Fallout: Equestria -Phantom of the Past-

by averagewriter

First published

In the wastelands of Equestria, a pony from the past travels across the land, looking for answers to what happened while he was "asleep". Soon, he discovers the events that lead to the very land he is on right now.

We need to learn our mistakes from the past,
but sometimes...we don't.
We repeat this mistake once more in the future...
And the same thing happens all over again,
Just Like History...

200 years later...after the great war between the ponies and zebras. 200 years later after the great nation of Equestria has fallen under the effects of the Megaspells. 200 years later after the doors closed in each surviving Stable...

A stallion awakes to find himself immediately under the threats of the wasteland. Unprepared, confused, and oblivious of what happened 200 years ago, he travels around the wastes for some answers. Because of his unprepared state, he was easy prey to those who lived by the rules of the wasteland. But luck was on his side...

Before he can become one of the many rotting corpses found around the place, he managed to meet a mare who may be tough on the outside but her heart follows her own set of rules. This was just the start of a new beginning of this stallion, and not so soon, he unintentionally forms a small group. With the help of his some of his accidental groupmates, he slowly learns what it means to live in the wastes, and the pressure of not bowing down to the cruel rules of the wasteland.

But something unexpected happens in his journeys, and now he has to find out what really happened 200 years ago, why is he still here, and who he truly is. Can he answer his questions before an evil being that laid dormant inside him awakens and takes control?
An unofficial(Non-canon) side story of Fallout: Equestria.
Inspired by author of said story, other authors that also made side stories of it, and many more.
Any characters from the original FoE are simply borrowed (with permission) and aren't mine. They belong to their respective owner (Kkat).

(old(Thanks by the way))Editor: Pastelights

Prologue: A Speaker, The Audience, The Story

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This is a brief history of pre-war Equestria.

Equestria, a land filled with peaceful ponies.

An unnamed zebra nation that shared its borders with Equestria.

Both lived in peace for a long time, though they weren’t aware of each other...yet.

When the first zebra arrived in Equestria, panic spread among its inhabitants. Nopony dared to try socializing with the stranger for they were not sure on how she will react to them. It was only when a certain group of ponies at least try to understand this stranger that the rest of ponykind accepted the zebras. This was the first time the two nations accepted each other's’ differences and opened up their borders for each to come. It was a good time...but not for long.

As the two nations trade, more and more trade sanctions arose involving the natural resources of the two superpowers. Relations would soon be strained as minor conflicts broke out between the two nations. Slowly, the two nations would lose their trust as various events happened. The one event that would completely shatter all hopes of reconciliation of the two would be the Littlehorn Massacre. It all started with a misunderstanding, a zebra refugee convoy had to pass close to the school but were immediately fired upon by the Equestrians. Though the ponies realized their mistake and stopped firing, casualties has been already sustained by the zebra. In retaliation, a trained zebra commando stealthily entered the school and deployed a Pink Cloud Talisman, killing everything in the building at that time. This event lead to Celestia’s abdication of the throne. This was the breaking point of the two nations. Peace was no longer an option.

This was the start of the war.

Everything went downhill after that event. The new ruler asks six ponies to be a part of her wartime government, thus the Ministries were created and Equestria was changed forever. Each ministry would do different things that would help Equestria and its inhabitants. We’ll not dwell on the Ministries but they were an important part of Equestria’s history.

The war was brutal, killing many ponies and zebras alike. It showed no mercy to those who are good or bad, pony or zebra, strong or weak for War is not picky. It consumes everything in its path.

One of the Ministries invented the Megaspell, an underlying spell framework that allows smaller spells to be augmented in scope and intensity. It was made with the intention of stopping the war as its original purpose was to effectively heal everything and ensuring no one dies and the war ends in a stalemate. The schematics were released to the zebras by the said Ministry in hopes of ending the war. This did not happen though as the zebras managed to manipulate the Megaspell and change its effects for mass destruction.

At this point of time, Stable-Tec was founded by 3 mares. The purpose of this company was to save lives in an event of a Megaspell attack by building fallout shelters called “Stables”. The Stables were built underground or in the sides of the mountains and about one-hundred and one Stables were built. Though the Stables were initially built for preserving lives, it also had a different function.

And then...all hell broke loose…

The zebras soon realized they were at a losing end, as Equestria was more advanced than them, and believed that Equestria was under the influence of the stars, due to certain events and misunderstandings. They also believed that should the Equestrians win, they will kill all of the zebras. With no other options left, they launched an all-out megaspell strike against Equestria.

Many cities were destroyed and many lives were lost. Equestria became an inhabitable and irradiated wasteland. The said can be said to the Zebra nation as they were counter-attacked by the far more and advanced Megaspells of Equestria. Despite the effects and damages of the Megaspells, a lot of lives, even if it's just little compared to the population of Equestria before the war, were saved thanks to Stable-Tec. Most Stables served their purpose to preserving life in case of a Megaspell attack as the surface slowly rot away.

That was the end of both nations but not the end of life.

200 years later, not much changed. Land, water, and air still contained some radiation. Some parts of Equestria were barren, no signs of life anywhere. But still, there was change nonetheless. The survivors of the war and their offsprings managed to live in the surface and built communities. They learned how to cooperate with others to survive. Other problems soon appeared, from mutated species to raiders and slavers, the new generation of Equestria would have to face a very grim future. It’s back to square one for everyone.

I stared at the crowd in front of me, all of the ponies that flocked around me just to listen to my stories. Most of them were young stallions, interested about the events that happens in the wasteland. I was used to this, it became a hobby of mine. After all, I needed an audience to listen to me. Most of the time, I have problems trying to voice out my thoughts so story-telling might just help me.

I continue to stare at the crowd. I already told them about pre-war Equestria and that seemed to make them happy. The thought of living in that time was exciting indeed. But now, they wait for me to open my mouth. They wait for me to speak. I smiled at them, amused that they would sit for hours just to listen to me talk. They could do other things, like explore the world around them.

I decided to give them what they wanted. It would be torture to keep them waiting. I open my mouth and their ears perks up.

“Everyone has a beginning. They could have started in the wastes, in the Stables, or even in the small towns around the surface. Heck, they could even have started at the clouds too. Anyways, everyone also has a choice to make. Should they do this or should they do that? Should they shoot or should they talk? The choices are endless, right?”

They all nodded their head and continued to wait for more.

“Now, since what I said applies to everyone, including me, I think it’s time to tell a story I saved for this moment. Are you still listening?”

They nodded their heads eagerly and their eyes were filled with excitement.

“Good. This time, I’ll tell you all my story. I’ll tell you all about my encounters in the wasteland and all of my adventures with my companions. From the very start to the very beginning….to this point of my life.”

Chapter 1: A Shaky Start

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"Ready for an adventure of a lifetime?"

It started in a place with nothing but darkness everywhere. I call this place the “Void”. It was a lonely place obviously, with only me the only in the place just floating around without a care in the world. Even if I was alone, I was still content. I felt at peace when I was there for some reasons. Maybe it’s because I had nothing to worry about at the time. But all of that changed when a robotic voice pierced through the silence of the Void.

“Warning. Power Error. Power is not sufficient enough to continue -bzzt- Error. Please evacu-bzzt- Power Failure inevitable. Activating emergency -bzzt-”

Then a loud hiss interrupted whoever or whatever was speaking. I tried covering my ears to at least soften the sound. The voice then continued speaking as soon as the hiss subsided.

“Opening-bzzt- cryo-bzzt- Please stand-bzzt- Opening p-bzzt- i n 2 m i n -BZZT-”

The voice finally stopped talking and I thought it was over. I was wrong. Pretty soon after, a magnificent white light pierced through the Void, making the darkness retreat. I stared at the light in awe as I watched it grew brighter and bigger until it finally consumed me. The hiss returned and it lasted for what felt like an eternity. I think I lost consciousness but not before hearing one last sentence.

“-BZZT- has been successfully c o m p l e t E-FZZT-”

I immediately woke up, taking in deep breaths, as my eyes tried to understand my surroundings. As soon as my vision cleared, I realized I was staring at a ceiling. Very slowly, since my body did not feel like cooperating with me, I sat up. My vision suddenly blurred as a sharp pain hit me straight in the head. I took deep breathes, trying not to pass out from the pain. As the pain slowly subsided, I moved my limbs around. For some reason, they were stiff and painful to move. After enduring the painful reintroduction to having a body, I decided to get used with my environment. Despite the flickering lights, which hurts my eyes, I still could see my surroundings with at least in decent detail. I realized that I am sitting on a weird looking bed and I could still see even more of these “beds” beside me, except there’s glass covering what I presume would be where a pony would sleep.

“Hello?” I yelled out, hoping for a response. Instead, I get a deafening silence.

I slowly got out of the bed. As soon as I standing up, my legs threatened to buckle. Once more, I took a while to get used with myself before proceeding. Finally, I decided to check the weird-looking beds. I pressed my face against the glass screen of the nearest bed to see who or what was inside. I was horrified to discover a rotting corpse. I quickly backed up, close to vomiting whatever was in my stomach. Though I did not want to continue, my curiosity pushed me on to explore.

Looking around the room, I found an exit out of the nightmarish place I was trapped in. As I walked past the beds, which I suspected to be sleeping pods now, I noticed some of the glass of some beds were cracked or smeared with blood. In other cases, I found strange liquid would be leaking out from the pods or the whole pod filled with said liquid. Finally, I exited the room to find myself covered in darkness once more. Panicked, I stayed in place until my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I cautiously continued my journey to find a real exit out of this place, sticking next to the wall.

After what felt like hours of being in the dark and bumping into random objects, I finally saw light. It wasn’t flickering too which meant whatever was the source of the light would be something else other than the room I woke up in, right?

I ran towards the light, tripping many times over objects which I did not want to know, and felt very eager to get out. But when I reached the source of the light, I was disappointed but at the same time surprised. It was a computer and a very high-tech looking one too. I checked it to see what I can do it with it and found words on the screen.

“Please connect device(PipBuck, D.E technology, etc.) to terminal.”

I stared at the screen, wondering what the said devices were. I don’t think I’ve seen any technology(other than the pods) on my way. Then again, I’ve never seen one. Before I could think any longer, another robotic voice cut in.

“Device detected. Compatibility with terminal: High. Status of device: Offline. If possible, please connect device to terminal.”

Again, I was stumped. I decided to look around for the said device but the light coming from the terminal screen wasn’t bright enough to light up a good chunk of the place. At best, it was bright enough just to light up itself. Then a random thought just crossed my mind: What if the device was already with me? I found it a silly thought but it was worth a try.

Using the screen light, I checked myself out to see the said device. Sadly, I did not see such thing but I did notice something interesting. I found what looked like metal braces(or robotic parts) attached to my hind legs, one of my forelegs(the right, specifically), and on my back. They were interesting but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Annoyed and frustrated, I stomped my hoof on the ground. I heard a crunch as I felt my hoof crush something hard. I then noticed a green light blink in the darkness nearby. It was also near me, just few steps away from the terminal. Maybe, just maybe, it could be the device I’m looking for. With the location of where the light blinked in my mind, I carefully felt the floor for it. Soon, I touched something and decided that I found it. I grabbed it(with a bit of difficulty in holding it) and walked back to the terminal. Finally, I could see how the device looked like.

It was a device that was built for your legs(the front ones anyways) and it looked like a portable computer. I examined the front area of it, noticing the buttons and the gear placed on the device, checking the screen which was blank, and also tried pressing any of the buttons to see if anything would happen though nothing happened sadly. I examined the back area, finding a port that looks like it’s used to connect to the device. Still very careful on what I was doing, I did not wear it for I did not trust it to be on my leg, yet. I looked for a cable that could connect to the device and found one just behind the terminal. I quickly placed the cable on the port(the port was luckily a universal one, I thought) and waited for something to happen. I checked the computer screen and was a bit surprised to see this message:

“Error, device is not connected to a host. Host of said device is encouraged to wear it and try again.”

Sighing in annoyance, I disconnected the device from the terminal and wondered if wearing it would be a complicated task. Luckily, it seemed to use a latching mechanism. After some tries, I got the device on my leg(The left one) and stared at it in awe. Once more, I connected to it at the terminal and waited. This time, the robotic voice spoke.

“Device has been successfully linked with terminal. Checking info about connected device. Task complete. Device is a D.E.-PipBuck 3000 Mk IV Prototype II Hybrid. Status of device: Offline. Initiating reboot of device.”

The screen on the “Pip” lit up and a string of code was displayed on the screen. After that, the screen glowed blue as a cog was displayed on the screen with the words “LOADING” below it. After a few minutes passed, there was a click as the cog display was changed into a pony with bars on each limb, torso, and head. The voice then continued to speak.

“Rebooting complete. Initiating secondary task. Checking all database for user of device. Task complete. User of device is not found in the database of the D.E. main computer. Restricting user to guest functions only. You may now disconnect the device. Thank you for cooperating.”

I stared at the screen as new words were displayed. Most of them were “[Access Denied]” but I noticed one choice that seemed a bit too convenient for this situation. It read “Initiate secondary search about user on D.E. supercomputer”. It was the only option there available so I chose it. I heard another click as the computer suddenly displayed lots and lots of numbers being highlighted quickly. Not long after, it stopped on the number 35. I stared at the screen for some time and since nothing was happening, I checked my PipBuck. This time, the display changed once more into the words “Confirmed” and below that word was the option “Initiate administrator access”. I tapped on the option and the display once returned to the normal “Pony stats”. I then heard a different voice, though it still came out from the same terminal.

“Terminal has recognized user. Identified as -BZZT- aka. Project 35. Granting -BZZT- access to the database of -BZZT- 0.”

All the choices that had the words “Access Denied” slapped onto it was finally accessible. The new choices were information about this place, info about Proj. 35, info about the PipBuck, and “Back to the surface”. I tried choosing the info but the file is corrupted. Same goes to the PipBuck, what a bummer. The only choice that involved information was about 35. I decided to choose it, feeling a bit curious about 35. It did state that the owner of the PipBuck, or me maybe, was called Project 35 for reasons. When it did show me the info, I was quite surprised.

“Project 35, also known as [CONFIDENTIAl], is one of the many subjects D.E. experimented on. Subject is a male Earth pony. Project 35 was one of the most successful projects D.E. did, earning him the nickname “Eclipse”, named after the event that happened involving him during an eclipse.”

Feeling a bit satisfied, I finally disconnected the PipBuck from the computer. When I did, I noticed a new option pop-up on the screen: Play recording “Urgent Message”. Since the 2 other files were corrupt, and I had no way of fixing or retrieve the info, and I wasn’t sure about the other option involving the “surface”, I played it. The message started with someone, who was a female, shouting some orders to whoever it was on the background.

“Make sure the computers are up and running!”

She then cleared her throat and started her real talk.

“Ahem. This message shall act as a guide on using your PipBuck. If you happen to be the lucky ones who got the special ones, then it’s no surprise that you’re listening to this You see, this message only appears to those who have the unique version of the PipBuck. If you are really interested on knowing how to work the device, then a new audio tutorial shall be downloaded to your PipBuck shortly. Don’t worry, you don’t need to connect the device just to download it. In fact, the audio tape will be automatically downloaded to your Pip if it’s in the range of the terminal after this recording. Good Luck.”

Then a click. I would have thought the recording was over if it wasn’t for the amount of minutes left before the recording ends displayed on the screen. I was quite confused when 1 minute and 30 seconds of silence passed before the same speaker returned. This time, she sounded less confident than before.

“If anyone is listening to this, then I expect it to be Eclipse. We modified the Supercomputer in away that if it’s Eclipse, it would allow access to this point of message. How? Using the unique Pips. In any event that one of the unique ones tries to identify its user, via the tiny needles that will insert itself into the user’s skin for a short time to get the user’s DNA, and it found it that the user is Eclipse, the Pip will send a signal to the supercomputer or terminal, as long as the tech is made by D.R.P. The signal that was sent to the terminal or supercomputer will allow administrative access to any technology created by D.E. or D.R.P.

Eclipse, if it is really you, then I am in lose of words. Either the inevitable happened or something triggered the system’s emergency plans. I hope it was the latter. Whichever the case was, you woke up. You also have no memory of who you are, what happened, or anything at all...right?”

I was shocked on what I heard. It couldn’t be, I thought. I racked up my brain but it was blank. I couldn’t remember anything at all.

“Just a reminder, Eclipse is your nickname. So don’t think it’s your real name. Anyways, I am sorry that we had to do it. It was our biggest regret to do it to you. Unfortunately, I could not tell much about you. Doing so would be a violation of our rules and recording this is just enough to get me killed. And even if I can, it would be impossible. After the experiment, we too were subjected to this experiment, though at a smaller scale. Every information about you was wiped out from our memories except your nickname.”

She was suddenly interrupted by someone shouting in the background, followed by footsteps that grew louder and louder as it moved closer towards the poor speaker. She spoke once more, her voice desperate.

“Don’t become the monster they want you to be! You are better than them. Better than anypony from this cruel facility. Please, stay safe…for the sake of your...No, NO! GET AWAY FROM ME! NOOO!”

The recording ended there. I was unable to move, her screams still in my mind. I wondered what happened to her and what is this place. I also wondered why I was here in the first place and why...I can’t remember my own name. Do I even have a name besides Eclipse? Another click brought me back to reality. Tracing the source of the sound to my PipBuck, I checked the screen to see a message pop-up.

“Requesting access for downloading new software for D.E.-PipBuck3000 Mk IV Prototype II Hybrid. Y/N?”

I tapped on the yes option and watched the PipBuck reboot once more. While it was downloading the new software, I shifted my attention back to the terminal. There was only one last option left. I looked around one more time to see if there’s anything worth checking, which there was none, and waited for the PipBuck to be done downloading. Once the new software has been installed and the PipBuck is finally back to normal, I took a deep breath and hesitantly clicked on the last option. I prepared myself for anything dramatic but nothing happened. I stare at the terminal for sometime before the old robotic voice spoke once more.

“Please stay put while the platform is moving. Please refrain from tampering with the terminal while platform is moving.”

Then alarms sounded as red lights began to light up the place.

“Preparing platform to return back to surface. Checking radiation levels on surface entrance. Radiation danger:0.00%. Opening tunnel hatch. Platform is now online.”

The ground beneath suddenly shook as I heard a hissing sound followed by a loud screech above me. I looked up to see the ceiling split into two and a tunnel, that was covered by said ceiling, being illuminated by lights on the sides. As soon as the ceiling stopped moving, the floor I’m standing on slowly ascended. The alarms continued to blare as the platform continued to move up. After sometime, I heard another screeching sound, though this one is louder, and noticed bright light passing through the widening cracks of another ceiling. The same robotic voice spoke one more time before fading out.

“Opening primary hatch. Thank-BZZT- for staying with-BZZT-G o o d-FZZT-”

When I reached the surface, it was somewhat dark. Still, there was light. It took sometime before my eyes adjusted once more to the new surroundings. When my eyes finally adjusted to the light, I gasped. What I saw saddened me greatly. Dead trees, grassless land, and the howling wind. Stunned, I just stared at the environment, mouth agape. I turned around to see what else there is to be seen in this place and saw a ruined town nearby. Broken down houses and roads littered with debris. Near me was a broken down sign. It was very dirty and damaged but I could barely see the words.

Welcome to Ponyville

As soon as I read the sign, my head ached. An image popped into my mind as my head continued to throb. I could see the town, alive and beautiful, with ponies around. It felt like I was here before. As soon as it came, my headache disappeared, along with the image of the town. Shaking my head, I decided to explore the place. I walked down the ruined paths, looking at the buildings. I wondered if anyone was living here, though that was unlikely. When I reached to a point where I could see a white and purple building nearby(named the Carousel Boutique), I heard sound as loud as thunder. I also heard shoutings. I then noticed a pony near the white building. The pony was a unicorn mare and was wearing what looked like to be a blue and yellow suit


Finally! I thought, Another living being!

I slowly walked closer to the building, ignoring the loud noises, until I noticed the dark splotches on her suit. From afar, it did not look suspicious, but at a closer look, I realized it was blood. I also noticed she was carrying some sort of weapon, a combat shotgun maybe. It wasn’t too soon before she noticed me too and aimed her gun at me. I froze. This was happening too fast. I just got to the surface and now I’ll be shot? Before any of us could make a move, I heard another loud sound(which, at this point, I recognized as a gunshot) and she quickly retreated into the building. Seeing my chance, I ran away from that place and towards to a building colored dull-pink. I stopped at the entrance to catch my breathe and took the time to look at the sign at the building.

Sugarcube Corner

I quickly entered the place and saw what a mess the place was. Overturned tables and chairs littered the floor. I later noticed a dead pony next to the counter. I tried not to gag as I noticed the pool of blood beneath him. I also noticed a weapon, a double-barreled shotgun to be exact, next to the corpse. Not wanting to be in the same room with the corpse any longer, I quickly went to the stairs nearby and ascended to the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor was not as damaged as the 1st and everything looked clean and inviting(Amazingly). While most of the rooms on the floor was boarded up, there was one room that was open. I carefully walked towards the room, still unsure if I’m finally alone. Once I reached the room, I finally felt safe since there no other ponies to be seen in this place. I decided to explore the room and see if there’s anything useful around. When I first entered the room, I noticed a safe on the corner of the room. I inspected the safe, seeing if it has been damaged or if it’s already open. I was surprised when I found the safe to be open and still have items inside.

Since I don’t want to be caught off-guard, I first went to close the door and locked it. Better safe than sorry. After that, I walked back to the safe. Inside were interesting items I did not expect to be in a safe or to be still in a safe that had been opened already. I inspected the first thing that caught my eye: a gun. It was a revolver with 2 roses, crossed, engraved on the barrel. It was built in a way that one can shoot the gun with their tongue. It looked mighty strong and seemed to be still in a decent condition. I also found a box of ammo and a holster for the revolver. The next thing was a small chest. When I opened it, I discovered a lot of gold-looking coins. It looked valuable, even if it looked dull and rusty.

The last item was the most interesting one. It was a saddlebag. I checked each bag to find what looked like a pink pony statuette. I also noticed writings engraved on the stand. Now what’s so interesting about it is how it made me feel when I touched it. It made me feel more alive and more aware in some way. I stared at the eyes of the pink pony, feeling its eyes look at me with glee.

Pinkie Pie…

That name just popped out from nowhere. I had no idea how or why I thought of that name but it seemed pretty fitting. This made me wonder even more. Did I know who this pony is before? It could be just a statuette that had nothing to do with me or is not even based on a real pony but yet again…

I thought a long time while staring at the statuette. Maybe, just maybe…

I smiled a bit and put the statuette back in the bag. I also placed the ammo box and the small chest along with it. I strap on the holster and debated if I should put the revolver in the holster or not. I decided to just place the revolver on top of the safe for now. I’m not planning on leaving it there though. I looked at the door and sighed. I wasn’t ready yet and I was very tired. There was a bed in the room and it also seemed to be in good condition. I made one last check on the door lock before I went to bed. I lay down, staring at the ceiling and wondering what to do next.

Just sleep, I thought to myself. I’ll think about what to do once I wake up.

To others, it would be a bad idea just to sleep after seeing a pony aiming a gun at you and a dead corpse. But in my dazed state, it was the perfect thing to do.

I closed my eyes and emptied my mind of any problems. I was at peace once more and soon, I fell asleep.

Awareness! It was under "E"!
Perception +1

Chapter 2: First Day In The Wastes

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“When all is gone, that is when everyone realizes the things they take for granted.”

I was walking down a street that looked familiar. I looked left and right to survey my surroundings, seeing buildings which I thought I’ve seen before. Only when I’ve laid my eyes upon the familiar building with its beautiful and bright white and purple colors do I realize where I was.

I was in Ponyville.

Impossible! I thought, this town doesn’t look like the glum and destroyed sight i’ve seen before, unless…

“Hey Ditzy!” I called out to a derpy-looking grey mare pegasus who was eating muffins. I just realized that I spoke out involuntarily. Yep, I’m in a dream.

The mare, or Ditzy, looked at me with her crossed eyes and smiled at me. She then walked towards me, carrying her bag of muffins in her mouth.

“Uhm, I think that’s your 3rd bag of muffins for today, Ditzy. I think you should learn to control yourself,” I told her, shaking my head. She frowned at me and gently placed the bag beside my feet.

“Hey, they taste really good, okay?” She then stared at the bag and licked her lips, “Really good…”

“Well, I guess you’re right. Those muffins from Sugarcube Corner tastes great,” I simply said. I noticed she was still looking at the bag hungrily so I cleared my throat, “Ahem, Miss Derpy?”

She shook her head and blushed a bit. She quickly wiped the drool from her mouth and looked back at me.

“Anyways, I bought this for you. You know, since I know that you also love muffins,” She nudged the bag and winked at me.

“Oh, thanks,” I told her. “I am feeling hungry right now.”

“Yeah, I could see that,” She said. “I guess I’ll see you later. The Doc has something to show me!”

“Oh really?” I asked her. She nodded.

“Ooh, I hope it’s going to be something worth showing me!” She exclaimed.

“Yeah, like a bag of muffins,” I mused. “Well, what are you waiting for? Don’t keep him waiting.”

“Oh right!” She looked at her leg like she was checking the time, even if she doesn’t own a watch. She then turned around and looked at me one more time, “Goodbye!”

“Goodbye to you too, Ditzy,” I said as I waved at her. “And thank you for the muffins.”

She waved back at me and walked away. I looked at the bag which sat beside my leg and smiled.

“I guess it’s just you and me for now, hmm?”

I woke up to a very loud sound. Panicked, I quickly tumbled out of my bed and rushed towards the safe, where the revolver lies on top. I quickly placed it in the holster and looked at the door. It was still closed and I sighed in relief. I heard another bang and I realized the sound was coming from downstairs. I gulped and open the door, feeling my heart thump against my chest. Hesitantly, I poke my head out of the door to see if the coast is clear. Seeing no threats on the 2nd floor, I slowly got out of the room, carefully trying not to make the floors creak. When I finally reached the stairs, I heard someone talking with a very annoyed tone.

“Curse that little brat. I hope those good-for-nothing ponies smoke her out of that damn place.”

I gulped once more and dared not to take another step. I was shaking and sweating heavily. I would have stayed in place if it wasn’t for my curiosity. Taking a deep breath, I carefully walked down the stairs, crouching and hiding in the shadows to avoid being seen. On my way down, I could make out a silhouette of a pony near the door. Feeling the need of safety, I equipped my revolver. As I tried getting use to having a gun handle in my mouth, I suddenly realized that I had no experience in using one.

It can’t be that hard, I thought. All you have to do is aim and pull the trigger.

I looked back at the door, and to my horror, saw that the silhouette was gone. I looked around to see where the pony could have went but found no one. I reasoned to myself that he could have just left the place and that was enough for me to convince myself that I am safe. I slowly walked towards the door, still feeling scared. My mind was still processing on what happened that I failed to notice a movement from my peripheral vision. I then heard a gun cock and the same voice from a while ago, except the tone changed into pure malice.


I turned around quickly to see a stallion glare at me. He was a unicorn with an eyepatch on one eye and had a smile that only contained missing or rotting teeth. I also noticed the weapon he was telekinetically carrying. It was a shotgun, and even though it looked like it could fall apart, it obviously could still pack a punch. The stallion aimed the shotgun at my leg and fired. My legs gave way and I fell on the floor, trying not to scream and instead bit down on the gun handle, and listened to the beepings coming from my PipBuck. The stallion just laughed as he watched me trying to stop the bleeding from my wounded leg.

“Ehehe, you should have never entered this place. But too bad you went in here anyways. Oh, you poor little fool.” He said, taunting me.

I weakly looked at him and he stared back at me, smirking. Seeing that the shotgun could be hit easily and that it is no longer aimed at me, I quickly aimed at it. It was now or never. I pulled the trigger and the bullet hit the barrel of the stallion’s weapon, rendering it useless. The stallion looked at his now broken weapon in shock and angrily threw it away. He looked at me once more, his eyes filled with the need to kill.

“That was a stupid move foolish move you did,” He growled. “And you are going to pay the price!”

He used his magic to carry me and strongly threw me towards a wall on the other side of the room. I hit the wall with great force and I lost my grip on the revolver. The pain from my wounded leg and from the impact of hitting the wall was enough to cripple me. I heard footsteps going towards me and I weakly looked up. I saw the stallion wielding my revolver and he aimed at me. And I could see it in his eyes he was done playing with me.

“Any last words from your pathetic mouth before I end your sorry excuse for a life?” He said with angry satisfaction.

I looked at him with anger and he just laughed at me. I closed my eyes and hung my head in defeat. I just got out of the dark prison beneath the ground just to face this kind of hell. In the end, I was just going to die.

I waited for him to shoot the gun already but instead, I heard a loud thump. I quickly opened my eyes and was surprised to see the stallion lying on the ground with a big rock next to him. I could bet he died immediately when the rock hit him basing on the amount of blood coming out from his head and on the rock. I looked at the entrance to see the same mare from before look back at me before running off.

I took one deep breathe and tried to get myself out of the wall. After some agonizing moments, I managed to fall down on the floor face first...and right next to the dead body of the stallion. Groaning in pain, I tried getting up. After some shaky tries. I managed to stand up, though my leg still hurts like hell and is tempting me to lie down again. Checking the dead body to see if there’s anything I can use to cover up my wound, I was lucky to find a bandage on him. Grabbing it and finally done patching up the wound, I grabbed my pistol and and holstered it. Remembering the saddle bag I left at the safe, I groaned in annoyance and limped back towards the stairs. I stared at the stairs and asked myself if it would be worth it to go back to the 2nd floor just to grab the bag. Realizing that the bag contained the ammo for the revolver and I could use it to store items(which is actually the whole point of a saddle bag), I sighed and painfully walked up the stairs and back to the room. After I grabbed the bag, I endured another trip back down. I was about to get out of the place when I noticed something near the other corpse beside the counter. I walked over to it and inspected the strange object. It looked like a giant needle with a gauge for some reason. Upon closer inspection, it looked like it contained some liquid.

Hmm...a...stimpak? I thought, Wait, how did I know what it is? Did I...encounter it before?

I grabbed the stimpak and inspected it further. I tried to think about it and what possible effects it can have on me. Maybe my memory about it, if I did really encounter it already, could surface up.

Hmm, stimpak. Simply just a blood bag with a needle or a syringe with blood, is it? No, it’s not just a blood bag. I think it’s some sort of...medication to heal one’s body. Yeah, that must be it. Wait, medication or chem? My head then started to throb once more, Ugh, trying to remember is too much.

I decided to just inject it already, since the pain in my leg is becoming such a bother. After injecting it, my leg felt better and I threw the now empty syringe away.

One more thought...that could be the last stimpak because if I remember...it was soon replaced with...ugh, I shook my head and headed outside. I just realized that the whole place became silent. Looking left and right for any threat, I quickly exited the town and towards the land I now call the “Wasteland”.

I had been walking for a long time now. I was tired, hungry, and thirsty. Even if my leg is now healed(I presumed. I have not removed the bandage to check), the rest of my body was still painful after I hit the wall. And when I checked my PipBuck, I saw that most of the bars were halved. So the PipBuck has been monitoring me or my health all this time. Go figure.

I soon found a shack nearby and it looked deserted. I quickly went towards it and entered it. Inside, the shack looked warm and cozy. There was a bed, a chair and a table, a radio, and a locked chest. I placed down my bag near the bed and checked the chest. I can pick the lock but I had no idea how so I just left it alone. I checked the radio and see if it still works and surprisingly, it still does. The radio was just playing static but as soon as I changed the frequencies, I found one that seemed to play music. I also lowered the volume of it to lessen the chances of me getting found. After that, I locked the door and I went straight to bed. I should not be sleeping at this moment but I was very exhausted. And besides, I don’t anyone would stumble into the shack or anything. So I lay down on the bed and listened to tunes playing from the radio as I slowly fell asleep.

“Sometimes, we just hope that rain stops falling,
Sometimes, we just hope for the sun to shine brightly.
But not everything in life will go our way,
But we must remember that we still need the rain to fall.

Sometimes, we wish that our heart would stops crying,
Sometimes, we wish that our eyes would start smiling.
But we don’t always need to feel happy,
Sometimes, we just need to let it rain…”

I was at a farm with 2 older ponies, feeling anxious and eager at the same time. I looked at the older earth stallion beside me and asked him a question.

“Dad, do I have to meet her?”

He smiled at me and nodded.

“Of course, she is your cousin after all.” He replied.

“But why now? Why not when I was younger?” I asked him again.

“Well, because I had a lot of stuff to do. And so does your Uncle and Aunt....” His voice trailed off as he suddenly looked like he was thinking of something else. I nudged him to get his attention and he snapped out of whatever he was thinking.

“Dad, you were saying?”

“Right, right. We did visit them before but that was when both of you were still young little foals.” He continued. “And...that was the first and last visit…”

“Dad, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” I worriedly asked him. Ever since we were on the train going to Ponyville, he started acting strange.

“Yes, yes. I’m fine. Just...Just go meet your…’cousin’.” He said, a bit dazed. “You don’t want to keep her waiting now, do you?”

I shook my head and turned towards the old unicorn mare.

“Hey, Mom. Is Dad feeling alright?” I asked her. She just smiled at me.

“Your Dad is fine, honey. Just give him time to think and he’ll be back to his normal self.” She answered me. “Now go on. Go see your friend. Or maybe cousin, who knows? Not even I know all about this ‘blood-related’ things. Anyways, it’s been years since you two have met.”

I nodded and I followed the dirt path towards the farm, looking at the beautiful scenery that surrounds the place. It was a nice change from the city life I know.

I soon reached the doors of the farm and was prepared to knock, though I had a lot of questions in my mind. Why did I have to meet her? How does she look like? Hell, I don’t even know her name. I asked about this to my parents but they seem preoccupied with something and just told I’ll find out soon enough. I was about to knock when the door opened and a pink pony greeted me. I was startled by her and nearly bolted when she suddenly appeared.

“Hi! Hello there! Who are you?” She quickly said. I had barely enough time to answer before she spoke again.

“Oh, where are my manners? Oh wait, it’s with me!” She giggled at her own joke before she continued. “My name’s Pinkamena Diana Pie or Pinkie Pie for short.”

“Uhm...Hi?” I managed to say. She was speaking so fast that it’s hard for me to understand what she was saying. I then heard more voices from inside the farm.

“Hey Pinkie, what are you doing there?” A mare’s voice questioned the pink pony. Pinkie turned around and answered.

“Oh, I’m just talking to the newcomer!”

I just looked back at my parents and saw that they were talking to an even older earth pony. I took a deep breathe and assured myself that everything will go just fine, as long as I don’t talk to the wrong pony.

“And who’s the newcomer?”

Another mare joined Pinkie soon enough. She was mostly purple and she was also a unicorn. The purple unicorn looked at me and tilted her head in confusion.

“I don’t know. Maybe you should ask him! And maybe you can impress him with your vast knowledge of books! He does look like the one to read.” Pinkie answered.

Great, I have to introduce myself to another pony. Any more and I’ll “book” it.

“Hmm, okay then.” She said. “So, what’s your name?”

“M-My name...is...uhm..” I stammered, sweat clinging to my fur. I gulped as the purple unicorn stared at me.

“Oh, nevermind then. I’ll just introduce myself.” She said when she saw that I was choking on my own words. “I’m Twilight Sparkle, one of Pinkie’s friends.”

I just nodded, still trying to find any courage to speak.

“Hey, I know! We should let the rest know you!” Pinkie blurted out. “It would be fun!”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea.” Twilight agreed. “Come on, let’s go inside.”

I gulped and reluctantly followed them. Inside the farm were 4 more mares. There was one earth pony, 2 pegasi, and one more unicorn. I promised myself that I’ll bolt if there were more but the farm doors shut behind me. The 4 other mares stared at me then at their 2 friends, waiting for an explanation.

“Hey girls! Meet our new friend!” Pinkie yelled out. Wait, did she just said “New friend”? I just stared at the others, not knowing what to do.

“Can your new friend introduce himself?” The white unicorn asked Pinkie. She looked like the sophisticated ponies found in the big cities, like Canterlot and Manehattan. I did think for a minute she will be all high and haughty but seeing her in this farm and not dressed so fancily removed that thought.

“I guess he can…” Pinkie muttered. “But he seems to be the silent type.”

Pinkie then looked at me and asked, “What do you say? Wanna introduce yourself?”

I tried replying but I could not find my voice. I was not used to being with so much ponies interested in me, especially mares.

“Maybe you and the others should introduce yourselves first.” Twilight suggested. “Maybe then he’ll be confident enough to talk about himself.”

“Well, for the sake of the poor fellow.” The white unicorn said. “My name is Rarity. It’s a pleasure to meet you, darling.”

“And I’m Rainbow Dash!” The blue pegasus eagerly said as she flew around in the air. What’s unique about her is her rainbow mane. “Your turn, AJ!”

“Me? Aww, shucks.” The orange pony then tipped her hat. “Mah name’s Applejack. And welcome to Sweet Apple Acres.”

There was one last pony yet to introduce herself and that was a yellow pegasus who was hiding behind Applejack. Pinkie Pie bounced towards her and said, “Come on Fluttershy. He’s not that bad.”

“Do I have to?” She asked Pinkie, looking at me.

“Sure, he can be silent and stare at ponies strangely. Maybe he could even be a very tough pony in the future where the land is ruined because of reasons.” Pinkie babbled. “But he’s nice! Well, in a way. He still didn’t talk so how am I supposed to know?”

I just facehoofed at what Pinkie said. Did I really stare at ponies strangely?

“I-If you say so…”The yellow pegasus then took a deep breathe and got out from her hiding spot. “I’m Fluttershy.”

“Great! Now that everypony is done introducing themselves, let’s talk about something we have in common.” Pinkie quickly said. “To avoid further awkward situations!”

“But he still hasn’t intro-” Twilight tried saying something but was cut-off by Pinkie.

“So, mysterious stranger or friend, are you here to see your cousin whom you met when you were still a foal?” She asked me. I stared at her in disbelief. She got every reason why I would be here correct.

“How...did you..? No wait...it’s actually-” I tried to explain cut she cut me off.

“How did I know? I just know!” She giggled.

“Say, who’s this cousin of yours anyways?” Twilight asked me. I shrugged.

“I...don’t know…I-I mean! It’s not-” I said. The purple mare interrupted me.

“Wait, you don’t know your own cousin?” Twilight asked once more, a bit confused.

“Well, I only met her once...and according to my parents, we were both foals at that time.” I answered. “And she’s not-!...I give up…”

“Uhm, oh. Ok,” That was all Twilight managed to say. Then silence.

I woke up feeling well rested and ready to go, though I was still thirsty. The radio has stopped playing music now and instead returned back to static. Rubbing my eyes, I got out of bed and stretched a bit. I checked my PipBuck to see the bars are nearly full. Oh, the wonders of sleep. After stretching and letting out a yawn, I decided that I have to continue moving. The shack was nice and all and that it was in the middle of nowhere, there’s still the chance that somepony could encounter the small place and maybe try to kill me. And so with reluctant heart, I grabbed my bag and went out of the shack.

It was dark and I could barely see a thing if it weren’t for my PipBuck light. I continued walking, examining what I could see around me. It was mostly rocks, rocks, and a lot of barren earth. I was also afraid that someone might see me in the dark because of the light, I never stopped for anything. That is, until I saw something that intrigued me.

Not far from me was a small campfire. I carefully walked towards it while surveying my surroundings. When I was close to the campfire, I was comforted by the warmth that the fire provided against the cold night. All of the troubles and doubt in my mind disappeared immediately. I just stayed close to the fire, enjoying the warmth. I did not think why there was a campfire here or who could have possibly made the campfire and if it’s still here.

I took my time sitting next to the flames. I would sometimes look up at the sky and wondered why there was no starts to be seen. As I pondered on this thought, I suddenly hear a familiar click. I was instantly frozen in place as I realized that there was someone behind me. I could feel its presence and its eyes stare at the back of my head menacingly. Then it spoke.

“Move and I’ll shoot.”

Chapter 3: A Wild Mare

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"Friendship mostly happens at the weirdest or most desperate of times."

I was stupid for going out of the shack. I was stupid for going out during the night. I was stupid for going near the fire. In short, I was stupid. Oh, when will I learn?

“All right, I’ll be going over where you are.” The pony told me. “Try to do anything stupid and you can kiss your ass goodbye, got it?”

I did not move, still frozen with fear. I heard the pony walking closer towards me. I gulped and closed my eyes, fearing that I might end up getting shot.

“You can open your eyes now.”

I opened one eye and saw the pony in front of me, levitating a lever-action shotgun. She was a unicorn mare with white coat and blood-red mane. I also noticed her cutie mark was a green cross. She was also carrying a saddlebag which looked like it had seen better days. With the way she’s looking at me, it was obvious she was judging me for whatever reasons.

“Why don’t you just shoot me already?” I blurted out after finally finding my voice to speak. I immediately slapped my mouth close as I realized my mistake. She raised an eyebrow at me.

“Shoot you?” She scoffed. “You’re not worth shooting at, buddy. Besides, I’m not going to just shoot you on site like those dumb raiders. Unless you start shooting me first of course.”

“Seriously? You’re not going to harm me?” I asked in disbelief. Though I was relieved that I won’t have to deal with another wound problem.

“Yep, unless you want me to,” She replied, lowering her shotgun. I just shook my head and sighed, feeling a bit lucky to encounter a friendly.

“Oh thank you…” I told her. She chuckled a bit.

“There’s no use in thanking me, that’s not worth anything to me.” She said, looking at me. “Besides, I was ready to shoot you back then. I just didn’t because you looked so naive, meaning you won’t do anything against me.”

“Naive?” I was insulted. “What makes you say that?”

“For starters, you wouldn’t go near any random campfire that appears out of nowhere in the wasteland at night.” She then eyed at my revolver. “And also, your first instinct would be going for your weapon if you’re an experienced wastelander. You just froze when I spoke to you, meaning you could have been shot right then if it was another one meeting you.”


Well, she did have a point. The revolver was still loaded and it was pretty accessible. And if I were a bit better with guns, I could have escaped with a chance of loot.

“What are you even doing out here during the night?” She asked me.

“Exploring?” I answered. She just shook her head.

“You really are naive.” She stated. “What, you lived in a Stable or something?”

“Stable?” I stared at her dumbly.

“Wait, you don’t know?” She then shrugged. “Hmm, I just assumed so. Seeing you with a PipBuck, or if whatever is on your leg is a PipBuck, was enough to convince me you’re a Stable dweller. I guess you can’t judge someone with just their looks.”

She proceeded to grab a canteen from her saddlebag and sat down just near enough the fire to warm up. Seeing the canteen brought back the intense thirst I was feeling which I forgot when she first met me. I ended up staring at her canteen with my tongue out, panting.

“Hmm?” She noticed me looking at her canteen though she was not aware of how thirsty I was.

“Would you mind if I can have some water?” I sheepishly asked. She blinked at me and then stared at her canteen before sighing.

“I supposed it won’t hurt…”She said, handing me the canteen. I started drinking the water greedily.

“But don’t drink all of it.” She finished. I stopped drinking and looked at what’s left of the canteen, which wasn’t very much. I awkwardly grinned as I gave her the near-empty canteen back. She looked at it and gave me a look.

“Sorry…” I quickly apologized.

“Ugh.” She sighed in annoyance before she kept the canteen. “Your lucky that I have a spare one that’s full.”

I just nodded and looked down at the ground.

“Hey, I have a question.” She told me. “Is there a reason why you’re really wandering around the wasteland?

“I don’t really know…” I answered. “I just remember waking up somewhere underground and then being suddenly thrusted to the wasteland next. I’m not sure but…”

“But?” She urged me to continue on.

“I feel like I’ve been in this place before. Because somewhere in my mind, I have a feeling this isn’t what the whole place should be looking like.”

“Well, I agree on you about the ‘land should not be like this’ thing but I don’t get what you mean on the ‘been in this place before’ part.” She said.

“Well, I do seem to recall a somewhat vague memory of how the land looks like before.” I told her. It was somewhat true. Back at Ponyville, I believed I may have had a quick flashback on how the place looked before. It was full of life and happiness compared to the glum and lifeless village that was once called “Ponyville”.

“I find that hard to believe, you know that?” She shook her head in disbelief.

“And why so?” I asked her.

“Because the whole place has been looking like this for 2 centuries now.” She answered.

Now that’s when my mind went into overdrive and broke down. 200 years? No way, that’s impossible! Unless I was more than 200 years old or I was born 200 years ago but that would just raise more questions than answers. There are a lot of reasons I could have know how the land might have looked before. It could have been just my imagination or maybe it’s just my longing to see a beautiful place (which still seems similar with the former). But that wouldn’t explain the vivid dreams I was having. They could just be random dreams, right?

