn around and look at me.
“Pretending to shoot stuff.
“Oh so now you want to shoot something.”
“Okay first of all, ow. Second of all, under the circumstances we were just in I highly doubt anypony could’ve fired straight, much less actually get a kill.”
“And before that?”
“I.... okay I’ll give you that one.”
“Gonna have to work on that if you don’t plan on uh... retiring early.”
“It’s my first quest alright? Give it time.”
As I walked past the doorway, I found myself behind a counter, faded and dirty with the left end smashed to oblivion, fallen chairs and torn paper littered the floor. I spotted many built-in drawers, all ripe for looting and scavenging.
And then I heard a growl.
“Whatthefuckbarbeque!” I exclaimed.
Snapping my head to the left, I spotted a brown dog standing atop a medical chest, teeth bared and mouth pulled back to form a snarl. It refused to stop as I stood in front of it, frozen in fear. The animal was in terrible shape, with patches of fur gone, giving it bald spots. It looked painfully thin, so much that I was almost convinced that I could put him down. Almost.
“Bel…” I said in a hushed tone.
“Just go, he probably won’t chase you.” Belette whispered back
“But the medkit…”
“Its probably just hungry. Throw him an apple or something.”
“You do it. He’s looking right at me.”
I watched the hound, not daring to take my eyes off it, in return, he did the same. Eventually, his growling turned into straight up barking, which really wasn’t any better. All while Belette took her sweet time rummaging through her inventory.
“So uh, sometime today would be nice.” I whispered urgently, the danger of having a rabid dog very much on my mind.
I continued locking eyes with the dog, not daring to move in case I might trigger an attack. Eventually, Belette took her eyes off all her shiny-ish new guns long enough to lob an orange over my head, causing it to bounce off the countertop and roll across the room before bouncing down the stairs.
Jumping onto the counter, the canine was quick to give chase to it’s lunch. I watched as it dashed down the stairs, skidding into the wall before scampering down after the orange. I let out a sigh of relief as I finally let my body relax.
“Didn’t think he’d go for an orange to be honest.” Belette said.
“Then why’d you throw him one?” I queried.
“You were nagging me.”
I walked over to the medkit, lowering myself to grab it before I realized that we barely had enough space.
“You think you can cram one more kit into your portal?” I asked Belette.
“Nope. Why don’t you carry it in your mouth?” Belette replied.
“Put something filthy like that and risk catching a disease?”
“Well, you just did it a couple hours ago.”
“Okay that was different.
“The other bag is filled with stuff too.”
“Well then let’s ditch it.”
“But he might pay extra!”
“We already agreed that he’d pay us two hundred caps.”
“Well, we can always re-negotiate.”
The unmistakable pitter patter of claws tapping against the floor sounded throughout the room. Belette and I slowly turned our heads to face the stairway and found the dog, sitting by the top of the stairs, an orange by his paws.
“I have an idea.” I said, my mouth curving into a grin as I realized my own genius.
“Interesting…” The sheriff said as he eyed all four medical kits, including the one that was in Whathefuckbarbeque’s mouth.
By the way, that’s the dog. Yea, that’s his name. Couldn’t think of anything better at the time. Kinda suits him anyways, after all that is the first thing that comes to mind when you look at him.
“So, we brought back an extra medkit…” I said, rocking on my hooves.
“No, no you didn’t.” The sheriff said blatantly.
“There was supposed to be a total of seven medical kits and double that number in health potions.”
The sheriff eyed Barbeque, while the dog simply continued to stare off to the side, Medkit still very much in his mouth. Slowly reaching out, the sheriff attempted to nab the kit from Barbeque’s jaws. Immediately, he turned his head to face forward and growled at the sheriff’s hoof.
“It’s got… character.” The sheriff said, retracting his foreleg with a look of disgust.
“So… uh… we’re still getting paid right?” I asked.
“I suppose a deals a deal. I promised two hundred caps, and you'll be paid two hundred caps.”
“Are you serious?” Belette said in disbelief.
“A stallion keeps his word. By the way, where’d you get that dog? Didn’t see it when you two set off.”
“Oh we found him in an abandoned building just a couple hours ago.” I answered.
“And you already trained it? Amazing.”
“Oh we didn’t train him. He probably still doesn’t even know any basic commands and hates my guts.”
“Then… how did you get him to hold the kit?”
“Well, at first we tried throwing it like a disc but it didn’t do anything. Then we tried shaking it in front of it, then we tried bumping it into him but he never really held onto it for more than a few seconds. Finally, we stored some food in it. He didn’t want to leave us because we fed him, and he didn’t want to just give up the food in the medical kit either, so he just brought it along.”
“I see...” The sheriff said, eyeing the dog cautiously.
“It was never supposed to work.” Belette added.
“So, how exactly are you going to get him to drop it?”
“Well I dunno. We never thought we’d make it this far.”
After much coaxing from all three of us, Whatthefuckbarbeque finally relented after Belette lobbed a pear across the room. He instantaneously dropped the medkit, most likely destroying the few medical processions that were in usable condition before charging after the fruit so fast any bullet would’ve been ashamed of itself.
Following that, we proceeded to the general store where we proceeded to find out that we had been collecting weapons in vain as even the shopkeeper didn’t have enough bottlecaps to buy them all. And neither the doctor or restaurant staff were interested in purchasing our loot either. But besides that, we both got ourselves some pretty decent armor and a boatload of ammo.
Belette had invested in a set of combat armor, sans the helmet, because according to her, it wasn’t bulletproof and quite frankly it looked ugly. It was nothing special, it looked like any old set of armor, but hey, it was more than capable of stopping a bullet, that was all Belette looked for in a suit of armor.
Meanwhile I had bought myself a full set leather armor, which, for whatever reason lacked a sleeve for my left foreleg, instead it came with a roll of black cloth that I was supposed to wrap around my left hoof. Despite that, I bought it simply because it looked the best, and compared to my other options, it was lighter and I wouldn’t have to sacrifice as much agility.
Seeing as how we had more caps than we knew what to do with, I decided to start a new project and buy myself some spare parts to tinker on my new SMG in order to fill the empty void my beloved revolver had left. The store didn’t have as many components as I’d liked, but I was sure I could pick up whatever I needed on the way to the Detrot Tunnel.
After our shopping spree, the sun had already begun to set, forcing me, Belette, and my dog to stay the night if we didn’t want to bear prey to the various predators that roamed the night. Early next morning, we left the village well-rested… ish, with a good amount of ammo, a few extra weapons we could sell off should we find ourselves low on caps, which probably won’t be needed considering we were close to four hundred caps.
We were wealthy by wasteland standards, we were well armed, and we had a dog! It still hated me seeing as how he growled every time I was within a meter of him, but a dog is a dog. Life doesn't get any better than this.
For once, I felt confident. I felt sure that we would cross over to Equestria no problem. That this trip was going to be smooth sailing all the way and I could enjoy myself. It also didn’t occur to me that I was probably jinxing myself. But I didn’t care, I legitimately thought we were going to be fine.
But then again, when has anything ever gone to plan in the wasteland?