“Hello? HELLO?” She started knocking on my head. I quickly went back to reality and defended my head from her surprisingly strong hooves.

“I’m back, I’m back. Sheesh.” I said in annoyance. How many times do I have to suffer from a headache?

“I have another question, where did ya get those stuff?” She asked me. “The metal parts on your back and hind legs.”

I shrugged. It was pointless to try to even answer that question.

“Since your not from a Stable, is there any chance you’re a Steel Ranger? Wait, no. You can’t be one with how you look right now...”She muttered. Right now, she was just saying random stuff that doesn’t make sense to me. Well, since we’ve talked for some time, maybe it’s time for proper introductions.

“Hey, uhm…” I tried getting her attention, which worked.

“What?” She tapped her hoof on the ground. “Is it important?”

“Well, yeah...sort of.” I answered. “What’s your name?”

“My...My name?” She thought about my question before answering. “I guess I can tell you. I’m Jewel. How about you?”

“I’m…” I did a quick scan on my memory. I just realized that I don’t even know my name.

“Eclipse. Call me Eclipse” I told her. It was the name that the computer and the mare in the recording gave me, though it’s not my official name. Jewel just stared at me in confusion.

“Eclipse? Your name is Eclipse?” She asked me, staring at me with a shocked expression.

“Uhm, yeah.” I answered her.

“No...it can’t be. Maybe it’s just a...coincidence…” She muttered to herself.

“Uhm, Jewel? Is there anything wrong about my name?” I asked her, a bit worried.

“What? Oh no, no. There’s nothing wrong, it just reminded me of something.” She answered. She then proceeded to judge me once more.

“What?” I asked her one more time, a bit weirded out.

“Can I trust you?” She asked me. “I know it’s a weird question but I need some reassurance that you aren’t going to kill or loot me when I sleep. And hell, I’m sleepy.”

“Trusted? Yeah, I’m trustworthy.” I quickly replied. “I won’t do anything bad to you when you’re asleep.”


“Uhm…” I wondered if I was sure of taking this promise. And without knowing it, I blurted out, “Pinkie Promise.”

I again slapped my mouth shut. Jewel just looked at me and shrugged before setting up her bag to act like pillows. Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me, saying random things and keeping a promise ponies I just met.

I lay down on the ground. Sure, the ground was dirty but as long as I can sleep, I’ll sleep anywhere. And nevermind the saddlebag becoming a pillow, that bag has some hard stuff in it. And so, I sleep on the dirt, hoping the night will end soon.

“I bet your cousin is Applejack.” Twilight suggested. “After all, you are in Sweet Apple Acres.”

“Me? Uhm…” Applejack just looked at me awkwardly.

“Him being cousins with Applejack?” Rainbow Dash flew behind me and pointed at my flank-err-cutie mark. “I don’t see his cutie mark being related to apples.”

“But Rainbow Dash, some of Applejack’s cousins’ cutie marks are not exactly related to apples.” Twilight insisted. “Besides, we don’t base one’s relatives through their cutie marks. We base them on their genes, the family of their mom, the family of their dad, the-”

“I KNOW! Maybe he’s cousins with Big Mac!” Pinkie interrupted, bouncing everywhere.

“Technically, that would still make him cousins with Applejack.” Twilight explained.

“Then...are they really cousins?” Fluttershy asked Twi.

“I’m not real sure. We might have to conduct a lot of tests to see if they really are cousins.” Twilight answered.

As the 6 mares continue to talk about how I might be related to Applejack, I thought of getting out. It was my chance since they were distracted. I was about to until I heard the door open. All of us turned to face the door to see my dad.

“Ah, hey there son. Have you met your cousin already?” My dad asked me. I looked at the 6 mares and back at him before shaking my head.

“And why is that?” He asked one more time while he looked at the 6 mares behind me. “In fact, I can see her right now.”

I turned around to face the mares and looked at them. They were just silently staring at my dad, no doubt that they feel awkward.

“You with the cowboy hat, come here.” My dad told to Applejack, pointing at her.

“M-Me, sir?” Applejack asked him. He just nodded. Slowly, Applejack made her way towards us and stopped just a few steps away from Dad. He looked at me and pointed at her before looking back at her.

“Applejack, do you recognize me?” He asked her.

“Uhh...I’m sorry sir but no.” She hesitantly answered.

“Really now? Surely I’m in some of your family photos.” Dad told her. Applejack looked doubtful at first until she looked at Dad once more and her jaw dropped.

“Uncle...Gray Steel?”

Dad just laughed while shaking his head.

“Close enough. I can’t blame you if you don’t really know my name but that was close.” He said. “But actually, it’s Silver Chalice. Gray Steel just happened to be another name of mine.”

Applejack slowly nodded before asking another question.

“Where’s Aunt Dahlia? She’s here, right?”

“Yes, she is here. She’s just talking to your grandma Smith.” My dad answered her. He then looked at the other mares. “Applejack, would you mind if your friends would introduce themselves?”

“Uh, no! Not at all.” She quickly answered before turning to her friends. “C’mon girls, introduce yourselves.”

“Finally!” Rainbow dash said as she swooped down towards the ground until she is at the eye level of Dad. “I’m Rainbow Dash, one of the coolest pegasus from Cloudsdale!”

“And I’m Pinkie Pie!” Pinkie introduced herself as she suddenly appeared between Dad and Rainbow. On the corner of my eye, I noticed Applejack do a facehoof and she shook her head.

“And this Twilight, Fluttershy, and finally, Rarity!” Pinkie said as she pointed at each pony respectively.

“Oh dear…”Applejack muttered as she covered her face with her hat. Dad noticed this and chuckled.

“No need to feel embarrassed Applejack.” He told her.

“But this is the first time we met as older ponies .” Applejack tried to reason. “And I-”

“You want to make a first good impression?” Dad shook his head. “Applejack, calm down will ya? We already met before, even if you were just a foal, and you were a pleasant pony to be around.”

He leaned a bit closer to Applejack and whispered to her ear, “And no need to suppress that accent. Don’t think that because I never met you for a long time doesn’t mean I don’t know you have an accent. It doesn’t suit you and we don’t have to speak to each other like I’m some city folk. So lets talk like we’re friends, ok? I mean...we are family friends.” Applejack nodded and sighed.

Dad turned to the other mares and smiled.

“It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. I can see that 6 of you shared a lot of pleasant memories together. Am I right?”

“Yeah!” Rainbow replied enthusiastically. “We did a lot of awesome stuff together!”

“Now maybe you can tell me about it.” Dad said. He then looked at Twilight who stepped forward.

“Uhm, can I ask you a question?” She asked.

“Ah, Twilight.” Dad nodded his head. “Yes you may.”

“I don’t want to be rude but…”Twilight paused for a moment before continuing, “Why are you here. There’s a reason why you’re here, right?”

“Other than visiting my 2 nieces and nephew?” He chuckled a bit. “Then yes, there is another reason why I’m here.”

“Oh, ok.” Twilight said. “Would you mind if you tell us?”

“No, not all.” Dad replied. “I came here to, let’s see, look for a place for my family to settle down. The city is nice and all but the pace there is too fast...and I can’t catch up. You know, since I’m growing old, heh”

“OOH! I know a lot of places where you and your family can settle down!” Pinkie interrupted.

“Interesting.” He mused. “Maybe you can show me where.”

“Abso-duper-lutely!” Pinkie said.

“ Hey, uhm.” Applejack cleared her throat. “Mah cousin ain’t tellin us his name yet. Would ya mind if it were you to speak?”

Dad smiled at her and shook his head.

“I’m afraid I can’t. My memory is a bit foggy and his name…”He scratched his head.”What is his name?”

“What?!” Rainbow Dash gasped in disbelief. “You don’t even look that old and you’re already forgetting?”

Twilight nudged Rainbow Dash and whispered to her.

“Please keep your tone down, Rainbow, and your attitude in check.”

Rainbow Dash groaned a bit and nodded. Then she looked at Dad.

“Err, I’m sorry mister, for my attitude,” She apologized. “But can you please tell your son to tell his name?”

Dad smiled and looked at me, along with everypony else. I gulped and nervously looked back at them. Then Dad opened his mouth to speak.

“Come on son, tell them your name.”

A loud sound disturbed my sleep. I was about to doze off again until I heard the same sound. It was a gunshot. Instinctively, I quickly got up and grabbed my revolver. I looked at my side and saw Jewel shooting at someone nearby.

"Mornin sleepy head, seems we got ourselves in a dangerous situation." Jewel greeted as she fired another bullet before using a nearby rock as cover to reload. "Hey, if you know how to shoot, then help me here!"

“Wait, who’s attacking us?” I quickly asked.

“Raiders.” She quickly answered. “Now shut up and shoot!”

Another bullet fired and it nearly hit me, missing by just mere inches. I quickly crawled to another large rock and took a peek. There were 3 ponies and 2 were armed with ranged weapons. I took aim and fired, hitting one of them in the leg.

"Wow, not a bad shot for a revolver. Keep up the good work!" She said as she finally reloaded and took aim once more. We continued shooting, though it was more of her doing the shooting and me trying to understand my gun. In the end, all of them were dead, killed by a shotgun weirdly enough.

"What the hell just happened?" I nervously asked.

"Same as always in this wastelands. Some raiders try to attack other ponies just to get stuff." Jewel said as she looted one of the bodies. I just stood there, watching her collect some gear. She gave me one of the armor of the raiders.

"I-I’ll loot from dead bodies o-or scavenge from dirty trash. But I won’t wear that junk!" I objected, seeing that it was soaked in blood and raider insides (and also very damaged).

"Hey, you either wear this if you want protection or don't if you want to die quicker. Your pick." She removed another armored barding and and put it on.

Reluctantly, I decided that I would probably want something to at least stop bullets from hitting me in some parts and wore the one she gave me.

“This must be the worst armor ever…” I stated, looking at all the free spaces the armor has.

"Yeah, but at least you have armor.” Jewel said, examining some of the weapons dropped by the raiders. “If you want, you can tag along with me. I could really use some help on my way to a settlement, like defend it from more raiders.”

“I guess…” I had no choice. She had a better gun and a better aim. I’ll be dead without her.

“Oh, and be careful. Remember we’re wearing raider armor so that means we could be mistaken for raiders.” Jewel warned me. “Don’t worry, you have me to explain everything when we get there.”

I groaned in annoyance. First, I have to wear this cruddy looking armor and now I might get shoot for looking like one? I wonder if the first option is still available.

“Good, we’re done here. I guess the next thing to do is head to the settlement.” Jewel said.

“And where is this settlement?” I asked her. She grinned at me and pointed at somewhere.

“Just follow me and you’ll be fine. Next stop: New Appleloosa!”

Chapter 4: Accidents and Incidents

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"Do you think we can survive without a little friction in our lives?"

I walked behind Jewel as we walked towards “New Appleloosa”. Somewhere in my mind, it does ring a bell but I can’t seem to remember. Oh well, I guess I’ll just find out about that place for myself. It does sound a bit reassuring that there are still settlements around. Also, we encountered nasty-looking creatures. Jewel calls them bloatsprite. According to her, they are the product of a parasprite and radiation. They shoot out something that’s nasty at us but luckily we did not get hit. They were also easy to handle since one can kill them in one shot and be done with it. After this encounter, Jewel started teasing about my naive nature. It was really annoying but she was right. I know next to nothing about the wasteland and even pulling the trigger was hard for me to do.

“Are you sure you know the way?” I asked Jewel. Hours passed and yet I don’t see any signs of civilized life. I was really starting to doubt her sense of direction or her knowledge about the settlement.

“For the last time, pipsqueak, I know my way!” She firmly answered. She was obviously pissed at me for asking the same questions again and again. I just decided to shut up now lest she kills me. Sometimes, silence is golden if you want to live. But still, I was tired and annoyed that no settlement could be seen anywhere. Just dirt, rocks, and even more dirt. I would have strayed off path but like I know where the hell I am right now.

After a few more minutes, I decided to ask her one more question. So I quicken my pace a bit until I was walking beside her.

“Hey, do you mind if I asked one more question?” I asked her. She groaned in annoyance.

“This better be worth my time,” She said. “Go ahead.”

“Once we arrive to New Appleloosa, what next?” I asked her. She stopped walking and sighed.

“Look, don’t take this answer harshly,” She said. “Once we arrive, we go our separate ways. Sorry but…”

I sighed in disappointment and looked at her.

“I understand…,” I told her.

“Don’t take it too bad,” She told me. “Sometimes, it just have to be this way.”

I hung my head and sighed once more, kicking some dirt off the ground. Jewel gently punched me in the shoulder and patted me in the back.

“Come on Eclipse,” She said. “Let’s continue moving.”

I nodded my head and looked forward. We both walked once more towards our destination.

After some time, or days, we surprisingly made it to the outskirts of New Appleloosa. The walls of the place were made out of train cars and looked pretty strong despite all the rust. It was amazing to see how there’s still working settlements out in the wasteland. Jewel whistled in admiration and punched me again.

"See, I told ya I was right!" She said in triumph, smirking at me. I just nodded and sighed. She looked at me in confusion, not expecting my quiet reaction.

"Come on, speak or somethin. You've been very quiet." She was now knocking on my head again. "Please talk. Just one word?"

I ignored her and the pain that’s starting to form on my head. I really wanted to talk to her but there’s nothing to talk about. My time with her is little anyways, better just make the departure less personal.

"Damnit Eclipse! Don't give me the silent treatment. Look, I’m sorry that it had to be that way but come on, just say something! Even just one word, even if it's not a real one." She pleaded with, weakly punching me in the shoulder. "Come on! You're the only pony I met so far in my journey that never tried to kill me on the spot. The only pony that actually tried to accompany me in one of my trips. And the most annoying one too."

I smiled and dwelled on her words a bit. She was actually the first pony that talked to me in a friendly, if somewhat aggressively, way. Also the first that tried. Maybe I can talk to her for a few more minutes.

"So...this is goodbye?" I slowly asked, looking at her. She looked back at me, her face filled with a bit of anger and sadness.

"Really? Seriously? You have to ask that? Don't say that man, we might cross paths one day. Anything's possible in the wasteland. Is there anything else you can say?" She was obviously disappointed, punching me again. Her reaction to it also somewhat amused me so I decided to speak for the sake of it, and maybe get another reaction from her. It was what I felt like doing at the time, something like a last joke.

"I'm actually surprised that you care about what I say. Or you simply just care about me?" I mischievously grinned. This time, she punched me even harder, making me fall down to the ground. I started laughing, I was such a horrible flirt. Well, I guess this farewell might end in a more personal way.

"Eclipse, you jerk! You really are annoying!" She yelled at me, her face flushed with embarrassment. I just continued to laugh, then I got up. I was still laughing, but I managed to stop before she could hit me again. I looked at her and she looked like she was ready to kill me.

“What? You asked me to talk.” I said, trying to stifle a giggle. She fumed and she slapped me again and again and again until my face turned red.

“You think that’s what I meant?” She angrily said. “You know what? I’ll shoot you, right here, right now.”

“Woah, calm down,” I quickly told her. “I’m just joking around.”

“If you’re joking, it’s not a good one,” She said. “And your excuse makes me want to shoot your head off.”

I just shook my head and weakly punched her in the shoulder. She looked at me once more and finally she smiled. She punched me back and we both laughed for awhile. I finally got her to smile again.

“Are you sure we can’t stick together?” I asked her.

“I guess we’ll just wait and see,” She replied. “Maybe I should socialize a bit more.”

“Hmm, then what are we waiting for? Let’s get inside the place before we meet anything nasty.”

She nodded and we walked towards the town. At some point, I swore that I saw some ponies on top of the train cars but there was still a bit of a distance between us and the town so I dismissed it. We were near the gate when suddenly, Jewel gasped as she looked at the gate. There were two stallions with weapons aimed at us. One of them suddenly fired and I felt an intense pain course through my body. I looked at where the bullet hit me and saw blood leak out from the wound on my shoulder.

“Stop! Don’t shoot!” Jewel yelled at them. “Friendly ponies damnit!”

Again, they did not respond verbally and instead fired again. This time, it struck me near the chest and I collapsed to the ground. I started coughing and I tasted some blood in my mouth. I started feeling cold and my vision blurred and darkened. I could hear Jewel yell something at them but her words were gurgled. The last thing I remembered before blacking out was another gunfire and a muffled yell.

I was back at Ponyville, walking through the streets. I noticed that the sky was filled with dark clouds, filling me with dread. I heard what happened at Littlehorn. It started as a misunderstanding between the zebras and ponies. I thought it would have been solved peacefully but I was wrong. A trained zebra commando infiltrated the school and killed everybody in it. I also heard what happened to Big Mac. His death is what finally shattered my hope for peace. The same could be said to the rest of the Apple family and my family. He was a great stallion.

I finally stopped at the center of town, which was deserted, and stared at the gloomy sky. I let a tear fall down from my face, then another and another until I was crying. I was mad at the zebras. I was mad at my fellow ponies. I was mad at Celestia. I was mad at everything.

“WHY?!” I screamed at the sky. “Why is this all happening?!”

I stomped my hoof in anger and shouted and cursed.

“Everything that happened...it could have been prevented!” I continue to yell. “WHY DID YOU ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?!”

It began to rain and I was drenched. I continued to stare at the sky, finally letting out all the anger but the sadness still stayed within me. I feel like the lives of many were ruined because of what happened, and not just the ponies. I felt sorry for the innocent zebras who were now being treated as an enemy by everypony. I felt sorry for the relatives and friends of those who were killed at Littlehorn. Everything that happened, everything that was lost, I realized that it affected at least one living being.


When I regained my consciousness, though I kept my eyes close since I was still pretty tired, I heard voices. They seem to be discussing about me. I immediately recognized one of the voices to be Jewel.

"Is he going to be fine?" Jewel worriedly asked.

"Relax, he'll be alright. Though he was shot 3 times and one of the bullets nearly pierced his lungs, I think me and my team did a good job on taking care of him. The surgery went fine and we managed to replace his lost blood," The doctor(I presumed) reassured her. “Also, it seems something, I think it’s the technology attached to him, managed to partially heal him. That made our jobs even easier. Though I’ve never seen such kind of tech before.”

“But he’s fine, right?” Jewel asked again. “That’s the important part,him being alive and all?”

“Yes, as I said, he’s fine. We value life itself in this clinic and we will try to help anyone when needed,” The doctor replied.

I decided to open my eyes, just to see where I am. The room was white, no decoration, just plain white. Beside me, I saw Jewel and the doctor still talking until they noticed me.

"Mornin Sleepyhead! How’s your sleep?" Jewel asked me as she knocked my head again. "Whoo, taking a bullet for me. How does it feel like?"

The doctor looked at her and shook his head.

"Ugh, can you just stop hitting my head? The bullet hurts and you're not helping." I groaned, pusher her hoof away from my head.

"Aww, don't be such a sourpuss," She said. I just ignored her and instead, I tried to stand up.

“Easy now, don’t put too much pressure on yourself,” The doctor warned me as he and Jewel helped me up. “You’re body is still recovering from the wounds you obtained.

Finally, I was standing on my own legs. The doctor looked at me in surprise and wiped his glasses before letting out a whistle.

"I'm surprised you could stand up that easily. Usually, my patients who got shot takes a few tries before they could do it." The doc remarked, patting my back. "Tip of the day. Next time, don't ever try wearing a raider's barding. It just makes you look like one."

"I'll remember that," I looked at Jewel, shaking my head. She just laughed while the doctor nodded. After a few more check-ups to make sure that I’m really okay, me and Jewel walked out of the clinic. Jewel started talking about something as we walked around the town.

“Did you know?” She started. “It seems you’re not the only one that got mistaken as a raider.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her, a bit intrigued on the topic.

“It seems on the same day you got shot, another pony wearing raider armor was accidentally shot by Calamity, one of the caravan guards I think. What a strange coincidence, huh? Though I’m not sure if they’re telling the truth or not,” She continued.

“Then what happened?” I was really interested now. I wonder who the unlucky pony is.

“Luckily for her, some of the folks she rescued back at Ponyville stopped the pegasus before he could finish her off. I think she’s still recovering as we speak,” She finished. “Again, I’m not sure if the story is true or not. Ya never know. Anyways, I guess you can learn a thing or two from the story, never wear raider bardings.”

“Actually, wearing one was your idea,” I told her. “So I’m blaming you for what happened to me.”

“Hey, I gave you the option not to,” She defended herself. “And it looks like I’m not the only one who thought of that, heh.”

I just rolled my eyes as we continued walking.

"Hey, I thought we were going to split up once we get here,” I reminded her. “What’s keeping you from going away?”

"I dunno, since you look so pathetic without me, I might as well teach and help you about everything you need to know about the wasteland," She answered. "After all, I am kind and generous, heh. And I did feel a bit sorry for getting you shot yesterday."

"Yeah yeah, whatever. So how long will you... Uhm, help me?" I asked. “This partnership won’t last forever, right?”

"Ah, don't worry bout that! We'll get to it once...how does it go again? Once we cross the bridge." She replied.

So I asked her a few questions about the wasteland, about what happened, and maybe some survival tips. She answered them the best she could, which really wasn't that much of a help. I mean, what’s so useful about drinking irradiated water? Before I knew it, we slowly started our trip to becoming friends.

"Hey, once were done in this place, I wanna go explore the remains of Manehattan. So let's go buy some supplies!" Jewel said. We walked to some shops here and there, checking out what they were selling. We also looked for a place where we can buy better equipment( or armor for that fact).

Jewel then turned to me and asked a weird question.

"Hey, do you maybe have some caps on you?"

Ok, I think I got it. Caps equals money, and bits are called pre-war money(Seems legit). The pre-war coins can still be used, but unfortunately, they have lower values than those bottle caps. Luckily, they were everywhere, so we could pretty much grab a whole lot of pre-war money and get 10 caps in return at best.

So, we bartered our way to get as much equipments as possible without spending too much, which did not really worked as plan. We ended up using most of the caps(and coins)we have just for some...food and water. Jewel is not exactly the best pony to depend on buying stuff and she was also pretty stubborn, insisting on buying this or that.

“You had to waste most of our money huh?” I asked her. We were now heading towards the exit of the city.

“Aww, shut up already. At least we have something,” She said. I just rolled my eyes. As I said, earlier, she was stubborn, no use with arguing. We continued walking, staying silent until we were finally out of the place.

“Let’s hope your sense of direction will lead us to the right place.” I said sarcastically.

“You know what? Why don’t you lead the way, Mr. Pony-that-seems-smart?” She talked back, looking at me. I just stayed quiet and gestured her to move on.

“What exactly are we going to do there?” I asked her.

“Treasure hunting, sightseeing, exploring. Anything really, as long it’s worth the risk!” She eagerly said. “Manehattan, here we come!”

Again, we walked for a long time. It was a boring trip if you ask me.

“Are we th-”

“DON’T you ever ask that again,” Jewel angrily cut me off. “Just, just keep quiet or talk about something else.”

“Ok then...why continue staying with me?” I asked her with a smirk.

“First of all, it’s you that’s staying with me, not the other way around. Second, don’t rub it in my face, it just happened that I felt that you need serious teaching mister.” She said sticking out her tongue at me. There was so much maturity I can see there. Since I was bored, I decided to annoy her a bit(or maybe toy with her) for some entertainment.

“Just admit it, you just happen to like me.” I said, making sure to take note of her reaction. She looked at me suddenly in surprise.

“WHOA! Mr. Loverboy, just...no. You did not just say that. Don’t even think about it,” She said as she punched me, hard. “I can kill you in a heartbeat, so don’t test your luck.”

I just laughed, amused by her reaction. I could go on, teasing the hell out of her, and so I did.

“Right, just admit it. Your face says everything.” I looked at her, as if trying to closely study her face. I know I was treading on thin ice, which makes things even more interesting. Before anyone can say I’m a perv or something like that, I was just really bored and annoyed at her “gut” feelings. I know I can do something else but that’s all I can think of right now. In response, she stopped and brought out her shotgun and aimed at me.

“I said, don’t push your luck. Continue and I swear I’ll kill you.”She warned, getting ready to shoot. I was a bit frightened but decided to push on..

“You wouldn’t dare pull the trigger.” I remarked. She blinked and shook her head before lowering her gun. She was surprised at what I said and so was I. That was a bold move and I don’t think I could have pulled it off if I wasn’t so damn bored. The next thing I know, she slapped me with her gun.

“Hell yeah I would. You’re just lucky that I’m forgiving,” She said as she kept her gun. “And I’m surprised that you have the guts to say that in my face and you haven’t fallen or fainted from that hit. For a newcomer, you have the guts of a psycho raider but the mind of filly.”

“Ow…”I groaned, moving my jaw to see if it was still working.

I was dizzy from the hit, but she was right. The blow was extremely hard and from what I think, my lower jaw should be at least dislocated right now.

“That’s what you get, you little jerk.”She said, smirking.”Now come along, little bro, if you still want company.”

She started walking again and I immediately followed her. That’s enough laughs for one day, I thought. Though I began thinking about that what she called me. I wasn’t called that before and I was somewhat new to it.

“Hey, did you just call me ‘Little Bro’?”

Chapter 5: Raiders, Griffins, and gunfire

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"Believe in what you can do and that's how you can help the world."

“Wow, you fuss about the littlest of things huh?” Jewel asked me. “Why, never had anyone to call you a little bro?”

“I...I don’t know…,” I replied.

“You don’t know?” Jewel looked at me with confusion. “What do ya mean?”

“What else does it mean? I just...don’t know, ok?” I repeated.

“You’re saying you’re not sure if you have a older sibling?” She asked me.

“That’s what I’ve been saying,” I answered. “Is there anything wrong about that?”

“Is there anything wrong about that? Of course there is!” She said. “Technically, you’re saying that you don’t have a family...or you’re an only child.”

“I never said anything!” I quickly said.

“Then who are your parents?” She asked me. “Who are your siblings?”

I was about to answer but then I can’t remember any names. Everything’s so fuzzy that I can vaguely remember anyone’s face.

“Who?” Jewel repeated.

“I-I don’t want to answer!” I snapped. Jewel took a step back in surprise.

“Whoa, uhm,” She softened the way she spoke. “Sorry for asking.”

I shook my head and took a shaky breath. I can’t believe that I can barely remember anything. What’s wrong with me?

“It’s...It’s fine,” I told her. “Now, why did you call me…?”

“I dunno, I thought it would be obvious but since you...don’t...uhm…,” She nervously looked away. “You just remind me of mine, that’s all. Both of you talk too much and ask a hell lot of question.”

“Oh, then where’s your brother now?” I asked her.

“M-Mine?” She said with a shaky voice. For a second, it looks like she was about to tear up. She quickly shook her head and gave me a mad look.

"It’s fair I don’t say anything with you about my family,” She told me angrily. “It’s something personal and I’m not-”

“Ok! I get it,” I quickly said, taking a step backwards. “We don’t have to talk about our families. Let’s just continue walking, shall we?”

She sighed and replied, “Yeah, let’s just go. I...I’m sorry.”

We both continued walking in silence. Though the silence was a bit annoying, it did allow me to think properly. I noticed the lack of any other hostiles encounters, maybe because of luck or Jewel’s chosen path to Manehattan. I heard another click from my PipBuck and decided to check it.

“Hey, wait a minute,” I told Jewel as I stopped to look at the screen.

“Hmm? What is it?” Jewel asked as she walked towards me to get a glimpse of the screen

"Actually, I’m not sure. Right now, it just informed me of a...radio broadcast," I explained to her.

"How interesting," She said, sarcastically. “What’s more fun than listening to radio? Hmm, totally not going to Manehattan.”

I just shook my head and rolled my eyes. She was really intent in getting to this city. Before we could continue though, I heard the flapping of wings and the shadows of 2 creatures.

"Hey, what the?" I muttered, looking up to see 2 griffins flying above us. Jewel looked up to and immediately, her eyes widened in surprise.

"Eclipse, we better run...NOW!" She ordered me, still looking at the griffins. I was about to ask her when bullets started firing. We quickly bolted, running as fast as possible to get away from them. I looked behind me and noticed that they were wielding assault rifles.

"What the hell do they want?!" I yelled out.

"They're mercenaries, genius," Jewel replied, taking out her shotgun. “Dangit, and I think they’re here for me.”

"WHAT?!" I exclaimed. Jewel quickly stopped running and aimed her weapon at the griffins, though I don’t think a shotgun would do anything against the griffins based on how far they are from us.

"Look, it’s not uncommon out here in the wasteland to be targeted by some mercs because someone else wants them dead," She explained as she fired, though the bullets barely reached them. “I might just be one of those ponies who apparently got wanted for some reason.”

She continued firing but she’s just wasting bullets. I noticed that the griffins did not do any better. They were firing their guns but they always seem to miss. And by the amount of times they hit their guns just to make it work means that they really need better weapons.

"Listen to me, I'll distract them and you fire. Your gun looks like it's modified for a long range shot, even if it's just a pistol.” Jewel told me. “I can’t continue shooting at them because I’m just wasting ammo. By the time I wasted all of it, they could swoop in and kill us both, got it?”

I nodded and took out my revolver. Taking aim at the busy griffins, I made sure my gun wasn’t shaking and fired. Naturally, I missed the shot and I mentally hit myself. One of the griffins noticed me and averted its aim at me. I fired again and luckily, the bullet struck the wing of the griffin.. The wounded griffin started falling down but then it opened its wings and started to glide towards me, a trail of blood slowly leaking out from the wound. When it got closer, I noticed that there were sharp, metal blades on it.

"Get out of the way!" Jewel quickly ordered me.

I immediately ducked, the sharp blades narrowly missing my head. Jewel quickly aimed her shotgun to my attacker and quickly killed it before it had a chance to get away, the corpse landing a few meters from us. The remaining threat quickly retreated, finally leaving us in peace.

"You really need to improve your aim, bro." Jewel remarked, walking towards the dead body of the griffin. I followed her and nearly gagged.

The scene was really disgusting, the griffin was losing a big chunk of its head and brain, there was a lot of blood starting to pool around the body, and it smelled like someone who died...oh wait.

“I can’t believe that we...YOU are…,” I was interrupted by the bile going up my throat. I swallowed it and gagged once more. “Damn, like killing wasn’t enough, you have to check out what’s left of the corpse.

"Quit your whinin, it’s a necessity in the wasteland. Sheesh,” She said, annoyed. “Now let's see what we can get from this punk."

Jewel started looking at the bags of the corpse before looking at the weapon that is right next to it. Jewel threw it at me, hitting me at the head and it landed on the ground.

"Ow!" I rubbed my head while looking at the weapon that lies near my legs. It was a sniper rifle, with a broken scope and it's condition was way beyond horrible. How it still works, I have no idea.

"What was that for?!" I threw it back at Jewel. She caught it with her magic before putting it down.

"Chill a bit will ya? Since this weapon's completely useless, we can just leave it here. But let's just continue with our journey before any more distractions ruin my day,” She simply answered. I just groaned in annoyance and we continued walking, but not before I kicked the weapon once more.

We reached a town, but it wasn't Manehattan. It seems to be abandoned, as their was no signs of life in the area.

"Ooh, look at this place!" Jewel exclaimed, her eyes darting from ruined building to ruined building. "Let's explore it, shall we?"

"I thought we were supposed to go to the big city without any distractions." I said,rolling my eyes, not excited or anything. Right now, I just want to finish this trip as quick as possible.

"This ain't a distraction, this place is just an obstacle. Besides, we might find something useful here if we scavenge hard enough." She quickly said. "Ok, here's the plan. We split up so we can cover more ground faster. Once we're down, we meet here again. Got it?"

I sighed and nodded. Jewel patted my back and told me to start going. Before I can say anything, she quickly went to the left half of the town. Realizing I had no other choices, I explored the right half of the place. I had no intention going into the rotting building so I just walked along the path. I checked how many bullets I have left, counting up to 14 before reaching a bunch of empty cases.

"Ugh...great." I muttered to myself, recounting again to make sure I did not make a mistake. The silence was very unnerving until I heard a sound behind me.

"Jewel?" I looked behind me to see nothing. I just shook my head and just thought I was hearing things. I continued walking until I reached a huge building. There was a terrace on front of it and I noticed some movements on the shadows that were casted upon it. I was about to call out when I heard a gun being cocked behind me and a voice.

"Look what we have here." A raspy voice said. “Another lost little lamb...and with good stuff on it too.”

I turned around to see a raider with what looked like to be a saddlebag with guns. There was also a handle that connected to it in front of him. I stood there frozen, staring into the eyes of the raider. He laughed, knowing that he caught me unprepared. But before he or I could move, a laser hit the raider, turning it into a pile of pink ash, the saddlegunthingy falling down with a thud. I looked at where the laser originated and saw a pegasus at the balcony of the huge building. He was wearing a coat and was wielding a laser rifle. He quickly pointed at me.

"Hey you, pony with the weird stuff. You see that battle saddle near ya? Get it now!"He told me. I went to where the pile of ashes were and put on the battle saddle with little hesitation, well, after deciding what to do with my saddlebag, which was small, and made some space though it was uncomfortable. I was done, I looked back at the pegasus.

"Great, you're armed now. There's a family up here and we're trapped! We could really use your help. We can't hold out any longer. Quickly, go inside!" He ordered before going back in the building. Hearing the desperation in his voice, I rushed to the entrance of the place.

Inside the place was a warzone. There were a lot more raiders firing at some armed ponies at the higher levels of the building. I walked among the shadows, undetected, and looked for cover. From where I was, I could barely see the same pegasus firing back at the raiders. Having no knowledge with using a battle saddle, I instead took out my revolver and aimed at the closest pony near me. The raider fell down, dead, and the others noticed me and started firing at me. The pegasus also noticed me and started shouting some instructions.

"Don't use the revolver! Bite the handle and pull back!" He instructed me. “And make sure to aim!”

Following what he was saying, I kept the pistol and used the battle saddle. Biting the handle and pulling back, a barrage of bullets fired and I had to balance myself to avoid falling down from the recoil. The raiders immediately ducked, though some were unlucky and got hit. Soon, the gun stopped firing and they started shooting back at me.

"Reload, push the handle to reload!" The pegasus shouted before getting shot in the wing.

I quickly followed what he said and this time, I took aim more carefully and fired. The battle saddle was much easier to use than the revolver and I had an easy time dispatching what's left of the raiders. The gun barrel was already very warm when I stopped once I sure that there were no more hostiles. I looked up to see the pegasus weakly grinning before he spoke.

"Ah, great work! Hey, you, mind if you get that box over there? We really need it." He requested, pointed to a yellow-colored box with 3 butterfly marks. It somehow reminded me of somepony but I can't really get a name in my head. I walked over it and grabbed it and worked my way up until I reached the same level of the pegasus.

"Thanks a lot, we would have died if you did not arrive to help is." The pegasus thanked me before getting the box."By the way, I'm Autumn Wind."

"I'm...Eclipse." I told him, a little reluctant. He nodded and went inside a room. I followed him and saw 3 ponies that are armed, 2 foals and 4 more ponies. He opened the box, which contained what look like to be some healing potions, and gave the armed ponies some before drinking one himself.

"Hey, those raiders were easy to beat. How come you guys are still trapped here?" I asked, looking at the small group.

"Heh, you’ve got a point," Autumn chuckled before looking at me and then at the battle saddle."You remember that guy from outside? What you're using now, he used it a bit better than you against us. That battle saddle was tough match for us since it has a high rate of fire. Our weapons are especially no match for it and it stopped us from escaping in the first place."

“Wait, that’s outside…,”I slowly said. “What about the ones inside?”

“By the time you arrived, we were low on ammo,” He explained. “This weapons are not really ammo efficient. Also, there were more raiders than us and there was only 4 of us who could fight.”

“Wow,” I looked at everyone in the room. “Must be a really tough job to defend everyone, huh?”

“You could say that,” He answered. “So we were glad you came and helped us. For that, I thank you. Please, accept this as a token of our gratitude.”

He gave me a pouch filled with caps. I gulped and looked at the ponies in the room once more.

“You know you don’t have to…,” I said. “But I’ll accept it. Thank you.”

“It’s fair that I give you something in return after you helped us, even if it wasn’t much,” He said. “Again, thank you.”

“It’s always a pleasure to help,” I told him.

“If you want, you can speak with the others. They might want to talk to you,” He told me before going to another room.

I mingled with the folks in the place. Most of them were just glad I arrived and helped out. I also learned that they were the last remaining survivors of a caravan headed somewhere, though how many they are at first I do not know. Other than the friendly mares and stallions, I also talked with the foals. They were just curious about me and kept on asking about my PipBuck. Other than that, they were fun to talk with.

“Uhm, Mister?” A colt poked me to get my attention.

“Yes?” I said, nervously looking at one of the stallions who was eyeing me.

“Can I ask you a question?” He asked.

“Uhm, sure,” I agreed. He looked at the stallion, who nodded at him, then proceeded with his question.

“How did you get that?” He asked, pointing at my PipBuck.

“Uhm, somewhere,” I answered. “I’m not really sure where but I’ll say...an underground place...maybe.”

“Oh, okay,” He said, maybe a bit disappointed at my answer. “Thanks anyways, see you later.”

He went to a room along with the other foal, followed by the rest of the group. I just sat on one of the unbroken chairs in the room and continued checking my revolver. After some time, Autumn came back and walked towards me.

“Hey pardner,” He called out. “You feelin alright?”

“Yeah,” I answered him. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Just askin.” He took a sit beside me. “Have anything else to do?”

“Yeah, I’m supposed to explore this part of town,” I told him. “Why? To look for stuff.”

“You mean scavenging? Explains why you’re in this part of town,” He said, laughing a bit. “The part of town where the raiders are stationed at.”

Then suddenly, we both heard a gunshot coming from outside. Autumn quickly got up and went straight towards the terrace.a few more gunshots followed and he returned back, his face filled with surprise and confusion.

“Holy shit!” Autumn exclaimed. “That’s a lot of raiders down there!”

“What’s happening?” I asked him, standing up. “And what do you mean about the raiders?”

“There’s a lot of raiders coupled with a few griffins,” He briefly explained. “This is crazy! What can cause a group of raiders this big with some griffins to come here?!”

“I-I don’t know. Dangit, is there anything we could do?” I frantically paced around the place.

“Yes, I have a plan but it’s risky,” He answered me. “You up for it?”

“Sure,” I quickly told him. “But tell it to me quickly.”

“Okay, you have to deal with ones on the ground since that weapon can quickly wipe them out. Me and the others will deal with the griffins, our weapons have good accuracy and can quickly incapacitate them,” He told me. “Got it?”

I nodded my head and prepared the saddlegun while he went to go get the others. He soon returned with everyone, the unarmed folks panicked while the soldiers were ready to follow orders. Autumn told the plan to the armed ones and they all nodded. After the briefing, he walked back to me.

“Okay, me and my men are ready. Make sure not to screw this one up,” He sternly told me. “The folks here...they’re family.”

“I’ll try,” I reassured him.

He nodded then told the others to follow him. But before they could arrive at the terrace, we heard more gunshots. The civilians grouped together in panic as the gunshots continued. Autumn and the others quickly rushed to the balcony and I followed them. Once we got there, I noticed that there was a gunfight happening.

“Okay everyone, take out the griffins!” Autumn ordered and they fired at once.

The griffins were caught by surprise and most were taken down quickly. The rest immediately fired at them though it was too late. Once they were gone, Autumn looked at me and nodded his head. I understood his gesture and I was about to go down to deal with everyone in the gunfight when I heard a pained yelp and suddenly the second source of gunfire stopped. I quickly recognized who owns that yelp.

“Jewel?!” I pushed my way towards the front of the group, much to the confusion of Autumn, and spotted her. Jewel was taking cover behind a large chunk of concrete. She was still trying to fight but she seemed very exhausted.

“Eclipse, what are you waiting for?!” Autumn asked me, confused at my actions.

“No time for explanations,” I answered him and I heard them gasp as I instinctively jumped off the terrace.

I landed on the ground, hard, and a small shockwave followed. Jewel quickly noticed me and stared at me surprised.

“E-Eclipse?!” She continued to stare at me in confusion on how I survived the fall. Even I was surprised though I don’t feel like what I’m doing is performed by me or my consciousness.

“Come at me raider scums!” I yelled out to the raiders who looked at me bewilderingly. “Show me your worst!”

I opened fire at them and took them by surprise. I was risking my own life and compromising the plan in a way but I was no longer in control. Instincts had kicked in and it’s in charge.

Footnote: Level Up!
New Perk: Dash Instincts
-Your movement speed and attack damage will increase by 20% if your companions are in grave danger.

Chapter 6: Stable 05

View Online

“Sometimes, if you want to accomplish something, you must take risks. Dangerous ones.”

"Break into Stable 5 and take everypony in it. If they show resistance, kill them. But leave some alive."

“There! There he is!” One of the raiders yelled, pointing at me. “Quick, call for reinforcements!”

The raiders who were not hit by the initial attack immediately took cover. Meanwhile, Jewel continued to stare at me in confusion.

“Reloading!” I yelled out, hoping Autumn would hear it. Shouting it out seems to be a dumb move in my part but it gives Autumn’s group the signal to cover me.

I took cover beside Jewel and weakly smiled at her. She returned the look before sighing.

“What brings you to this part of town?” I asked her.

“Bunch of raiders chased after me. Not a great idea to split after all,” She replied. “Should have stuck with you, seeing that you have that battle saddle.”

“Quite a burden to carry this weapon,” I told her.

“Eclipse, we got more of them!” Autumn yelled. “And holy shit!”

He was interrupted by a missile nearly hitting the building. More and more gunshots followed and Jewel was more scared than ever. Quickly reloading, I slowly crawled out of cover to see what was happening.

“Well, I’ll be damned...”

“There! Fire!” One of them yelled. I noticed that one of the griffins was aiming something at me and Jewel immediately ran away from her current position.

Before I realized it, a missile hit the ground near me and sent me flying towards a nearby building. I hit the wall with such force that I heard a sickening crack and felt intense pain course through my body before I fell of the wall to the floor. My PipBuck started beeping like crazy as I tried getting up. My head was spinning and I started coughing out blood. At this point, I was surprised that I’m still alive after that shot.

Whoa nelly, that’s a doozy. Get yourself together, you can’t fall now, I thought to myself. Shaking my head and checking if my heavy weapon was still functioning, I weakly returned back to the battlefield. Crazy, I know.

Once I got back, the raiders immediately noticed me and were in shock. Same goes to Autumn and his group, who stopped shooting for a while just to get a good glimpse of me.

“He’s...still alive?!” One of the raiders exclaimed. “What kind of drugs is he on, Med-X and Buck?!”

“Just keep shooting him,” Another ordered. “He’ll fall just like the others who crossed paths with us.”

All of them averted their aim from Autumn’s group to me. I gulped and prepared myself. Autumn did try to get a few shots at them but the griffins drove them back inside the building.

Geez, can we all just calm down? It’s not like we have to keep on fighting.

Suddenly, everything blurred and slowed down. My head started hurting one more time and my PipBuck started beeping once more. Slowly, my headache intensified and my surrounding continued to become even more distorted. Words started flowing into my mind, slowly forming into sentences.

Nothing’s right. Something’s wrong. This isn’t me at all. No, what’s happening? Is this real? Everything I knew just know...doesn’t seem right. No, no...something’s missing.

“Eclipse!” Autumn yelled out, bringing me back to reality. “Get out!”

Very confused and disorientated, I just stared at the crowd. They became a bit unnerved at my actions and were really hesitant at shooting me.

“What are you all waiting for?” The leader angrily asked. “Shoot him!”

“But...Boss, something’s not right about him,” One of them told him.

“Does it look like I care? Just shoot him!” He yelled at him.

I did not really understand what’s happening anymore. The raiders are arguing among themselves, the mercs were just idle, Autumn’s group were as confused as I was, and I’m feeling something was off about my surroundings.

The next thing I know, I smashed through the wall of another building and landed on the floor once more. My ears were ringing and I’m sure that most of my bones in my body were broken. I felt warm liquid starting to pool around my body and my vision was starting to blur. Taking one last breath, the darkness consumed me and I have lost consciousness.

I woke up in what looked like a town of some sorts. I noticed that it was nighttime, with the dark sky illuminated with the bright full moon and the cluster of stars. It was quite a relaxing place but I can’t get the feeling that someone is watching me out of my head.

"Young pony, we meet once more." A voice called out, it's tone very soothing at the same time frightening. I looked around to find nothing.

"Young pony, what are you doing here?” It asked me.

"I-I don’t...I died?" I replied, still looking for the source of the voice.

"Do you want to go back?" Suddenly, a bright ball of light descended from the sky, temporarily blinding me. Once the light disappeared and I could see clearly once more, I saw an alicorn. A name soon surfaced into my mind and I finally recognized her.

"Luna? Wait...what?" I was very confused.

"Hello...friend," She greeted me.

"Friend?” Now I was really confused. Where did I meet her? All I know is her name. “Have we met before?”

“Maybe,” She replied. “Now answer my question, do you want to go back?”

“Back? Where?” I asked her.

“Back to the living, of course,” She replied. “And of course you want to go back, you’re not dead...yet.”

“Oh...I’m not dead…” I sighed. “And how am I still alive?”

“Let’s just say someone helped you,” She replied. “Or maybe because of the technology you have on you?”

“I don’t know. Right now, I’m just glad I’m still alive,” I said.

Silence soon settled in as I just looked at her,expecting something like a small chat. She just stared back at me, eerily. After some time, she stared at the sky and smiled.

“Have you ever seen the stars, my friend?” She asked me.

“Wierd question but I don’t think I have...in the real world anyways,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”

“Just curious,” She replied. “I guess it’s time for you to go. We’ll talk soon again, maybe after you wake up.”

“Wake...up? This is all just a dream?” I asked her.

“No, no,” She replied. “This is more real than you think.”

Oh Equestria, is there any land as good as you?

A land filled with kindness and hope

Oh Equestria, will you ever lose your shining light?

No, oh, No!

"Don't ya'll miss these kinds of songs? Too bad we only get to hear the ones before the war. I don't think there are other singers out there that are willing to sing for all of us, in the stables and in the wasteland. Anyways, I hope all of you will have a safe and good night. May Luna, if she’s still there, give you dreams of hope. DJ Larynx signing out."

I woke up gasping for air and my vision blurry. As soon as I can breathe normally and my vision clear, I calmed down. I can see that I was in a clinic. I also noticed that I wasn't alone. Across the room, a white, pony-bot the size of a filly with purple and pink mane and tale was busy moving some stuffs around the place.

"Hello?" I called out to the busy bot. It stopped whatever it was doing and turned around. When it did, I got a clear look at it's face. It's eye color was a light shade of green and seemed harmless. It walked towards me and spoke in the most cutest way a robot can speak(for me anyways).

"Good evening Mister! How was your sleep?" The bot greeted me.

"Huh? Oh uhm, fine I guess...," I said."Just had a weird dream, I think."

"Ooh, was Princess Luna in your dream?" It beeped, bouncing(if that was even possible for a filly bot).

"I guess...I mean, maybe? You know what, I think so." This time, the bot looked at me with A.I curiosity.

"Can you tell me your dream?" It asked."Pwease?"

"Umm, sure. Even if you're a robot..." I told the filly-bot what I can still remember with my "dream". Throughout my story telling, the bot listened carefully. When I was done, it smiled(I think?).

"Wow Mister! That dream sounds fascinating. Though Luna sounds weird." It beeped. Suddenly, I heard a voice coming from outside the clinic, followed by footsteps.

"Sweetie? Who are you talkin to. The dead patient?" The raspy voice asked. I turned to look at "Sweetie" then at the door. The head of a rotting stallion popped out.

"Oh my...oh...oh..." I felt a bit light-headed. “I must be hallucinating, that’s all…”

“Ah, seems we have a rational one,” The stallion said. “ Wake up and smell the ashes, I’m as real as you can be.”

He started walking towards me. That’s when I started to panic. If he’s real then that means he’s a dead pony who is now alive and here to turn me into one of them.


I started screaming hysterically and curled up into a ball.

"Calm down mister! It's just my friend Apple Scotch." Sweetie tried reassuring me. Still, I continued screaming my lungs out.

"Sweet Celestia, you scream like a girl! Is that how you greet a stranger that just rescued you?" The zombie pony said, annoyed. Sweetie turned to him and whined.

"What do you mean you rescued him? I'm the one that decided to help him!" Both of them started arguing. I think I started crying and started mumbling something. Before I knew it, I fainted because of fright.

I awoke in a different place this time. It looked like to be a sleeping quarter. I yawned and looked around the place. What happened a while ago did not cross my mind even once.

"Good morning Mister! How was your sleep?" Sweetie beeped, appearing out of nowhere and giving me a hell of a scare. She also reminded me of what happened before I fainted which made me wonder if Mr. Undead was still there.

"Could you stop scaring me? You nearly gave me a heart attack," I said, sighing in relief to see it was just the filly bot. "Sleep is just fine.”

"Apple Scotch is waiting for you. I'll show you where he is once you're ready!" It beeped once more.

"So the zombie pony wants to see me? Or rather, eat me?" I was once more frightened. “Or maybe even-”

"Don't be so mean to my friend! Just because he looks different doesn't mean you can treat him differently!" Sweetie said defensively. "And he's no zombie, he's a ghoul."

"A what now?" I asked once more. The bot's eyes turned blue as it started giving me info.

"A ghoul is a pony that is subjected to a constant source radiation for a long time. A ghoul also lives longer than a normal pony and uses radiation to heal itself." Sweetie's eyes turned green again. "Do you now understand?"

“Uhh...sure. So where do we meet this friend of yours? I really need answers about certain things.” As I said this, the bot beeped in excitement and lead me into another section of the place I’m in right now. We soon stopped at a room and Sweetie told me that it’ll wait outside the place while me and Apple Scotch are talking. I took a peep and saw the zombie, I mean, ghoul drinking some apple cider.

“Uhm, hey! Am I interrupting your break?” I asked as I went inside the room, the door shutting behind me. The ghoul stopped drinking and turned to me.

“Actually, no. Are we cool now? No more screaming?” Apple Scotch asked me with a straight face.

“Yeah, sure. The filly bot told me what you are.” I replied. The ghoul gestured me to sit down in a chair.

“You mean SB-17? Eeyup, that bot has a pretty advanced A.I, compared to what I’ve seen so far.” He said, taking a sip.

“SB-17?” I asked.

“Sweetie Bot Number 17. Just found her wandering around the wasteland alone.” He replied.

Sweetie Bot...Sweetie Belle? Wait, who’s...Sweetie Belle?

“Does it involve...uhm...a certain someone called Sweetie Belle?” I asked him. Apple Scotch scratched his chin, thinking about my question.

“Ah, yes. The robot is designed after Sweetie Belle after all...and maybe even the bot’s personality is based on her younger days. How’d ya know?”

“Well, I think I met her...I think.” I said, uncertain if I really did. Maybe I did, that would explain why that name appeared out of nowhere.

“So you’re saying...you met Sweetie Belle?” Apple Scotched laughed. “You're pulling my tail! Sweetie Belle lived 200 years ago and you’re not even a ghoul!”

“I…never said I did. I said I think” I told him. He chuckled for a bit and looked at me.

“What makes you say that?” He asks me.

“I just have a feeling. I mean, I seem to have flashbacks, I think, when I go to some places. Like that one place...Ponyville? Yeah, I think that’s the name. It seemed to be a happy town back then. Names...I could remember some, from the past too. Like Pinkie...Pie. I’m not sure but I also think I met her.” I replied.

“Interesting…So I’m guessing your from the past somehow. That answer would have been enough instead of saying something that might confuse me,” Apple Scotch told me, shaking his head.

“Eh, sorry. My mind is just...I still think it's a bit frozen, heh,” This time, the ghoul looked at me, confused.

“What do you mean your brain is still frozen?” He asked.

“I think I was in some sort of...Cryo-pod. Weird, huh?” I answered him. He just nodded in agreement before his eyes widened in realization.

“Cryo-pods you say? So you're saying you’ve been frozen for 200 years?” He anticipates for my answer.

“I guess so, yeah,” I replied. “Sounds crazy but that’s what happened…”

He nods once more and then finishes his drink. Then he shakes his head and starts laughing again. I have a feeling he doesn’t believe me. I mean, my story is truly bizarre. Cryo-pods? Frozen for 200 years?

What did happen during the 200 years I’ve slept? Did I even...exist back then?

“Oh, and before I forget, welcome to Stable 5. I’m the last one remaining in this place. Sweetie managed to make most of the important facilities in this place work so it’s a good place to stay.” He formally introduced to the place. “And since you’re alive, I might as well give you some stuff if you’re thinking of leaving. Your battle saddle was broken when Sweetie found you, same goes for some of the technology you had. Luckily...I managed to fix most of the damage. They’re still broken though.”

“Wait what…”I checked myself at a nearby reflective material. There it is, some parts of the metal brace on my back is gone. I looked at my hind legs and saw that what was once a thin and lightweight armor became a bulky and tough-looking metal boots. I just shrugged and didn’t mind it. It didn’t do much anyway so why bother?

“I also replaced the damaged tech on your foreleg with a left-over PipBuck, though I think I tried merging both technologies...or maybe just tried repairing that piece of junk. Didn’t turned out well, ended losing the motherboard so I just replaced it with the PIP-3000’s. Hell of a challenge, never thought it’d be so damn hard to take apart that tech. Too bad it doesn’t have E.F.S, but it does have S.A.T.S” He explained further.

“Wait, how ‘bout my other stuff?” I asked him. “The Pinkie Statuette and the revolver?”

“Those stuff? They’re at the storage area. Don’t worry, they ain’t broke unlike the rest of you. And so far, I didn’t have to try to fix ‘em.” He finally finished drinking. “Now, before anything else slips off my mind, let’s get you suited up.”

I checked myself at the mirror in the place. I was wearing the same blue-and-yellow jumpsuit I saw on the first day of my adventures, though it has some armor added to it and the number “05” on the collar. It also has a holster for the revolver strapped near me for easy access. My review for the suit? 8/10, could be 20% cooler or better.

"Since it was just me in this Stable for a long time now, I managed to modify a few of these Stable suits. The one you're wearing right now is a combination of the armored and security Stable suit." Apple Scotch explained as he watched me check myself out. "So what d'ya think?"

"It's something, I can tell you that. It's not really that flexible." I said, trying to stretch.

"Then it'll do. You won't need flexibility in your adventures, right?" He said, looking at the weapon holster at my side.

"I guess." I answered him. Once I got comfortable with what I'm wearing right now, Apple Scotch lead me to the diner. He got some food and water and turned on the radio that was placed nearby.

"I don't know about you but I'd rather eat something other than hay. That stuff's pretty hard to get now. Might as well get use to it." Apple Scotch said as he gave me a plate of some weird looking meat. "That's Brahmin meat, or cow meat if you will."

I shrugged and since I was very hungry, I ate without hesitation. It was a weird feeling to eat meat but as long as it's food, I won't complain.

"So, what's your name? He asked. “

"My name? Eclipse…” I answered.

“Eclipse...as in...Dark Eclipse?” He asks once more time.

“What? No, just Eclipse.” I told him. “that’s kind of a weird name, don’t you think? Dark Eclipse...sounds a bit too...ridiculous for my taste.”

“Ok, so you’re not…’them’, which is good,” He taps the table for a while, making some sort of rhythm. “Alright, what’s your story? The real one this time. I’m not saying I don’t believe your cryo-something story but it’s hard to believe. 200 years of being frozen? Come on, that’s just absurd.”

“...200 years of being in a cryo-pod…” I sighed. “I’m not even sure if what I said was true. You're right, my story is just full of...Look, I don’t know who exactly I am or if I existed back then. Look at me, do I look like a pony from 200 years ago? You tell me...you seemed to have been there.”

“I’m not sure.” He simply answered.

“You’re not sure? Why?” I asked him.

“You see you’re like a mix between Pre-War civilian and Wasteland traveller. Though you may not know what a ghoul is, you immediately accepted me as some normal pony once Sweetie told you what I am.”

“Hey there Mister, what’s your name? My name is Sweetie Belle! You could call me Sweetie or Belle or even both, I guess it’s up to you.”

“Trust me, ponies from the past would have not believed me and continued screaming.”

“Monsters, MONSTERS EVERYWHERE! Quick, you! Yes you, I want you to go kill them all, all those drooling freaks dead! And don’t you dare hesitate or I’ll shoot you too!”

“You seem to know how to take care of yourself, seeing as you survived whatever cruel thing the Wasteland threw at you.”

“The Wasteland is a cruel place. Keeps on breaking you and hurting you until you can’t move no more. Trust me, this gear will help you survive out there. But don’t rely on them too much, the rest of the surviving must be done by you.”

“ And...Are you okay?”

He began tapping the table once more, this time trying to get my attention took a deep breath.. I quickly nodded and rubbed my temple of my head. It started to hurt once more when he began talking.

“You sure? Because it looked like you were in another place, you know, like you were thinking of something.” He told me.

“Yeah, I’m sure I’m fine. Just thinking about a few days ago, when I got out of those pods.” I said.

“Ok, you said so.”

Apple Scotch, after some more taps on the table, decided to turn on the nearby radio. Both of us just enjoyed our meal as whoever is leading the radio station talk.

"Good morning to all of ya'll wasteland survivors! And welcome to one of the least heard radio broadcasts since DJ-PON3 talked. And for those that are listening to me, good news! There seems to be little to no slaver activity from Ponyville to somewhere in the wasteland. I'm also getting reports of one unusual stallion...seems he just appeared out of the blue and disappeared once more. Who knows what happened to him. And better a better question, who is he? Is he some kind of hero or just a normal pony in the wastes? Anyways, looks like I run out of news so I’ll just say this for fun. Man, I’ve always wanted to say this on radio.

Raiders are bad, yada yada, ferals too, yada yada. Oh yeah, as always, enjoy your day because everything is fine. If you see something strange, then you know who to call, yada yada. There’s your propaganda of the day. Larynx out!”

After the broadcast, some country music started playing. Apple Scotch got our plates and kept them somewhere.

"Hey kid, mind if you stay here for one more day?" He asked me as he started coughing. "It's been a long time since I've actually talked to a real pony."

"Well, I ain't really in a rush so sure. Might as well ready myself too in the meantime." I replied. He gave me a grin before going to one of the hallways while coughing pretty badly. But before he completely left me, he told me one more thing.

"Meet me in the morning. I have somethin to tell you once I can remember some stuffs."

And I just sat there listening to the song and his slowly fading coughs.

"Heya Mister!" Sweetie managed to pop out of nowhere once again and that scared me.

"What did I tell you about sneaking up like that!" I yelled at it.

"Oh...I'm sorry..." It's robotic ears drooped. I sighed and patted its head.

"It's alright, just don't do that again." I told it. "Now, why are you here?"

"I'm just wandering around, it's pretty boring in this place." It beeped. "I really want to go out but Apple says no. He says that I can easily get destroyed if I go alone. So I was pretty excited when we found you and brought you here!"

"Umm...ok, though what you said was not really related to the other sentences you also just said." I decided to go back to the sleeping area or what I call, "The Hay."

"Hey, where are you going? Can I come?" Sweetie beeped as she followed me. I nodded.

"Can you also tell me another story?" Sweetie asked once more.

"Uh, sure. I'll tell you a story." And that's what I did for most of the day in the Stable. Sweetie listened eagerly and I'm starting to wonder how advanced "she" can be.

"Once upon a time..."

"Luna?" I called out to the Alicorn in front of me. She turned around and smiled.

"Don't you have somewhere to be?" She asked me.

"What do you mean?" I asked her back. She shook her head and sighed.

"Aren't you supposed to find some certain pony?" She asked me again. "The mare, your companion on the start of your adventures?"

Then I suddenly remembered about Jewel. I slapped myself for forgetting about her.

"Damnit, how could I have forgotten!" I said, angry at myself. "Don't worry, I'll go look for her once I talk to Apple Scotch."

"I'm afraid that when you do talk to him...something tragic will happen..." She said sadly.

"What?" I asked worriedly. She shook her head again and spoke.

"I must go now but I can give you a gift." She said as her horn glowed. A necklace appeared, hanging a bit loosely on my neck. “Take care of it, it’s quite special.”

“It’s a nice necklace and stuff but I’m serious Luna,” I tried to soften the tone of my voice. “What do you mean that something tragic will happen? Why do you keep on telling me this...vague things or something?”

“As I said, you’ll find out about everything,” She simply replied.”

"Luna, stop leaving me in the dark! I need to know what is the meaning of this!" I said as I stomped my hoof.

"You'll learn on the right time. Goodbye and be careful." Everything started to blur and before I could speak once more, I blacked out.

I woke up in cold sweat. I panicked a bit before remembering that I hit the hay after I told stories to Sweetie. I took a deep breath and exhaled, calming myself as my fast beating heart slowly goes back to it's normal rhythm. I looked to my side to see Sweetie curled up next to me. Though i'm not sure if robots can sleep, this one was. I checked the time on the clock at the nightstand and saw that it was already early morning.

"Oh right...the meeting," I whispered to myself, trying to get up without waking up the filly bot. Try as I might, it woke up anyway.

"Oh, good morning Mister!" She greeted me in a cheery tone. "What's that in your neck?"

I looked down to see the same necklace from my dream dangling loosely from my neck. It was a crescent-shaped moon.

"Oh this?" I gave her a closer look at the necklace. "I think...Luna gave it to me, though it's a bold statement to claim it was from her..."

"Oh sweet!" Sweetie continued to stare at it in awe. With her life-like reactions, habits, and attitude, I was starting to think if this bot had a soul.

"Eeyup," I agreed with her. "Oh wait, I nearly forgot I have to meet with that ghoul friend of yours."

"Can I come?" Sweetie asked. I just nodded and got out of bed. After a few minutes of stretching, we went to the place where me and Apple Scotch decided to meet. Once we were near, I told Sweetie to wait nearby as I don't want her eavesdropping or snooping around. She just reluctantly agreed and sat by the room near the meeting place, which was just at least 1 block away. As I neared the door, I heard some strange growls within the room.

"Apple Scotch?" I called out. When I got no reply, I carefully entered the room. It was a mess but what I saw at the corner was the worst of all. It was him alright, but there was a lot of changes. He was drooling some weird liquid and his eyes were just pure white.

"Apple Scotch, you okay?" I asked him as I slowly backed away towards the door. He looked at me then growled and quickly charged at me. I quickly bolted out of there but he was too fast. He tackled me, pinning me to the ground.

"Damnit Apple Scotch! This ain't funny!" I yelled, trying to free myself from his grip. I was too panicked and unsure of his actions to even think about using the revolver strapped to my side. It growled once more and tried biting me in the neck. Before he could, I heard a loud bang and his head exploded, brain matter and ghoul blood sprayed all over my face.

"W-What the hell just happened?!" I screamed as soon as my mind tried registering what happened. I quickly removed the headless corpse of me and shakily stood up. I looked at the direction where the source of the loud bang was and saw Sweetie. Her eyes were red and on her side was a machine gun. What once was an innocent-looking bot turned into a deadly killing machine.

"Analyzing. Threat completely eradicated." She said before her eyes turned green once more and the weapon kept within the bot.

"Mister, are you okay?" She rushed towards me. I wiped my face as I stared at the corpse in front of us.

"Y-Yeah, what happened to him?" I asked her. She looked down and sadly answered me.

"It was his time...every ghoul has their day. The day they turn into a feral..."

I nodded and after a few minutes, we decided to enter the room. We checked around the place to see if he left something, and he did. It was on his table, a letter that seemed to be recently written and it was for me. I decided to read it.

"Dear Eclipse,

Hey, hopefully I can finish this letter, and better yet, talk to you. You know, this Stable has a dark secret. You can find it yourself, I’m done talking about that. Anyways, I’ll tell you why I need to talk to you by writing the reason here just in case I could tell you.

You see, I’m a ghoul. Ghouls can live for a long time but there’s a price to pay, their sanity, or brain if you think they’re zombies. As time passes, a ghouls mind would slowly go crazy, I don’t know why but it could be because of the radiation it absorbed. Ironic really, as ghouls were made from it and it’s one of the most important thing in their lives. I guess nothing that is given to someone has a bad side. Imagine that, ghouls can be immortals but they end up losing their mind. I laugh at that, even if I know that will be me.

My time is near or maybe my mind is near its breaking point. I’m not like other ghouls, no, I’m way different. I was exposed to a different type of rads, one that ghoulifies someone immediately. And then they turn feral soon after, most of the time. Damn experiment, killed everyone in the Stable except me. Why didn’t it take me to? Sorry, I didn't mean to rant. Let’s get back to the main point.

I want you to take care of good ‘ol Sweetie for me. She may be annoying at time but she means well. She was my first and probably my last friend in my life. Don’t get hurt when I say she’s my only friend, we only met for a day.

Sweetie is a special bot, one that can respond to different things. She’s like a real pony. I don’t know why she’s programmed like that though and why she’s even built with a machine gun. I bet I’ll be killed by those sons of a-

Eclipse, when you go back there, remember this tips. First, when you say your name, be careful on how you say it. Before, there was this faction with the word “Eclipse” on it. They were a bad group, raided nearly every town for their own interest. I don’t know what happened to them. Second, if you see someone wearing a metal suit, it’s best to stay away. It’s either the Steel Rangers or the Enclave. Both are dangerous so if you want to keep your life, DO NOT APPROACH THEM AT ALL COST. I’m not saying they're bad. The Steel Rangers actually protects some settlements in this area and the Enclave...they mean well. Some of them anyways. But better safe than sorry.

I can actually feel it, the desire to eat flesh. This...A normal feral won’t have this desire, I think. It’s something on that rads that made me feel it. To crave it. To taste it. I’m ranting again, sorry. Look, I may not be able to talk to you but there’s one last thing I need you to know before I turn to flesh-eating mindless freak. You must”

I stared at the paper. The last line made me feel curious. What else did he want me to know? Did it involve the 3 groups he mentioned? I sighed and looked at Sweetie. She seemed devastated, feeling guilty for killing Apple Scotch. I kinda feel bad too, seeing her this way. I decided to grant that poor ghoul his last request.

“Sweetie, how are you holding up?” I asked her.

“Just...just fine,” She replied, sniffing a bit. “I just wished we had more time together.”

“Yeah, me too. He seems to be a great guy,” I went to her.

“You know, he told me something about you when you passed out,” Sweetie told me. “He said that you were such a girl. That made me laugh. Then he told me to observe you because he had a feeling that you were not who he thinks you are. I didn’t know what that meant but I just followed what he said. What do you think he meant by that?”

“I don’t really know but I think it’s something good. Or bad, you can never be too sure,” I answered. “Hey, I have a question for you. Eh, more like a request actually.”

“What is it?” She asked, looking at me with her green eyes.

“Want to travel me?” I asked her with a wink. “It’ll be fun. We can go see other places and meet other...er...beings…”

“Sure!” She quickly answered, the cheery tone back in her voice. “I know Apple wouldn't want me to stay here, feeling sorry for his death. I know he would want me to follow my dreams, if I had any. And I guess Apple wanted you to include me in your adventures.”

“Yep, he did,” I told her, smiling. “Now let’s clean this place up and get the hell out of here.”

We removed the corpse and place it at the incinerator. I know that we could have buried him but Sweetie said he wanted to be cremated once he's dead. We also cleaned up the area where Sweetie blew his brains out. Green goo with a mix of red everywhere, yuck. I had no intention to go back here but I felt cleaning the Stable was one way to pay tribute to him. Once we were done, we made our way to the Stable entrance.

“So what we’ll we do once we go outside?” Sweetie asked me.

“Well, I have this one place I want to see,” I told her. “Maybe we can go there?”

Sweetie eagerly nodded. As I opened the door and we walked out the place, I looked back one last time to see the big number 5. To see the giant door close for good.

It was a whole new beginning and story for me. One that could actually be my life. My past. I decided to be known as the stallion from Stable 05. It was much more easier to explain than my cryo-pod story.

As for Sweetie, she’ll now have her own story. As I look at her, I hope that she’ll continue to be the happy filly-bot that I learned to like. Her attitude is really uplifting, even in times of danger.

Together, we walked. To a town I felt I needed to revisit.

Footnote: Level Up
-HuzzaH! Luna’s gift granted you an extra level.
New Perk: Quick and Deadly I
-In times of extreme dangers or emergencies, your reaction time has been increased by 5% and you're un-armed and melee attacks are increased by 10% .

Chapter 7: Ghost Town

View Online

"Everything happens for a reason.”

Sweetie lead me to the town where she found me. I really didn’t want to go back but something was pushing me to go on. So we walked the streets until we found a collapsed house. It was near the main building, where Autumn and his men took a stand.

“What are we doing here?” I asked the robot.

“Oh, I just want to show you where I found you!” She replied, pointing a hoof at a certain spot at the ruins.

I just stared at the spot, confused. Did she find me underneath the building? If so, then why did I not feel it collapse on me?

“And look, there’s a few pieces of the things you have!” Sweetie said once more, pointing to another spot where, surprise, the old pieces I used to have were there.

“Dang, I wonder how those got there…,” I wondered.

We continued to look around the ruin to see if there’s anything interesting. Other than some broken skeletons of the house’s former occupants, there was nothing much to find.

"Hey Mister!" Sweetie beeped, pointing at the big building with the balcony. "Let's check that place!"

I agreed and we entered the place. There were bodies everywhere, raiders and some griffins were scattered around the place. It was a terrifying sight. Sweetie recoiled from the gruesome sight in front of us. I continued to wonder what happened when I got knocked out. Must be a hell of a fight.

"What do you think caused this?" Sweetie asked me as she looks at every possible dead body in the area.

"Beings with bad intentions, that's for sure," I replied, looking around and and hoping that at least the innocent ponies survived. They didn’t deserve to be caught in this massacre.

We were looking at a certain pile of rotting bodies when I heard it. The voice of desperation.

“Daddy?...DADDY? Where are you...?”

It was followed by a loud wail. I looked at Sweetie and she seemed to hear it too. We went to the floor where we think the crying is coming from: the top floor. On our way, I noticed a familiar looking stallion near the staircase, dead. I looked at the gun nearby and understood what happened to him. That was the last dead body we saw.

When we reached the top floor, I noticed that the crying stop. We continued looking desperately for the source of the sound.

“Hello?” I called out, hoping for a reaction. We walked into the room where I remembered the folks stayed before the attack

“D-Daddy?” I heard the voice once more, nearby this time. “Is that you…?”

That’s when a yellow filly dashed towards me, catching me off-guard.

"Where have you been?" She asked me, hugging me tightly. "Why did you leave me?"

I looked at the young unicorn, speechless. How could have she taught me as her dad? Where is her dad? This were the first thoughts I questioned myself before my mind drifted towards the dead stallion. He was the last dead body we found and he was the only one without any protective armor. His body had been riddled with bullets. I realized I had seen him before. Could he be the father?

“Filly...I’m sorry but I’m not your father,” I gently told her.

"W-What do you mean?" She asked me, more tears forming on her eyes. I gently wiped her tears and sighed once more.

"I'm not your father, little filly," I said, hugging the filly. “I’m sorry.”

"But...but...," She stammered. "Where's daddy?"

Again, I was speechless. I shouldn’t have rushed it. Now I had to answer to this filly where her dad went or even worse, what really happened to him. Before any of us can respond, we heard someone talking.

"What are we doing here again?" A thick voice asked. "I thought we checked this place so many times that we could draw down the floor plans of this building."

"Shhh...I think I heard crying coming from this place." Another voice said. "Maybe there's somepony left here."

I felt a sense of dread. Raiders, they had to to come back. I looked at the filly and at Sweetie.

"What's happening?" The foal asked, "Could that be my daddy?"

"I don't think so," I replied, lowering my voice. "These are very bad ponies...stay here while I check."

I quickly lead the 2 to another room, just in case. The filly was now looking at me with worried eyes.

"Sweetie, I need you to stay here and keep the filly safe." I ordered the bot. She nodded and walked to her side.

“W-Where are you going?” The filly quickly asked me. “You’re not going to leave me, are you?

“I need to check something…,” I replied. “Don’t panic, I’ll be back soon.”

“Please don’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be alone!” The filly begged. Sweetie looked insulted.

“Filly, you won’t be alone,” I gently told her. “Sweetie will be here with her. She’s kind and both of you can get along quite well, I know.”

Raindrops looked at Sweetie and then looked at me. She sniffed one more time before nodding. I sighed and got out of the room. Hopefully, the raiders are gone by the time I reach the stairs.

Unfortunately, when I reached the stairs, I could barely see the two raiders on the lower floor, and they were heading this way. Picking up a nearby chunk of stone, I threw it at the bottom of the stairs.

"Hey, did you hear that?" One of them asked, looking around.

"Yeah, should we check it out?" The other replied.

They were both going towards the stairs. Seeing my chance, I grabbed my revolver. But before I was ready to shoot, I heard a very loud wail.

"Oh shit! There is someone else here!" Raider 1 exclaimed.

They ran the other direction, heading instead to an another stairway. Realizing I was losing my chance, I shot the pistol at them. The bullet missed by a few inches.

They both turned around and found me. At first, they were confused and scared, then they began laughing.

“Boy, do you have a deathwish?” One them asked me as they slowly walked towards me. “You think you and you’re puny gun can kill us?”

They both wielded their weapons, a shotgun and a rifle. I just rolled my eyes and fired one more time. This time, the bullet nearly struck.

“Hey, hey. No need for violence. Just give up and come here. We won’t hurt you, we promise, heh,” The other said, chuckling.

They were getting closer and they started aiming at me. I backed away a bit and fired once more. I missed again.

“Getting bold now, eh?” They both fired a warning shot. “If you want a fight then we’ll give you one.”

This time, they fired right at me. I got hit at my shoulder and at my leg. I winced in pain and bit the handle harder. If only I wasn’t such a terrible shooter.

“Haha, look at you, bleeding already,” One of them taunted. “And here I was thinking you’d put up a good fight.”

They continued laughing. I know I should've took cover immediately or something like that but I didn’t. Instead I took a deep breath and aimed.

“Hey, look at the tough guy,” They got ready to shoot one more time. “Let’s just end this.”

They fired their weapons and they...missed. They missed and they stared at each other in confusion. Seizing the chance, I quickly emptied my gun on them. When the bullets hit, the raiders erupted into dark flames. They were screaming and running like crazy, trying in vain to extinguish the flames. I just watched them, I watched them slowly burn. Their skin started melting and falling off and I could see their muscles. Then...most of their body parts either melted, becoming black goo, or got burnt, turning into ashes. I looked at their remains in horror.

What just happened? The bullets, did it really do that?

I kept the gun and tried to calm my nerves by breathing in and out. Then I remembered how loud the guns were.

"Damn it," I muttered. "I'll be lucky if the gunshots did not attract anyone else..."

I was suddenly reminded that I still have to check on sweetie and the filly when I heard crying. Quickly, I went back to the room.

"Waaaah! I want my daddy!"

Before I entered, I noticed a dead griffin at the entrance. I moved it out of the way and continued to go inside. In the room, I saw Sweetie trying to comfort the filly. I noticed a burn mark on one of her legs.

"Sweetie, what happened?" I asked her.

"A griffin attacked us with a laser pistol. Luckily, I dispatched him." She replied. “Someone should’ve taught that griffin some manners. I can’t believe he’ll shoot us!”

The filly quickly noticed me and tried walking towards me, tears flowing down her face. I walked towards her and hugged her.

"Daddy, it hurts." The filly told me, hugging me tightly. I felt my heart broke as she said those words. As I stroke her mane, she slowly calmed down.

"It's all right...I'm here..." I told her, deciding to just accept the fact that I will be responsible for her for now. I checked her burn wound and saw that it wasn't really fatal, just a 1st-degree burn. I checked around my inventory and found a bandage.

"Stay still so I can cover that wound of yours." I said, pointing at her burn. She just nodded and watched me bandage up the wound, flinching at least once during the process.

"How does it feel?" I asked the filly once I was done.

"It still hurts...but it feels a little bit better." She replied, looking at the bandage.

"Don't worry, it'll be alright soon." I told her. She nodded and curled up beside me, feeling tired and sleepy. I gently rubbed her back as I watched her go to sleep.

"Hey Mister, I'm done removing the body away from the door." Sweetie beeped. "What next?"

I stared at her and just shrugged. That’s one last problem to take care of. I looked down at the filly and sighed.

"Barricade the door, I guess we'll be staying here for a while." I told her. “And make sure it’s strong. I don’t want any sudden surprise to just pop out of the door.”

I watched as Sweetie moved a nearby table towards the door, then make a makeshift barricade out of it. The sleeping filly moved bit in reaction to the noise Sweetie was making but did not wake up.

"All done!" Sweetie beeped as soon as she was also done with her task. I simply nodded.

"Hey, I've got a question. What do you know about this filly?" I asked her. Sweetie looked at the sleeping foal and answered.

"Her name is Raindrops." She said. I waited a bit before realizing that's just it.

"What about her parents?" I asked her once more, hoping that at least one of them are alive.

“So I checked the stallion a while ago to find out that he is a possible relative to her. The chances of him being her father is 95.64% at best.” She replied

"Oh...that means Raindrops will have to stay with us for some time...until we find her mother, that is." I said. I hugged the sleeping filly once more, hoping that life would be a little better for her once we found her mother.

"Sweetie, stay on guard. I'll just rest a bit."

I was once again with Luna. This time, we were on an open field, the sky dark and the only source of light was from the stars and also from Luna(for strange reasons).

"Luna, why are we here this time?" I asked the alicorn princess.

"Because you are dreaming, are you not?" She said. "And I am the Princess of the Night, am I not?

"Luna, I am aware that I am dreaming and stuff like that. But I am asking, why are we here?" I asked her again.

"Because we must talk about the filly." She plainly stated. "Raindrops is her name, am I right?"

"Y-Yeah, what about her?"

Luna looked behind me and I followed. I saw the dead stallion me and Sweetie saw before walking towards us. And this time, he was also wearing a stable suit with the numbers "10" printed on his collar and sleeves.

"What is the meaning of this? I was actually enjoying my stay back there." The stallion asked rudely before he noticed the royal alicorn. He quickly bowed.

“I-I’m sorry, Princess, for my rude behavior.” He apologized. “I’m still...upset...because of what happened.”

Luna nodded and then looked at me. By just looking at her eyes, I understood what this was all about.

"Ahem, anyways...why am I here?" The stallion asked once more, a little more polite this time.

"You are here because I believe both of you have at least seen each other?" The princess answered. The stallion looked at me with confusion. I looked back at him and realized that he was one of the stallions in the group of Autumn. I decided to open my mouth and tell him who I am.

"I'm that pony that helped you?" I told him in a suggestive manner. His eyes widened as he heard those words.

"Helped?" He questioned me, his voice trembling. "HELPED?! You did nothing to help! You didn’t even kill anyone! That missile must have killed you, huh? I guess that your death was justified."

“Uhm, actually…” I tried to say but Luna cut me off.

"No. He did not die, yet," She said. "He is here to talk about somepony special to you."

His eyes widened and he started shaking. Tears started forming on his eyes as he spoke.

"You don't mean...?" He gulped.

"Yes. He has met your young Raindrops." Luna told him. He quickly rushed towards me and held me threateningly.

"Is she hurt?!" He asked me, obviously mad and worried. "I swear if you did anything to her!"

"Calm down! She's fine and healthy!" I tried to reason with him. "She's not hurt, she's just fine! Sheesh..."

He weakened his grip on me but it was still firm.

"He is telling the truth." Luna reassured him. "Your young filly is just fine.”

"How can I trust him?" The stallion said angrily. "He's one of the reason that I died!"

"Is there anything you can do about it?" The alicorn asked back.

“Luna, uhm, that was a bit harsh…” I told her. She glared at me so I shut my mouth.

"I understand how you feel about him but you need to trust him,” Luna told him. ” I don't know how you will do it but I will leave both of you for some time. Enough time to at least for a little trust to be formed between both of you."

And just like that, Luna was gone with a poof and we were left alone. While the stallion was still confused with what just happened, I managed to escape his grip and back away a few meters from him. He stared at me once more, angry but troubled.

"Look, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t do my best to fight off the attack. I’m sorry I got knocked out of battle so quickly and left most of you for…” I tried apologizing.

"I'll stop you right there...fine...I'll forgive you..." He quickly said, looking down. "But my little ray of sunshine...oh my poor filly..."

He sighed. I stayed quiet as he started pawing the ground. Before the situation could become even more awkward, a question crossed my mind.

“Hey, is there any reason why she just says daddy and not mommy?” I asked him. “And where is her mother?”

"What do you mean she just..." He looked at me. "You don't mean...?"

"I'm afraid...she thinks I'm her dad, or something like that," I told him. "In other words...she thinks I'm you."

"I can see why...that stable suit must have reminded her of me...back when we still had a normal life." He smiled a bit.

"But what about her mother? I mean, is she still alive?" I asked him. He sighed once more and replied.

"Her mother died when...she gave birth to Raindrops. You see, her mom was not in good condition as she was affected by radiation. Stable 10 had a radiation leak during that time," He explained. "She only survived for a short time after giving birth...enough time to name our young foal Raindrops. I guess we were lucky she was born without any abnormalities."

"Oh..." And that just ruined that little hope I had for Raindrops.

A single tear dropped to the ground as Luna appeared once more. Me and the stallion were startled by her sudden appearance so we nearly "hugged" each other in fright before we realized it's just the alicorn princess.

"Ah, it seems that both of you have finally trusted each other." She said before turning to the stallion. "Now, don't you have one last request to tell to our Phantom before you leave?"

"What? That quick? Don't you think that's a bit-" I tried saying before Luna cut me off.

"Remember, you are sleeping and can wake up any minute." She explained. "And I still have much to tell you."

I nodded. Luna looked once more at the stallion and he too nodded before stating his request.

"I want you to take Raindrops somewhere safe. Take her to someone that can take good care of her." He told me

"Wait...what if...I can't? Like, I can't find anywhere safe enough for her?" I asked him. "What if...I also can't find anyone to take care of her? Someone trustworthy?"

"Then..."The stallion paused, thinking carefully on what to say next. "...I hope you can handle her..."

And just like that, he slowly faded into nothingness. All I could do was watch as he returned back to where he came from, the afterlife. I turned to Luna once more and finally, she told me what I needed to know.

"Your marefriend is captured by slavers, I think I said that the last time we met. The group of slavers that are in charge of watching her and delivering her to Fillydelphia is just somewhere nearby. But you must be quick as for she is being abused by her captors. You would also require the help of that pegasus, Autumn." She explained.

"Wait...I need Autumns help?" I asked her. "And how do I know if he'll help me? How can I even find Jewel?"

Marefriend? What did she mean by that?

"Do not worry about Autumn for I have talked to him about this matter. As for finding for your friend, just follow your instincts. This is all the time I have left as it seems a certain filly requires your attention." She replied. As she finished, the sky grew brighter as Luna slowly disappeared. Then darkness settled in.

I felt someone softly shoving me as I slowly opened my eyes. My vision was blurry but I could make out the yellow color and the pink mane of Raindrops.

"Daddy, I'm hungry..."She whined. I just realized that we haven't ate anything before we slept or if she actually ate food before we met her.

"Alright little filly...I'll see if we have anything to eat." I said sleepily, rubbing my eyes before standing up. Sweetie beeped behind me once more, making me leap forward a few meters.

"Good morning Mister!" She said. I turned around to face her, still shaking.

"Sweet Cele-ugh, good morning Sweetie..." I greeted her grumpily. "Now what's up with sneaking up behind me and giving me a scare?"

"I did not really mean it. But it was amusing to see you react to it though!" She replied, a robotic giggle escaping her mouth.

"Amusing for you..." I took a deep breathe to calm myself. "Say, don't you have food fit for a...uhm, filly?"

"Luckily, before we left Stable 5, I managed to pack food and water." Sweetie beeped. “And maybe a few books and clothes and other miscellaneous objects.”

"Ah, yes. Good for you but I only inquired if we had food..." I said, wondering why she keeps on adding unnecessary information.

"We do have food Mister! Shall I prepare them?" She requested. I nodded and turned back to the filly who was watching the robot in awe. Soon, me and Raindrops were eating.

"Daddy, can we go somewhere else after we eat?" Raindrops asked.

"Uhm...su-" Before I could complete my sentence, my mind just processed that she was calling me "daddy" once more.

"Daddy?" She looked at me.

“Raindrops, didn’t I tell you I’m not your dad?” I asked her.

"I know..." She looked down sadly. "You're not my daddy..."

"Gah! I mean..." I was a bit...surprised. She knows but she still continues to call me that. "Why do you continue to call me...daddy?"

"You look and remind me of him." She said, looking at me once more. "And you're also kind and caring...just like...him."

The filly went closer to me, laying her head on my side.

"Oh really now?" I asked her, stroking her mane. Kind of comforting to know that she thinks of me like that.

"Yeah!" She exclaimed happily. At least she's happy, that's what matters to me right now.

"So...is there any other reason-" I was interrupted by the familiar shouts of a certain pegasus coming from outside the door.

"Eclipse, you here?! I swear if I'm just doing this because of some Goddess-damned dream..."

Sweetie immediately went guard mode, the machine gun aimed at the door.

"Whoa! Sweetie, stand down." I said to the bot. Upon hearing this, she backed down. I also told her to remove the barricade. When she was done, I got up to go greet the pegasus. His eyes widened when he saw me approaching.

"I'll be damned...the Phantom's alive!" Autumn exclaimed.

"Howdy. What brings you here?" I said to him, amused by his reaction. It seems he also called me "The Phantom".

"W-What brings me here?" He scratched his head. "The princess told me to go here...."

“Princess...you mean good ‘ol Moony?” I asked him.

“Uh...Yeah, I think,” He replied. “Wait, I thought it was Princess Luna?”

“Nevermind about her name,” I told him. “Now state your business. What is the reason she sent you hear?”

"...I'm here because...well..." He stammered.

"Just spit it out!" I yelled.

"Okay Okay. To help get back your friend." He finally answered.

"Why are you so awkward all of a sudden?" I asked him. He scratched his head once more.

"Well...uhm...I though that...err..." At the rate his answering my question, we might as well start digging our own graves.

"Well, before some of us escaped...we saw that building," He pointed towards the collapsed ruins of the house, "Collapse on you. So we assumed you died..."

"Hmm...makes sense." I said, rubbing my chin. "That building should have killed me but for some reason..."

"Hey Mister! Who are you talking to?" Sweetie beeped, appearing beside me.
Raindrops also appeared on my other side and smiled when she saw Autumn.

"Uncle Autumn! You came back!" Raindrops said.

"Hey, before we all talk, let's go get something to eat, shall we?"

We were all sitting down in the room. Autumn sat across me while Sweetie and Raindrops sat between us.

"Uncle Autumn huh? That's new to me." I said to him.

"Eheh...she calls me that all the time." He explained. "We are not really related or anything."

"Seems obvious..." I looked at Raindrops then back at Autumn.

"So, who's that robot of yours?" Autumn asked, pointing at the filly bot.

"Oh her? She's Sweetie." I replied.

"Heya Mister Autumn!" She beeped.

"And so the bot's a her." He thought out loud.

Me and Autumn then talked about what to do and how to get back Jewel. We also discussed about Raindrops and Sweetie and what to do with them while on the mission. Raindrops then tugged my mane and whispered to me.

"Uhm...is it okay if I call you daddy for awhile?" She asked me.

"Huh? Why?" I asked her back, leaning closer so I can hear her more clearly.

"Well...whenever my daddy is away, he tells me to only stick with the most trustworthy and caring pony and just pretend that he/she is my parent." She replied.

"Don't you think that's a bit weird? And beside, Autumn's here," I told her.

"But you look like my daddy more than Uncle Autumn." She said back. "Please? Until my daddy comes back?"

I decided to think about it. It was a weird request and for her dad to tell her that is even weirder. And until her dad comes back? That just broke me, it forced me to agree to it. Just for the sake of the little, innocent filly. Dang it.


Raindrops beamed and I sighed. I turned back to Autumn and noticed that he was observing us.

"So what are you and Raindrops talking about this time?" He asked me.

"Oh you know, the weather, like always." I joked. Autumn looked at me unamused as Raindrops tried to stifle her laughter. Sometimes, the sense of humor of a child could be so low.

"So...shall we go?"

We walked towards the direction where we thought the slavers are. Autumn was leading the group, with Raindrops and Sweetie behind him and me behind them.

"This suit is cool!" Raindrops excitedly said, walking in a stable suit with numbers "05". It was also slightly armored for whatever reasons, but the real question was, why does Sweetie seem to carry these kinds of things? After all, it was the bot that gave the slightly armored suit to Raindrops.

"Uhm, yeah. Now come on, move faster," I told her when I noticed she's a bit slower than the rest of us. I checked how much bullets I had left and guess how many. None, no bullets. My revolver was going to be useless until I find more ammo for it.

"Hey Mister! We're near, I could see some ponies up ahead!" Sweetie beeped, pointing to a certain location somewhere a bit far. On closer a closer look, me and Autumn can confirm that it was the slavers alright.

"Are we going to meet new ponies?" Raindrops asked me. I realized I had not thought about the possibility of a shoot-out, real stupid of me.

"Uhm, no." I replied to the filly then yelled out to the pegasus in front of us. "Stop here!"

We stopped somewhere that is near to the slavers that we can see them but far enough to quickly bail if this plan goes cuckoo. Autumn prepared his laser rifle while I talked with Sweetie and Raindrops.

"Okay, me and that pegasus over there," I said, pointing at Autumn, "will go meet with a...err...friend! So I want both of you to just stay here and stay close to each other. Got it?"

They both nodded. Before I could go back to Autumn, Raindrops asked me a question.

"Daddy, is your friend kind?" She anticipated for my answer.

I thought about it. She doesn’t seem to be the type to give a single damn when it comes to other ponies. Will her attitude be the same to foals?

"She'll be friendly. Now stay here and be careful." I told her before finally going back to the waiting pegasus.

"Took ya long enough." He said. "Now, what's the plan?"

"Rescue our target and terminate any obstacles on our path?" I suggested. In reality, that was pretty much every plan everyone must have thought of on the wasteland.

"Hmm, how many bullets you got left?" He asked me. I decided to recheck.

"Oh look at that! I found a lucky bullet. It'll be handy." I said. He just facehoofed.

"Let's hope it'll be really worth it. Now, let's get ready." Autumn sighed and we both slowly sneaked towards the slaver's campsite. As we got nearer, we saw that they were all asleep.

"That's weird, I expected them to be farther than here..." I observed. "And why are they sleeping at the middle of the day?"

"You got a point, but this is our only chance." He simply told me. “We need all the advantages we can get at this point.

We moved closer and closer until we could clearly see each of their faces. It seems every one of them was in a very deep sleep. We sneaked around the camp until I saw the unmistakable blood-red colored mane.

"There she is!" I pointed at the mare who is lying down near us. She has a lot of bruises and cuts and her breathing was shallow. She was also gagged and her legs bound.

"Dang...looks like she had a rough time." Autumn stated. We both went closer to her and was about to cut the ropes that was tightly wrapped around her legs when she opened her eyes.

"Mmrph!" Her eyes were filled with surprise and fear. She kept on shaking her head and looking at the slavers.

"What's gotten into her?" Autumn asked. I shrugged and he decided to remove her gag.

"Get out of here, it's a trap!" She tried warning us but it was too late. I soon felt the presence of someone looking at us. I turned around to see that all of the slavers were "awake" and their weapons aimed at us.

"Look at what we got here..." One of them said, licking his lips. "It seems we're going to be paid after all, with food!"

They weren’t slavers. They were cannibals, hungry cannibals

Autumn finally cut the ropes and looked at the group of cannibals that already started surrounding us. Jewel, finally free, cowered behind us.

"Let's play with them...shall we?" One of the cannibals chuckled and aimed his pistol at Jewel. She looked at him wide-eyed and the slaver chuckled once more. I tried going between the barrel and the mare but all the others also aimed their weapon at us, ensuring that once we move, we die.


He shot Jewel in the leg, causing her to scream in pain before falling down. Tears started streaming down her eyes as her captor continued to laugh that sadistic laugh of his. We could have fought them but we were outnumbered and outgunned.

"What are we going to do now?" Autumn whispered to me. I did not know how to answer because I don't know what to do next. They continued laughing at us, taunting us. Everywhere I look, there were those sadistic grins and bloodstained weapons. Then something within me snapped.

"Any last words?" The cannibal asked, laughing once more. I looked at him, feeling only wrath and the urge to kill. He looked back at me, smirking, then his face was filled with fear. Everyone else looked at me and not a single word was said.

Wrath. Rage. Blood Lust. Power.

That's all I felt, but I knew something was wrong. It felt like something took over my body and all I can do is just watch. I started to hear a voice whispering to me

Kill. Kill them all. They don’t deserve to live, kill the now. They aren’t slavers, they’re something much more worse. Monsters, they’re all monsters.

I walked towards the monster, feeling the urge to kill him. He tried backing away and tripped. Before he could get up again, I placed my leg on his chest and pinned him to the ground. The rest of the monsters quickly ran away, leaving one of the m behind with me.

"Any last words?" I growled. He was shaking and crying.

“Please don’t kill me, I was just doing my job!” He tried to reason.

“You...you made a horrible mistake taking this job,” I angrily told him.

“W-Who are you?” He asked me one last time.

"Every soul you tormented." I answered him, grinning maliciously. My vision flashed red and I felt the anger slowly escalate into something far more darker.

I pressed down my hoof, feeling his ribs crack and gave way. He cried in agony as I continued to force my leg down on him until his heart had been crushed by my leg. He twitched for a few seconds, gasping for air as blood started dripping down his mouth. Blood started to pool around him. It was a gory sight and I loved it.

He finally took one last breath and stopped moving. I removed my leg from him and noticed it was covered in blood. Still under the influence of blood lust, I gave it a lick. I enjoyed the taste, it satisfied something deep inside of me.

"E-Eclipse?" A voice called out. It was Autumn.

I shook my head, my senses going back to normal. When I noticed the gruesome scene I had cause, I nearly threw up. What have I done? This wasn't me at all.

"Eclipse, you alright?" Autumn asked me. I shuddered and turned back to him. He was looking at me worriedly and I saw that Jewel is unconscious.

"Yeah...I think." I answered. I tried to forget about what happened and walked back towards him.

"Are you sure? Eclipse, you went a bit over the edge. You even licked some blood off your leg and you seemed to enjoy it!” He exclaimed in disgust. “And your face...it’s just filled with...Oh sweet Celestia…”

“I-I don’t know anymore. Let’s just go back to the others they might be worried.”

Footnote: Level Up...
New Perk: The Stare
-The start of a new nightmare. You're no Fluttershy so doing this will yield different positive and negative effects. Mostly the latter.

*Personality shift/Split personality
- You will experience a personality shift now and then. Hopefully, you can adjust to this new trait.

Chapter 8: Risks

View Online


Something we all need,

But not everyone has it.”

After cleaning the blood off my leg, we went back to where Sweetie and Raindrops are. Somehow, they managed to make a game that involved some rocks and dust. Kids can be such interesting creatures.

So after they were done playing, since they didn’t want us to interrupt their game, we went back to the big building. Before Sweetie and Raindrops entered, we told them to stay outside with the unconscious unicorn as me and Autumn went in first. What we were going to do was horrible but it was the most convenient way to dispose dead bodies at that time.

“Are you sure you want me to do this?” Autumn asked me, hesitating to aim. “I mean, it’s just not right.”

“I know it’s not right but we can’t leave them here!” I told him. “They’re beginning to stink so we can’t stack them up in one room. Now start shooting, it’s better to turn them to ashes than to let them decompose...I guess.”

He nodded and fired his laser rifle at each dead body, turning everyone into pink ashes. The hardest part was Raindrop’s father. I offered to do that part of the shooting, I don’t know why though. Afterwards, I felt horrible and guilty, if I had just concentrated on the battle, none of this would happen.

After we ashified every dead body and dumped their burnt remains in a pot, we gave the all clear signal for the fillies to enter. I went to get Jewel, who was such a drag. We eventually made ourselves comfortable in a big room, fixing it up to look welcoming. There was a smaller nearby, which served as a temporary clinic for our guest.

Sweetie volunteered to be the one to take care of Jewel, since she claimed to be programmed with a medical emergency system (or M.E.S). So while the bot was acting doctor, Raindrops was busy playing with the Pinkie statuette.

“Hey Autumn, what are you doing with that piece of junk?” I asked the pegasus, who exited one of the rooms with what looked like to be a broken radio.

“First of all, it’s not junk, it’s a survivor's greatest tool. Second, I’m going to fix it,” He replied.

He sat at a corner of the room and started doing whatever he wants with the radio. I just shrugged and sat down on a moldy mattress. It wasn’t the best feeling in the world but it’s better than concrete.

After about a half an hour, Sweetie returned.

“Hey Mister! I’m done with whatever you just told me to do,” She beeped.

“Hey Sweetie, how’s Jewel?” I asked her.

“Well, she has a lot of cuts and bruises, a small amount of her flesh seems to be bitten off, and there’s a bullet in her leg, which I removed. But don’t worry, she’ll be fine. I already patched her up as best as I can and she’ll recover after a few days or weeks,” She told me.

“That’s a pretty long time and I don’t think we can stay at this place for days or even weeks. Is there any way we can speed up the healing process?” I asked her.

“There is one way. We can use a healing potion to speed things up,” She replied. “But we don’t have any.”

“Hey, I think I know of a place,” Autumn cut in, apparently abandoning the radio and decided to listen to our conversation. "I think I saw a clinic in this town. Maybe it has healing potions?"

"Hmm...how far is it?" I inquired. Autumn thought for a while.

"Far from this building, somewhere near the edge of this town." He replied. "And the danger of encountering raiders or slavers or even mercs are very high."

"Great. Who wants to go?" I asked rhetorically.

"Err...maybe we can just wait for her to heal?" Autumn said, scratching the back of his head. I shook my head; I had a feeling that we don't have much time.

"Alright, I’ll just go, like I have much to do anyway. Autumn, make sure Raindrop eats while I'm away." I told him. Upon hearing her name, Raindrops turned to me.

"Daddy, where are you going?" She asked me.

"Somewhere but I'll be back soon..." I uneasily said, Autumn's eyes looking at me with a judgmental and confused look. Raindrops just nodded and continued playing with the statuette. I stood up and told Autumn to follow me to a nearby room, leaving the filly and the bot to play with each other.

"So, when did you become a parent?" Autumn asked.

"Seriously, Autumn? I’m just her guardian. Nothing more, nothing less," I replied. "And you, why did you leave her and her dad here?"

"What do you mean?" He nervously asked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

"Autumn, I found her alone here...and her dad's dead." I sighed. “You remember that stallion? The one I shot? That was him.”

"Well...ever since you got knocked out, we had a tough time battling them. We decided to escape while we can using an emergency escape route me and my men made,” He explained. “When we got out, that’s when we realized we forgot the filly. You see, she was asleep and most of us were so panicked that we couldn’t think straight. Her father immediately went back to get her. We wanted to follow him but then this extraordinary thing happened.”

“What do you mean extraordinary? And how was that related to Raindrops and her father?” I asked him, confused.

“Uhm, first, the raiders eventually got in the place. That’s when I started running back to the building but my men stopped me. They pointed to an Alicorn that just appeared out of nowhere. And then she entered the building. We thought everyone inside was doomed but looks like that wasn’t case, luckily.” He answered.

“Alicorn? Who was it?” I asked even more, curious about what he said.

“That’s the thing, we don't know who she is or if it even has a name, but I suspect it to be under the control of a certain earth pony in Fillydelphia.” He answered. “But this one was different than the others...it’s coat was pure white and it’s mane was dark blue.”

“Wait, you’re saying there are more alicorns other than the princesses?” I asked. He nodded then continued talking about this alicorn.

“Usually, we find alicorns that are green, purple, or...blue. And this once just came out of the blue, I mean, it came out of nowhere.” He said. “Anyways...when she came out of the building, she looked like she successfully accomplished a mission or something like that, and flew away. She seemed to be passive when she got out, but what I don’t get is how she did not notice us. I mean, she flew over us…or maybe she just ignored us.”

“Ok, so an alicorn of different kind showed up and later vanished.” I summarized. “Alright, we are getting off topic. I’ll head towards the clinic.”

“What?! Oh hell no! I just told you about how risky that place could be and you still want to dive into danger?!” He angrily said.

“I have to, Autumn. I have a feeling something bad will happen if we stay here any longer.” I argued. “And I know the slavers...or cannibals, that ran off crying will be back...with an even powerful group.”

“Eclipse, listen to me. The threat is too high for you to go alone. And them coming back? That’s just a hunch. You know what? Fine, let’s go together,” He insisted.

“No, I need you to stay here and watch Raindrop for me. Sweetie will also need to watch over Jewel for now,” I argued.

“You’re asking for a death wish! Fuck, and what about Raindrops, huh? What happens if you don’t return? She’ll be worried damnit!” he shouted, slamming his hooves on the ground.

“I’ll be fine! And I will return. Even if I didn’t, you have a better chance of taking care of her anyways. Her father requested me to let someone trustworthy and caring take care of her. That’s you Autumn.” I insisted. “No more questions asked. I’m leaving now.”

And I turned my back from him and walked out of the room. Raindrops and Sweetie were now looking at me, a bit worried; I guess they heard our argument. I sighed and calmed down a bit.

“What’s wrong Mister?” Sweetie asked me.

“Ah, nothing. Nothing’s wrong, Sweetie.” I replied as calmly as I could. “Just make sure our sleeping guest will be fine while I’m away.”

“Are you going to tell me where you are going?” Raindrops asked again, tilting her head in confusion.

“Just...somewhere. I can’t really explain how it will look like or the name of the place." I answered, getting a saddlebag. "Don't worry, I'll be back soon. Just behave."

I left the building as quick as possible, before any more questions were asked. For some reason, I was mad and felt like I can blow in any moment. I looked at my PipBuck to check the map; Sweetie taught me how to use that feature. I was in the middle of the town that was literally named "Ghost Town". The edge of the town was not really that far but it would be a long walk. I was too focused on my current mission that I failed to notice my necklace, which was glowing.

Moony? A voice spoke to me. Hmm, I kinda like that nickname. What’s the next thing you’re going to call me?

I looked around for the source of the voice. I wouldn't be surprised if the voice was from my mind but this voice belongs to a mare. I quickly dismissed it as my brain making up sounds.

It's not really in your mind, It said once more, Actually, it's in your mind. Just not the way you are thinking of.

"Who's there?!" I yelled out, ready for anything. Nothing happened, other than tumbleweed passing by.

Calm down Phantom, This time, I recognized the voice, Is this how you greet an old friend?

"Luna? Where are you?" I asked, my voice trembling. I was confused and suddenly afraid.

No need to speak, just think, Luna said, And don't be afraid.

"What is the meaning of this?!" I said, frustrated.

Calm down! Luna commanded, I'll tell you as soon as you calm down. And as soon as you start moving.

I gave up and continued walking, no use in arguing with a disembodied voice. I also kept on looking around, making sure I won't get ambushed.

What you are doing is a foolish act, Luna scolded, You are putting your life in danger.

I'll be fine damnit! I thought angrily, What's with you kinds of ponies worrying too much?!

What makes you say you're fine? With only 1 bullet left, you're likely to die, She argued.

I was supposed to die when that building collapsed on me, remember? That was supposed to happen, Or even when that…missile hit me.

Your body was strong enough to survive that blast or the collapse of that building. Those things on your legs and back were made for defense and medical purposes, meaning your endurance has been increased and your body’s healing speed has been doubled, She explained.

Whatever, you told me you'll explain what the hell you're doing in my mind. I changed the topic. I was getting even more...frustrated arguing with her.

I was getting to that before you got mad. Now listen closely! She started explaining.

The necklace you're wearing allows me to communicate with you telepathically...if you find that word fitting for our current situation. I can talk to you anytime but I would rather save my energy than to talk to you for a whole day. So that’s why I’m in your mind right now. Anyways, the reason I’m talking to you right now is because I’m trying to stop you from doing this stupid plan of yours!

Yada yada yada, I don’t care, can you just shut up already? I know what I’m doing, okay? I tried to block her out of my mind.

Eclipse! Just listen to me, She refused to be silenced, The place you are going to now involves something about your past. It could be bad, it could be good, but I know that place is really dangerous. It involved an experiment done during the war.

What war? I questioned

Eclipse, I’ll tell you about that next time. But for now, stay alert, you’re near, She told me, Hopefully, you’ll be safe. Try not to get killed then, ok?

And then silence. I was glad she was finally gone. Suddenly, a bullet whizzed by me. I realized I had walked into a small raider group. Damn, I should really keep focus of where I’m going next time.

“Hey, get out of my way,” I angrily told them.

“You think we take orders from you? Ha, you’re real funny,” One of them said sarcastically. I just rolled my eyes and grumbled a few meaningless words.

“Get…out of my way…” I told them one more time. I was in no mood to deal with them, especially since I only have a bullet left. “Just get out.”

“Not before we deal with you!” They aimed their weapons at me. “And we’ll be taking what you have from your cold dead body.”

I groaned in annoyance. I should be more worried, seeing that I was outnumbered, but I was more frustrated than worried. This time, I was willing to kill and I felt something sinister take over me.

“Come and get me,” I said before rushing them.

They were slow in reacting so I got the first hit. I punched the one who did the speaking, sending him flying a good distance away. The 2 others finally regained their composure but it was too late. I kicked the head of the one who tried shooting me first, quickly killing him as I heard his skull crack. The last one looked at me with fear, unsure of what to do.

“Not so tough now, are you?” I taunted him.

“S-Shut up! I’ll shoot you!” He tried to say. “You’re just like everyone else, a mortal!”

“And so are you…”

He fired and the bullet hit me in shoulder. I winced in pain but I tried to ignore it. I had been shot many times now that I shouldn’t be standing. But I didn’t care; my only goal now is to kill.

I ran towards him and kicked him in the chest, making him fly towards a wall of a nearby building. He was lodged into the wall, immobilizing him. He was still alive, somehow, and he was coughing heavily. I looked into his eyes and I saw that it was filled with so much fear.

“H-Have….mercy…” He tried to beg. He was gasping for air now and blood was trickling from his mouth. He reminded me of the first time I killed with my hooves.

I just shook my head and laughed. I slowly walked towards him, watching him frantically try to escape. It was too late for him, if only he and he’s bodies though it through.

“Tsk tsk tsk, consider this as a punishment for all the lives you took away,” I told him.

As I got nearer to him, I felt a warm feeling in one of my forelegs. It was getting hotter with every step forward. I ignored it and continued moving, listening to him try to speak.

“But…I-“ Before he could finish his sentence, I have already rammed my leg into his chest. I noticed my leg had a black aura but it faded away as quick as it appeared, along with the hot feeling. I just dismissed it as something my mind made up. I didn’t realized that there was a gurgling noice and I look at the raider. He seemed to be trying to speak.

“…never killed anyone…” That was his final words before he breathed his last.

I blinked before I realized what I had done. I quickly removed my leg, which was covered in blood once more, and looked at the corpse in horror. One thing he said continued to roam around my mind.

I never killed anyone…

I tried to block this off my mind. I did not need this, I do not need to remember what happened. But even if I tried, I couldn’t. I felt myself be crushed by even more guilt. What if he was completely innocent?

I sighed and looked around. My eyes widened as I realized where I am. Either it’s by sheer luck or fate, I had found the clinic. I looked at the place, making sure my hunch was right. The item that proved it was the clinic was a small, rusty sign that hung outside.

Dr. Goodfeels' Clinic

It was a strange name but it had the word clinic. I surveyed the area and found out that all means of access to the building were either blocked, destroyed, or even barricaded.

Damnit! I tried so hard but yet so far, I still failed. There was no way I can break into the place. Even if I could, I think it would cause a loud racket which could alert everyone nearby on my position.

Oops, looks like a dead-end. Luna spoke again, nearly making me jump and run away.

Oh, it’s you, I was still a bit mad at her for some reason. What do you want?

You need to improve on your attitude, She told me. Anyways, I’m here to give you a clue. Remember Nurse Redheart?

Nurse Redheart? I don’t think so, I replied. Who is she?

Well, since you don’t remember, I must as well tell who she is. Obviously, she is a nurse. She used to work back then at Ponyville, I think, She told me. During the war, she was one of the nurses assigned to treat anyone injured in this town. She also happened to be...a part of something else. Don’t get the wrong idea, she’s innocent. She was just manipulated to join. What she joined...it involved you, my friend.

What? How am I involved? I asked her, confused.

You are her patient, or so she thought. She treated you well, thankfully. But then there was this…project. She was hesitant at first but eventually agreed to it. Why? Because you were dying. I’m not sure if she had feelings for you or not-both of you were so friendly to each other-but if she did, then that’s why she agreed to it. Anyways, she realized her mistake and decided to make up for it. She went to you one night and told you the codes to a secret entrance to the place, in case you wanted to run away or come in anytime. That’s all I’ll tell you for know.

Hold on, what is the secret code? I questioned. ‘Cause I don’t remember any codes so far.

Just try to remember, that’s all you need to know. I know you can do it, She answered.

I did try and it hurts. The process of trying to remember of what I presumed was a lost memory was hard. It was vague at first but I soon managed to remember the code. I couldn’t believe it, I did what I thought could not be done!

Though quite skeptical to what she said, I still tried to do it anyways. To remember something which was presumed lost or even not true surprisingly took quite a toll on me. A sharp pain pierced through my head, followed by pressure on all sides. I nearly buckled, resting on the wall to avoid falling. Different imagery flashed through my mind. A road, a bench, a random pony, but more important, a set of numbers.

Breathe in, breathe out. If you don't, you'll knock yourself out!Luna warned me, I have not expected this, they must have done something to stop you from remembering. But you need those numbers if you want to succeed. So, relax and breathe!

And so I did. I took another deep breathe and relaxed, closing my eyes. Once more, I tried to focus on those set of numbers. The pain was still there, but it was much more bearable. The random images slowly decreased in frequency as a certain memory became clearer: the hidden entrance.


I opened my eyes and sucked a lot of air before retching stomach acids. The world spun around me as I tried to get my bearings. The pain in my head suddenly increased in intensity before it subsided, along with the dizziness and nausea. After a while, I can finally breathe easily.

Good work but that would be the only memory you will be able to extract from your past, I’m afraid, Luna told me. Now get in there and do what you have to do or this trip will be all for naught.

I just nodded and slowly moved towards the back of the building, guided by what I faintly remember. If my old memory was right, then there would be a lot of paintings of the clinic’s doctors or nurses’ cutie marks. It was some kind of tribute to those who worked hard to save thousands of lives. I eventually discovered them, much to my surprise. Most of the paintings were either weathered down and gone. I studied each cutiemark carefully, to see if one of it would be where the entrance is hidden. A few moments later, I managed to find the cutie mark I was looking for: a pink cross outline with a red heart within and in each corner. If one were to look carefully at the painting, he or she would notice some sort of panel within the cross. I tapped it twice and it opened, displaying a keypad with a screen with four lines. I quickly tapped in the code.

1835, that’s the passcode. If you want to get out or get in quickly, you can use the secret passage way. Little to no one know about it, I just got lucky to be one of those who knows it. I never went there actually so I’m not sure about the layout of the place but I assure you it will be easy to navigate, I think. Anyways, if you want to enter, just look for my cutie mark symbol at the back of this place. Once you find it, tap on the middle of the cross at least twice. Soon, it will open and the rest, you can fill in the blanks. Just make sure you don’t get caught, okay?

I waited after I entered the code, expecting something to happen. Just before I was ready to look for another way in, I heard a hiss and a door opened. I was impressed to see it working after all this years, even if the movement was a bit jerky due to the rust on it’s surface. Once the door fully opened, I was faced with a very dark hallway. I gulped and and entered the place,


The lights flickered on, temporarily blinding me with their sudden presence. There was also a low hum on the background when the lights did turn on. When my eyes finally adjusted to the lighting, I could see a long corridor ahead of me. Since I see nothing interesting, I continued walking. After a few minutes, I realized something odd.

This is taking quite longer than expected. These corridor must be damn long, though I did encounter some turns and stairs a while back..

Then I saw two paths, one going straight and one going right. I started looking for any signs that can lead me towards the clinic. Another cutie mark was drawn on the wall of the right path so I decided to go that way. Another long walk, this time with more twists and turns here and there. And finally, I found an elevator in the end. I also noticed the hum was louder this time. I did not mind this and stepped in the elevator. I saw three buttons and naturally clicked the button saying "clinic".

Elevator music started playing and I found myself humming to the song.

When the young dreams

And the old dies

There's only one thing we all need

It’s not friendship, just peace

Weird songs all the way. Finally, after a long walk and puzzling stuff, I'm in the clinic. It was dusty and papers were scattered everywhere. Lights were flickering on and off here and there, giving the place a very haunting feeling. But I had only one thing in my mind and that was to get healing potions, so I did not notice the only warning about the danger i'm soon to face: 3 long, bloody scratch marks.

Rooms, rooms everywhere. Some with corpses and others with just IV drips. It would be right to say that it was an unsettling view. I continued peering into each rooms to find the familiar box. I managed to stumble into a different kind of room. It has the numbers "18" on the wall and it seems to be some sort of sleeping quarters for a nurse. On the corner, near a bed, was another safe. It was those kinds of safes where you have to turn the dial on the right orders of numbers. On the other side of the room was a dusty table and what was placed on top of it caught my eyes. A holotape.

Oh look at that! It could be something important. Luna whispered to me, urging me to check it out. I grabbed it and...I had no idea how to play it.

Check your PipBuck. You might be surprised with what you find. Luna continued to say. I checked it and I was indeed surprised. A port that seems to fit the tape, or was that the other way around? Anyways, I played the tape and it started with a “bzzt”. After a few seconds of static, a mare’s nervous voice finally started speaking. She sounded familiar but I can find a name, yet.

“Hopefully, this tape would be useless and all I had experienced last night was a really, REALLY, bad dream. A-Anyways, I’m recording this for a certain stallion, just in case that dream was real. Aargh! I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! Oh sweet Celestia, I should calm down...I’ll...I’ll just have to say it straightly. Esi...Esi...FUCK! Eclipse, check the safe at the corner of my room, it has everything you would need. Please, just please, don’t go any further down the place. I...I saw what was in there and I dreamed what could happen to you if...Fuck! I shouldn’t have said that! Damnit, damnit, DAMNIT!”

I could hear the sound of someone pounding on the wall on the background. It took another few seconds before whoever was speaking calmed down. But when she spoke again, her tone changed. It was sad...worried.

“Please take care of yourself. I know I won’t be there to take care of you next time you get hurt. I already suspect you have a lot of wounds before you arrived to this place. Just take what you need and leave, I don’t want you to get killed. I know there are a few ponies who are worried about you, like that...filly. Oh that cute little filly. So please, just heed me...please...”

A bitter laughter followed, I must be so paranoid to make this tape...I'm a nurse, I should be rationale...not...like this...

She sighed heavily and she seemed to be...crying. Not soon after, a different voice cut in. This time, I don’t recognize it.

"Nurse Redheart? Are you alright?”

“Y-Yes, I’m fine. What is it you need?”

“Uhm, we have a new patient and most of us are too busy to take care of her. You’re the only one that seems to be not doing anything so I figured that you could do it.”

“Alright, just give me a minute.”

The recording ended with a click. I sat on the bed to think about what I had heard. It was her alright, the nurse that took care of me. She seemed to already know about the future; all of her guesses were true. She did say something about a dream that predicted all that. Was Luna involved somehow?

The tape was definitely a blast from the past, an important piece of my past. This may be just a small reminder of what life was like back then but it was enough for me to think, If I was from the past, then how am I still here?

I walked towards the safe, ready to grab what I came for. I was sure that the potions were there, it had to be!

I noticed a folder placed on top of the safe once I reached it. Curious, I decided to check it. Carefully turning the very old papers, I read what the folder offered me.

Patient 35

Name: ?

Sex: M

Age: Around 20

Cause of hospitalization(?):


The file was extremely vague. The name and age were not exactly know, the cause of hospitalization was smudged and the word CLASSIFIED blocked most of it, and it seems the only thing they were certain was the gender obviously. The file wasn’t the only thing interesting thing I spotted. Between some papers, there was a key card. It was damaged but it was not a serious problem. The bar codes weren’t ruined so that’s something.

Once I was done with the files, I decided to open the safe. The password was really easy, since it only involved two numbers. Strange for a lock to only have two numbers as its password. Putting in the first two numbers I thought of, the safe opened, much to mu surprise. inside, I finally saw what I was looking for: A box of healing potions. I eagerly grabbed it and was about to get out but I noticed two more items inside the safe. The first item was a knife, in a sheath, and the second one was another holotape.

What are you doing? Luna asked me. You have the potions so just get out already!

I ignored her and loaded the tape. There was no dangers anyway so why rush?

-The tape played but it was a different mare. She sounded...crazy. I wasn’t sure what to think of her but I listened to it anyways.

"I suspected...that you would arrive." Her voice sounded hoarse. "The nurse thought only she knew her safe's passcode but it was pretty obvious when you get to know her better. Of course, she would think that only you would open this.

"I also had a dream, but this time, it involves something horrible involving an experiment of ours. You are lucky that you were one of my best friends and since I owe you a favor, here it is. I will place this knife next to this recording. This knife is special, its blade has a special venom mixed with a little something from the Everfree forest.

"I must tell you what it does. One strike from it that hits any non-vital organs will cause the victim to black out instantly, just make sure it...passes through the skin. A strike that only cuts the skin will cause the affected area to become very painful and will have a feeling that it's in fire. A strike on any vital organs will cause the victim...you get the point.

"But this knife also has a bad side for you. It's made with...something that fell from the sky. Everytime you kill something with it, your body will slowly be affected by radiation, poison, or something else more dangerous. Unless...the experiment was successful..."

The tape abruptly ends. I just stared at the screen, confused. Who was this mare? She claimed that I am one of her “best friend” but her voice doesn’t ring a bell. She also sounded off, like she was drugged or something.

I looked at the knife. She said the knife’s blade had a special venom, what was it? And it also had an effect on the user apparently. I was debating whether I should take the knife or not. In the end, I grabbed it. I would only use it for emergencies and nothing else. I strapped the weapon on my free foreleg and grabbed the key card from the folder.

What are you doing? Just get out already! I could tell Luna was getting angrier.

I said I'll be fine! I stubbornly replied. Besides, there’s no threat here.

I did not receive a reply from her but I can still feel that she's still with me. I imagined her slowly shaking her head and sighing. I walked back to the elevators and this time pressed the third option. A key card reader popped so I swiped the key card and I was on my way. The key card had the word “Lab” so I assumed it would involve sciencey stuff. Once the elevator stopped moving, the door opened with a ding. In front of me was another hallway.

I noticed something on the middle of the hallway, more specifically, on the middle of a dried pool of blood. I carefully stepped out of the elevator and nervously picked up the object, another holotape. I played it, wondering what kind of knowledge I’ll gain next.

“Uhm, hello? Oh good, it’s recording,” The voice belonged to a stallion this time. “This recording is going to be about Project 35. It involves a certain stallion, a soldier that was a part of the platoon of Big Macintosh, I think. The details they gave me. Anyways, he started of as a patient though, suffering multiple gunshot wounds. We thought we could do nothing to help him but the founder of Ministry of Wartime Technology insisted we do something, saying that there had to be a way and she can’t lose another loved one. That’s when a certain group of ponies emerged, called themselves...I can’t say it, it’s confidential and I heard they were keeping tabs on everypony in this clinic. They hired the best possible inventors, scientists, doctors, engineers, and computer technician. Unfortunately, I was chosen. I, Dr. Tesla, was chosen to oversee the...nevermind.

“Anyways, we managed to bring the stallion back in good health. He was soon released but the ‘Management’ continued to watch his every move. Though one day, the management captured him once more. This where the dark story begins…

“He was sedated, and was being experimented on with a special substance that allows him to be stronger than anypony else. It failed dramatically, causing him to be aggressive. Another experiment on him that allows him to manipulate magic ended into another disaster, he did manage to manipulate magic but something dark consumed him...causing him to be...like… Ahem, anyways. The final experiment before he was released once more involved something very dangerous, something that gives me nightmares till this very day. We should have know the effects on him mentally. Either he was just a really great actor, has schizophrenia, or multiple-personalities disorder. When he was injected with the drug, there were no violent reactions. We thought the experiment was a success...but then...all hell broke loose.

“I looked into his eyes and I suddenly felt weak. There was something malevolent his eyes were showing and I noticed a dark aura surrounding him. I immediately ordered him to be sedated. One thing that I only know is that these drugs have some zebra potions on it, who...who knows how they got there.

“Another project was called to attention, dubbed the “Shadow Armor”. It was a special kind of armor, allowing the pony using it to have an increase of endurance, strength, and perception. It also had a special effect, anypony wearing the armor can easily camouflaged when night falls, though it only happens when he or she stops moving for a certain period of time. We had to build the the armor part by part but was ultimately cancelled by the founder herself when she finally found out what was happening. End of story.”

There was a long pause. I thought it was finished but I noticed it was still playing. Then in a dramatic voice, he finished the recording.

“Project 18...we shouldn’t have done it but we did it anyways... The voice suddenly changed in pitch, followed by a terrible moaning sound in the background, Run...Eclipse. RUN!”

I nearly yelped when he said that. To tell me to run, but from what? It gave me the shivers and the pool of blood I found it on wasn't helping me feel safe. Come to think of it, it looked fresh.

I was starting to become scared. Did he also foresee this event? There seems to be something more than what meets the eye...something sinister. Three ponies that recorded their message for someone named Eclipse, or me, each with their own different purpose.


I heard blood-curdling scream after the tape ended, somewhere far away from me. All lights shut down, the only lights source was from the screen of my PipBuck. I quickly backed up to the elevator and kept on pressing the “clinic” button. Before the doors closed, I saw 2 large, red eyes coming right at me.

He's here! What have you put yourself in! Luna yelled at me.

I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, I double checked the area to make sure I was back at the clinic. Once I was sure, I calmed down. Then another scream that made the building shook scared me shitless. I immediately ran out of the elevator and towards reinforced window. While I may be lucky it was just a thin sheet of metal covering it from the inside of the building, there were still planks outside of the building that was covering the window, for some reason. Even though, I jumped through the window, ignoring the pain I was feeling as broken glass, sharp metal, and splinters cut through my skin and continued running. As I continued dashing through the empty streets, bullets whizzed by me followed by furious shouts.

Just run and don't look back. I should have stopped you before your curiosity took hold. Luna scolded me, sounding even more angry with every word she speaks, Alas, you should have heed my warnings! But you foolishness has caused you to make rash decisions.

Luna, I just- I tried explaining but She cut me off.

I will have none of your excuses. I will talk to you next time.

I arrived back at the building, barging into the top floor. Everyone looked at me with confusion. Finally, I collapsed in exhaustion and Raindrops immediately rushed towards me, followed by Sweetie and Autumn.

“Daddy! You came back.” Raindrops exclaimed, hugging me tightly. I just weakly nodded, trying to catch my breath.

“Well? Was it worth the trip? I could see some bloodstains in your suit.” Autumn sarcastically commented. Once again, I just nodded, too tired to even argue with him.

“Uhm, Mister? You seem to be hurt,” Sweetie told me. “We should fix you up before anything else happens.”

“I’m...fine…” I groaned in pain.

“Mister, you need immediate medical attention,” Sweetie insisted. “Tell me, Mister, did you get the potions?”

I nodded and pointed at my saddle bag. Autumn immediately grabbed what was inside of it and opened the box.

“Dang, we have a problem. There’s only 1 healing potion.” Autumn announced. “ Good news? There’s a lot of magical bandages.”

“I’ll take the bandages,” I told him. “Sweetie, take the potion to Jewel.”

Sweetie nodded and grabbed the bottle out of the box and went to where Jewel is currently in. Meanwhile, Autumn applied the bandages on my wounds.

“Daddy, are you okay? The robot said you’re hurt...Are you going to be fine?” Raindrops worriedly asked me.

“Yes, I’ll be fine. Nothing to worry about…” I answered.

“Hopefully,” I heard Autumn said under his breath. “I mean, seriously Eclipse, you need to watch yourself. I’m not even...Did you even remove any of the bullets that got into you? You have been shot at least 5 times now, maybe even more.”

“Um, whoops,” I looked at Autumn in the eye, smiling dumbly. “Guess I forgot about those…”

Autumn just looked at me blankly before shaking his head.

“As soon as we are done with this...recovery period, we’re getting you fixed.” He told me before telling Raindrops to follow him and both of them went to another room.

I just waited for the pain to subside. Out of all the things I experienced so far, I didn’t expect splinters to be this painful. Well, I guess the combination of splinters, broken glass, sharp metal, and even bullets really hurts. What a world I woke up in.

“Mister, are you okay?” Sweetie asked as she exited the room. I gave her a nod.

“So, how’s Jewel?” I asked her.

“She’ll be ok after a few seconds.” Sweetie beeped. I sighed in relief.

“Great...now...I’ll go to sleep….” I weakly mumbled, trying to stay awake.

“Mister? Mister?!”

I closed my eyes, feeling tired and weak. Running across town powered by only adrenaline would make me feel that way, I thought. Darkness enveloped me, dragging me away from reality and into the land of broken dreams and promises.

“So, how is he?” I heard a voice, he sounded worried. “It’s been sometime now.

“He’s fine,” Another replied, the tone of the voice sounded like a robot. “I managed to stabilize his condition. All the bullets that were inside his body has been successfully removed.”

I managed to opened my eyes and saw a very surprised pegasus and a happy robot.

“Eclipse, you’re finally awake!” Autumn happily greeted me. “Raindrops was getting worried.”

“What...what happened?” I asked him.

“Well, this robot told me that you...were in deep shit. Heavily wounded, internal bleeding, those kinds of things,” He explained.

“Hey! I have a name!” Sweetie told him, annoyed.

“Yeah, yeah, you’re name is Sweetie…” The pegasus looked at her apologetically.

I tried standing up. Autumn, who noticed me trying, helped me up.

“Whoa, you need to slow down,” He told me. I just waved a hoof at him.

“I’ll be fine, now where’s Jewel?” I asked him. “She should be fine by now.”

“She’s at…She’s somewhere at the balcony place, I think,” He replied.

“Ok,” I thanked him. “You can let go of me now, I’m fine.”

Autumn gave me one last look before shrugging. I left both of them, slowly making my way towards balcony. There, leaning on the rails, was the red-head unicorn looking at the dark sky, if there was a sky. The last time I checked in the morning, there was only clouds. Depressing.

“Jewel?” I walked to her side. She gave me a surprised look before smiling a bit.

“Eclipse...you’re...awake. That’s good,” She softly told me. I nodded and sighed.

“So how are you feeling?” I asked her.

“I’m feeling...fine,” She replied. “Yeah, just fine. How about you? I heard you risked your life trying to get get that healing potion.”

“Well, what do you think?” I asked her. “Am I fine or not?”

“You look the same, as always. Hard to tell if you’re feeling great or under the weather,” She answered. “But I think you’re fine...seeing that you’re...still alive...”

She suddenly hugged me, crying a bit. I was caught unprepared for this moment, unfamiliar to her sudden change of attitude and a hug from a mare. I awkwardly hugged her back, feeling a bit uncomfortable.

“Are you really okay, Jewel?” I asked her again. “Because you’re acting a bit off.”

“I’m fine,” She insisted. “I’m just glad you’re still alive. That you’re still here.”

She broke off the hug, wiping her tears off from her eyes. I looked at her, hoping that she really is alright. But deep down, I know she was missing something.

“Come on...sis, let’s go back inside.” I jokingly told her.

“Look who’s callin me sis now?” She laughed, punching me on the shoulder. “I don’t follow you, lil’ bro, you follow me!”

We both went back to where the others are. Apparently, they have a cozy fire started in the fireplace. I didn’t even know the building had a fireplace.

“Hey, what were you doing in the balcony that took so much time?” Autumn asked as soon as he noticed us enter the room.

“We just talked, that’s all,” I replied. He gave me a satisfied nod and continued to enjoy the warmth of the fire.

I took a sit beside Raindrops, who was busy talking with Sweetie. They seemed to be getting along well, I can’t doubt that. They’re both fillies after all, well, one of them is programmed to act one but filly nonetheless. Meanwhile, Jewel sits beside Autumn. They seem to be talking about someone, I think. Maybe they’re talking about me, who knows?

I continued to mess around with my PipBuck. There was a lot of things to do with, like playing as a line that eats dots that appears in the screen. That was fun. After what felt like hours playing that game, I felt someone tug on my mane. I looked at who was trying to get my attention and smiled.

“What is it, Raindrops?” I asked her.

“Daddy, who’s the white unicorn pony?” She whispered to me.

“She’s a friend of mine,” I answered her. “Her name is Jewel.”

She nodded and stared at her for a few minutes before continuing her talk with Sweetie. I just continued playing around with the Pip. For once, I thought we were going to have an ordinary night. Just an ordinary chat with a bunch of ponies that looks and acts friendly to you. No fighting, no running, no threats. Like everyday, I was wrong.

We were all startled when a gunshot rang out. That was followed by a lot of shouting. I looked at Autumn and he looked back at me.

“I told you so,” I simply told him. “They’d come back...for revenge.”

“Oh really? Well thanks for sharing that info,” He replied sarcastically. “Come on, let’s go before they eventually enter the place. I barricaded the entrance when you arrived so we have some time to run.”

“Isn’t the entrance the only exit of this place?” I asked him.

“Not anymore. Before you arrived, I found a hidden tunnel in this place,” He answered me. “I guess that tunnel is our only chance of escaping now.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Jewel suddenly asked, wielding her shotgun. “Let’s go!”

“Hold on, I need to test my theory on them,” I immediately grabbed the broken radio from the corner of my room.

“Really Eclipse?! This is no time for testing anything!” The pegasus, annoyed as hell, yelled at me.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be quick. Just go on ahead, I’ll follow,” I quickly told him.

“You’re going to do something stupid, are you?” He asked, sighing.

“Trust me. Besides, I never made a single stupid mistake in my entire life.”

Footnote: Level Up!
New perk: Karate Master I
Your skills in fighting an opponent with only hooves have increased. You also have an increased reaction time when fighting a group of ponies hoof-to-hoof (This only applies to ponies, obviously).

Chapter 9: Questions and Answers.

View Online

“Back to where you started

And another story unfolds”

We ran away from the town with the darkness to cover us, though the light from my PipBuck and Sweetie’s eyes pierced through our dark blanket. We were all nervous that they might notice the lights. Luckily, they didn’t. Instead, they decided to investigate a nearby building where I threw a rock into. That sound that was made by the glass being hit by the rock as strong enough to draw their attentions. Lucky us.

We decided to go back to Stable 5. I didn’t want to go back but Sweetie insisted. It was really the only place that we knew could be safe anyways. I guess we were partly right on that part.

“I told you I ain’t going to do anything stupid,” I said to Autumn, who was running alongside me.

“Throwing that rock could’ve killed us!” He answered back, shaking his head. “What if they decided to see where the rock came from instead of where it landed?”

“I fail to see your logic,” I told him.

“Can both of you be quiet for once?!” Jewel yelled at us. Autumn gulped and nodded while I just chuckled.

“What are you laughing at?!” Jewel growled. “You think this is funny?”

“Calm down, Jewel,” I calmly replied. “You know, you should lose your habit of yelling at other’s face. I did, after all, save your life.”

I smirked as she stayed silent. She then groaned in annoyance and walked besides Raindrops.

“How can you deal with that sister of yours?” Autumn suddenly asked me. “Oh wait, BOTH of you are crazy…”

I looked at him questioningly before shrugging. How do I deal with her? What kind of question is that…

I decided to walk beside Raindrops. Autumn was really silent, quite unnerving really. That’s when I heard Jewel talking to her.

“Hey sweetheart, how are you?” Jewel gently asked her.

“Uhm...fine…,” Raindrops replied. “I guess…”

“And what are you doing with…,”Jewel looked at me. “...Him?”

“Oh, he found me,” Raindrops answered. “He was kind so I decided he was nice to be with.”

“Really now?” Jewel raised an eyebrow.

Raindrops nodded and looked at me, smiling happily. I just nodded and gave Jewel a mischievous look before looking at the one who’s leading the group.

“Sweetie, how far are we from the Stable?” I asked at the robot in front of us. She looked at me, her two green, glowing eyes staring right at my soul.

“Nearly there, Mister!” She replied before stopping. “Recalculating...We are here!”

We all stopped walking and stared at the massive glowing interior of the Stable. I never seen an open entrance of a Stable during the night and I was in awe. Autumn whistled as he slowly walked towards the entrance.

“Hold it Autumn,” I said. “There’s something wrong here.”

“What’s th’problem this time?” The irritated pegasus asked.

“Well, for starters, the door is open. Wait, I didn’t tell you I closed the Stable door, did I? Anyways, it’s open,” I said, pointing at the gigantic door and then pointed at a dead body nearby. “And maybe that thing over there would send alarms off in your head?”

"Well, fine,” Autumn sighed. “So what now?”

"I guess we'll just go in and see what happens next," I replied. He face-hoofed.

“That’s yer plan?” He asked in annoyance. I shrugged.

“If you like, we could go in, guns blazin…,” I looked at Raindrops. “But I think we can just go in, coffee smokin...eheheh…”

Everyone looked at me with empty stares. I backed off a bit from them and awkwardly smiled.

He cleared his throat and muttered, "You're crazy, as usual...and your talks are cringe-worthy. What are we waiting for?"

Stable 05, the place where I first met Sweetie, the last place I expected to revisit. By closing its door and turning my back away from it, I have decided not to go back because of something I found before me and Sweetie’s departure. Now, all of us stood inside the enormous shelter. I instructed Sweetie to protect Raindrops as they wait in the entrance while the rest of us looks for our mystery pony.

We slowly explored the hallways, cautiously looking around so we won’t be taken by surprise.

“Wait, what if our infiltrator is armed and dangerous…” We stopped walking as Autumn said those words.

“Then...we try to talk it out?” I suggested.

“Talk it out? Man, you need to stop thinking passively,” Jewel countered, “The chances of a friendly chat with a complete stranger, yet alone a dangerous one, would be extremely slim.”

“So what do you suggest, huh? Shoot him or her at sight?”

“EXACTLY!” She yelled. “Maybe not kill but paralyze.”

“Jewel, that’s a horrible idea,” I told her.

“Would you rather be shot at first?” She asked.

“No,” I replied. “But I won’t shoot at someone unless he or she tries to kill me first.”

“AARGH!” She punched me and face-hoofed. “That’s the situation my ‘horrible’ idea was trying to prevent in the first place!”

“Shush it, both of you,” The annoyed pegasus ordered, “We are trying to look for our ‘stranger’, not the other way around.”

“Well he started arguing…” Jewel accused me.

“I was suggesting…” I said with gritted teeth. “And I still think Jewel’s idea is bad.”

“We can discuss what we’ll do once we see our ‘hostile friend’. Let’s just concentrate with our search," Autumn said. “I can’t believe I have to deal with both of your arguments…”

"Hey, you asked about the possibility of the pony being armed,"I said back. At this point, we continued walking while arguing. We were so focused at our debate that we failed to notice the steel pony.

"What the?!" It(gender unknown) exclaimed. Without thinking, Jewel used her magic to throw me at it, causing me to smash the steel pony against the wall.

I groaned in pain. Of all the things she could use, she had to throw me? She really needs to change the way she handles things.

"Wow..." Autumn said, staring at Jewel. She gave him a look.

"What?" She asked him.

"Uhm, nothing, nothing..." Autumn stammered, looking away.

As soon as I could move my body again, I staggered my way back to the group. The steel pony, who I pinned to the wall a while ago, fell down. Jewel tool a closer look at it.

"Hmm...he's knocked out cold, for some reason," She said, tilting her head a bit in confusion and looked at me. “I did not expect you to be that heavy.”

"And how did you know that?" I asked her, still a bit dazed.

“Hey, Ah’m a nurse, sugarcube,” She answered weirdly. “And ah am sure the this fellow is out cold. He ain’t even speaking. Want proof that ah’m some sort of medical expert? STARE AT MAH BUTT.”

"Err..." I looked away, feeling my face heat up a bit. Jewel just snickered.

“Pervert,” She said.

“Gaah!” I quickly trotted back towards the metal pony. “Don’t do this to me!”

“Ahem,” Autumn cleared his throat. “So we know he’s unconscious...What now?”

I gently kicked it. No response. Then I noticed the helmet was nearly removed, showing bit of white coat.

"Remove our guy's helmet for now." I told them. Jewel shrugged and followed. As the helmet was removed, it revealed the head of a stallion with a magnificient blue mane. The same couldn't be said to his white coat though, it looked like he took a bath in a sea of dust.

"He's a steel ranger. I should have said it sooner..." Autumn said, looking at the unconscious stallion suspiciously. “Well, I never noticed the mark until now. And the power armor he’s wearing doesn’t look like the ones I find elsewhere. It looks...too new…”

"Steel Ranger? What on Equestria is a…” She stopped then looked at the mark painted on the armor. I also took a peek. It looks familiar.

"Strange, even the paint looks fresh,” Jewel muttered. “Usually, the mark would be faded or something….”

I suddenly remembered something. Something that a ghoul once told me...or written to me anyways.

"You say he's a steel ranger, right?" I asked Autumn. He nodded.

"...I think we need to get the fillies back here...and maybe tie him up somewhere secure..."

Fast-forward a bit. Raindrops is sleeping in a sleeping quarter near the cafeteria, we tied our steel ranger in the medic bay and made Sweetie guard him, and three of us adults were talking in the cafeteria. I can’t believe we chose the cafeteria.

We talked about the steel ranger and what to do with him. We weren't sure how dangerous he could be, and I wasn't ready to have him around Raindrops. In the positive side though, we could try befriending him and make him our ally. That would make things for us easier, if we were still going to stick together anyways.

"Hey, you guys up for a few drinks?" Jewel asked us. "Hmm...maybe some beer?"

"First, where do you think you're going to get some beer? Second, do you think it's really good at this point?" Autumn said. Jewel pouted.

"Aww, don't be such a party pooper. Will ya lighten up a bit? It's just a few drinks..." She insisted. "And I found some in some sort of cooler in this area. You could say ah hit the...err...jackpot! So what do ya'll say?"

"Ugh...fine. I do feel like drinking." Autumn gave in, removing his hat and placing it on the table. The unicorn excitedly went to grab our drinks.

"Wierd...She wasn't like this before..." I muttered. “And how she speaks, it’s bothering me. That dang accent…”

Autumn gave me a look and leaned closer.

"What did you just say?" He asked.

"Well...she used to be so...demanding and annoying," I replied. "Or maybe that's just me...we did not really stay long together. Or it could also be the fact she wants A DAMN BEER!”

Autumn flinched as I yelled out that last part. Luckily, Jewel didn’t hear me, I think. There was this loud humming sound anyways. Kind of annoying.

"Wait, what do you mean you guys did not stay long together?" He questioned once more. Before I could answer, a pretty happy Jewel returned with our drinks.

"What are ya'll talkin 'bout~?" She cheekily asked. I was starting to think this was not Jewel. Did she already drink?

"Uhm, nothing." I quickly replied. “Nothing important at least.”

Jewel shrugged and placed our drinks on the table and sat beside me. She quickly grabbed one and started drinking. Autumn reluctantly grabbed his too. I just stared at mine.

"Whoa, Jewel, I think you're drinking too fast..." Autumn pointed out, a bit confused. Jewel finished hers and looked at him.

"Aww...are ya sayin Ah shouldn't be drinkin mine too fast?" She said, her speech slurred.

"Wow, she...is already like that on her first bottle..." Autumn whispered to me. I shrugged and continued looking at my bottle.

“I think...that wasn’t her first bottle,” I told him. “And maybe it’s best we don’t talk about how many bottles she drank. I don’t feel comfortable.”

Autumn nodded and took a sip from his bottle. I noticed Jewel looking at me.

"Yah gonna drink that?" Jewel asked me, pointing at my bottle.

"Yeah, leave it alone will ya?" I answered. She shrugged once more and grabbed another bottle (there's actually a lot on the table).

"Slow down with your drinking. We still have lots to talk about." Autumn said to Jewel. She pouted and reluctantly placed her drink down. Yup, something's wrong with her.

"Anyways, let's talk about Raindrops for a moment." Autumn said, taking a little sip from his drink. I grabbed my bottle.

"What about that cute little filly?" Jewel asked.

"Well, let's let him talk," Autumn pointed at me. "Maybe you can tell us once more how you found her? "

I took a reluctantly took a sip from my bottle and nearly spat it out. It sure was bitter, I could go for something sweeter. Swallowing the little bit of beer in my mouth gave me a headache.

"Hmm...yeah. C'mon little brother, speak up." Jewel insisted. It took a lot of willpower for me not to hit her right now. I cleared my throat and place the bottle back on the table.

"Well...I found her back at the big building, the one at the center of town." I slowly told them. “She...she was alone. When I approached her, she...She was scared. I managed to persuade her that I was friendly though.”

"Wait, before you found her, she was all alone?" Jewel asked. “That poor filly…”

"Yeah, I blame her uncle for that." I replied, staring at Autumn. “I can’t believe he would do that.”

"Her uncle? What did that rascal do?" The unicorn, who was getting a bit angered, asked once more. Autumn wore and tilted his hat to cover most of his face.

"Now it's time for you to speak," I said, pointing at Autumn. "After all, you are Raindrops' 'uncle'."

I took another sip, this time it was not as bitter as before, and heard Autumn sighed.

"I did not mean to leave her alone...we were under heavy fire and we needed to get out quickly...In our rush, we forgot about her...and her father..." He explained. I noticed Jewel calmed down a bit, which was good.

"Oh...but that do-" Autumn cut off Jewel quickly.

"I know that was careless of us, but as I said, we were under heavy fire. But the past is the past..." He took a sip from his bottle and sighed once more.

"What happened t'her father?" Jewel asked.

"His right beside you," He replied and looked at me with a smirk.

"You're jokin, right?" She said in disbelief. “This guy? Pfft”

"Technically, I'm her guardian," I explained. “Not her father.”

"She still calls you her daddy," Autumn insisted. “Heh, daddy. I wonder how that makes you feel.”

"Now ah'm confused..." Jewel muttered and grabbed her bottle to drink once more.

"Did you tell her what happened to her real dad?" Autumn asked. I nodded.

"She did not believe me at first and got angry," I told him. "Then she stopped talking to me for some time. "

"Wait, what happened t'her real dad?" Jewel interrupted.

"Killed by some raiders. She's lucky she never saw it happened." I answered, simple as that.

“Oh…”That was all she said.

Silence followed. I swirled my drink for a while. I wasn’t really into drinking as much as they do. Did I actually even drink before?

“You only took two sips from that bottle, Eclipse,” Jewel told me. “Are ya sure you wanna continue drinkin?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I quickly replied. “Meanwhile, you should slow down with the drinking. I’m starting to worry about you.”

She just scoffed and placed down the bottle. At least she tried to slow down, I think.

“Guys, I have a question…”

Both of them looked at me, waiting for my question. I took a deep breath and hope his conversation won’t be as awkward as a while ago.

“Why are you still here?” I asked. “And, if I was to assume, why continue to come with me?”

Silence. They continued to stare at me silently. I gulped and nervously took a sip of the beer.

“Why I’m still with you?” Autumn rubbed his chin for a moment before smiling. “Because of your kindness. I saw how you acted when we were in trouble. Even if that was just a short time. The fact that you decided to take care of Raindrops, even if she isn’t related to you at all, it just shows...how much you care. ”

“And me?” Jewel smirked. “Eclipse, ya know me...no wait, ya don’t. Anyways, it’s because of yer guts. Sounds weird...ah know.*hic*Heh, you know how to take care of...yourself. And ah think ah owe ya for savin me…”

“Oh wow...that’s why, huh?” I smiled. “Thanks, for still being here with me-”

“Shush,” Jewel interrupted me. “No need for emotional talks.”

So we sat in silence, slowly drinking. Not soon after, we heard a thump. Looks like Jewel finally passed out. Autumn just shook his head while I shrugged. It was expected, she drank too much, now she has to suffer the consequences of hangovers. Strange, how do I know that?

"Hey Autumn, I’ve been thinking of some the words you told me a while ago,” I said, breaking the silence. “We are not siblings. I mean, we are so different that any normal pony would now that we aren’t related.”

"Wait, so you aren't siblings?" Autumn looked at the passed out unicorn. "But I thought...with your...and..."

“And...I don’t understand a thing you’re trying to say,” I shook my head. “I call her ‘sis’ for fun. She calls me ‘lil bro’ or ‘little brother’ because...of either the beer or I really remind her of her own little brother. Seriously, where did you get that kind of conclusion?”

"So what happened to her little brother?" Autumn asked. I shrugged and finished my bottle.

"She wouldn't tell, but by the look she gave me when I asked her before made me wonder what really happened to him." I answered him. “Must be something bad.”

"Could be if she was really that silent to you about her real brother." Once again, silence. I looked at Jewel and sighed.

"So...do you have a thing for her?" Autumn awkwardly asked. I gave him a look. What kind of question was that?

"What makes you say that?" I asked him. “Autumn, you’re really not making sense anymore.”

"Well, since you guys ain't siblings, I just thought that maybe…," He answered, though it was barely audible. I chuckled at that thought then I cringed. No, bad, mental image be gone.

"Nah, I still prefer 'brother and sister'," I quickly answered, then added. "And she's one hell of a mare. You can't tell what the hell she's thinking or what she's feeling easily in any given time..."

Autumn nodded then yawned. I realised that we must have been in the cafeteria for a long time now. I decided it was time to hit the hay. Get it? Hit the-oh nevermind.

"Autumn, do you mind if you put Jewel on my back?” I asked the pegasus. “Ya know, ‘cause I’ll carry her to...uhm...bed”

He gave me a weird look.

"Of all the things you could do, you decided to carry her to bed...on your back?” Autumn looked at me suspiciously.

"Before we go to any more horrible conclusion, I won’t be doing anything nasty to her,” I quickly answered. “I just want to see if my back is still fine. If it’s still strong. Jewel seems heavy so why not?”

"Again, there are many ways to test the strength of your back, though I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but fine,” He finally agreed. “Wait, you never told us which room is ours.”

“Choose whichever room you want, there’s plenty of beds in this place,” I told him. “So c’mon, are you going to do it or not?”

“Yeah, yeah…”

With great difficulty, Autumn lifted Jewel and placed her on my back. My legs nearly gave way but I managed to continue standing.

"You sure about this?" Autumn asked one more time, breathing heavily. “Because she really is heavy.”

"Yeah, I’m sure. We don’t want her getting drool all over the table now, hmm?." I told him.. He just shrugged and went of to one of the room.

As soon as I got used with the weight of the passed out unicorn, I made my way towards Raindrops’ room since there was at least 2 beds there. Gently, I placed her on the 2nd bed. I was about to leave when I heard her mumble.


I turned around to see Jewel was half-awake and looking at me.

"Hmm?" I slowly walked back towards her. She seemed scared, I could see it in her eyes.

"P...Please....don't leave me again...." She said once more. I looked at her questioningly. It was either the drink getting to her or she's really, genuinely scared.

I was now at her bedside. She tried reaching out for me but it was more like a weak attempt to punch me.

"Jewel, you okay?" I asked her worriedly. She was not same mare I met before. Something bad must have happened. “Jewel? Can you even hear me?”

"Nghh..." That was all she can say before she suddenly closed her eyes and continued sleeping. I stared at her one more time before I quickly left the room, heading towards another separate room.

Sleep finally came to me, after some thinking, and I'm back to the plains. It was still dark but this time, my necklace also provided a soft glow.

"Ah, finally. I was wondering when you'll go to sleep," A voice spoke behind me. I turned around to face Luna, who was smiling a bit.

"Oh, I...just had stuff to do," I said quickly. Luna just laughed a bit.

"So, what have you learned so far?" She asked.

"You tell me, everything that happened to me, especially today, is crazy," I replied.

"And what happened today that made you emphasize it with much confusion?" She pressed further.

"Lot's of things, starting with Jewel," I sighed.

"Ah, her. Of course...her mind seems to be...wandering, if you get what I mean," She told me. I looked at her with confusion.

"What do YOU mean?" I asked.

"Remember when she was captured?" She asked. I nodded.

"She was at the mercy of her captives, and guess how much mercy she received."

I thought, then looked at her, eyes wide. Luna gently nodded her head.

"But...how can that be? She seemed fine when I rescued her and she doesn't seem to be the type to..." My voice trailed off.

"Get traumatized?" She finished my sentence. "Phantom, think about her reaction when you asked about her brother. Now think how she felt when she temporarily lost you and got captured. And there’s more, her past is crushing her. Anymore trouble and she might just go insane."

"It was too much for her, huh?" I sighed once more. “Never thought she’d actually be...like that.”

"You need to try to help her. At least ease her sufferings. At her state right now, she's very vulnerable." Luna told me.

"How?" I asked. “she won’t even tell me anything about her past!”

"You'll figure it out eventually,”Luna answered. “We'll speak again when we have time, dream or thought. Sorry if our talk is so short but I don’t control what time you’ll wake up.”

Everything soon became blurry. Luna was slowly fading away. Dangit, I still have questions. She can’t do this to me again!

"Wait! There’s one more thing I need to ask!”

Too late, everything became pitch-black. Then the scene shifted to another place. I was in a room with 2 ponies wearing army fatigues. They started talking about something but it was hard to hear a thing they were saying. I just stayed there until they finished.

Time:??? Place:??


“Sir, I think we found him.”

“What makes you say that, soldier?”

“Sir, we have detected a magical disturbance in the old building near ponyville. Then another such disturbance at Stable 05. We decided to research on both anomalies and both have the same magical algorithm.”

“How can you be sure it’s him?”

“Sir, we also detected it. His power has been activated twice now.”

“Good job soldier. I knew it was a good idea to install that device on his leg.”

“What now sir?”

“Monitor him. Watch his every move. Find out his strengths and weaknesses We’re going to start Project: Bloodmoon once we have him under my command.”

“Yes sir.”

“Soon, we will have the wasteland under our control…Nobody can stop us now.”

Chapter 10: Abrupt Goodbye

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"Nothing was made to last forever,
Not you, not me, not the buildings, not the planets, not the stars.

I woke up earlier than everyone else, actually, I woke up 30 minutes after I slept. Sensing that I won't get another wink of sleep, I headed to the cafeteria. The empty bottles were still on top of the table me and the other 2 used. I could really go for apple cider.

I should really clean up that table, I thought. I sat down and stared at the bottles, nothing else to do.

An idea popped up into my mind, but it seemed stupid at best. Right now, I wanted another beer bottle. I was about to get out of the seat to grab one when I noticed it. That sweet apple cider bottle sitting on top of the table. I don't know why I feel attracted to it.

Whoa, where did this come from?

I looked at the cider bottle with confusion. It wasn't there before. Or maybe it just blended with the beer bottle since both bottle look alike, save for the apple mark on the cider one.

"It won't hurt to drink one stray apple cider," I thought out loud. I grabbed it, popped the cap, and drank it slowly, savoring each sip of the cider.


I was interrupted by a sound. I looked around, carefully examining the scene. When I found out it was all clear, I shrugged and continued drinking.

K-Lik! K-Lak!

I nearly dropped my half-empty bottle in surprise. That sound was starting to freak me out. I surveyed my surroundings once again. After seeing that there was no threat once more, I decided to check one more possibility. I looked at my PipBuck and felt annoyed. Scared! I was scared by my own PipBuck! That technology can make a quite a weird sound.

I checked the amber-colored screen and noticed something strange. It seemed to have the same interface, or something like that, of my...old one. If I remember well, Apple Scotch changed my Pip to another version and modified the new one with some of the useful parts of the old one. On the screen, I found 2 messages once more.

Protocol 35-A

How I'm getting these messages I do not know, but it seems that I'm receiving them anyways. I tapped the screen twice and watched as the PipBuck rebooted. Wierded out, I just waited. Shortly, a familiar-looking logo was shown for a second before the screen turned green and started working like a normal Pip. I tapped it twice to check if something will happen again but no reaction.

"Why is everything getting weirder every single day?" I muttered. I checked the features of the device to see if there was any changes. Inventory, body health, Geiger counter, radio, recorder, map, nothing new actually. I was a bit disappointed.

When I saw that the device could record and play stuff, (and since I had nothing else better to do) I decided to do what I was thinking about doing. I tapped on the record button and started.

"I decided to do this for reasons. Just in case, just in case. I'll make this recording an audio,uhm...."

I paused, thinking what to call it. I just chose the laziest idea that popped up in my mind.

"Book of all the friendlies, hostiles, and neutrals I met on my journey. I will update this audio book as frequently as possible. If anyone hears this recording, then you're pretty much looking at my dead body."

Another pause. What I just said made me chuckle. Oh, what was I thinking? Will I seriously even try to continue this idea? Only one way to find out. I continued.

"Project 35 is an unknown creature -most likely a pony- that seemed to possess multiple personalities and a strange power. Recordings I found told me that if it was a pony, it was likely an Earth Pony.

“Project 18 is another unknown entity. Not much is known. I bet it could still be found on the clinic in the town called Ghost town. Could be hostile.

“Dark Eclipse is believed to be a lost faction but somepony told me otherwise. Not much is known, best to leave them alone.

“Ghoul, a type of creature that resembles a dead pony. Alignment depends whether if it was still sane or is now feral. Most of the time, neutral."

I press pause, trying to think what else I could put on the recording. I press record again. Honestly, I barely encountered that much creatures in the wastes.

"Feral Ghoul, a type of ghoul that lost its mind. Resembles a zombie pony, best to leave it alone.

“Hostile Raiders are ponies that lives in the wasteland. They will raid, plunder, kill others to obtain items, hence their name, Hostile.

“Slavers are ponies that enslave others, hence their name. I advise you to stay away from them. Usually hostile.

“Mercenaries. I don't know much about them, so far, all I saw were griffins. Best to keep away from them, you don't know who they might be looking for. Alignment depends on who their current boss is.

“Steel Ranger is another faction. Could be neutral. Now I'm done talking about the usual stuff in the wastes, let's start with the friendlies I met so far,"

I smiled and took another sip of cider. It was a ridiculous thing to do, but it gave me something to work on. It could even help other inhabitants of the wastes if I could find a way to convert this recordings into a tape or something like that.

"Apple Scotch, a ghoul from Stable 05. A friendly guy and very helpful too. Shot in the head when he went feral.

“ Jewel, a hot-headed unicorn mare. White coat with blood-red colored mane and tail, a pretty scary attitude, and a green cross and a syringe as a cutie mark. Don't judge her wrongly, her punch is as strong as rock...hitting you at a high speed. Main weapon, if she still has it, is a double-barreled shotgun.

“ Autumn, a pegasus that has decent leadership skills. Wears a trenchcoat and a cowboy hat. Mane and tail color is black, I'm guessing his coat is color brown. Main weapon is a laser rifle.

“Sweetie Bot, or SB-07 I think, is a robotic unicorn filly. Actually acts like one too. Her mane and tail is color purple and her coat painted white. Don't be fooled by her appearance and seemingly innocent attitude though. When hostiles are around, she can pick them off in a jiffy. Main weapon is a machine-gun.

“Then there's Raindrops, a unicorn filly. Mane and tail color is pink while her coat color is yellow. Is pretty nice when you get to know her. Her age, I'm not sure but she still has no cutie mark. Can actually act a bit more mature for her age. Parents are both dead. Another stallion is currently taking care of her."

I ended the recording. That was all I know for now but I'll try to add more info if possible. I later checked for any frequencies my Pip-buck is currently detecting, radio or just some random transmission from the waste. There was 3 so far, and the third one seems familiar. I switched to that frequency.

"Ah, good morning to all of you survivors! Or maybe it's good evening? Nevermind the time, that stuff is not important. DJ Larynx is back with new stuffs about the wastes! And if I'm lucky, then even that mare from tenpony never heard of it yet, since she's busy with the so-called 'Stable Dweller'.

“After some scavenging for some great information, I struck gold! I'm not sure if it's related to that mysterious stallion from before but it's a possibility. Anyways, it's another stallion 'cept this one seems to be wearing what a stable dweller wears. The numbers '05' are printed on his outfit and I think I've heard of a Stable with the same numbers.

“How did I know this? Well, a bunch of ponies were telling stories about the weird stallion, saying that his stare can paralyze anypony and the way he appears out of nowhere was terrifying. They were also saying that it could be the same stallion that I spoke of before, since 05 seems to appear out of the blue like the other stallion. What a bunch of crazy ponies, eh?

“Now I'm done with that, time for other news. An increase of raiders was reported around the boundaries of land 35. Also, a lot of mercenaries were seen along with them. I recommend every survivors to arm themselves with decent firepower and avoid the dangerous groups if possible. We might be facing a war with Iron Fist. That's all for now and I hope you can listen to me again. All of you stay safe out there, and stay in groups with ponies you trust. The wasteland is not a place to fool around. Larynx out!"

Then static. I was actually glad to listen to the reports for once, it was sometime since I've heard what's happening. But the number 35 makes me wonder. Land 35, Project 35, Protocol 35. It can't be a coincidence, right?

I finished the cider and kept the bottles to where they're supposed to be. I placed the caps on a small bag on my foreleg, they are the currencies of the wastes after all. The others aren't awake yet so I decided to visit that one earth stallion. I made my way to the medic bay.

"Rise and shine!" I yelled out as soon as I entered the medic bay. Sweetie, who seemed to be sleeping a while ago, jumped a bit in surprise. The stallion just pulled the blanket over his head. By the way, his armor is in the corner of the room.

"Good morning Mister!" Sweetie greeted me.

"Good morning Sweetie," I greeted her back. "How's the stallion?"

"Oh, he's fine!" Sweetie replied. "Boy, did he shout a lot."

"Oh really? What did he shout?" I asked, looking at the sleeping stallion.

"He shouted that he will serve your head in a silver platter to his boss." Sweetie answered.

I simply nodded and shrugged. Where will he get a silver platter anyways?

"Ok Sweetie, you did a great job," I told her. "Maybe you can make breakfast for all of us?"

"Including the stallion?" She asked.

I nodded. "Yes, including the stallion."

Sweetie immediately went out if the room to make breakfast. Finally, I can ask some questions about the mysterious pony. I walked towards his bed and harshly removed his blanket.

"I said rise and shine!" I yelled at his face. He quickly opened his eyes and nearly fell of from his bed in surprise.

"Finally, you're awake." I said, looking at him.

"What do you want?!" He yelled back. "No wait, forget it! I'm not going to tell you anything!"

"Do you really want this meeting to end up badly?" I asked him, annoyed.

"I'd rather die than to tell you anything!" He shouted again.

"How do you even know that I'll even ask you questions in the first place?" I said. This guy was really quick in assuming things.

"I-I said I won't tell you anything!" His bravado was starting to disappear. Do I really look threatening?

"Whoa, just calm down." I tried saying.

"NO!" He shouted again. I slapped him, he was getting too loud.

"I said cut it out!" I said in annoyance.

"No! I don't want to die!" He covered his face. "Somepony help me!"

I stared at the sobbing stallion. It was really, really pathetic. I expected him to be a hard nut to crack but I guess you can't really just judge a book by its cover. I purposely tipped over a cup that was on top of a nearby table to see his reaction. When the cup broke, he flinched and curled up into a ball.

"You know, I can quicken this meeting a bit," I said, slowly reaching for the knife. "If you don't act like a stallion."

"Quicken?" He said, one eye looking at me.

"Eeyup," I answered. "Now keep yourself together or I'll have to cut this meeting short."

He looked at me questioningly before he saw the knife. He quickly regained his composure and got out of bed, though the rope that was tied around his leg stopped him from going too far off from the bed.

"Knight Dusty Armor at your service sir!" He said, saluting me with his free foreleg.

"Dusty? Huh, explains your coat," I said as I looked at his coat. It was really, really dusty.

"Sir, I was born with a dusty-looking coat, sir!" He answered. I’m beginning to like him a little.

"Alright then, soldier. What are you doing here?" I asked him.

"I was sent here to investigate, sir!" He answered readily.

"What are you investigating here?" I pushed on.

"Something, sir," This time, he seemed unsure. "I was just sent here to investigate. Maybe because we can find something useful for our group, sir."

"And what is the name of your group?"

"The Steel Rangers, sir!"

I simply nodded. He answered my questions, that was enough to satisfy me.

"Alright, I guess you can put your hoof down," I said as I noticed he was still saluting me.

"Uhm, yes sir!" He said as he lowered his hoof, a bit embarrassed.

"And don't call me sir, I have a name you know," I told him. "Call me...Eclipse, for now."

"Yes si-Eclipse!"

I smiled a bit and grabbed my knife. Dusty looked at me questioningly and a bit frightened. I gestured him to stretch the rope, since I might as well set him free. I was about to cut the rope when…


I turned around to see Autumn.

"What in Equestria are you doing?"

I quickly cut the rope before I kept the knife. Dusty shrank a bit when he looked at Autumn in the eyes.

"He's free to go, Autumn," I answered.

"What?! Are you sure he's safe?" Autumn asked me.

"As safe as one can be in the wasteland," I answered. Autumn stared at me with a look before sighing.

"I trust your decision, Eclipse," He finally said. "But if he pulls even just one, small, dirty trick..."

I nodded. I don't blame Autumn for not trusting Dusty. I don't trust him either but so far, he shows no threat to us. But who am I to judge?

"Go tell Jewel about this," I told Autumn. "If she's going to see him eating with us without knowing what happened, expect a dead body."

I heard Dusty gulped as Autumn nodded. Then Autumn left, leaving me and Dusty alone once more.

"Wear your armor but don't include your helmet," I ordered Dusty.

"Y-Yes sir!" He then went towards the place where his armor is currently. I waited for him by the door, just watching him wear his armor. If he walks around the place without me, or Sweetie maybe, he's a dead horse.

"Alright, just follow me and don't do anything stupid," I warned him as soon as he's done suiting up. He nodded and we both went towards the cafeteria. Hopefully, everypony there is ready for a nice chat over a good meal.

Everbody is in the cafeteria? Check. Good Meal? Check, well, half a check. A nice chat? Needs improvement.

"Well he said he was safe!" Autumn insisted, pointing a hoof at me.

"Ah' thought he was a Steel Ranger?!" Jewel yelled. "Ya' know we can't trust them!"

"Don't blame me!" Autumn shouted back. "Eclipse is the one with the idea."

Dusty just ate his food, looking a bit downcast. Raindrops, thankfully, was already done eating and playing with Sweetie in her sleeping quarters. I was not having a good breakfast, my head was throbbing with every word they speak.

"Alright," Jewel looked at me. Sure, she acted and look the same from the first time I met her but her words aren't that filled with her usual fiery temper.

"We can trust him," I said, not even bothering to look back at her.

"Are ya sure?" Jewel asked.


With that, Jewel stopped talking. It was that short, our conversation barely lasted a minute.

"That's it? No shouting, no yelling, no punching, nothing?!" Autumn said in disbelief. "I get all the blame and he gets a quick talk with no arguments?!"

"Enough Autumn, I'll get the punches later," I told him. He just groaned and slumped on his chair. Jewel rolled her eyes and continued eating.

Ugh. Luna, can't you just tell me how to bring her back to her usual red-head personality and attitude? I thought. No reply from the princess.

Since I won't be expecting any hint from Luna and Jewel's attitude towards me is not the same, I guess I'm going to talk about something very personal to her. I don't want to be on her bad side but if she's going to start getting dependent on me, which was happening slowly, who knows what will happen to her when I'm gone? I need her to be back to her independent self.

"Dusty, mind if you go check on the fillies?” I asked the Ranger. He looked up at me with confusion before nodding. He stood up and told me something before he left.

“Sir, if you feel like it, maybe you should check the Overmare’s or Overstallion’s place. I think it’s just around the corner of the Cafeteria,” He told me. I nodded and he left.

Now Autumn and Jewel looked at me, they were obviously expecting something. I took a deep breath and sighed.


"Yes?" She answered, confused.

"We all know I'm not your real brother, right?" I asked her. "Because Autumn here thinks we are...And I don't know how he came up with that conclusion."

"Yeah," She said, raising an eyebrow at Autumn. "Anything else?"

I looked at Autumn and he looked back at me. By the way he’s looking at me, I'm guessing he knows where this is going or he's completely annoyed at me. Could be both.

"So, let's talk about you real brother." I said slowly.


"Yes. Tell us what happened to him?" I asked her. She looked away from me, biting her lower lip.

"I don't...want to talk about it..." She finally said, accent gone.

"Please, let's talk about him," I insisted. "What happened?"

"I don't want to talk about it!" She slammed her hooves on top of the table. She looked at me angrily but with a hint of sadness.

I need to ask her gently and slowly. If I rush it, then it could end disastrously.

"Jewel," I said. "I know it hurts that you got seperated from your bro-"

"You don't know anything!" She interrupted me. "You don't know how it feels. Hell, I bet you never experienced it!"

I shut my mouth, this was going badly. I need to choose my words correctly. I looked at Autumn, who looked back at me and shook his head.

"Ok," I said. "I may not have experienced such thing..."

"Then I can end this conversation then," Jewel said bluntly.

"Wait, can you just tell us what happened to him?" I begged her. "If possible, then we can do something about it."

Jewel seemed to be in deep thought and sighed.

"His name is...Peridot," Jewel finally answered. "He's a unicorn like me but better than me in magic combat. His mane is dark gray and his coat is light gray. His cutie mark is a gear because he's a great inventor."

"So what happened to him?" I asked her one more time.

"We were travelling, trying to find equipment or even some treasure," She said. "Then a bunch of raiders attacked us. We tried to run away but my brother got hit in the leg and fell down. I tried to help him but he insisted I go on without him since the raiders were closing in."

"Oh...so what happened next?" Autumn asked, finally speaking.

"I still tried to help him, since I'm a nurse back in our place, but then the raiders are already shooting at us. With no choice, I ran away," She continued. "When I was in a safe distance and looked back to where I left him, the raiders took him with them as a prisoner. That's the last time I saw him."

"Then he could still be alive then," Autumn said

"But that was a long time ago," Jewel said, looking down. "He could be dead now..."

"No, I don't think so," Autumn insisted. "I remember encountering a pony that fits the description of your brother before I went back to look for Eclipse."

"H-How sure are you?" Jewel asked, looking back at him.

"Cutie marks can't always be the same, and so does one's mane and coat color." Autumn answered.

Her eyes widened as she heard him said those words.

"See? If what Autumn said is true, then we can look for him," I said. Jewel slowly nodded and looked down.

I wondered if that did anything at all. Jewel continued to stay silent while Autumn and I just looked at each other, trying to send telepathic messages but we all know how that turned out. Then we heard the door open and the sound of hoofsteps of 3 ponies were heard.

"Uhm, Sir!" Dusty called out. I turned to face him and noticed Sweetie and Raindrops on either sides of him.

"Ah, I see you came back with the two fillies," I said.

"Sir, well, they insisted on coming back with me and I can't say no to their faces," He explained, scratching his head and smiling a bit.

"Daddy!" Raindrops greeted me, rushing to hug me.

"Oof!" I managed to say as she hugged me tightly.

"Sir, is she your daughter?" Dusty asked me.

"Maybe," I said as I gently removed Raindrops of me. Surprisingly, her grip was pretty strong.

"Sir, how about this robot?" Dusty asked once more as he tapped on Sweeties metallic body.

"Hey! I'm not just any robot!" Sweetie yelled at him. Dusty immediately withdrew his hoof from her.

"She's one of my companions," I replied. "And also a dictionary, and a bag."

"That's right!" Sweetie said with triumph. "I'm his number one assistant!"

"Whoa, easy now Sweetie," I shook my head and smiled. What a group I am in.

"Seems there's like...six of us now," Autumn said.

"Including Dusty?" Jewel asked.

"Yep, seems his staying with us if Eclipse is going to be nice," Autumn answered.

"Hey, if he's going to stay with us, then it's time for all of you to know him a bit," I suggested. Autumn nodded and gestured towards a sit.

"While you guys are talking, I'll take Raindrops with me back to bed," I said, standing up.

"I'll talk to her too. Sweetie, maybe you can also talk with them, you know, be acquainted with them at least"

Sweetie nodded and took a sit alongside with Dusty and the others while me and Raindrops walked out of the cafeteria.

"Did I do something wrong?" Raindrops asked me while we were walking down one of the hallways.

"What? Oh no, no." I assured her. "What makes you say that?"

"Well...I just thought..." She said. "Since you told me to come with you...and we'll be alone..."

"No no, I just want to show you something," I explained.

"Oh, what is it?" She asked me eagerly.

"You'll have to wait and see."

"What is it? What is it? What is it?" Raindrops repeatedly asked as soon as we entered the Sleeping Quarters.

"You're really eager to know, huh?" I asked her, trying to not bump into her as she bounced around the room.

"You said you're going to show me something!" She said.

"First, where is that pink statuette I gave you?" I asked her. She quickly dived under one of the beds and reappeared later with the statuette.

"Here it is!" She said, floating Pinkie in front of me. It was a bit dusty but I don't mind.

"Ah, great!" I said as I grabbed the statuette. Then I pointed towards the bed. "Now sit there and keep still, ok?"

"Ok!" She quickly jumped on the bed and waited for me. I just laughed and followed her.

"So, how do you like Pinkie?" I asked her as I sat beside her.

"It's a pretty toy, it also makes me feel more awake when it's with me!" She answered, grabbing the statuette and toyed with it.

"Well, you're sorta right," I watched her play with it a bit before clearing my throat to get her attention.

"So, what are you going to show me?" Raindrops asked one more time.

I pointed to my necklace, "Do you see this?"

"Yeah, it's a pretty necklace!" She remarked.

"Well, would you like to wear it?" I offered her, removing my necklace.

"R-Really?" She asked in disbelief, eyeing the precious moonstone

"Sure, if you like," I answered her. She nodded eagerly and I placed the necklace around her neck.

"Do you like it?" I asked her as she looked at the necklace.

"I love it!" She squealed with delight, hugging me tightly. "Thanks daddy."

I hugged her back, "It's nothing."

"Where did you get it?" She asked me once she finally stopped hugging me.

"Now that's interesting question," I forgot that the necklace was how I communicated with Luna. But so far, she rarely talks to me anyways, when I'm awake that is.

"Did somepony give it to you?" She asked me again.

"Yeah, I guess," I answered, patting her head.

"Ooh, who?" She asked me, eyes looking at me intensely.

"You'll find that out soon enough," I told her, smiling a bit. Though her reaction when Luna starts talking could be...surprising to say the least.

It was quite calm and peaceful, and I'm impressed that I did not hear any shoutings from the others. Raindrops continued to look and play with her necklace a bit. It was a good day...or so I thought.


The ground shook beneath us as whatever caused that sound continued to howl. Raindrops gasped in surprise and fear, dropping the Pinkie statuette she was playing with a while ago. Telling the scared filly to jump on to my back and to hold tight, I ran back towards the cafeteria. Everyone in the cafeteria was as confused as I was.

"You heard that?" I asked them.

"And felt it we did," Autumn replied. "What was that?"

"I have no idea," I placed Raindrops down and checked my Pip-Buck. Why? It was instinctive, like something told me to check it. The screen was already set to what looked like a map of the Stable, with a sonar constantly updating it.

"That tech looks familiar," Dusty said, walking towards me to get a closer look if my Pip-Buck. "It does look familiar! It's a Pip-Buck!"

"You only noticed it now?" I asked him.

"I don't always fully inspect how a pony looks, unless that pony looks threatening," Dusty admitted.

"What's that red dot?" Raindrops joined in, pointing at the said dot. It was very faint, like you could barely see it. The weird thing about it is that it seems to be expanding very slowly.

"I also have no idea," I answered. I examined the screen to see what other colors of dots that I could see on the screen. There was 1 green, which I think represented me, and 5 blue dots, which I guess is my friends.


The ground shook once more and I noticed the red dot become a bit redder. Then I saw a warning sign at the corner of the screen. There was a number on the middle of the sign but it was too small for me to read.


Whatever was making that noise howled again. The dot became even redder. And then it hit me, it took 3 screams before I recognized it.

"We need to get out of here now!" I yelled.

"What, why?" Jewel asked me. "Do you know what is making that sound."

I nodded, "And it's not a nice one either. Let's move!"

The door of the Stable wasn't that far and we could easily escape it. We started running towards the door when it howled again. I looked back and saw the cafeteria covered in darkness. I don't know what's happening but I don't plan on finding out.

"Quick, open the door!" I ordered Dusty once we reach the huge gear-shaped door.

Alarms blared as the door slowly opened. I turned around and my eyes widened in fear. The hallways were now shrouded in darkness, despite the lights trying to push it away.

"Come on, let's go!" Autumn yelled out as soon as the door opened. Jewel ushered the fillies out first before following them. Autumn and Dusty turned to look at the hallways along me, the darkness stopping at just the last light of the hallway.

"It stopped moving," I muttered. I checked my Pip-Buck one more time. The red dot was really red now and consuming most of the map except the entrance.

"Then let's go," Autumn said. "While it's still...there..."

I nodded and they walked towards the exit, with me following behind. As soon as they are out of the Stable though and when I was about to touch the wasteland one more time, it roared again. That damn thing roared.

"Eclipse, look out!" Autumn warned me. At the edge of my vision I could see the darkness crawl forward. I quickly broke into a run but something grabbed my leg.

I looked back to see that a dark tendril has wrapped around my hind leg, prohibiting me from going any further as the darkness continued to slowly move forward.

"Hold on!"

I looked back to the main group to see Sweetie armed and aiming at the tendril. Before she could fire at it, the darkness growled.

"SHOOT! SHOOT!" I was panicking. The darkness has stopped it's invasion for some
reason. The tendril though continued to tighten its grip on me.

Sweetie hesitated which made Autumn shoot instead. The laser hit the tendril and burned it into ashes.

"Go!" Autumn yelled. I quickly ran once more and I was about to reach them until…

"No! You'll not get away this time, heheh."

The ground started shaking for a short while, causing me to nearly lose my balance. When it stopped, I looked at Raindrops. She looked at me with worried eyes and tried to go back in for me but Jewel stopped her. Something tells me that they see something that I can't. I ignored their looks and continued my escape until something stopped me. An invisible wall.

"What the?" I banged at the wall, trying to break it. No luck. I looked behind me to see the darkness still not moving.

"Eclipse! Can you hear us?" Autumn asked worriedly.

"Yeah," I replied. "What's stopping me?"

"Some sort of wall made out of...shadows," Then he aimed his weapon at this so-called wall. "Hold on, me and Sweetie will try break it."

They started shooting, laser and bullets stopping in mid-air as soon as they reach the open entrance. They continued shooting until they've exhausted themselves.

"That wall is stronger than I thought...or maybe because shadows...," Autumn said. They were too focused on how to free me that they failed to notice the threat approaching them.

"Autumn, raiders behind! Raiders be-" The darkness howled one more time and the gear-shaped door quickly sealed the Stable, trapping me inside.

"Daddy!" Those were the last words I heard before the door shut. I pounded on the metal surface and shouted, trying to get another response from them. All I heard from the other side were muffled gunshots and screams.

"I told you. You won't get away from me again,"A voice spoke out.

"What do you want from me?!" I was terrified. I looked back at the darkness, expecting something to happen.

"What I want from you? Many things, hehe."

"Like what?!"

"Your soul, your mind, your body...In other words, your full cooperation."


"It's simple. You have something that I don't have. And with it, I can take over Equestria."

"And what is this thing?!"

"Eheheh, you think I'll tell you? It's fun to toy around with your mind, drop in a few mysteries here and there now. Besides, if I would tell you, then you'd use it against me," I heard a chuckle. "Just joking, I want your body. It's special...no one else could understand. Not even you."

"That's ridiculous, what's so special about me?" I asked in an annoyed tone.

"Not you, your body...Idiot,"Replied the voice with the same annoyed tone. "And don't expect me to explain why I want your body and what I'll do with it. That's stupid, it'll ruin the surprise for everybody."

I gritted my teeth, eyes staring intensely into the void. I swear I could make out a very faint reddish glow.


"Stopped talking? Hehe, as expected..."

The darkness quickly seized what was left, engulfing me and leaving me in the dark. Even the light from my Pip can't beat it.

"Let me go!"

"Tsk Tsk Tsk. Didn't you heard what I just said? I'll not let you go again..."

"Then why did you just appear now? There were many times you could have shown yourself but you chose this moment?!"

"Ah, you're so naive. I pity you. You see, I can't get to you because I was locked in that place. And when you accessed it, I sensed your power. Before you escaped me, I managed to attach a bit of myself into you therefore allowing me to leave that cursed place."


"Yes, attached. I bet you never noticed that tiny black speck on your mane."

Then there was a very dim red glow that illuminated my surroundings faintly. I then noticed something move at the edge of the darkness.

"That doesn't explain why you only chose this moment."

"Ah, yes. I'm afraid you're right, hehe."

A hand appeared out if the darkness. It was as black as the night.

What I’m going to show you can be a bit confusing for a stupid mortal like you to understand. So just enjoy the presentation…”

The hand opened, and in the middle of it was a familiar-looking necklace.

"This is what stopped me. The necklace that damn princess created."

"How did you get that...I swear it was with-?"

"Now now, let's not get carried away." The necklace disappeared and it wagged its finger at me. "Not everything is real. Ever heard of illusions.?"

I stayed quiet.

"Ah, I see. You want me to get to the point. This necklace was created so that whoever wears it would be safe from certain nightmares. And I'm one of those nightmares, hehe. It would ignore small ones, as this has no effect to the wearer, and that's why I could only attach a little of myself to you."

"So when I removed my necklace..."

"Yes! I came after you. It was stupid of you to give this thing to a filly. Though she would be protected from me, along with everypony else around her, you're mine to take. I mean, wouldn’t it be fun to go around, just you and me, against the world?"

Something clicked within me.


"Yes! Yes! And there's nothing you could do about it, even your friends are powerless to help you,"Another laughter. "But it'll be fun watching them try...

It laughed and laughed as it slowly changed its appearance into a menacing-looking pegasus. I was now mad, pissed off at this entity.

"No, I will not be trap here with you!" I drew my revolver at him. “And I will NOT let you take me.”

He looked surprise for a moment before smirking. Something in his eyes told me that he found me even more interesting now.

"Don't be so ridiculous. You can't kill me, nothing can."

“Watch me. Nothing...NOT EVEN A GODDESS CAN LIVE FOREVER!You...YOU are just another being that claims to be immortal. I WILL PROVE YOU WRONG!”

I was shaking now, suddenly feeling hesitant. The look he’s giving me is telling me that he wants me to shoot him.

"Feeling brave now are you, eh?" He scoffed. “You don’t have the guts to pull the trigger. You’re too scared to do it...a shame, really. And here I thought you will really try to prove your point. You know, maybe you could just drop the revolver and-”


I shot him at that point. He was getting too annoying. I holstered my weapon as he fell down to the ground and slowly faded away. It was finally over, or so I thought.

I walked towards the control box for the door. I was about to open the door when dark flames suddenly surround the box and it exploded, sending me flying across the room. I hit the wall hard and fell down on the floor. With what's left of my strength, I looked up to see him once more. He walked up towards me and I could hear him laugh. I was a fool. I should have known that he was just playing with me. I realized “killing” him was too easy, way easier than killing a raider.

"It's such a shame that you had to die this way."

He grabbed the knife that fell off from me when I hit the wall. He looked at it and smirked.

"Many uses, great potential. Imagine if you didn't try to shot me.

A black tendril rose up from the ground and wrapped itself around my neck, tight enough that I could still breath but I can't escape its grip.

"I mean, you could be so powerful...worshiped like a god..."

The tendril lifted me up and slammed me against the wall. My body reacted badly to the pain, twitching here and there as pain clouded my mind.

"Feared throughout the wasteland..."

It continued slamming me against the wall, though the impact was getting weaker and weaker every hit. I could now taste blood in my mouth and my vision was distorted. I was even sure that my bones were broken.

"But...you had to shoot me, huh?

One last strike against the wall and it kept me there.

Though I still want to use you...Knowing that you could actually oppose me could mean it would be hard for me to control you. And also...I must never...ever let anyone else know who I truly am,"He laughed again. "Oh, who am I kidding? I never even told you my name, heheh."

I took deep breaths, trying to hold on to life. I was desperate to get out of this situation.

"That filly though, she might have some uses for me. She seems to have at least a little bit of your 'specialty'. Even if she has that necklace, I can still find a way to remove it. Too bad you can't do anything about that."

I was tired. I wanted to sleep, close my eyes and never wake up. I would if he could just shut up and just stay away from her.

"Any last words?"

I looked at him weakly in the eyes. I wanted to punch him, strangle him, kill him, anything I can think of that can hurt him.

"I will kill you...even if it means if I...will have to deal with this pain again..." I took a shaky breath. “Gaah...Shit…”

He laughed.

The tendril tightened its grip on me, making it a bit difficult to breath.

"Aww, I almost feel sorry for you. Look at you, so weak and covered in your own blood. I truly want to help you so I’m giving you another chance. Join me or…” He grabbed and looked at the knife. “Suffer…”

I began to think one last time before answering. Join him? Over my…

“I’m waiting…”

“Never,” I spat at him.

“Suit yourself, I don’t even intend in working with someone who has no matters,” He growled, wiping his face. “Say goodnight, Esigaxeni."

And he plunged the knife into my neck.

"...I’m sorry it had to end this way...I wish I could see you all one more time...even for just a few seconds..."

End of Volume 1: A Quick Introduction

Chapter 11: Back

View Online

“You have to carry on…”

As the knife was plunged into my neck, a whole lot of images flashed in my mind. A bloodied hat, a broken DB shotgun, a pile of scrap metal, and a weird looking creature with long claws. I was confused on what I was seeing but one image scared me the most. The moonstone necklace with blood dripping on it. The meanings of this images I was not sure but I feared it meant...

Then a flash of white before the darkness settled in and a deep demonic laugh echoed.

I was dead...or so I thought. I wasn’t really sure, I never knew what was there after death. Was it just pure darkness or could there be an afterlife? Before I made my final conclusion, I felt my hooves touch something, something earthy that is.

My surroundings changed immediately, from the void I feared and loved to the familiar plain with the moon and stars providing light. I knew what was coming, another meeting with the princess. I waited, looking up at the moon once in awhile. It was a long wait.

“Waited too long?”

Finally, I heard Luna’s voice behind me. I turned around to greet her.

“Luna, you really took your time huh?”

She smiled a bit and nodded before her face returned to looking serious.

“I have not expected this interruption...I have thought it was gone for good.”

The tone of her voice sounded worried and grim. And knowing the princess…

“What is it, Luna?”

She shook her head and sighed.

“The entity you met…”

“The one that...err, tried to kill me?”

“The one that did kill you, yes.”

“Wait, I’m really dead?”

“You should have known that. Unless…”

“Unless what?”


I cleared my throat, it was an uncomfortable thing to talk about. You know, my death...though we barely touched the topic but it’s best to avoidit while I can. I decided to quickly change the topic and asked her about something else.

“Uhm, the entity. What about...him?”

“Ah, yes...Him”

The way she said “Him” made me really think. It’s obvious that Luna encountered him one way or another…

“What can you tell me about him?”

“Yes, yes. The entity you encountered is named, uhm, Charon. He...He’s a charming fellow..”


“Ahem, in a way.”

“I hope this conversation isn’t going to be about what I think it could be…”

Her eyes opened wide in surprise as I said that.

“No! I mean, no. Look, it’s not like that, ok?”

“Whoa, the princess lost a bit of her loyalty there.”

She glared at me. I cleared my throat.

“Ahem, yes. Uhm, may you please continue, your highness.”

“Back to the topic. Yes, he was indeed charming but back then...he was a businesspony so you get the point. More charm means more customers, right?”

“Hmm...I guess. Eh, can you please tell how this guy is related to my problem now? Like…”

“Fine. You see, we need...or mainly the MoAS...were looking for some volunteers for an experiment. Of course, they promised a lot of money for the brave ones. Here’s where Charon comes in. He needed money, lots of it. You can say he spends a lot and is running low on funds for his business to continue running. Talk about an irresponsible Business pony.”

“Ok, so he’s broke and needed the money. What was the experiment all about?”

“The experiment involved quite a lot of magic, dark magic. The main objective of the experiment was to allow ponies to, let’s say, use magic that are not usually available to them. Secondary objective was a super weapon. They choose one lucky volunteer to be the super weapon. As time passed on, the main objective was trashed and the secondary objective became, well, the main.”

“I’m guessing that lucky volunteer to be Charon, right?”

“Yes. While the experiment was on-going, they faced a huge setback and had to cancel everything. This setback was that...Charon nearly killed a lot scientists during a strength trial.”

“And that was the end of the project?”

“Not exactly. Though she...ordered all of the scientists under her to immediately remove the experiment from the records and forget about it, a group of rebellious ponies decided to go on. They managed to convert an abandoned building near Ponyvillle into a lab and that’s where they continued.”

“What about Charon?”

“During the experiment, a scientist accidentally dropped a barrel of radioactive liquid on Charon. They tried to remove most of the liquid but failed. That’s when they noticed something about their guinea pig. He definitely became more stronger, but he can now cast a certain type of magic too. Take note that Charon was a pegasus.”

“And what is this type of magic?”

“I actually don’t know. They did not tell me about it when I asked them but that type of magic eventually consumed him. He would have killed everypony in the lab if me and my sister did not interfere. Somepony told us what was going on and luckily we arrived on time. We managed to subdue him and placed him in a special container and sent him off to another lab to try to convert him back to normal. After the incident, the pony in charge of MoAE got mad and fired all the scientists involved in that project.”


“But now, I can see that He returned, stronger than ever.”

“I guess. Hey, I got another question.”

“What is it?”

“...will I be here forever?”

She frowned a bit when I asked her that question. I had a bad feeling about what she was going to tell me.

“Not exactly. yes, you’re dead but something is preventing you from moving on to the afterlife. Right now, even with that knife on your neck, your vital organs are still functioning even if it’s very weak.”

“Uhm, I’m afraid I don’t follow. You’re saying I’m dead but I’m still somewhat alive?”

“Something like that.”

“But how is that possible?”

“I don’t know but I have a hunch. It could be something about your soul.”

“My soul?”

“A half of your soul is missing I’m afraid.”

I stared dumbly at her. How can one just lose half of their soul?

“Luna...what are you talking about?”

All of a sudden,the whole place blurred before returning back to normal. Luna looked around in confusion. I had a terrible headache after that. Luna looked back at me with a determined and hopeful expression.

“It seems chat time is over, Phantom. I think you are about to wake up. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next but I hope it’s going to be better. Look, this will be the last time we’ll talk but I know you can take care of yourself.”

“Wait, how? How I’m I still alive? What is happening?!”

Luna smiled at me and before everything disappeared, she said…

“If you have the chance to meet her, say thank you and tell that I said hello. You don’t know how many time she helped you and this moment is just one of them.”

I woke up feeling like my head could explode any moment now. Trying to ignore the pain, I weakly lifted my leg and I tried feeling my neck. I was surprised that I did not feel a knife or a wound, maybe just a bump. Giving a sigh of relief, I decided to concentrate on my surroundings. I wasn't at the Stable entrance anymore, which was weird since I somewhat died there. Instead, I was sitting on a chair inside a place that looked like to be an office. I noticed a computer on the table which was on front of me along with a hat and a familiar looking pistol.

Still feeling a bit weak and too tired to move or even get out of the chair, I just stared at the terminal. Something about it prompted me to at least try accessing it, even if it meant forcing my legs to cooperate. Of course, my luck sucked. The terminal was locked and the only way to access it was to hack the damn thing. I had no experience in doing such thing and the terminal only gave me 4 tries before locking down which only made things frustrating. Still, I was very curious to at least try accessing it. Surprisingly, I managed to find the password as it was only a simple word: Geiger.

The files on the terminal were about the Stable. That’s when I realized that I am in the Overseer’s office. Checking the files, I discovered many notes about the Stable and also about its inhabitants. Remembering a certain ghoul, I looked for his name until I found it. According to the records, Apple Scotch was supposed to be the new Overstallion of the Stable. When I checked the rest of the files, they were either corrupted or inaccessible for other reasons. Go figure.

After I was done reading all about the Stable, I decided to shift my attention to the hat and the pistol. The hat was fedora and it looked good. The pistol was actually my revolver though I have no idea how it’s there. I also found a holster nearby which seemed to fit my revolver just nice, actually, it seems I’ve been finding a lot of holsters lately. Looking to my side, I noticed a large mirror. I stared at my reflection and noticed a scar on my neck, which was somewhat big. I also noticed that some sort of cloak was covering me and my armored Stable suit.

After some time, the headache finally passed and I don’t feel tired anymore. I put on the hat and grabbed the pistol and the holster. I walked up towards the mirror and checked myself out. I wasn’t a vain creature but I do look good in my apparels. Suddenly, I heard the alarm that sounded when a Stable door was to be opened and a loud hiss. I remembered that the control box of the door was broken which only meant one thing: somepony opened the door from the outside.

I exited the office and immediately recognizing what part of the Stable I was in after recalling what Dusty said about the location of the office. I slowly made my way towards the entrance, my mind on full alert for anything. I soon reached the entrance only to be confused. The door was opened but I don’t see anypony. The only thing I noticed was the saddlebag and the Pinkie statuette near the entrance. Still, I continued to look around for any chances that a pony or anything from the wastes snuck inside and hid. luckily, I was completely alone. I walked towards where the saddlebag and statuette was, feeling a sense of familiarity with the items. As I got closer to the items, I finally realized the items belonged to me after seeing the logo on my saddlebag and the knife mark I made on the stand of the statuette.

Putting the statuette inside the saddlebag and placing the bags over my back, I exited the Stable. There were bullets scattered at the front and lodged into the door. I wasn’t sure on what happened here after the shoot-out. Looking around to see if anybody is around, I noticed smoke, coming from Ghost town, rising up into the air. I remembered that the town was filled with a lot of raiders and slavers. It was a good start to look for my friends. I may just end up being shot at but if they’re there, then it’s worth it. I walked towards the town, the wind howling loudly by my side.

“Hold on guys. I’m coming.”

When I arrived, the town was a mess. There were some dead ponies scattered on the road and there were sharp poles with rotting bodies impaled on it. It was a gruesome sight. The source of the smoke wasn’t that far anymore. In fact, I could see what was causing it. It was a huge fire that was burning more dead ponies and griffins. I nearly vomited at the sight. Strange though, I don’t remember any of these bloody sights in the town before. Must be new.

I made my way towards a nearby building. It was in a horrible state, windows were broken, some of the building were destroyed, the ceiling has collapsed, and a skeleton lies near the door. On a closer inspection, there was a box near the skeleton, though it’s small. I decided to grab the box and check it out. Inside was a ring and it was still in great condition, even if the box was very damaged. I inspected the ring and I realized what it was. I looked at the skeleton once more and made a theory. It was possible that whoever the skeleton was before was going to propose to somepony or deliver the ring. I shook my head and sighed before closing the box and placing it back to its original place. It wasn’t worth taking and I think it’s better to leave it with its owner.

Returning back to searching the area, I decided to return to the center of the town. I’m quite surprised that I did not encounter any raiders yet. Maybe they’re just waiting for the right moment to strike, I thought. On my way to the center, I made sure to look around to make sure that I wasn’t being watched. Sometimes, I would hear a somewhat upbeat song nearby but it will slowly fade away. I shrugged it off as something like a broken radio.

I finally made it back to the center. The big building was still standing strong despite all of the ruined buildings surrounding it. It looked empty at first but then I saw a movement at a nearby window. I crouched and quietly made my way to the entrance. I realized then that I was in a bit of a disadvantage. I was alone and my ammo was limited to only 6 shots and the possibilities of a big group of raiders inside was huge. I took a deep breath and made sure I was ready to draw out my pistol and activate S.A.T.S as quickly as possible. I kicked down the door and…

“Oh fuck no!” I heard one cry. “We’re fucked! We’re all gonna die!”

I stared at the group of ponies that were inside the building. They were staring at me with huge, frightened eyes and were shaking. I was confused, they were raiders by the looks of their armors and yet I’m seeing them so terrified.

“Have mercy!” I heard another one beg. “Please have mercy. There are foals with us. Please!”

I took the time to properly survey the scene. I finally noticed the foals huddled together behind the adults. There were also a few, very old ponies along with them.

“What’s going on here?” I asked them. A stallion spoke up.

“W-We were just travelling when a bunch of raiders took us. They forced us into this...things!” He explained while he pointed at the raider armor. “Then they told to get inside this building.”

“So a bunch of raiders forced you to wearing what they wear and place you all here?” He nodded his head.

“And then they left us here and suddenly we heard gunshots.” He finished. “They never came back.”

“I wonder what’s the point of you all wearing that armor though…,” I said. “Ok, I won’t hurt any of you. You’re safe now.”

“R-Really?” The stallion asked me.

“Yes,” I replied. “Besides, I have other things to do.”

I turned around and I was about to leave the place when the stallion stopped me.

“Wait!” He yelled. I looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

“What?” I asked him.

“Is it possible that…,” He looked at the other ponies then back at me. “That you can escort us to Lux?”

“Escort?” I looked at my pistol and back at the group. “Why?”

“Because we need some protection while we get there,” He explained. “And there are a lot of dangerous creatures on the way.”

I shook my head. It already sounds like the trip is a deathtrap. There’s no way I’m going there.

“Please!” He begged. “We really need to get there! And the foals, think abou the foals. They’re hungry and we are running out of food and Lux is the nearest place to go.”

I looked at the foals and noticed that most of them were skinny. Hell, some of them have bones poking out of their skin. Damn, how long were they been here? I suddenly can’t refuse because of their desperate situation. After some quick thinking, I decided to help them. They needed more help than me, even more than what I can offer. I’m only one pony but I can’t leave them alone.

“Fine,” I finally said. “I’ll escort all of you to Lux. Just make sure the foals and elders can still make it there and stick together. I can’t guarantee full protection though because there’s only one of me and a whole lot of you to take care.”

“Oh thank you!” He said, tears streaming down his face. “Thank you very much kind stranger!”

I just nodded and sighed. Hopefully we won’t encounter much on the way. My revolver ain’t exactly a over-powered gun to crush all my enemies.

“Alright, if there’s no more questions, pack up the things you have, if you have, and get ready to move.” I ordered. There was no backing out now. I have accepted the request.

I got out of the building and waited for them to be done packing. I checked my revolver once more and the amount of bullets in its chamber is still 6, leaving 2 empty holes. I kept the revolver and hoped for the best. If only some of them knew how to defend but unfortunately, not a single one of them were brave or trained enough to shoot. And even if they were brave and trained to shoot, not a single weapon in good condition can be found. Just broken down guns or random parts scattered around the place.

I suddenly heard a beep and quickly checked my PipBuck. It was automatically set to the map and I noticed a marker placed on some unknown location. Unknown because the area around the marker wasn’t rendered yet. Though the below the marker was the name of the location: Lux. I still don’t know how this PipBuck works fully so I have no idea why the location is already set. I guess I’ll just follow the line connecting me(Green dot) to the location. Then I felt someone tap my back. I turned around to see another stallion. He looks like the leader of the group and so I hope he can keep the peace between his people well.

“We’re ready,” He told me. I nodded and suddenly remembered something. When I first encountered the group, I thought they were raiders. It wouldn’t be hard for someone else to make the same mistake and shoot them.

“Before we go, take off the armor. You might get shot by accident,” I told him. He looked at his current bardings and nodded his head. He went back in and I heard him order everyone to take off their armor. I continued to wait for the group to be ready outside. Finally, the stallion returned to tell me they’re now ready. I nodded and readied myself.

We started walking towards Lux, though very slowly as I had to make sure the group was together and nobody fell behind. After some time, I decided to talk to the stallion. I walked up to him and he looked at me.

“Thank you, stranger,” He thanked me before I got to speak. “The act you’re doing for us, we appreciate it.”

“No problem,” I told him.

“I do have a question, stranger. Why do you accept our request to escort?” He asked me. “Not everyone will do what you are doing now. The wasteland has stripped most of their virtuous.”

“Oh, uhm…,”I thought hard before answering him. “Well, I saw that you and your group are really desperate for help, especially the foals. I couldn’t refuse you plea for help, it would be so wrong…”

He laughed a bit and shook his head in disbelief.

“Are you sure that’s why you helped, stranger?” He asked me once more. “I feel like there’s another reason why you’re helping us to Lux.”

I sighed and looked forward. Was I really that easy to interpret?

“Yes, there is another reason...I suppose,” I said. “I’m looking for a certain group of ponies. Friends that I met on my journey…Maybe I thought that I could find them on the way.”

“Friend, I sense sorrow in your words,” He told me. “I believe something bad happened to them, no?”

“You see, I think they were captured by raiders...or slavers. I’m not sure,” I explained. “I tried to help them...but I can’t. Not in the situation I was back then. So here I am, looking for them…”

“I see,” He said, nodding his head. “They must really mean alot to you.”

“Yes...yes they do,” I looked at him and saw that he was studying my face. I was confused at first until he opened his mouth to speak.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find them,” He reassured me. “And if we make it to Lux, then I will aid you in your search.”

“Thank you,” I said in gratitude.

“No need to thank me, it is fair that I help you as you help us,” He said, waving a hoof. I nodded and smiled at him. It was great to be around ponies that I can trust again.

We continued walking to Lux. We stopped for a few times to rest and I talked to the other ponies in the group. I learned that they were a part of a caravan that was headed towards another town called Manus when they were attacked by raiders from Ghost town. Turns out there were more of them but the others either died fighting the raiders or because of hunger and thirst. The survivors were lucky enough to know that they just have to do what the raiders said and in exchange the raiders provided a fraction of their food and water supply for them. It was like that for a few days until there was this explosion, followed by gunshots. The raiders that were guarding the survivors immediately went out to investigate and never returned. The survivors were too scared to go out. And then they met me. That was pretty much their whole story so far.

After mingling with the friendly ponies, I decided to see how far we are from Lux. I asked the others about it but it seems they were not sure if we are near Lux. Checking my PipBuck, I saw that we were just halfway. I groaned in annoyance. I expected that with all the walking we just did, we would have at least be somewhere near the outskirts of the town. Luckily, we barely met a hostile, other than the occasional bloatfly. I checked my revolver once more and saw that there was only 3 more bullets left. I shouldn’t have shot those bloatflies.

I was about to tell the group to continue moving until I noticed something pop-up on my map. A quick check showed it was a red dot. I looked around to see if there was any threat around. I saw nothing. I checked my PipBuck one more time and the red dot is still there. even after a few smacks, it was still there.

“Let’s move,” I ordered, scanning the area. There wasn’t any possible hiding places around so I should be seeing the enemy.

“What’s the matter?” The stallion asked me. “We just stopped and-”

“There’s something nearby that could be hostile and I can’t see it,” I interrupted him. “I’m not sure if I’m losing my mind or something’s wrong with this device but…”

He looked around and nodded. He ushered everyone to get up and move quickly. I continued to look around, smacking my PipBuck too just to be sure it wasn’t an error. I gulped and prepared to handle my revolver. This wasn’t going to end well.

“Friend, let’s go,” The stallion said. Suddenly, my PipBuck started beeping like crazy. I shakily checked the screen and saw that a lot of red dots surrounded us. My eyes darted around as I started to panick. The stallion just scowled as he stared at the screen.

“Friend, we are about to encounter one of the most deadly groups of Land 35,” He slowly said. “Mortem...one of the strongest raider groups in the wasteland. Also one of the most advanced group in 35.”

“Is there any chance we can survive?” I asked him.

“That choice is up to them,” He answered. “Most of the time, they will kill anyone they meet. If they’re feeling a bit more sadistic, they will torture anyone they find fun to toy with.”

“One last question...why can’t I see them?” I asked him one more time. He answered in a grim tone.

“Because they are hiding...”

Suddenly, we were surrounded by a lot of raiders with what looked like metal armor. Most of them seem to have a small device strapped to their backs and all of them carry a decent-looking weapon. The survivors looked around in confusion and fear and quickly huddled together on the center. The stallion grimly looked at the raiders while I prepared to shoot. One of them moved forward and looked back at the stallion with an even more intimidating stare. He was unicorn and one of his legs seemed to be robotic. His weapon was a laser rifle. He was obviously the boss of this group of sneaky raiders

“Well...well...well, look at what we got here,” The boss said. “The survivors from Ghost town. Isn’t it nice to see you again, hehehe.”

“Your face is not welcome, Malus,” The stallion angrily told him. “And so is your men.”

Malus feigned shocked and talked in a frightened tone.

“Oh my, Fortis finally talked bravely,” Then he stomped his hoof and yelled at him. “Does it look like I give a fuck about what you say? Who care if I’m not welcome to your people. They’re all dead anyways.”

“You haven’t changed, not a single bit,” Fortis said.

“And you have not grown the guts to fight shit,” He scoffed.

I quickly inspected the other raiders and noticed that they carry a shotgun, a hunting rifle, or a pistol. All of which looked like it could shoot one hell of a bullet. I also noticed that despite their strong armor, it didn’t have enough joints to allow good mobility. Which means that they could not easily run or walk. So far, the lack of joints in the armor is the only flaw I’m seeing.

I looked back at the duo, who were still talking to each other, and saw that they were literally talking head-to-head. While Malus was the more aggressive one in talking, Fortis was the one who managed to keep a cool-head and spoke in a very stern tone.

“Let us go. We’re not worth anything to you,” Fortis told him.

“You’re right, none of you are worth shit,” Lucas spat on the ground. “But maybe your guardian is.”

Malus looked at me then at my PipBuck. I saw it in his eyes that he wants to acquire the tech for some reason. He slowly walked towards me and he stared down at me.

“And he could also be very useful to us,” He said.

“No! Leave him alone,” Fortis Protested. Malus turned to look at him and levitated his laser rifle.

“You know what? I’m done with your shit,” He yelled. “I would have killed you immediately if you weren’t one of my trusted men back then but that is now in the past. You are now one of those stupid wastelanders in my eyes. I hope you enjoyed your shitty life while it lasted.”

He aimed his laser rifle at Fortis and fired. Fortis rolled out of the way and the laser nearly hit him. Malus cursed and aimed at him again. This time, the other raiders followed suit. Seeing that Fortis has nowhere to run, I quickly brought out my revolver and shot the rifle. The bullet struck the center of the weapon, causing it to blow up.

“What the fuck?” Fortis said as he tried processing on what just happened. He then turned to me and was very pissed off.

“You little shit, look at what you have done!” He said. Panicked, I quickly fired the last 2 bullets at him. The bullets struck his metal armor and got stuck there. He looked at the lodged bullets and then smiled menacingly at me.

“Looks like your luck run out.” He said. He brought out a pistol and aimed at me. “You could have been of some use to us but that too is in the past. You’re just another stupid wastelander.”

“NO!” Fortis yelled as he tried to tackle him. One of the raiders shot his leg and Daniel stumbled to the ground.

Malus ignored Fortis’ objections and concentrated on me. I continued pulling the trigger but all I got were clicks. At this point, I’m just wondering why he won’t just shoot me already.

“Once you’re dead, that’s one less burden we have to deal with,” He told me. “Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit.”

I dropped my revolver and heard the survivors gasped and the raiders laughed. I looked at the eyes of the boss and fear washed over me. He chuckled one more time and he pulled the trigger.

I waited for the gun to fire. I waited for the bullet to kill me. I waited for something to happen but nothing. I looked around in confusion and noticed that everybody stopped moving. The faces of everybody stayed the same, unchanging as they watch me get shot. They all stared, waiting for me to die. And then the gun fired. I looked at the weapon and noticed that the bullet was moving at a very slow pace. That’s when I realized that time did not stop but just slowed down.

A new kind of energy overwhelmed me as time continued to move on a snail’s pace. It wasn’t like I felt before. The way the energy made me feel more alert and active. The way the energy made me feel stronger and faster. It was an amazing feeling. As the bullet neared me, I started to have a burning sensation on my head. My head felt like a volcano about to erupt.

Time suddenly went back to its normal pace and before I knew it, the bullet suddenly whizzed by me and it struck the ground instead. Malus stared at me, confused, before he continued to fire. All of the bullets seemed to miss me and struck the ground once more. I noticed that Fortis was looking at me and his face showed that he seems to know what was happening to me.

“What the?! Impossible!” He said in annoyance. He looked at me angrily before suddenly becoming fearful.

My whole body started to feel like it was on fire. I don’t know what was happening. And then something like instincts kicked in. I raised both of my hooves into the air and slammed it back to the ground, causing a mini-earthquake strong enough to make everyone lose their balance.

“What are you fools doing?” He yelled at his men. “Shoot him!”

Before they could though, their weapons were covered with a black aura and it lifted it to the air. The raiders just looked at their weapons in awe as the gun suddenly were disassembled, leaving only the bullets behind. Then my head suddenly started pounding as I watched the bullets that was wrapped with black aura in confusion.

“W-W-What’s happening?!” One of the raiders stammered out. The bullets suddenly went straight to the chests of every raider that surrounded us, including Malus. After that, the burning sensation left my body and I collapsed to the ground. I felt very tired and weak, barely able to open my eyes. I could hear the survivors whispering amongst themselves about what just happened. Then I heard Fortis’ voice.

“All those who are still strong, carry this pony back to Lux.” He ordered. “We need to help him quickly.”

I heard him walk closer to me, followed by another pony.

“Don’t worry, friend. Everything will be alright.” He reassured me.

I started to feel dizzy as I felt my body being lifted and placed on another pony’s back. I could also hear my PipBuck clicking as we started moving. With one last bit of strength, I hit the PipBuck to shut it up and quickly lost consciousness after that.

Footnote: Level Up!
New Perk: Unknown Strength
-If you are cornered or surrounded by enemies and your health is low, your strength and agility will go up by 2 points, your chance of getting a critical hit and your attack speed by 20%, and the damage of unarmed or melee weapons is increased by 30% until your health is at least 25%. This will also have a negative effect on you once you are away from hostiles, usually the reversed effects of the perk for 5 minutes.

Chapter 12: Memories

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Memories, the only thing the past had given to us.”

Darkness, the only thing I can see.

Silence, the only thing I can hear.

Nothing, the only feeling I can feel.

Dead or alive? The only question in my mind.

I waited for something to happen. A sign that I can still get out of this void. Then it happened. I heard voices, voices that talk about something.

“Should we start?” One asked.

“Yes, this is the only way he can remember.” Another replied.

“Is he aware of us?” The first voice asked again.

“He is aware, after all, we are his voices that linger behind his mind. We are the voices he had shut off a long time ago, in an attempt to erase his beginnings,” The second voice answered. “We are the ghosts of his past.”

“Yes, I’m afraid you’re right. He tried to forget about what happened to him, his friends, and his family. All because of The Great War. Then let us begin! It’s time for him to remember, even if it will be little. Once he knows more about his past, it’s up to him to find the rest,” The first agreed. “Before he gets corrupted like the others.”

As soon as the conversation ended, bright light replaced the haunting darkness. Then a pathway formed beneath me, building a path towards door in front of me.

Light, I can see.

Alive, that’s how I feel.

A body, I can control.

And a voice urged me to go on.

“Go to the door. Don’t be afraid.” It told me soothingly.

I walked towards the door, scared of what’s behind it. As I move closer, I started to hear even more voices.

Then a malicious laughter. It shushed every voice in the void, an eerie silence settling once more. I looked behind me and gasped. The darkness was engulfing the light slowly. Scared, I ran towards the door. I braced myself and smashed through it.

“AJ, I’m back!”

I entered the barn, looking around for the mare that usually wears a hat.


There was no one I could see in the barn. It was just empty. I sighed and turned around. When I did, I finally found her.

“Hey there, AJ!” I greeted her. She smiled at me.

“What brings you here?” She asked me, tilting her head. “It’s not even noon yet.”

“I’m just here to tell you about the results from Twilight’s tests. You know, she insisted me to do it, to see if we really are related,” I answered her. “Worst mistake of my life. I can’t believe she can deal with some experiments that is really weird.”

“Yeah, hopefully it’s not too crazy,” She said, smiling a bit.

“It is crazy!” I exclaimed. “Especially this one experiment. It involved...a lot of touching.”

“Whoa whee, let’s just skip to the results,” She quickly told me.

“Okay, so according to her...it’s a 50-50,” I told her. “It’s either I’m your cousin or I’m just a family friend.”

“Oh wow, that was unexpected,” She fixed her hat and sighed. “Well, so how should we call each other, friend or cousin?”

“I don’t know. I’m not really good at making a choice so you pick,” I replied, smiling sheepishly.

“How about...cousins?” She answered. “I feel comfortable with that, how about you?”

“Yeah, I’m okay with it,” I replied. “At least I have someone to call ‘cousin’. Back then, I barely knew anyone that’s related to me, other than my parents of course.”

She nodded and gives me a pat on the back.

“Hey, AJ?”


“You can speak to me normally, with the accent,” I told her. “Why are you trying so hard to hide it when you’re speaking to me or my parents?”

“Aww, shucks. I’ll be honest with you. It’s because you and your parents are from the city,” She replied. “When I was young, I once went to visit my aunt and uncle. They’re city folks so you can say they are ‘sophisticated’. Anyways, when I was there, they told me to lose my accent ‘cause… We’re in the city. So when I met you...Well, you can guess.”

“AJ, just because I’m from the city doesn’t mean you should talk to me like Rarity,” I told her. “Just be yourself.”

“I guess you’re right,” She smiled one more time and chuckled. “Ah shouldn’t act like Rarity. That was a pain in th’flank t’speak like that.”

I smirked and grabbed her hat, putting it on as quickly as possible. She looked at me with confusion. I arched my eyebrow at her, smiling smugly.

“Hey, what was that for?” She asked me, annoyed.

“Ya know, t’annoy ya,” I replied.

“Oh, just give me back mah hat!” She demanded.

“Ya better come and get it then, sugarcube!” I quickly galloped towards the apple orchards. She ran after me, trying to catch me and grab her hat. We ran and ran and ran…

“My, my, darling, what are you doing?” A white unicorn asked me as she tried to look over my shoulder to see what I was trying to make.

“Oh hey, Rarity,” I greeted her. “I’m just making a gift for your sister. She seemed to like one of the stuffs I made so I decided to make this thing for her birthday.”

“You do know that Sweetie Belle’s birthday is still a few months away, right?” She continued to look at what I was making.

“I just wanted to have enough time to perfect this,” I answered her. “I want to make sure that this can survive a really long time. maybe one day it can remind her about her young self.”

“Aww, how sweet. You really are thoughtful,” She complimented me.

“Uhm, yeah. Thanks for your kind words,” I smiled, feeling a bit happier than before. I stopped my work to rest for a while, grabbing a nearby towel to wipe the sweat off my forehead. I felt a hoof rest upon my shoulder and I looked back to see Rarity a bit too close.

“Whoa, hey there,” I smiled awkwardly. “What brings you here so close to, uhm, invading my personal space?”

“Oh, am I really that close to you?” She moved back a few inches away from me. “I’m really sorry, darling. I did not mean to make you uncomfortable.”

She smirked at me. I just stared blankly at her.

“Uhm, yeah. It’s okay...yup,” I muttered mindlessly.

“Oh, darling, did I break you?” She cooed. I started to babble random words in an attempt to answer. Nope, I was really broken.

“I’m just teasing, darling!” She laughed.

“Oh, eheh,” I nervously laughed along.

“Mmm, say, did you ever find a mare worth your time?” She asked me.

“W-What do you mean by that?” I stammered.

“You know what I meant by that,” She told me, smiling. “You're a very handsome stallion, and I expected you to have someone to live your life with.”

“I...I...I’m not ready for that kind of thing yet,” I placed my face on my hooves. “Why do you ask? Don’t tell me that you-”

“No no no no no!” She quickly responded, her eyes wide. “I’m not implying that I, ahem, like you. Just curious, that’s all. Can’t a mare ask a stallion about love without receiving such kinds of responses from him?”

I shrugged and looked back at my work. I should have expected that question one day, seeing that it’s nearly Hearts and Hooves day. I could just stay inside my house, or more accurately, in the basement. As I let my thoughts wander around, Rarity decided to clear her throat just to grab my attention.

“What is it?” I asked her.

“Oh nothing,” She replied. “I just want to know if you are deciding in finding your true love eventually.”

“I don’t think I’ll find anyone that can relate to me,” I said with a chuckle. “Maybe when I’m more comfortable with talking to other ponies.”

“Yes, I’m afraid you need to try to improve on your social skills,” She agreed. “Anyways, I better get going. I still have to fetch my sister and help her with her school project. See you tomorrow.”

I nodded and waved her goodbye. Once she was gone, I decided to clean up the place. It was a mess, tools and materials were strewn all over the place. While I was cleaning, I noticed a purple blur at the corners of my eyes. I turned to look at it and was surprised to see the assistant of Twilight in the room with me. How did he even get here?

“Spike?” I looked at him with confusion. “What are you doing here?”

I was back at the hospital, getting my back massaged by a nurse. I could have gone to a more appropriate place for a back massage but I had a perfectly good excuse to be in a hospital. I happened to push my body a bit too much on a race against Rainbow Dash. I don’t even know why I did it, it sounded fun to me at that time. Yeah, so by the time the race is over, my whole body was ready to fall apart. Was that a good excuse?

“Next time, don’t race with a pegasus,” The nurse sternly told me. “That was stupid of you to do that.”

“I know…” My ears drooped. I was not having a good day.

“Good that you know,” She continued to pound on my back, a bit stronger than before. “I wish you had thought it through though. My job may involve taking care of injured or sick ponies but I know it doesn’t involve massaging. Why am I even assigned to take care of you?”

“Do you have to speak to me that way?” I groaned. “I already know racing with a pegasus is bad. You don’t have to make me feel worse by making me feel sorry for you.”

She sighed and moved on to my limbs. This time, the force she’s exerting is much weaker.

“Well, I’m sorry if I sound rude to you,” She apologized. “I’m just having a really bad day today.”

“You’re not the only one with a bad day…” I muttered. “At least you’re not the one that is being scolded for doing a stupid thing.”

“I just lost 2 patients today, how does that sound?” She said heavily. “Still having a worse day than me?”

“Whoa...I didn’t know. Sorry…” Now I feel bad for comparing my day to her’s.

“No need to feel bad, happens most of the time in this kinds of places,” She told me.

She finally finished massaging me. I felt more relaxed now than before. Actually, this would be the only time I was this relaxed.

“How are you feeling?” she asked me. “Feeling better than before I presume?”

“Totally,” I said happily.

“Good, now will you please get off the bed,” She requested. “You can’t stay there all day you know.”

“Sure,” I yawned. “In a minute. For now, maybe we can talk?”

“And why do you want me to talk to you?” She asked, eyebrow raised.

“We’re already doing it so why not?” I told her, smiling. “We don’t need to talk about our lives, I’m fine with just a friendly conversation.”

“I don’t see why not,” She grabs a chair nearby and sits. “I don’t think I need to do anything after this anyways. ”

Inside, I high-fived myself for finally having the courage to speak to a stranger. It was even a mare! Better yet, we found a comfortable and relatable topic we could talk about. I felt good to finally try to socialize with others, I must have missed a lot of golden opportunities when I decided to stay silent.

We talked for a long time. A minute turned into 30 minutes. 30 turned to 60. And then hours flew by. I didn’t even know you can hold a conversation for hours. I decided to check the clock that was hanging on the wall to see the time.

“What?!” I exclaimed. “We’ve been talking for 3 hours? How’s that even possible?!”

“3 hours?” She also looked at the clock and gasped. “That’s way too long for a simple conversation.”

I quickly got out of the bed, though the amount of time my body stood still made my limbs stiff. So instead of landing on the floor with my legs, I landed on the floor with my face instead. The nurse quickly rushed to my side.

“Oh my Celestia, are you alright?” She worriedly asked me.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I assured her. “Just give me sometime to get my limbs moving again.”

She did not give me time to move on my own. Instead, she helped me up. I kinda objected to that but she wouldn’t listen to me so I gave up. Once I can finally walk on my own hooves, she let go.

“Thanks for helping me,” I thanked her. “But it wasn’t necessary to do that.”

“Well, as a nurse, I have to help anyone that needs help,” She points at her nurse hat. “And by the look at your face when you hit the floor, you really needed help.”

“Then thanks for being so thoughtful,” I smiled at her, awkwardly. I noticed I’ve been smiling a lot lately.

“Hey, that’s what I do,” She smiled back at me. “If you want to try another race against a pegasus, you know where to find me.”

“Great! But I’ll need your name first if I were to consult you,” I told her with a wink.

“My name is...Just call me Nurse Redheart,” She looked at me as if she knows what I’m trying to do,“What’s your name?”

“Me? My name is-

“War…” I stared at the mirror, studying myself. “...It just had to happen.”

I was tired, my work taking up all night to be finished. For a moment, I looked like my dad. I was thinking of talking to him over breakfast when I remembered he was one of the ponies that volunteered to join the army.

I went downstairs to the dining area, expecting mom to be waiting for me there. But when I arrive at said area, the only thing that was waiting for me was a plate of pancakes. Pancakes? Why not?

“Mom?” I looked at the pancakes. She must have went somewhere. She usually does this everyday ever since dad left.

I took a sit and started munching on my breakfast, thinking about random things. Maybe I should try different mane styles, you know, to change my look a bit. My friends always complained about how I always look the same. I could also try baking muffins or maybe even go further and bake a cake.

I looked at the calendar that was placed on the wall. I noticed a number that was circled repeatedly with an arrow pointing at the date. Strange, I thought, what’s so important about that date?

“Oh no…” I slapped myself. Of course! It was Mom’s birthday today and I haven’t greeted her yet. I quickly finished what’s left of my pancakes and placed the plate in the sink.

Maybe I could get Pinkie to help me with setting up a surprise party. She is pretty good at it after all. With these thoughts in mind, I hurried to prepare myself, trying to make myself as decent as one could get when it gets to going out. Grabbing my saddlebag, I rushed towards the door. I opened it and was surprised to find the mail mare looking as shocked as I was.

“Ditzy! Do I have mail?” I quickly asked her. “If I do, please give it to me now. I’m in a bit of a rush.”

“Oh, uhm, yes…” She looked a bit worried or even sad. She reached in her saddlebag and gave me a letter. “I”m really sorry for what happened.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked her as I grabbed the letter. Suddenly, I had a dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I read the letter, which was smudged for whatever reason, and I looked at Ditzy. She looked back at me, her eyes filled with worry.

“P-Please, tell me this is not real,” I can’t accept it. I can’t accept what the letter had revealed to me.

“I’m sorry…” She looked at the ground, avoiding eye contact. “Really, I am…”

“But...but...no...It can’t be..” I let the letter drop on the floor. “I...I…”

Ditzy hugged me, trying to comfort me. I started crying, my tears wetting her fur.

“It...It’s her birthday today. It’s her birthday,” I kept on saying. “I never said greeted her happy birthday. It’s her birthday today…”

Memory Overwrite...

“What are you-?!” I tried to ask but the general forcefully threw me into the ground.

“You know why we’re doing this, traitor!” He yelled at me.

“You’re not making any sense!” I glared at him.

“You want to know what you did again?” He spat at my face. “You killed a great stallion today. One that knows the meaning of what sacrifice is.”

“What?! I still don’t get it!” I tried standing up but he pinned me down.

“You tried to assassinate the Princess!” He stomped my back, hard. “And in the process, you killed one of the the best soldiers there are, Big Macintosh. You are going to pay for the crimes you commited.”

“I didn’t do such thing!” I tried to tell him. “I would never try to kill Her Highness and especially not Big Mac! I demand proof that I did or try to such things.”

“Hehehe, I expected you to say that,” He said menacingly. “I have a lot of eyewitness that claimed to see you fire that bullet that killed Big Macintosh. Want more proof? The bullet that hit him was specially made for a unique gun. That gun belonged to you!”

“W-What?” This can’t be happening. “Wait, that was an accident! There was a fight happening and-”

“Aha! So you do admit to doing the crime,” He interrupted me.

“NO!” I objected. “I never intended to do it! It was an accident, I was about to shoot-”

“Shoot who?” He asked me angrily.

“The zebras! The zebras!” I quickly answered. “We were battling them at Shattered Hoof Ridge. One of them got close to me and I tried shooting him but he somehow managed to knock my-”

“Lies! You willingly shot Big Macintosh and tried to shoot the Princess too!” He kicked me in the ribs.

“I never did it!” I was losing it. I tried to fight him but I was the weaker one. He was a unicorn, which gave him a lot of advantage over me, and he continued to eat me up until I was just a bloody mess.

“I’m done with you,” He levitated his revolver and aimed it at my head. “A life for a life, sounds fair to me.”

This was now how it’s supposed to go. He can’t just make decisions on his own or even sentence me to death. I closed my eyes and waited for my death.

Why did I join the army? Ever since Mom died, I was depressed. I thought I was lost without any of my family. That’s when I saw that poster(or was it flyer? I don’t know) about joining the army. I decided to do it, to become a part of the Equestrian Army. One of my reasons was that I could see Dad again. I never did, they told me he was probably assigned somewhere far away.

About Shattered Hoof Ridge, I never knew why I was assigned there. I remember Big Mac telling me that I would be there as backup, just in case anything bad happened. I’m not the only one he told me to come, I think there was this group, I’m not really sure. So while he was guarding the Princess, I was hiding somewhere (I can’t recall where specifically, all I know I was camouflaged with the environment). I was waiting for something interesting to happen. Then I heard gunshots all around the place. I reacted quickly, shooting any threats I encountered. But they were too many and I was cut-off from poor Big Mac. They managed to incapacitate me and I might be dead if...Actually, I don’t remember how I got out of there or how I ended up here. I don’t even know how I got accused for killing the stallion or trying to kill the Princess.

I know I never did it. I was never there. I think I was framed. They hated me, the team I was placed in, I never knew why. I think it’s because of my relation to Applejack. I heard there were some that despised her. And the memories of the battle? I think those are fake memories. I suspect they did something to me, while I was asleep maybe. Big Mac did die but not by my bullet. No, it belonged to another, I’m not sure who did it though.

Before he shot me, I heard someone enter the room and quickly screamed.

“WAIT! It’s not him! it’s P-”


I remembered that loud sound, the sound of death. I was shot, but for another reason. Mercy kill, I think. I’m not so sure, most of my memories while I’m in the army is so vague. Death…Why am I still here?

I walked towards my house, finally glad that the day was nearly over. As usual, apple bucking was hard. I don’t know how AJ could do such task. Hell, I should question Apple Bloom, where did she get her strength?

Anyways, as soon as I stepped into the place I call home, I noticed the room I entered was pitch black. This was confusing, I thought, the lights were only turned off if no one was home and my parents are usually home when it’s evening.

“Quick!” I heard a barely audible whisper. “Do it now!”

I heard a click and suddenly the room was filled with bright light, blinding me. I also heard a bunch of voices greet me as soon as the lights turned on.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” The voices said at the same time.

“You turned on the wrong lights! You blinded the poor kid,” I heard one say.

My eyes eventually got used to the lights and I could now see the ones who were talking a while ago. To my surprise, it was nearly everyone in Ponyville. The Mane 6, my parents, ponies I’m related to, Ditzy, Turner, Carrot Top, Nurse Redheart, Rose Luck, Amethyst, Cheerilee, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Octavia, Vinyl, and many more. A banner which was on the floor (I think it fell when Ditzy tried to open the lights as she accidentally pulled it down, according to Dad) which had the words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” on it.

“Wow,” I forgot that today was my birthday, how could I have forgotten it? “This...This is amazing!”

Everyone cheered, satisfied that I am genuinely surprised and pleased about what they did. That’s when Vinyl hit the switch and most started enjoying themselves on the party. I was sitting on the couch, taking a sip from my cup of punch (I asked Twilight if she made the punch. Turns out it was Spike. Hopefully, I wouldn’t feel strange after drinking some punch). I then noticed Dad walking towards me.

“Son, I have a gift for you,” He told me with a smile. “Come, follow me.”

He lead me through the crowd and towards the basement. I was really curious about this gift. Was it another sweater? A bunch of books? Maybe if I’m lucky, a screwdriver? I think Dad can feel me trying to keep my excitement contained so he told me to quickly press the button on the middle of the room. I pushed the button, maybe a bit too hard, and waited. After some time, I looked at my dad in confusion. He gave me the same look and shrugged.

“Uhm, nothing’s happening,” I told him.

“Hmm,” He rubbed his chin before pointing behind me. “Wait, what’s that?”

I looked behind me and noticed some sort of gadget that is placed on your foreleg. To most, it will look meaningless or something not worth their time. To me, it was a beauty. I stared at it in awe.

“So, what do you think?” My dad asked me.

“It’s amazing!” I told him. “What does it do?”

“Simple, it’s a device that helps you with building things,” He explained. “You can download blueprints there, do this, do that. I’m sorry but I’m not really good in explaining that. Maybe you should try it, so you’ll know what to do.”

I continued running, away from the darkness. No, I can’t go back to the void. As I tried to escape, I barged into door after door.

“Run, Eclipse, run! Head towards the light and don’t look back.”

For every door I break down, I start to remember little bits of my past. My life with a family and friends, my days before the war, and the sorrow and anger I experienced. Slowly, I managed to piece together a small part of me. But I noticed one thing as I relived these memories, not even once was my name mentioned. Why?

Instead of answers, I had more questions. Questions that I know that can’t be answered by anyone, not even me. Some of my dreams contradicted my memories, confusing me on what's real and what is not. I needed to know who I really am. The only way I’m knowing that is by remembering everything about my past.

I felt myself closer to the exit, the lights slowly getting brighter as I continued to run. The darkness was insistent to catch me, roaring as it tries to engulf me. Finally, I could see an end. It was another door, but this time, it’s transparent. Bracing myself for one last hit on the door, I smashed through it and suddenly feel myself falling. I was scared, unsure of what to do. I looked around me and noticed the light getting dimmer. Then suddenly, I felt a searing pain in my sides. I screamed in pain, trying to find a way to put out the heat. As I fell, I heard one more sentence before the darkness finally caught me.

“The rest is up to you.”

Chapter 13: Lux

View Online

“Sometimes, it’s hard to trust someone because of who they are.

But if we give them a chance,

maybe they’ll be the most trustworthy companions you can have.”

Innocent? You still think you’re innocent? Ha! Don’t make me laugh. Don’t you realize how much blood you spilled? Innocent blood? You may try to justify your reasons by saying that they’re all bad. That they all hurt or even killed. Let me tell you something. You’re wrong! Just because they just happened to be a part of that group doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Most may be bad but some...some are just forced to be that way.

Remember that raider you killed? The one that you mercilessly took his life? Surprise, he isn’t even one! He had a family and he was just trying to give them a good life. He never killed or hurt anyone. He didn’t even steal! He just joins a group to see what he can get. He doesn’t fight, no. If he encounters anyone, he warns or gives them a warning shot. Nothing else. Now that he’s gone, his family is in big trouble. They’re starving, waiting for him to bring food to them. They’re worried for him. It’s been days since he left them. Tsk tsk tsk, now their death...would come soon...hehehe. Good job, hero...

“Can you hear me? Come on, wake up!” Someone urged me

I opened my eyes, still shaken by what I had experienced while I was out. I blinked a few times, trying to see. Nope, all I could see is still darkness.

“He’s awake...Amazing,” Another said, sounding surprised.

“What...happened…?” I managed to ask, my voice barely audible. “And...why can’t...I see?”

“You can’t see? Hmm...I suppose that the effects of...whatever you did...is still in effect,” The voice, which I think would be the doctor or something similar, replied.

“Is there any possible way to speed up his recovery?” Another asked. This time, I identified who owned the voice. It was Fortis.

“Maybe, but I’m not sure if it will affect him negatively or positively,” The doc responded. “I never tried the spell on an Earth pony.”

“Remember, he’s not exactly an Earth pony,” Fortis told him.

“Yes, I remember,” I heard a sigh. “Then we shall try the spell.”

“W-What spe-” I was interrupted by a tingling feeling all over my body. It started off as a ticklish sort-of buzz to a very annoying electric shock.

After the feeling died down, the darkness that covered my eyes slowly faded away and it was replaced by a dark-colored ceiling. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was really seeing properly and I looked at my sides. 2 stallions stood at each side, the doctor and Fortis.

“Can you see now?” The doctor asked me.

“Y...yes,” I told him.

“Great, great,” He wrote something on his clipboard. “Recovery spell is a success, truly amazing...How are you feeling?”

“Just fine, I think,” I tried sitting up but Fortis gently held me down. He gave me a look of disapproval.

“Don’t move just yet,” The doctor ordered me. “You still need to rest, your body is still under a lot of stress.”

I just nodded and stared at the ceiling. I waited for the doctor or Fortis to say something but all I heard was the sound of the pen writing.

“What happened to me?” I decided to ask.

“Ah, you fainted,” The doctor responded.

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Why did I faint then?”

The doctor stopped writing and looked at me. I could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t sure of what to say. What really happened?

“I’m not sure but I think it might be related to…” He stopped himself, carefully thinking his words. “It’s something you happened to eat, that’s all.”

“Tell him the truth, doc, I think he can handle it,” Fortis told him. “He must know…”

“If you say so,” The doc looked at me and began speaking. “When I heard about what happened to you, I was baffled. A regular Earth pony could not do what you just did.”

“What are you talking about?” I gave him a confused look.

“Well, you see...how do I say this…” He flipped some papers. “ You’re not just any regular Earth pony. I can’t explain how but all I know is that...I need more research on this, Fortis. I can’t say until I’m really sure.”

“I understand. This is a really confusing subject because it defies...many things,,” Fortis responded.

“Can I get up now?” I cut in. “You know, if you’re not going to tell me what’s wrong with me, can you let me go? I still have somewhere to go.”

“No! I mean, no. Not yet, you may leave this room but you cannot leave the town,” The doctor quickly told me. “We are still trying to understand what happened to you. Maybe, we can find a way to help you. If you leave now, there’s a chance that you will kill many innocent lives outside the city’s gates.”

“I can’t stay here,” I tried getting up but was stopped once more by Fortis. “I need to find them! I need to find my friends!”

“Calm down!” Fortis managed to stop me from moving. “You will find them but not now. We can’t let you go without knowing what really happened. Friend, you need to trust us.”

I stopped struggling and nodded my head in defeat. If they would hold me back from my goal for a good reason, then so be it. I just hoped that my friends will be alright.

“Rest for now, friend,” Fortis slowly let me go. “Once you’re well-rested, I can show you around the place.”

“Fortis, that’s a weird name,” I told him as we walked along hallways of the clinic.

“Actually, my name is Quicksilver. The folks here calls me Fortis,” He responded, smiling.

“And Malus?” I asked him. He frowned.

“Malus, I never knew his real name. He used to be one of the guards of this place,” He replied. “Why he left Lux, nobody knows.”

“And you joined him, am I right?” I waited for an answer when he stopped walking.

“Yes, I did,” He looked around before continuing. “I was young and stupid back then. I hated how hard life was here and how my job was a guard. I was scared that I might die when someone tries to attack the place.”

“So what made you join him?” I questioned.

“He went to me one day to tell me something. He said he knows how I was feeling and that I could join him to get out of this town. He told me that I could have a better life if I agreed to accompany him,” He explained. “And since I was not satisfied with my life here, I followed him. Turns out he was secretly a member of the infamous raider group.”

“Did you leave him immediately?” I was curious about his past. He doesn’t seem to be the type to continue staying with a killer, right?

“Actually, no. I...sticked with him for at least 2 years. I was having the time of my life during those 2 years. I was free and I could do anything. No rules to stop you, no society to judge, nothing,” He rubbed his neck and sighed. “I also liked the feeling of being a wastelander bad-ass. Shoot this, shoot that, makes you feel cool. Of course, you know the feeling. You look like one.”

“I…” I shook my head. “Please continue, your story is pretty interesting. What happened next?”

“Anyways, there comes a time when you start thinking: Am I doing the right thing?” He looked at me. “So I reflected on what I did. I realized that whenever I threatened someone, I would feel so guilty at the end. This wasn’t the life I asked. I didn’t want to continue killing others just to get their things. So I ran away. I didn’t know he would be after me when I did.”

“Well, he’s dead now, I think,” I reminded him as we continued walking. “Now you can rest easy.”

“I wish I could agree with you but it’s not going to be easy,” He told me. “I betrayed the folks here. I’m not sure if they’ll still accept me.”

“Hey, how can you find out if you won’t risk it? I believe that you’re a good stallion, even if we met for a short time,” I said the last part in a barely audible voice. “So, shall we see what happens?”

You’re right, friend,” He smiled.

“Please, call me Eclipse,” I told him.

Before we left the place, we heard someone shouting at us. We turned around to see a unicorn mare in a labcoat running towards us, carrying something. I looked at it and noticed it looked familiar.

“Hey, wait!” She shouted as she rushed towards us. “You forgot this!”

“What is it, Miss?” Fortis asked her. She finally reached us,gasping for air.

“This...Pip...Buck...Ack,” She collapsed. Geez, how long was she running? Better yet, how far was she running?

“Miss, are you alright?” Fortis helped her up. “It looked like you ran a marathon.”

“Yes, I...am fine,” She replied, wiping the sweat off her forehead. “It’s just, this place is just like a maze with all these hallways. Someone should really put signs around this place.”

“So, what did we forget?” I asked her, still looking at the thing she is is levitating. It really looks familiar but I just can’t find out what exactly it is. My mind is still fuzzy so maybe I just need more time to remember.

“Oh right! You’re PipBuck, sir!” She handed it to me. “We removed it from you and studied it. I must say this is a very interesting variation, maybe the only one of its kind! We would have tried to study the rest of the equipment you have but...that would violate a few rules of ours, eheh.”

“Oh, uhm, thanks,” Of course, it’s that object. I knew there was a wrong feeling in one of my legs when I woke up. I placed it on my right foreleg, locking it in place.

“And, uhm, I think we broke it…” She said sheepishly,smiling and blushing a bit. “It shut off when we tried to access it. Never turned on again, no matter how hard we tried. Sorry.”

“Oh, well that sucks,” I pressed the power button. “Maybe we can find another-Ouch!”

I felt a sharp pain on where the tech is placed. Both ponies looked at me worriedly.

“You’re...You’re leg is bleeding!” The mare looked shocked as she pointed at my right leg.

“Aww, come on!” I yelled in annoyance. “I’m been bleeding too much now.”

As the mare quickly fished out a towel from her coat pockets, I continued to stare at my bleeding leg. The fur began to turn into a shade of red that I weirdly find beautiful. When the mare tried to wipe the blood off, I nearly jerked my leg away. She gave me a concerned look.

“A-Are you okay? Does it hurt?” She asked me, trying her best to wipe off the blood.

“Whoa, calm down now, Miss. I’m fine,” I calmly told her. “It’s nothing compared to what I experience in the Wasteland.”

“I’m sorry for overreacting but I’m just really worried,” She stopped wiping once most of the blood is gone.

“I think he’ll live, Miss,” Fortis assured her. “He looks pretty tough to me.”

She shakily nodded and took a step back, keeping the bloody towel. Suddenly, we heard a click coming from the PipBuck. I looked at it and noticed it was starting up, numbers scrolling down the screen. The mare looked at it in surprise, mouth agape. Fortis, on the other hand, looked like he was as confused as I was.

“It’s...It’s working,” She mumbled, eyes wide. “The only thing that I can think now is that this PipBuck is only accessible by you…somehow.”

“Wow, guess I’m a special snowflake now,” I tapped on the screen, making sure it’s working. The screen flickered for a moment before returning back to normal.

The mare composed herself and nodded at Fortis. He nodded back and told her that everything will be fine now. She nodded again and walked away but not before looking at me worriedly one last time.

“What was that all about?” I asked him. “I mean her overcaring nature.”

“She’s one of the doctors that had seen a lot of deaths. She’s really sensitive when it comes to life or death,” He explained. “She lost her family once, it really affected her. So now she devotes her life to trying to save lives. By the way, her name is Selena.”

“You know her?” I was curious on how he knows her. Did they meet before? Wait, of course they did. I should stop asking obvious and stupid questions.

“Well, yes. She’s my sister,” He replied. “I would have called her by her first name when she went here but she prefers to be called ‘Miss’ in this place.”

“Whoa, that’s interesting and weird,” I mumbled. “So, she’s your sister. And a good one too I bet.”

“Eeyep. She’s one of the ponies that voted for me to enter the town. Good thing too, if it weren’t for her decision, I would still be outside Lux,” He told me. “Now, let’s start exploring, shall we? You still have a lot of places to see.”

“Here we are, the bakery of Lux,” Fortis pointed at the dull-colored building. “If you’re looking for something to eat, something like bread, you may want to visit this place.”

“Wow, baking? Now that’s something I haven’t seen in a long time,” I looked at the building in awe.

“You might be hungry. Come, let’s go,” He ushered me inside the place.

When we passed through the doors of the place, I can say I’m impressed. Though it doesn’t look much and not that clean, it was still tidy in a way. Chairs and tables placed neatly, the decorations around makes the place more lively, and then there’s the...woah.

“Oh, customers!” A mare behind the counter spoke up. “Finally, something to do.”

“Yep, customers,” Fortis took a sit on a nearby spot. The mare furrowed her eyebrows and studied him for a bit.

“Wait, have we met before?” She asked him. “‘Cause you look very familiar…”

I was surprised when Fortis hugged her tightly. She was as well, eyes wide in confusion.

“Velvet, it's been so long,” He said, tears forming in his eyes. “My Goddess, it’s been so long..”

“Wait, Fortis?” She quickly broke off the hug, holding him by the shoulders. “How? Oh my gosh, you’re back but how?”

“They finally let me in after some of the leaders voted me in,” He replied, smiling. “Thank the Goddess above that my sister was the one to break the tie.”

“At least you’re back here with me,” She then looked at me. “And who is this handsome fellow you brought along?”

“Ah, Velvet, meet Eclipse. He’s the one that helped the group I was in to get to Lux,” He introduced me to her. “And Eclipse, this is Red Velvet, manager and baker of this place.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Eclipse. You can call me Red or Velvet, doesn’t really matter,” She said with a smile. “I heard that the group Fortis brought in arrived safe and sound. I’m impressed that you managed to help them out on your own.”

“Oh, uhm, thanks!” I blushed a bit. “It’s nothing, really…”

“Eclipse…? There was barely anything out there to hurt us so I wouldn’t say you did your job. Hah! Good job though, on trying to defend us from raiders,” Fortis smirked. Geez, what happened to the humble stallion that talked to me back at Ghost town?

“Fine, I guess there was little to no danger on the way…” I rolled my eyes.

“Heheh, that must be a fun trip then,” She chuckled. “Anyways, both of you must be hungry, I mean, really hungry. So, what can I get ya?”

“What’s there to offer?” I asked her.

“We got…” She paused and look at a small paper that was tucked in her apron. Wait, did I mention she had an apron?

“We got muffins,” She replied, smiling. I blinked and waited.

“Uhm, muffins?” I expected a bit more than that.

“Yes, muffins. Would you like some?” She asked me, waiting for an answer.

“Uhm...Sure, I guess,” I replied. Hey, as long as there’s food. “How much is it?”

“Oh, Don’t worry about the payment. For any newcomers to this town, it’s on the house. I breathed a sigh of relief, I don’t even remember how much caps I have left. Hell, I could have none left on me anyways.

“Phew, thanks for telling me that,” I told her.

“No problem,” She looked at Fortis. “Come on, Fortis, you can come help me with this order. We still have a lot to talk anyways. I’ve waited for you for 2 years so let’s not waste any more time.”

He just laughed and followed her to the kitchen. I just shrugged and took a sit. I wonder what’s up with them? And better yet, the muffins better be quick ‘cause I’m starving. So in the meantime, I continued to mess around with my beloved PipBuck. I wondered what was in this thing that made me bleed.

“Hello Sir, here’s your order,” I was startled when a tough-looking unicorn spoke to me. He slowly placed it on my table. I tried thanking him but he left as quickly as he appeared. Creepy. Anyways, I took a bite out of my muffins and immediately spat them out. I looked at the muffins, disgusted by them, and questioned how they made them. They taste like dirt and I don’t even like dirt.

“How is the muffins Sir?” The unicorn was back, appearing out of nowhere. I nearly fell of my chair in surprise and it took me all my willpower to say the muffins were great. I dare not make this stallion mad. He continued to stay in place, looking at me, waiting for me to take another bite from the muffins. I gulped and grab another and ate it. And another and another and another until I finished them all. By now, I just wanted to run away and puke. He nodded and just like that, disappeared into thin air. Damn unicorns, always using their teleportation magic.

I waited for Fortis to come back, I was getting bored. Though the muffins may be bad, I would rather have something in my stomach than nothing at all. Still, I was ready to throw it all up. And the bad feeling in my gut only grew worse as time passed by. I hoped he would come back soon, the constant visits of the tough unicorn was starting to scare me.

I was ready to snore the day away when they finally arrived, Red and Fortis. I gave them both a dirty look for making me stay in this place for so long. I would have left but then I would get lost. I hate my choices.

“Sorry if we took so long to come back,” Fortis tried to apologize. “We just needed time to talk.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’ve been gone for two years and now you’re back. Both of you want to catch up with each other, I understand,” I told him, my tone a little bit harsh. I can’t help myself, dirt-tasting muffins make you feel that way.

“So, did you like my muffins?” Red asked make me, a bit worried about my opinion. I just slammed my head into the table.

“Red, it’s fine, could use some improvement though,” I muttered. I gestured Fortis to come closer to me and I whispered to him, “I swear cardboards tastes better than this, no offense.”

This time, he’s the one to give me a dirty look.

“Well, I do need to improve a bit on my baking skills,” Red said. “Some of them can be a little bit...burnt.”

“Hey Eclipse, someone wants to meet you in this town,” Fortis informed me. “I didn’t know someone knows you. Or maybe he’s just curious.”

“Yeah, you should feel lucky too!” Red said excitedly. “Ooh, thanks to you, I get to meet him.”

“Wait, meet who?” I asked them, eyebrow raised.

“Why, one of the many leader of this town, other than my sister of course,” He replied with wink. “Come on now, friend, we don’t want to keep him waiting.

This leader I was meeting apparently lived in a very tall tower in the middle of the town. We were taking one of the rusty elevators to reach the floor he’s in currently. Right now, I’m enjoying the wind that whips through my mane and the fantastic view of the Wasteland. Even if it is barren, there’s a certain beauty in it to be seen once you’re in a higher ground.

“Enjoying the view, Mister Eclipse?” Red asked me. I’m completely disturbed by the change of formality. Mister? Only Sweetie calls me that and her calling me that made my heart ache. Why was she even calling me that in the first place.

“Red, I told you NOT to call me Mister,” I told her. “And yes, I’m enjoying the view. Thank you for asking.”

“Well, I’m sorry for calling you that,” She grinned. “But you’re one of the lucky few to meet him! We’re just here to escort you, his orders. I mean, of course I had to call you ‘Mister’. Right now, to me, you are a very important pony that deserves a formal greeting.”

“Nngg...Just please don’t call me that,” I insisted.

“Eclipse, what’s wrong?” Fortis asked me, worried about my attitude to her.

“Nothing, nothing,” I quickly replied before returning to look at the barren land. I also looked at the walled city, I thought it would be big but it was really small. Quite disappointing really.

Anyways, the ride up was very slow. Most of the time was filled with conversations that were made by Red and Fortis. I could guess they were in a relationship and my guess was true when they...kissed. Bleh. I would never be able to understand that kind of feeling. I wondered how they’re still in love after 2 years. Maybe it’s fate? Destiny? True love? SOME WEIRD CHEMICAL REACTION IN THEIR BODIES?!

“Guys, can you please keep your...nngg...personal conversations in a much lower volume,” I yelled, feeling a little bit awkward. Red just said okay and they continued talking. I sighed and leaned on the railings, letting my thoughts wander. I wanted to see my friends again, I really do. Damn, I’ll do anything to get back to them, to get back to Raindrops...that poor little filly.

The elevator stopped with a jerk, nearly making me fall. I shakily took a step back from the edge and turned towards the door on the wall. I tapped the metallic floor of the elevator while waiting, making some sort of rhythm that sounded similar to what I have heard from a long time.

“Well, here we are,” Fortis tapped the metal door twice. “Hopefully, his assistant won’t mistake us as some outsiders. I mean, look at you Eclipse. PipBuck and an armored stable suit…”

“Yeah, are you a Stable Dweller?” Red asked me.

“No, but someone from a Stable gave me this…” I answered uneasily.

“Oh, by the way, he’s your hat,” He handed me a dusty fedora. “Your coat is back at the lab. I forgot to tell you that, sorry.”

“Eh, it’s fine,” I told him as I placed the hat on my head, tilting it a bit to imitate the way a certain pegasus wears his hat. “I’ll just get the coat next time.”

“Feeling fancy now are we, Mister Ec-”

“Please, just please don’t call me that!” I begged her.

Before anything else could happen, the door opened and behind the door was another mare. Mares everywhere, what’s up with that? I rarely saw any stallions so far. When I asked Fortis about that, he told me that most stallions will have to work as a part of the maintenance crew of the place. They’re usually underground. Others are on guard duty while some are free to choose their work. Mares, on the other hand, can choose what they want to do. Lucky mares, always having a better life than stallions. I better stop thinking about mares.

“Oh, you finally arrived,” She told Fortis. “Please, all of you come in and make yourselves comfortable.”

We entered the place and I can’t believe my eyes. The walls looked wonderful. The floors looked wonderful. Even the ceiling looked wonderful. It would be amazing to own this place!

“Wow! Look at this place. How do you feel, Eclipse?” Red asked me, giggling and walking around the place.

“Amazed, surprised...confused?” I really am. Who wants a Wasteland traveler in this lovely place? I looked for a mat to wipe my hooves. It’s best to show respect to whoever owns this place, he or she must be a clean freak.

“Velvet, maybe you could calm down a bit?” Fortis gently told her. “We do not want to anger him now, do we?”

“Fine, but you have to admit, this place is AWESOME!” She yelled out before going back to her calm and not-so-loud attitude. I was glad she stopped yelling, I feared that the mare would come back and throw us out of the place for being so damn noisy. Silly Red, you can’t act like that all the time.

I always get bored so easily. Sometimes, I would try to find entertainment in simple things, like an ant army walking across the wall. I didn’t even know ants still existed in this time so I stared at the group in awe. Suddenly, this stallion arrives. He wore dark sunglasses, an olive-green polo, and a white T-shirt. I didn’t know they still exist at this time. So I stared at him in awe.

“Look who we have here? Fortis, Velvet, and…” This unicorn stallion looked at me, I think. “Who’s this guy?”

“Uhm, sir, I think…” The mare looked at me and shook her head. “I don’t know sir.”

“You don’t know?” He smirked. “He, my dear assistant, is the mysterious stallion of the wasteland.”

“What…” I stared blankly at him.

“Well, you have the suit to prove it!” He grinned.

“I...you must have mistaken me with someone else. I just got this suit from a friend of mine,” I told him in a monotone voice. “And I’m not mysterious, just not well-known.”

“Eclipse, what are you talking about?” Fortis whispered to me.

“I don’t feel comfortable with how he just described me,” I whispered back to him. Mysterious stallion of the wasteland, pfft, what a joke.

“Really? Hmm, I need to get more reliable informers then…” He muttered. “Anyways, you’re the stallion that helped Fortis and a group of poor wastelanders into Lux, am I correct?”

“Uhm, I think so,” I replied. “All I did was just show them the way, nothing much.”

“Good enough for me,” He raised his sunglasses, his green eyes staring right at me. “So, follow me. I need to talk to you.”

Then to the two next to me, he smiled at them.

“And both of you, next time, make sure the door is lock.”

Both blushed and grinned sheepishly. I looked at them and then it struck me. I was ready to go with this white stallion and leave them both for a very very long time. Oh Fortis, I shouldn’t have judged you too quickly.

I noticed I had been doing a lot of walking of walking lately. I noticed I rarely get tired. I remembered what the doc told me. I continued to look forward as me, the stallion, and the mare walked towards a room. Both of them were talking about something, maybe about me. I can’t really tell since I’m more concentrated on not trying to look at-

“Hey, we’re here,” The unicorn opened a door before I bumped into it. “Don’t walk too fast, we’re not in a rush.”

“Yeah, you seem to be a bit occupied while we were walking,” The mare said. “What’s up?”

“It’s nothing,” I replied. I don’t need them knowing what’s happening in my life....yet.

“Huh, you really are the mysterious one,” She tilted her head.

“No, I just don’t feel comfortable talking about what I experienced to strangers,” I told her.

“Strangers? Hey, at least call me an acquaintance,” She said.

“Acquaintance? We don’t even know each other”

“Fine, let’s introduce ourselves to each other,”

“Wait, why do you even want to talk to me?”

“Why not? Is there a problem with a mare talking to a stallion?” She gave me a challenging look.

“Yes, especially if they are strangers,” I responded.

“Oh really now? Fine then, my name is-”

“Nope, sorry.”

“Hey! Why so rude?” She whined.

“Why are you trying so hard to befriend me?” I asked her. “And why so casual? I thought you were the formal one...”

“Because I rarely make my friends…”She mumbled, pawing the floor. Oh please, she’s trying to make me feel guilty. Time to switch tactics then.

“Really? I find that hard to believe,” I scoffed. She looked at me, insulted.

“What? Why?”

I gulped.

“A mare that is as...err..” I nearly choked holding back my laughter. Was I really going to do this? Nah, she’s going to kick me out for this. So I never completed my sentence.

“You’re mean,” She stuck out a tongue at me. I rolled my eyes and smiled.

“Hey! I got the radio working again and…” He yelled before walking towards us. “What are both of you still doing outside the door? Nevermind, just come inside. Geez, do I have to tell everyone what to do around here?”

“Not really,” I replied in a sarcastic tone.

“I’m starting to like you even more,” He chuckled before gesturing us to enter. We went in and my eyes went wide with surprise. The place was cleaner that the lobby(I think it’s the lobby) and there were working technology. Terminals, some blinking stuffs, what I think was a recording studio, and the radio, which seemed to be badly put together.

“So, The Mysterious Stallion, what do you think about my place?” He sits on a awesome looking chair which was placed near a microphone.

“Mysterious Stallion?” I shook my head. “Sir, you don’t have to call me that. I don’t think I deserve that title.”

“Why not? I think you’ve earned it,” He insisted. “That’s what the residents of 35 said to me anyways.”

“Sir, I’m just a traveller of the Wastes, nothing special there.”

“Are you sure you’re just a traveller? Don’t you help others on the way? Weren’t you the one that scared those cannibals to death?”

“What? No, I would never!” I feigned shock. Hmm, I don’t feel like my usual self today, especially with how my attitude to others had changed. Muffins, it must be because of the muffins.

“I can tell if someone is lying or not..” He turned to his assistant. “Would you be a dear and stare straight into his eyes? He doesn’t want to tell me the truth.”

“Wait...you’re not trying to make me feel uncomfortable, are you? Just to get me to say what you want, right?” I asked him. “‘Cause...if you want, I can make this a bit more interesting.”

“Have you been eating Velvet’s muffins?”


“Damn, I should ask her next time what she places on those muffins.”

“Whatever, now let’s get this eye-staring contest started!” I said eagerly.

“Hah! You won’t beat me, I’m the best when it comes to this kinds of games.” The mare said cockily.

“Oh, this will be damn interesting!” The stallion grabbed a bottle under his chair and popped the cap. “Let’s get this contest started!”

What a way to start this meeting, a staring contest. The mare seems to be pretty competitive though and a bit determined to beat me. I smirked and stared at her. She looked back at me intensely. The stallion was busy drinking, his green eyes still watching us. That’s when I had a strange feeling somewhere in my head.

I know you. You’re the one that tried to steal our food. You think you could get away that easily? Guess what, you can’t! Don’t you realize that you messed with the wrong group? A group that are known to track down anyone in anyplace at anytime? Just because you’re a unicorn doesn’t mean you’re much harder to track. You can teleport, make yourself invisible, or run away as many times as you want, we will always find you. Now, you have been a naughty girl for doing such naughty things...And you need to be punished…

“Stop! STOP!” She screamed, covering her face and shaking her head. “Stop whatever you’re doing, I can’t relive that memory!”

“What’s wrong?” The stallion rushed to her side, dropping his drink. “Amethyst, what’s wrong?”

“Make him stop doing whatever he's doing to my mind!” She continued


I blinked and looked away. What the hell did I just look at? A memory? Of whom,

her? What’s happening to me, did I really do that?

“What is he doing?” The stallion asked her again.

“I...I…” She calmed down and lowered her hooves. “I don’t know…”

“I-I’m sorry!” I apologized. “I don’t know what just happened but I’m sorry!”

“What did you do?!” The stallion asked me, a bit angry. I flinched. Amethyst held him back though, which was fine by me.

“Is...Is he a unicorn?” She asked.

“No, he’s not,” He looked at me, studying me. “He’s just an Earth pony.”

“That’s...no, that’s impossible,” She rubbed her eyes and looked at me. “How.. did you do that?”

“Do what?” I asked her.

“That thing you just did. A memory spell,” She tapped her horn.

“Wait, he did a spell? And something that involved memories?” The stallion looked genuinely shocked. “Whoa, that’s a whole new level of weirdness. Imagine that! News Flash: Earth pony does memory spell on unicorn! Man, that would be sweet!”

“What…” I was confused, again. Me? Casting a spell? That doesn’t make sense.

“Can we...Can we act like his never happened?” She glared at the stallion. “This is all your fault, Larynx.”

“Anyways! Let’s start with the introduction, shall we?” He immediately went back to his chair and grabbed his fallen drink, though there was barely anything left in the bottle. “My name is Larynx. Of course, you must have heard of me. I’m the damn DJ of this land! Unless, of course, you listen to the mare in Tenpony tower.”

“So you’re the one that’s been talking at the radio. It’s such an honor meeting you,” I said, offering him a fist(hoof?)bump. “I enjoy the way you talk.”

“Why thank you for the compliment,” He grinned. “But it is me who should be honored to be meeting you! Imagine, meeting one of the wasteland’s heroes. Now that’s something unexpected, another hero in this land.”

“I’m no hero, just another traveller,” I looked at his assistant. “And how about you? you going to introduce yourself?”

“Well, I tried before you stopped me, Mr. Hero,” She rolled her eyes. “So yeah, you lost your chance.”

“Whoa, you just met one of the heroes of the wastelands and you have a grudge against him already?” Larynx whistled. “That’s a whole new low for you, what’s the matter? Did it involve that memory-?”

“No! I mean, no. You know what? Fine, I’ll introduce myself if he does it first,” She pointed a hoof at me. “Now do it.”

“Fine,” I groaned. “Just call me Eclipse. Just Eclipse, nothing else. Just another normal traveller, nothing special there. You’re turn.”

“Fine then, Eclipse, if that is really your real name…”She mumbled the last part. “My name is Amethyst, or Amy if you want. I am the assistant of Larynx, I help him when it come to fixing stuff or if he wants to find information about something.”

“So, Eclipse, is that all you have to say about yourself?” Larynx leaned a bit closer. “Come one, tell me something interesting. I am the new reporter of this damned land and if something interesting comes along, I’ll seize it. So don’t leave me hanging!”

“Nothing really, there’s not much to tell about my life,” I told him.

“Hey, you seem to have at least lived a Stable life, no pun intended, nobody had a stable life in this town, so tell us a bit about that part of your life,’ He insisted.

“I told you, I only got this from a friend. I’m no Stable Dweller. I don’t even know what’s like to live in a Stable,” I shook my head. “same with the PipBUck if you plan on asking.”

“I doubt that’s a Stable PipBuck,” Amethyst said, looking at said object. “As far as what the studies say, that’s a different variation. A combination of at least 2 different PipBuck types.”

“There’s different kinds of PipBucks?” I asked her.

“Yes, though the Stable variation is the most well-known PipBuck in the Wasteland,” She replied. “So far, there is no success in finding any other lost variations of PipBucks. We presumed all of it had been destroyed by the bombs as the only PipBuck type that had been officially been released was, of course , the Stable one.”

“That’s a lot of information to process…” I tried to get everything she said into my mind. What an information dump.

“Yeah, she does seem to be what I call an ‘egghead’. She reads too much and tends to snoop into others’ private lives. But hey, anything for the news,” The DJ winked at her. “If you want to know something, you can trust her to have that information.”

We suddenly heard a ding and Larynx just smiled, widely. He placed the bottle down and put his sunglasses into place. He got up and went into another room, which could be where he does his thing, and flicked a switch. He closed the door to the room and tapped on a mic that was attached to the wall. A sign on one of the walls flickered to life and the words on it could be clearly seen.

On Air

“Well, seems we’ll be left alone for a while,” Amethyst just stared at the sign. “So far, everything in this place seems to be working fine. So most of my time is spent searching for anything useful that he could use to talk about. Seems today will be different.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Well, today, my luck decided to go downhill and so I can’t seem to find any useful information worth talking about.”

“Don’t you have anything to do besides that?”

She scratched her head and stared blankly at the wall for sometime.

“Uhm, no. I don’t really do anything else besides those, I just stay at my room for most of my boring day,” She finally replied.

“That sucks. So do you have anything to do? Anything?” I asked her again. She shook her head.

“As I said, my luck decided to go downhill. This will be a boring day…” She groaned. “I wish I can think of something to do with my spare time.”

“I don’t seem to be getting out of here any time soon,” I told her. “You know, because I have no idea where those two are.”

“Who? Fortis and Velvet?”

“Yup, and I don’t think I want to even find them at this point. After what Larynx said earlier on, I don’t think I’ll even plan on meeting with them again.”

We both laughed, well, she did most of the laughing anyways. I just waited for her stop. When she noticed me looking at her weirdly, she cleared her throat and played with her mane.

“So now that we got to know each other, are we considered friends now?” She asked shyly.

Just say yes, it’s just friends anyways.” I can’t believe she’s still trying to do that. “Why not?”

Her eyes lit up and she did a fist(Hoof?) pump. I slowly shook my head and waited for her to calm down.

“Why so excited?” I asked her. “We’re just friends, right?”

“Oh, uhm, sorry,” She smiled awkwardly. “It’s just that, I rarely make friends, remember?”

“Right, I still don’t believe that.”

“Why is that? I have plenty of reasons to tell you on why I don’t have that much friends. I stay indoors most of the time, I talk a lot, I’m an…’egghead’, I am awkward when it comes to very long conversations.”

“You don’t look awkward to me. Hell, you seem to be doing fine talking to me, a stranger just a few minutes ago. Are you sure you don’t have that much friends? Come on, tell me their names.”

“Uhm, there’s Larynx...and then there’s Fortis and Velvet...and maybe you.”

“Er, wow. That’s an awfully little amount of friends you have.”

“Yeah…Hey, maybe we can continue talking back at my room. Larynx usually wants me or anyone out of this room if he’s recording.”

“We’re just going to talk, right?”

“Yeah, what else are we going to do?”

“I don’t know...other stuff?”

“Oh you, we’re just going to talk, that’s all.”

She lightly punched me and smiled. I smiled back and shrugged. She got up and told me to follow her. We went out of the room and walked along the hallway to her room.

“Dang, this place is awesome,” I remarked as I enjoyed looking at the walls. “I wish that most places out there were this clean and decent-looking.”

“Yeah, me too,” She nodded. “Maybe I should start cleaning the wasteland next, I’m the one that’s taking care of this place after all. Maybe it will look as good as this place.”

“I doubt it, the Wasteland can never get cleaned.”


“Because...there will always be dirt no matter how clean the place is. It’s just life...there will be no such thing as perfectly cleaned.”

“I never said I’ll clean the Wasteland perfectly.”

“And you failed to get my point. So to spare your innocence, I’ll talk about something else.”

She looked at me, confused.

“What are you even talking about?”

“So, how much more more do we have to walk before we get to your room?”

“We’re nearly there-hey, did you just try to change the topic?”

“Hey, is that your room over there?”

I pointed to a door not far away. So far, it was the only door around and I could barely make out the name that was place on it. Some of the letters were scratched, I’m not sure if it was on purpose or time did the work.

Am y

“Yeah, that’s my room.” She answered. “The door isn’t much but it’s just a door anyways.”

“But you could at least make it a bit more...better looking?” I suggested. “Maybe like fixing the name on it.”

“Oh, that name has been there for a long time,” She told me. “I would fix it but...I’m afraid I might break it. The last time I tried cleaning it, some of the letters fell down. I still have the letters pinned up on my wall.”

“Cool, I wonder what else is in your room.” We reached the door.

“Then let’s not wait any longer,” She gently opened the door. I peered inside and was impressed at the state of the room. There was a nice-looking bed, a very organized table, a clean mini-fridge(wow!), a painted wardrobe, some chairs and a table, and the rest of the missing letters on the wall that spelled out thest.

“So, what do you think?” She asked me, waiting for a compliment.

“It’s impressive,” I let out a whistle. “You think you can clean up the mess I’m going to do here?”

“Hey, that’s not nice. This took me a long time to clean up the room,” She whined. “When I first got the room, it was such a mess. The paint was peeling off the wall, the floor was littered with rat bones, the ceiling was falling apart, and worst of all, there was no bed. I had to sleep at the floor for at least a month.”

“That one month sounds so rough, who’s idea was it to give you the room in the

first place?” I asked her.

“Larynx, but it wasn’t his fault. I used to sleep in another room until the floor

collapsed. This room was the last one available so he was forced to give it to me,” She replied.”

“Hmm, interesting story,” I eyed the bed, a mischievous idea crawling into my head. “Now I really want to feel how it is to sleep in a bed.”

“Never slept on a bed before?”

“Only once, I think.”

“Then knock yourself out, but please don’t break it. You seem pretty heavy…” She looked at my metal shoes and the back braces. “Especially with...those on you. Can’t you take it off?”

“I don’t think so. Maybe, maybe not,” I replied. “I would try removing it but…”


“I don’t think I want to remove it,” I finished my sentence.

“Well, what a really dumb excuse,” She shook her head. “Yeah, if you plan on sleeping on my bed, I won’t let you.”

“Aww, but can I just lie down on it? I need to let my back feel what it’s like to rest on one, it’s been so long since I’ve seen one, and I’m dying to try something else other than lying on the hard floor for once. Even if I tried those medical beds, they’re not as comfy as they look like.”

“Hmm...I’ll think about it. Go seat on one of the chairs while I decide,” She pointed at chairs and table on one of the corners of the room. “Now, go on, take a seat and we can talk.”

I stared at her in annoyance and followed her. That idea could wait, the bed will always be there anyways. I sat and she took a sit in front of me.

“So, what do you want to talk about?” She questioned me.

“I don’t know, what do you want to talk about?” I asked her back.

“Uhm, I don’t know…” She began thinking. “How about...your life?”


“How you got your name?”

“Nope, not that too.”

“How you got here?”

“Why does it have to be all about me?”

“Fine, let’s talk about me…” She cleared her throat. “Now prepare yourself for a lengthy story.”

“Whoa, ok, I’ll talk,” I quickly spoke up. “My life, I don’t really know much about. I just woke up to this world, I guess. I’m not even sure how old I am. So yeah, I woke up, wandered around the place, and bam! Here I am. How I got my name...I just read it at a terminal. I’m not even sure if Eclipse is even my name.”

“Ooh, interesting. You say you just woke up to this world? What do you mean by that?” She asked me, leaning a bit closer.

“Well, like what I said, I just woke up. I woke up in a dark place that is built underground with no memory of who am I or how I got there.”

“So you’re saying you’ve been asleep in an underground facility and just woke up,” She slowly nodded. “I find that hard to believe.”

“I can’t believe myself either so...yeah, that’s my story so far. Unless I can get a bit more information about myself, then I could define my past,” Then I mentally facepalmed myself, I promised myself I would not use that story. Have I already forgotten? “No, I’m just kidding. That was a joke.”

She arched her eyebrow, tilting her head a bit.

“So, are you really going to tell me your story or not?”

“Okay, here it is,” I took a deep breath. Two stories, two pasts, two stallions. I only get to choose one path. One is used as a cover for me, the other will be my real identity.

My decision...can be disastrous.

“Stable 5, I’m from Stable 5. Decided to leave because, uhm, something broke, killing most of the inhabitants.” Ah shit, I contradicted myself. I forgot I told her I never went to a Stable. I just hoped she forgot about that.

“What broke? The water talisman?” She's buying it, I think.

“Yeah! That one. It broke, I’m forced to get out of the Stable, and now I’m here!”

“Are you sure? ‘Cause that’s not what I heard what happened to Stable 5.”

“Oh, uhm, what did you hear?”

“Wait, let me try to remember…” She rubbed her temples. “Ah, not much really. All I heard was it was abandoned.”

“Exactly, because of the water talisman…” There was something wrong with my story. Of course there was, I made it up. But then...I remembered reading something in the Overseer’s terminal when I was there.

Entry Log #76

Damnit, those sick bastards. They’ve doomed us all with their stupid experiments! I knew something was off when I first stepped in this place. Why have I been so blind? Why did I immediately agree to their terms without realizing the dire consequences that could happen?! Because of my naiveness, I have allowed them to manipulate me into doing this...monstrosity! And for the sake of science? Bullshit! This isn’t science, this is a sadistic project.

I should write down how it happened. How the population of this Stable

gradually descended into madness. It first started with a problem on the water talisman. I had someone to get it fixed and I thought he did. There was no more warning alerts about it, no “Water Talisman Malfunction” filling up my terminal screen, nothing. Everything was fine for the next couple of days.

One day, one of the security ponies went to me and reported the death of that poor fellow. Bless his soul, that poor bastard. Anyways, after that event, the talisman malfunctioned once again. Since there was nobody else to replace him yet, I decided to do it myself. I’m an engineer, mind you, so I knew what I was doing. What caught me off-guard though was when I went there. There was no water talisman. Instead, there was this “chip”, taking control of our water purifier. At first, it didn’t do anything else other than purifying water. It was just like a water talisman, except a bit more technologically advanced. So I thought, “Hey, we must be lucky to have this advanced chip in our Stable! Maybe it’s better than a water talisman”. I did a quick check on it and left the place, not realizing it’s menacing purpose.

I’ll continue writing next time. I need to help this place. It was my fault that this happened.

“Uhm, Eclipse? You there?” Amethyst waved a hoof in front of my face. I blinked, realizing where I was.

“Yeah, I’m here,” I answered her. “So, what now?”

“Ooh, I’ve got an idea! You’re being vague about your past and I think I need a bit more information,” She lit up her horn. “And this is a payback for using that spell.”

“I don’t like the sound of this…” I gulped and leaned a bit farther from her. “You're not going to do that on me, are you? Trust me, I’m just an Earth pony with no magical abilities. I can’t do that! It must be someone else that did it.”

“Who else then? Larynx? I don’t think he even knows how to do it. This kinds of spells are hard to learn, it took me a few years to perfect it,” She leaned closer, a mischievous smile plastered on her face. “So keep still, friends trusts each other when it comes to these kinds of stuffs, right?”

“I’m sure this is considered an invasion of privacy,” I continued to lean back until I reached a point where if I leaned back even further, I’ll fall of the chair.

“Hey, an eye for an eye, right? You saw my memories and now I’ll see yours,” Before I could object, she already touched my forehead with her horn.

“Seems you have nowhere to run now!” The thug smirked. I was in an alley and I was cornered by him and his group.

“What do you want from me?!” My voice shook, I was terrified.

“We want you dead! We want you to be just a rotting corpse floating somewhere in the river,” The thug growled, carrying his blade. They came closer to me, surrounding me. I had no way to escape.

“What did I even do to you?!” I tried thinking of a way to at least survive this encounter.

“What did you do to us? You got one our best members jailed!” He swiped the blade at me. I barely dodged it, the blade cutting off a bit of fur from my neck.

“He was trying to steal my money! He deserved it and-” I was interrupted by another swipe of the blade. This time, I wasn’t so lucky. I felt blood trickle down from the wound on my cheek.

“I’m tired of your talking, let’s just finish this,” He looked at his 2 accomplices. “Interrogator, make sure he doesn’t squirm. Watcher, keep an eye out for any wandering eyes.”

They both nodded. The one with a bandana wrapped around his horn wrapped me his magic, immobilizing me. The one with the sunglasses teleported to who knows where. The last one, the one who just cut me, walked closer to me.

“Now, let’s make your death slow and agonizing,” He slowly cut my leg. I bit my lips and whimpered. He just grinned and continued to torture me.

“Leave my son alone!” A stallion came out of nowhere and punched the thug in the face. I recognized him as my Dad.

“What the hell old man?” The thug quickly got back up. “This isn’t your business to deal with. And where the hell is Watcher, he’s supposed to be watching for stray eyes.”

“I dealt with that friend of yours,” Dad punched him again and again and again. I have never seen him so...brutal. The one that’s keeping me wrapped in magic didn’t know what to do, he just stood there watching him pound his friend into a pulp.

After what felt like forever, he stopped and glared at the bandana unicorn. The unicorn screamed and dropped me then ran away for his own safety. Dad quickly went to my side and checked my wounds.

“Son, are you alright?” he worriedly asked me.

“N-No, I’m not alright! I-I got threatened and I got cut and I nearly lost my life to them...and...and...” I was crying, crying because I thought I would never see another day again. He gently hugged me, comforting me that everything is okay.

Everything will be okay…

I stared deep into the lavender eyes of Amethyst, waiting for her to back away from me. She blinked and realized she was a bit too close to me, like, someone could get the wrong message if they see us.

“So, what did you think about that memory?” I asked her.

“I...I don’t know…” She replied. “That must have been a traumatic experience for you, huh?”

“I guess, but did you notice anything wrong with the memory?”

“Like what?”

“The sky, Amethyst, can you remember the color of the sky in my memory?”

“Yeah, it was color...blue…”

“Yes, it’s blue. Lovely color, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is but, how is this related to your memory?”

“Amethyst...the sky isn’t blue now. It’s covered by clouds. Thick, gray ones. Also, if you noticed...the ones that attacked me aren’t raiders.”

“What are you talking about…?”

“This memory you saw...was a very long time ago…”

She looked at me, confused maybe. She slowly backed away from me and sat down properly.

“How long ago?” She asked me.

“I don’t know, before the war probably,” I answered. “I know that doesn’t make sense but that memory was really 200 years ago.”

“Are you serious? You should be dead by now then, no offense.”

“None taken. Yes, I’m serious...but I’m not sure how it’s possible…” I sighed. “Oh Celestia, I don’t know anymore.”

“Oh...oh…” She glanced at the floor then at the table.

“I still have to tell you something,” I told her. Her ears perked up.

“What is it this time?” She asked me.

“I miss them...my...family. They seemed nice, kind even. I wish I could see them again but, I know I can’t,” I felt a stinging sensation in my eyes.

“I’m..sorry,” She looked at me. “I know the feeling...to lose your family. The feeling that you’re all alone, that without them...you feel so vulnerable, so lost…”

“You lost your family?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to talk about it…”

“Ok...at least you can remember them. You grew up with them. Me? I...don’t even remember their names. All I have is vague memories from the past. To me, the lose of my family...it’s nothing.”

I sighed once more and silence settled in. We don’t know what to talk about now, seeing as how a normal conversation suddenly took a dark turn. Eventually, she’s the one to break the silence.

“Hey, one of the doctors at the clinic told me you had somewhere to go. Something about finding your...friends?” She waited for a reply. I took a deep breath and nodded.

“Yeah...But I can’t leave this place for now,” I told her. “I really need to find them, they really mean so much to me. They were the ones that helped me survive this Wasteland.”

“Oh, right. He also told me that while you were asleep, you were mumbling the name of a...filly, I think. What’s the name? Raindrops?” She asked me. I was on the verge of tears.

“Raindrops...Oh Celestia…” I covered my face so she wouldn’t see me crying. “I...I was supposed to take care of her ever since her father died. He made me promise that. Shit, I failed him. And you know what’s the worst thing so far?”

“W-What?” She asked, a bit worried.

“She calls me ‘daddy’, of all the names she could call me, it had to be daddy,” I slammed my head on the table. “It hurts...It fucking hurts. I’m supposed to protect her but I failed...The last time I saw her with my friends was at Stable 5. We were trying to escape from something. They got out but something trapped me inside. The next thing I know, they got ambushed by a bunch of raiders and the Stable door closed.”

“A-Are you crying?”

“No! No, I’m not!”

Suddenly, I felt someone rub my back. I flinched at the contact but didn’t turn to look.

“Shh...It’s okay,” Amethyst comforted me. “You’ll find them, I know you will. If you care for them this much, then I know you’ll meet them again.”

I continued sobbing. She continued rubbing my back in a comforting and calming manner. That really helped me stop my tears but I was still feeling guilty. I should have tried breaking that wall. The guilt was killing me.

“You feel okay now?” She asked me again.

“Yeah...I guess,” I replied. I sighed and decided just to enjoy the back rubs. I wiped any tears left off my face and rested my head on the table. She stopped and instead, wrapped her forelegs around me in a warm embrace.

“Does this make you feel better?” She whispered.

“Amethyst, a bit too close and maybe too much contact…” I tried speaking.

“Oh, don’t worry. I do this all the time. If one needs a hug, they get a hug,” She smiled. I tried to reply but nothing came out of my mouth. My body stopped working as she continued to hug me. A mare hugging a stallion, huh...I never would have thought it was real. It was a nice feeling too so I decided to relax and closed my eyes.

Everything will be okay...

Chapter 14

View Online

I woke up, memories from last night just a blur. Hell, I don’t even remember sleeping. I must have passed out. Still drowsy, I closed my eyes and just tried going back to sleep. I tried to moved a bit to make myself comfortable, though something was limiting my movements. I opened one eye and looked down, noticing 2 familiar-looking legs still wrapped around me. My eye widened as I realized who was probably still hugging me.

What the hell?

I tried getting out of her grip but the way she was holding me made things a bit complicated. In the other hand, I kinda enjoyed it. It felt like I was being hugged by a fluffy pillow. I loved it. I decided to just enjoy the moment. And so once more, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

I could get used to this, as long as I don’t feel or be awkward or anything.

I was getting a bit too comfortable in my situation. It took me some time before I realized there was a weird tingling at my ear. It started as ticklish feeling. I was now a bit uncomfortable.

Is she nibbling my ear!?

“Uhm, A-Amethyst?” I slightly shook her leg.

“Mmmm?” Was her reply. She sounded happy.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” I asked her. She tightened her grip on me.

“Mmmhmm…” She continued to nibble my ear. Good gracious, my face was redder than a tomato or a laser beam.

Damnit, she’s probably asleep! Explains why she’s doing this...weird act. She’s unconsciously nibbling my ear. But...I wonder why...

“Please wake up,” I shook her leg again, harder this time. “Open your eyes! This is getting too weird…”

Finally, she stopped nibbling. I waited for her to loosen her grip on me but instead, I got a terrified shriek. The next thing I know, I’m on the floor, head aching.

“W-What the hell are you doing on my bed!?” She yelled. I turned around so I’m lying on my back and looked at her. She was covering most of herself with her blanket.

“I don’t know!” I rubbed the aching spot on my head. “All I know is I was at the table, sleeping maybe.”

She looked at me then at the bed then back at me, her eyes wide with confusion. A lot of ideas must have crossed her mind, none of them is good I think.

“Did we...Did we…” She took a shaky breath. “Did we do anything last night? Anything...er...weird?”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I shook my head. “I’m sure we didn’t do anything crazy last night. I mean, friends don’t do anything weird together, right? And we’re still friends, right?”

“Y-Yeah, you’re right...We’re still friends, don’t worry,” She sighed. “I guess I overreacted a bit. So, now-”

The door flew open and in the doorway stood the DJ unicorn. He looked at us with a weird expression on his face (And he didn’t have his sunglasses on too so we can see how wide his eyes got).

“What’s happening here? I heard someone screaming and…” His eyes slowly looked at me then at Amethyst then finally rested on the bed. “Oh my…”

“Larynx! It’s not what you think!” She vigorously shook her head. He bit his hoof in an effort to...stop laughing.

“Oh my Celestia, that got a bit off the hoof, eh?” He eyed me. “And so that’s where you went. Fortis was looking for you. I thought you left this place but turns out, you snuck in here and did Goddess knows what.”

“Shut up, you!” Amethyst threw a pillow at him. “We didn’t do anything crazy last night, just slept together...that’s all.”

“Yeah, and you were nibbling my ear,” I scratched my ear, relieving myself from the itchiness that formed.

“You are NOT helping us,” She hissed at me.

“What? That just slipped out of my mouth so sorry,” I continued scratching. Geez, I’ll never let anyone bite my ear again.

“Nibbling his ear?” He was definitely laughing now. “Amethyst, I didn’t know you were into those kinds of things!”

“Nnngg…”She groaned and covered herself with her blanket. “Get out of my room…”

“No need to be embarrassed, this happens all the time!” He smirked. “Remember that time when we found For-”

Amethyst slammed the door close with magic. I heard a painful groan from the other side. He should’ve seen that coming.

“Uhm…” I was still lying down on the floor, a bit scared to move. “So, now what? You gonna kick me out?”

“I was suppose to but maybe not,” She uncovered herself. “Still feel awkward? You can leave if you want.”

“I think I’m a bit stuck here,” I lied. “So I’ll be lying in this cold floor for some time, I guess.”

“You really want to get on this bed, huh?”

“Uhm, maybe?”

With an annoyed sigh, she wrapped me with her magic and floated me above the bed...before dropping me on top of it. The bed squeaked loudly under my weight.

“Happy?” She arched an eyebrow at me.

“You didn’t have to do that, you know?” I told her. “Especially putting me on a bed, that was unnecessary.”

“You kept on mumbling about beds when you slept,” She smiled at me. “I remembered what happened last night. You fell asleep. I was going to leave you to sleep at the table but you kept on saying something about soft beds and stuff. ”

“I was? Wow…” I felt a bit ashamed of myself. “So you let me sleep on your bed out of pity…”

“Sorta, I just got a bit annoyed at your constant murmurs. How could I sleep with you talking? So I decided to give in to your desire and, you know the rest.”

“And that’s the story about how I managed to sleep on your bed...with you,” I chuckled. “Still...hugging me? Uhm...in bed too, kinda strange, ya know? Especially you nibbling my ear?”

“I-I can explain!!” Her face turned bright red. “I was having a dream, yeah, and it started like that.”

“You and your dreams, I wonder what’s next. One day of being friends and look what we got into. This is why I prefer not having friends,” I slowly shook my head. “So, shall we get out of this room and before anything else happens?”

“Sure, and let’s get out before Larynx returns with a bucket of cold water.”

I was sitting on a chair at the lobby, just waiting for Fortis to come. He was supposed to lead me back to the clinic today for some reason. I thought I was feeling fine, maybe it was something else, like my things that I left there.

And the situation that happened earlier morning? Me and Amethyst agreed to never speak of it again.

“Eclipse! There you are.”

I looked up from my PipBuck and spotted him. He wore a mocking expression on his face.

“Howdy, what took you so long?” I asked him as I stood up and walked towards him.

“Got caught up with the Council,” He answered. “How about you? How was your night here?”

“Fine, cozy, relaxing, are there any other words to describe my stay here?” I told him. “And before you ask if I’m hungry, I already ate.”

“Oh, what a bummer…” He clicked his tongue. “Velvet learned how to bake a cake, thought you might want some. It doesn’t have some of the ingredients you’d find in a pre-war cake but it’s something.”

“Hmm, cake you say? I’ll check next time,” I tried my best not to say it with sarcasm “What a lie. Cake? Pfft, don't make me laugh, you just want me to taste the muffins again!”

“Anyways, how are you and Amethyst?” He nudged me. “I heard what happened early morning.”

“We’re just fine, thank you very much,” I let out a sigh of annoyance. I’m going to knock him out. “Shall we leave this place already? You said I have to go to the clinic, remember?”

“Right, right. Let’s hurry ‘cause this is going to blow your mind.”

We arrived at the clinic in record time. I’d say it’s a nearly impossible feat, running all the way from the tower to the medical facility in just under a minute.

“I hope...this is discovery...is ACTUALLY worth the running!” I leaned on a wall, catching my breath.

“Oh, it is worth all the running, trust me,” He told me. “Now let’s hope my sister arrives soon, only she has the power to let us in the inner lab.”

“Inner lab?” I asked him.

“It’s a facility that is built underground,” He replied. “Reason? To keep secrets like this one away from the public.”

“Wait, so what you’re going to show me is a secret?”

“Basically, yeah. According to her, if any of the information they got leaks out to the public, someone could use the data for malevolent reasons.”

“Is it even possible?”

“In a land where raiders have technologically advanced things, mercenaries are more cunning than the ones on the Capital, slavers are even more brutal with their prey, and where chaos is everywhere...yeah, it’s very possible.”

“That’s...just so depressing,” I murmured. Man, just as I thought the Wasteland, or Land 35, could not get any darker, this possibility arrives.

“There you guys are,” I heard a voice greet us. I looked at where the voice came from and spotted Selena not so far away. “I thought both of you already went inside the clinic.”

“They didn’t let us through, the one guarding the entrance told us we’re not allowed to go in due to some problems,” Fortis told her. “Good thing you came for us, we would have been standing here for a long time if you didn’t realize that we’re outside. You tend to be forgetful sometimes.”

“Ugh, don’t tell me they didn’t let you in because of a water leak,” She placed her hoof on her face and shook her head in annoyance.

“Anyways, let’s just go in now,” Fortis looked at me. “It’s time he knows what’s been happening to him.”

“Sure, follow me,” She turned around and lead us into the clinic. She glared at the guard as we passed by him, making him gulp and look away. We walked towards the end of another hallway (so much damn hallways) and hit what seemed to be a dead-end.

“So, uhm...what are we doing here?” I whispered to Fortis.

“Patience, friend, you’d be surprise with the amount secrets this town has,” He whispered back to me. Just as he said that, Selena tapped on the wall three times. A small panel opened up nearby and she walked towards it and stared at it, a laser scanning her eye. Once that’s done, most of the wall opened up and it revealed an elevator.


We stepped into it and the walls closed once more, leaving us in darkness. For a moment, the lights flickered on and the room(lift?) descended. After a while, Selena looked at me with a concerned expression.

“Are you feeling fine?” She asked me with a worried tone.

“Yes, I think,” I told her. “Is there a problem involving me, Miss?”

“No, no, none so far,” She gave a nervous chuckle and then mumbled something under her breath.

I shrugged and and waited for the lift to stop moving. It was taking a while so I decided to tunelessly hum to pass time. I noticed Selena was getting a bit fidgety while Fortis was looking as nervous as she is.

Suddenly, the lift stopped with a jerk, making the lights flicker once more and turn
off, leaving us in darkness. I was getting a bit sweaty, a little scared of the dark. Eventually, the wall in front of us opened, blinding me. Curse those bright lights.

“Gah! Where are the lights coming from!?” I rubbed my eyes, trying to ease the pain (in hindsight, that was a horrible idea).

“Woops, I guess we need to lower the brightness here,” I heard Fortis say. “Miss, you need to do that.”

“That’s weird...I thought the most of the lights were knocked out because of a power surge,” Selena said. “They must be quick in restoring electricity this time, it usually takes days to fix this problem. Anyways, let’s go. Follow me”

As we followed her, we passed by a lot of busy ponies wearing lab coats. Most stared at me with fear or awe. I found their reaction disturbing, what did I do? I ignored them, thinking that maybe it was the weird tech on me. One of them stopped Selena and asked her what I was doing here. She whispered something to him and he nodded, his eyes looking at me with curiosity and suspicion. I felt a shiver down my spine as I walked past him.

“I don’t like the look they’re giving me…” I complained o Fortis, eyeing one of the many researchers of the place.

“That’s natural, it’s not all the time a random stranger gets access to the lab,” he told me. “But don’t worry, once they’re used with seeing you, they’ll stop giving you those looks.”

“I hope that time arrives sooner, their stares are giving me goosebumps…” I lowered my head, trying not to make eye-contact with them. Fortis chuckled.

As we walked further into the lab, the amount of labcoat-wearing ponies lessened, and so did the feeling of anxiety within me. We finally stopped in front of two big doors. A sign above it read out “Research area #100011”.

“Here we are...The area where we conduct experiments which involves...living beings,” Selena sighed. “I hate this part of the lab…”

“I don’t like the sound of this,” I stared at the doors, a feeling of dread starting to form in my gut.

“Let’s just go in and get it over with...I don’t want you to get more involved with this experiment,” She opened the door and we stepped in. Inside were a few stallions and mares wearing a black lab coat, like that makes any difference. They all stopped what they were doing and stared at us. Selena waved a hoof and one of them approached her. I recognized the pony as the doctor I saw when I woke up.

“I’m glad to see that my patient looks fine and well,” He said as he handed her a folder. “I was starting to worry that he’ll be in a fatal situation after I found out what’s wrong with him.”

“What is wrong with me?” I asked him, sounding a bit desperate. “I really want to know, doc.”

“I guess I’ll tell you now, there’s no point in keeping it a secret from you anyways,” He cleared his throat. “When you were still unconscious, I decided to do some tests on you when I heard about what you did outside the town. Turns out...you’re not pure Earth. The results of my tests showed that you are 1/2 Earth, 1/4 Unicorn, and ¼ Pegasus. At first, I thought something was wrong with my tests so I repeated it. Turns out, you really are a special stallion.”

“What…” I let the words trail out of my mouth as I stared at him dumbly. All the time, information dumping always leave me speechless. He sighed.

“Let me make this more simpler for you to understand,” He said the next words slowly. “You are a special pony, understand? You are a mixture of the three pony races: Earth, Unicorn, and Pegasus. Your Earth side is more dominant that the other two that’s why you are an Earth stallion.”

“So...I’m an Earth Stallion...and?” I waited for him to continue.

“While your Earth side may be more dominant, if that’s the right word to use, your Unicron side has a bit of influence on you. You can use magic, though it is limited. I don’t know about your Pegasus side. In theory, you should have nubs on where the wings would be in your body but I guess that isn’t the case so I think it’s a dormant characteristic or something like that,” He continued, words coming out from his mouth .

“That’s it?” I asked him. “Well...I guess that’s new to me…”

“But what I don’t understand is how you became like that,” He started pacing around the room. “This case is impossible! You’re impossible! This defies everything known to science and nature. I’m not sure if you’re born this way or something else. Experimented maybe? No, that’s impossible! There is no way to do that kind of experiment at this time...unless...radiation? Taint? I’m not so sure.”

As he continued to ramble about how I’m not supposed to exist, I was still trying to understand what the hell he told me. So basically, I’m an Earth who has the power to cast spells without needing a horn...and maybe fly without wings.

“OF COURSE! GREAT WICKERING STALLIONS, HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO BLIND!?” The doc yelled as ran towards me. Fortis and Selena took a step back from me, a bit scared at him.

“Quick, show me your PipBuck!” He ordered me. I complied and raised my leg, where the device is locked in. He gave it a quick glance and smacked his forehead.

“W-What is it?” Selena asked him.

“The Pipbuck...it’s the answer to this mystery!” He told her excitedly. “If only I can get the information from it...that’s all I need from it.”

“Just the PipBuck?” She tilted her head.

“Yes. Why? I have a hunch it’s those special ones,” He said. Then he looked at
me. “Ah, I forgot to tell you something, my mistake. This involves you-”

He was interrupted by a loud sound, followed by the room shaking strongly. Most of the ones in the room ducked under the table while me and the other 3 just stood still in fear. After a few seconds of intense shaking, it calmed down and finally stopped.

“What the hell was that?” Selena asked in surprise.

“I don’t know but it sounded like there was an explosion,” Fortis answered. Suddenly, an alarmed wailed. That’s when everyone in the room froze. I looked at Selena and her face was filled with horror. She also seemed close to crying.

“This can’t be happening...this can’t be happening,” She repeated those words over and over again. Fortis tried calming her down but I can feel he’s also worried.

“What’s happening?” I asked, completely oblivious.

“That alarm only sounds when the town is under attack…”Fortis answered shakily. “Eclipse, you need to help us defend this place…”

“Defend? I-I…” Memories of me against raiders crossed my mind. I realized that I was suddenly scared of them, no, that wasn’t it. I’m scared of something else. “I can’t! Oh sweet Celestia, I can’t...I don’t want to...I-”

“Eclipse, what are you saying? Lives are at risk here! If you don’t-”

“I don’t want to kill anyone! I...I can’t go through with it again…” I shook my head. “I may have killed back then...but...it wasn’t me that killed them. I know I couldn't bring myself to do it so...something else took over me and killed. I’m scared, Fortis...I might hurt someone…innocent...”

“Eclipse...please...if you don’t help...more lives would be lost…” Selena sobbed. “I understand how you feel about taking the life of someone...but this...this is the way of the Wasteland...kill or be killed….It’s harsh, I know, it’s how I lost my family. That damn rule…”

Another loud “boom” sounded and when I looked at Selena once more, she had tears streaming down her face. I looked at Fortis and his expression answered all questions in my mind. With a deep breath, I answered him,

“Fine, let’s go. But first, my revolver...” I told him grimly. The doctor, who I failed to realize was still beside me, handed me the said weapon.

“Here, I took it from you when you were first brought here,” He told me. “Your gun caught my eye so I decided to study it. A custom .500 magnum revolver, now that’s something. But since the ammo for it is too scarce and most that you’ll find are probably useless anyways, I managed to convert it into a .44.”

“Wow...thanks, I guess,” I studied the weapon, it does look a bit smaller than before. I turned to Fortis and nodded. “Let’s go...before I change my mind.”

“Give us all your valuables and resources and we’ll leave you alone. Object and we will destroy this pathetic town!” The raider leader demanded. I gulped as we stood in front of the gate.

“Can’t we work out a deal with them yet?” I asked Fortis as we continued to watch one of the leaders of Lux and the raider leader talk.

“It’s hard, if they want something, they’ll do anything to get it,” He told me. I bit my lower lip and hoped we won’t have to fight.

When I went to the entrance with Fortis, I noticed the large cracks on the walls nearby. I also saw that one of the guard towers(I think) near the gate collapsed. There were already casualties as there was a shootout between the two side before everyone calmed down enough to talk. It was nerve-racking.

When I first saw this group of raiders, I was sure it was they’re a part of Mortem. The amount of good stuff they have is terrifying. Decent-looking armor, decent-looking weapons, and a decent-looking boss. Makes me want to avoid a fight even more.

“Are you sure you only need a revolver?” Fortis pointed at said weapon. “I think you need a bit more firepower, like a battle saddle?”

“No thank you. The last time I used one, it was brutal,” I shivered. “I’m fine with the revolver.”

“Suit yourself-Oh no.”

The raider leader shot one of Lux’s leader, causing everyone on our side to gasp. All the guards aimed their weapons at the murderer, though they’re scared.

“Now, are you also going to defy me?” He asked us, grinning. The guards slowly lowered their weapons.

“We can’t surrender now,” I told Fortis when I saw him lowering his weapon too.

“I-I know but...we’re too weak for them,” He muttered. “I can’t believe we haven’t prepared for this situation.”

“Seriously? We’re going to defend this place, Fortis, so don’t you dare lower your weapon!” I told him angrily. “Remember, there will be some resistance from the civilians so there will always be casualties. Let’s keep the numbers low on our side and higher for them, understand?”

“R-Roger,” He raised his gun once more.

“Hey, look at those two,” The leader scoffed at us. “What can you do against an army, heroes?”

“Anything…” I replied, voice shaky.

“A tough guy, eh?” He cocked his gun. “Come on, I dare you to challenge me.”

Stop! Look and think.

I slowly shook my head and instead, looked at his men. I felt like there’s someone I need to meet, someone I need to see. Then I spotted him, that one stallion that I’ve only heard of. I quickly changed my mind and lowered my weapon. I don’t need another bloodshed.

“Stop, I think we can settle this peacefully, just hear me out,” I proposed.

“Haha! I like you, thinking smart and all,” He laughed. “Now, what is this agreement you have in mind?”

“I think it’s fair that we get to keep one of your men here...as a payment for the valuables and resources we’ll give you,” I told him. “Just one, that’s all I need. I get to pick who too.”

“Hmm, and if I let you choose, who would it be?” He asked me, intrigued.

“Him…” I pointed to the gray unicorn. He looked at me, scared. “What’s his name?”

“Peridot? You want him?” He laughed. “Hell yeah you can keep him, he’s useless to me anyways.”

The leader gestured the unicorn to come closer to him and whispered something. The unicorn looked at me and back at him and nodded.

“Okay, it’s a deal. You get this scrub in exchange for resources,” He said as he told the unicron to go to me.

“What are you going to do with him, Eclipse?” Fortis asked me, eyeing the gray unicorn.

“I have a feeling he’s the stallion one of my friends is looking for,” I answered him.” I hope I’m right.”

Fortis just nodded and lowered his weapon. At least there will be no fighting this time. The unicorn stopped in front of me, a bit shaky.

“What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Peridot...sir,” He answered.

“Cutie Mark?”

“Gears, sir.”


“I...I’m an inventor, sir.”


“...I...I have a sister...sir…”


“I...don’t know...sir…”

I just nodded and told Fortis to find a way to give the leader an appropriate amount of resources, an amount that he could deem it worth his time and efforts. I looked at the raider one more time and on his face was a wide smile. It’s like he was planning on something.

“Sir, why did you ask me these questions?” Peridot asked me. “Is it important for you to know?”

“Yes...really important,” I answered.

“Why, sir?” He looked at me like I can answer something in his mind. Probably something involving her sister.



The gunshot left my ears ringing and my head aching. I took a shaky breath and looked down, noticing the bullet that nearly struck me.

“Aww, what a lucky bastard,” I heard the leader softly laughing.

“Weapons up!” Fortis ordered, voice shaking. “Take aim and ready yourselves!”

I looked back up, body trembling. He was staring at me, the raider leader, eyes filled with sadistic glee.

“You think you can cut a deal with us?” He spat on the ground. “Ever heard the phrase ‘Never trust a raider.’? Especially a group like us, you wouldn’t make a possible deal with ‘em.”

I looked at Fortis and the guards. They looked back at me with concern, awaiting on what to do. I gave them them the same worried look. We’re caught unprepared.

“So, the heroes prove to be useless and the whole town gets killed,” The raider chuckled. “A perfect entry in my journal for today, don’t you think?”

“I don’t think so!” One of our guards yelled. “You think you’re so tough with all your equipments, huh? Well, you’re wrong!”

The raider smirked and looked at the guard with a glare.

“I’m tired with all this chit-chat!” He announced. “Kill them all. Spare nobody!”

All the raiders raised their weapons up and aimed at us. I struggled to do something to stop what would be a massacre. Instead, a scared whimper came out my mouth.

“Any las-”

The leader took a step back and looked at chest, eyes widened in surprise and fear. Blood is starting to pour out from the hole where the bullet hit. Finally, he dropped down dead.

I blinked and noticed my revolver floating near me, a dark aura surrounding it. I realized quickly what I had done and knowing that the raiders will shoot at us once they come to terms to what happened to their boss, I forced that dreadful word out of my mouth before anything else happens.


And fired our weapons, we did. Our enemies may outnumber us but they reacted poorly to the situation. With every bullet I fired and for every body it hit, I winced and hoped whoever I shot died a quick and painless death. The pistol continued to float near me, still being surrounded by the dark aura that now seems to be radiating fear. I don’t completely understand how the gun could be controlled by I guessed it’s controlled by my thinking.

Soon, the remaining raiders got their wits together and retaliated. We were still outnumbered and outpowered. Most of us quickly ran for cover when they shot back.

“Fortis, we need to get back!” I yelled out as I unloaded my gun on the most armored raider there was. I was aware that we couldn’t keep on fighting, we all were aware.

“I’m sorry, my friend, we can’t,” He managed to get beside me while avoiding some shots.

“What do you mean?”

“We’ve been locked out,” He answered grimly. “It’s a security protocol. In case of an attack, the town will send its security to face the threat outside while the others closes the gates. That’s why we built cover areas outside. Our best chance is to go to one of them.”

“What have we gotten into…” I mumbled. Quickly reloading, I looked for the nearest spot to seek cover from the gunfire. It was only the two of us that were out in the open now, the rest either dead or hiding.

The raiders have also ceased fire, taking their time to reload. I quickly seized the moment, pointing Fortis to where the nearest cover area was. We both ran towards it and luckily reached it before they started firing again.

“That was a close one,” Fortis managed to say.

“Now what?” I asked him, counting my bullets. The gun continued to hover next to me.

There was something nagging me in the back of my head, like I was forgetting something. I shook off the feeling and continued to think of a way to get out of this mess.

“The kid, have you seen him?”

I froze as he said that, feeling my heart beat strongly in my chest. Peridot, I forgot about Peridot!

Fortis saw the look on my face and understood. I began to worry about him. What if he’s injured? Dead? These thoughts raced through my mind. Then I heard a gunfire which was then followed by tense silence.

He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead.

Something in my mind compelled me to move out of cover. I didn’t hesitate but instead, hastened the movement. Fortis couldn’t get a word out from his mouth before I left him.

No, he’s not. He’s not. He’s not.

I stood out in the open, looking for the gray stallion. Bullets whizzed by me like an unseen force is preventing me from being hit but I did not trust its efficiency. I had to be quick. As I continued to run around the battlefield searching desperately for him, Fortis and the others managed to continue fighting.

“How could someone so gray be hard to find in an open area such as this?!” I thought to myself. Then luckily, I found him, crawled up into a ball in one of the cover areas. I quickly rushed to him before I lose him once more.

“I don’t want to die...no no no…,” I heard him whimper. I shook my head and nudged him.

“You won’t die, Peridot,” I calmly told him. “So keep yourself together.”

“H-how would you know?!” He shot back at me. “What if we both died in this hellhole because you had to shoot first?!”

“Peridot, we will survive!” I insisted. I sighed and lay down. “We will survive…”

He opened his mouth to say something but shook his head instead. He wiped his tears off his eyes and waited for me to say something.

“What do you know about my sister, sir?” He asked me, finally breaking the silence.

“Hard to say, all I know she’s one of the roughest mares I’ve ever met out here in this land of ours, heh..” I replied. “Hey, know how to shoot a gun?”

“I guess...I mean, I did shoot a pistol in a firing range. Why…” He looked at me, worried at my answer.

“Here, take my revolver,” I told him while handing it to him. “I’m too tired to continue fighting.”

“But I never shot anybody!” He said in shock, though he still got the revolver.

“All you have to do is aim and shoot. Do not hesitate to pull the trigger.”

“But why can’t you do it?”

I weakly smiled at him and showed him a spot on my chest where it’s still bleeding. His face paled and nodded.

“Look, I’m sorry that I have to make you do this...Even I don’t like killing,” I slowly told him. “But the Wasteland is a cruel place. Kill or be killed, that’s the rule.”

“Isn’t there some other way out of this?” He desperately asked.

“There is only one way I can think of,” I answered him. “Take my pistol and leave. Run while you still can. Basing on how the loud the gunfire is right now, you still have time to escape.”

“But that means leaving you!”

“I know but...I’ll be fine. “ I assured him. “Now make your choice…I’m kinda sleepy.”

I yawned and closed my eyes. A relaxing feeling suddenly washes over my body. I gave him one last tip before I fully rest.

“Just aim and shoot, easy as that…”

Chapter 15: The Dream

View Online

“A dream isn’t always imaginary. Sometimes, a dream
Is formed when a memory is manipulated by the mind,
Causing it to seem unbelievable but the memory is still there.”

“Mom, what would I do know? I’m lost...lost in this world. Without both of you...I just don’t know what I’ll do…”

I stared at my last remaining family portrait; A picture of me, Mom, and Dad. I sighed and placed it back on the top of the desk.

“I miss Dad too. He never came back...I don’t want to think that he’s dead but...It’s more likely he’s with you too. And the conflict between us and the zebras is just getting worser. I might have to follow Dad’s footsteps too if I needed to.”

I felt myself becoming more depressed. It’s been days now since I’ve met with anyone else and I’m not planning to anytime soon.

“But now, I’m just living in this cheap apartment, trying to support myself. Our old house had been demolished by some construction crew for Celestia knows what but at least they gave me a good amount of bits for it.”

I laid down on my bed and closed my eyes. Today was just like any other day, just trying to make ends meet with the bits I have left.

“Mom, Dad...wherever you both are right now, I just want you guys to know that...I love you both and I hope I’ll see you guys again very soon…”

I meant the last line very well. I was tired of what has happened to the world, tired of all the sufferings I had to endure, tired of the loneliness I experience everyday. If I’m ready, I know where my razors are placed.

“Maybe...Maybe I should try one more time...Even just to see them one last time…”

It’s been a long time since I talked with a any of the six mares: Dash, Pinkie, Rarity, AJ, Twilight, and Fluttershy. I know that they now have important jobs but it seems their friendship is being damaged by the stress of everything that’s happening. It’s kinda sad to see their once lovely talks turn to a heated debate. That’s why I stopped seeing them.

I suddenly heard a shout and a few screams on the lower floor. It got my attention so I strained my ears to hear what’s going on. There were a few more shouts and then a bang that left me frozen in place. There were suddenly footsteps going up the stairs and I started panicking.

“Everyone get out of your rooms!” Someone outside ordered. I quickly got up and debated with myself if I should get out or not.

“Last warning! Get out now or else!”

Forcing my body to move, I opened the door and reluctantly walked out. I saw my next-door neighbor coming out as well, a kind mare who apparently has a little filly in her care. She gave me a worried look and I gave her a forced smile. We both turned to look at the one who ordered us and my blood ran cold when I saw who it was. It was a zebra, a dangerously armed zebra.

“Where are the others? I still see closed doors!” He demanded.

“We’re the only ones in this floor. The rest of the rooms here are empty.” The mare answered him calmly. The zebra looked at me.

“Is she telling the truth!?” He asked.

“Y-Yes.” I stammered out.

“If both of you are lying, I’m going to kill everyone in this floor without hesitation,” He threatened before going to the other doors, kicking them open to see if it’s empty or not.

While he was inside one of the rooms, I turned to talk to the mare in front of me.

“Are you sure it’s just the two of us?” I worriedly asked her.

“I’m not sure, I don’t see too many ponies in this floor,” She replied. “Hopefully we’re the only ones in this floor. I don’t want my little filly to be a part of this.”

I looked at her foal who was cowering behind her. I hoped that both will survive this zebra encounter.

“It seems both of you are indeed telling the truth,” The zebra appeared once more. “Which is disappointing. I expected more than two ponies in this damn floor. I knew I shouldn’t have killed the one downstairs.”

I gulped and tried to keep myself from shaking. He continued to look at us, as if he was studying us. His eyes then rested on the mare. By the looks she’s giving her, I know what he’s intention were...and she knows as well.

This must be the most fucked up situation I got myself into. A zebra who possibly killed our landlord who lived in the first floor and now...

“Maybe it’s a good thing too that there’s only two of you here…” He hungrily licked his lips while staring at her. “It won’t be hard to...Mmm, yeah.”

She quickly looked away, tears in her eyes. My mind was rushing to think of a way out for both of us.

“You know, I never tasted pony before...heheh,” The zebra took a step closer to her. “Well, there’s always a first time for everything.”

“Y-You don’t want to do that,” I quickly stammered out. He arched an eyebrow at me.

“And why is that, my friend?” He asked. He then placed his hoof under her chin and gently turned her head to face me. “You think you can protect her from me?”

“Maybe...Maybe not,” I gulped. “B-But still, keep your hooves away from her.”

“Oh, now you’re threatening me?” He chuckled and leaned closer to her. “My, my...Darling, it seems this stallion wants to save you.”

I looked at her, her eyes begging to be free from this madness. I took a deep breath and made a decision. Today wouldn’t be the day I see my parents.

The look the zebra gave me when I tackled him was filled with surprise and anger. I looked at the mare and the little filly while his still pinned down.


The mare quickly grabbed her filly and ran straight for the stairs. While I was looking at them go, the zebra took his chance and kicked me off him. I landed on my back with a thud and groaned in pain. Meanwhile, he got back up and aimed his pistol at me, ready to shoot.

“You fucked up big time, hero,” He growled. “You have no idea what great demise you brought upon that mare of yours. Too bad you’re not going to live to save her this time.”

He fired but I managed to roll out of the way quick enough, the bullet whizzing past my mane. Grabbing the chair nearby, I quickly threw it at him. The chair hit him square on the face, knocking him out. With the zebra’s menacing words still lingering in my mind, I quickly got up and grabbed the weapon.

“Let me go!” I heard her scream downstairs. With my body filled with adrenaline and my mind set to saving her and the foal, I quickly headed for the first floor.

2 stallions were blocking her from the exit. I couldn’t believe, these two ponies actually teamed up with a zebra. Blinded with rage, I shot one of them in the leg.

“What the?!” The other one looked at me. “Who’s this squirt?!”

“Shit man, we don’t have time for any of this!” The one I shot said. “Let’s blow this place already before the cops gets here!”

Fire, fire everywhere. The thick smoke is making seeing and breathing harder to do. I crouched and started to navigate my way out of the burning apartment.

“Help! Anyone please help me!” I heard a cry nearby. Straining to hear, I managed to to find out who was pleading for help. It was a mare and she seemed weak. She looked at me and her face filled up with hope.

“Please, take my filly. Get her out of this mess,” She pleaded as she slowly shows me the young pony between her forelegs.

“What about you?” I asked her. “I can’t leave you here.”

“It’s too late for me...now…” She proceeded to show me her wounds. I gasped and shook my head.

“We-We can find a way out of this mess, I mean-”

“My magic can’t stop the flames from reaching us forever…” She interrupted weakly. “So please, just take her and go...Please…”

“O-Ok...Ok…” I finally agreed. “Do you know anyone that can take care of her?”

“Sadly...no…We’ve been both abandoned,” She slowly smiled, tears streaming down her eyes. “May you please take care of her? Though we’re not….that much of friends...will you…?”

I could see that she’s slowly slipping away. She stared at me, her eyes filled with pain but a small ray of hope

“I will...I will, I promise you…” I told her assuringly. Using my mouth, I gently grabbed the filly by the neck. It may be problematic but it’s the only way I can carry her for now. She squirmed and sounded like she was about to cry.

“R-Raindrops...her...her name…”She stuttered as she looked at her foal one more time. “Raindrops...I love you…Don’t cry...you’ll be safe now..”

I slowly looked away from her, looking at her as her eyes followed me, before breaking into a run. I really wanted to help her,I really did, but knowing the circumstance...I mentally swore at myself. As I continued to navigate through the dangerous obstacle, trying to look for a way out, I noticed the fire that dared not too touch me or Raindrops.

My magic can’t stop the flames from reaching us forever…

I finally found a window and there was barely any obstacles blocking it. The only problem is that it’s closed. That means I can’t just jumped out unscatched. I stopped for a minute, thinking of a solution and weighing the odds and the risks. Finally, I made up my mind and quickly ran for it.

Take care of her..

I jumped and quickly turned, my back facing the window. I switched from mouth to legs in holding the filly, making sure that I won’t accidentally bite her when the pain hits. I closed my eyes and braced myself, holding the filly close to me.

The sharp pain that immediately shocked my body was unbearable, the glass shards embedding itself deep within my back. I bit my lip to stop screaming and prepared for the worst part.


I gasped, the fall knocking the air out of my lungs. I wiped the tears that started to form on my eyes and looked at the burning building. It let out a loud groan and crack, the foundations of the building slowly being burnt away. Suddenly pulled me and Raindrops out of danger before the building collapsed. I could hear the gasps of the many behind me, watching in horror.

“Quick, someone bring him to the nearest clinic or hospital, he’s bleeding!” The one who pulled us out of the was yelled.

“How about the little filly?” I heard one ask.

“Bring her with him too, she might be injured,” Came the reply.

With the remaining strength I have left, I looked around. There were other building that have been destroyed and still smoking. This time, I couldn’t hold my feeling back. I cried and hugged Raindrops, and we both cried together. Crying for what we lost this day.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine...Nurse…”

“Are you sure?”


I looked at the pink-haired mare, observing her actions. It’s been days since the incident and I’m still at the clinic of this town. On the other hoof, Raindrops was placed on an orphanage for now, despite my objections. They told me I could get her back once I’m in stable condition.

My stay at the clinic wasn’t that bad though. There was only one nurse assigned to me when I was confined to a bed, for some reason. The nurse was a bit strict to me on the first few days, sometimes rude when it’s a bad day, but she eventually softened. I can finally start a conversation with her without any awkwardness, which was a relief for me since I’ve been so lonely in the room I was placed in.

“Are you really sure?” She asked once more. I just sighed and nodded.

“Why so worried so suddenly?” I asked her.

“Worried? No, I’m not worried,” She answered, eyes moving around the room.

“Come on, you can tell me,” I told her. “We’ve been here together for days now, you know me well at this point, right? So, what's bothering you?”

She sighed and sat at a chair next to my bed.

“I guess I can tell you,” She muttered. “It’s about a...project.”

“What about it?”

“Well, one day, somepony walked up to me and asked if you were here. I told him that you were still here and asked him why he wants to know. He answered that he’s a part of a group of scientists that works under the Ministry of...Arcane Sciences, I think. He wanted you as their test subject and said that it will be worth it since all of the results they take will be used in improving Equestria’s...uhm...technology.”

I looked at her with a questioning look on my face. She stopped to breathe and looked backed at me.

“I said to him that I can’t simply let him just whisk you away from here just for that since you still have that filly to take care of. He just chuckled and told me that it will taken care of. Confused at this stallion, I demanded to know what kind of experiment he’s conducting with his so-called “scientists”. Apparently, he can’t answer the question because it’s classified and stuff like that. So, I told him that I’ll talk to you about it and ask the director of this place about it and that he should come back tomorrow if he wants to know if he can take you or not.”

I just stared at her, mouth agape. It took me awhile to process everything she just said.

“What happens to the filly, Raindrops?” I quickly asked her.

“I’m not really sure...But he said something about her being one of the first residents of the newest shelter they’ll build in case of emergencies,” She replied.

“What about me?”

“Well, that is up to you at this point, really…” She answered. “The director said I had no choice but to comply, whether you like it or not. I...I tried but...I’m in no position to decide what will happen to you. All because that stallion works for the Ministry of Arcane Science.”

She reluctantly brought out two things from her coat pocket: A syringe and a roll of duct tape. I looked at her with disbelief and slowly shook my head.

“Sorry that I have to do this but...I’ll guarantee you that you won’t get hurt by them,” She told me.

“How?” I asked.

“Because I’ll be one of the medical staff that has been hired to be a part of this project,” She answered. “So it’ll be alright, I’ll be with you till the end. And the filly...I thought ahead and assigned her a personal caretaker. Don’t worry, the caretaker is a good friend of mine, she’ll make sure the filly will be fine and well.”

She then placed the tape on the tape player on top of the bedside table.

“One more thing, I managed to hear what the stallion said while he was talking to the director. Something about messing with your memory. So I made this tape so that you can decide whether this scenario is real or not. I am certain that they cannot change what you hear from a recording,” She told me. “Ready to hear it?”

I nodded and calmed down a bit. I heard the familiar click of the player and the sound of her voice followed.

“Testing, testing...Finally got it to work. Ahem, hey! Just wanna say hi before starting this message...though I am with you at this point, heh heh…”

I slowly shook my head and looked at her. She blushed and gave me a small and awkward smile.

“Anyways, I kinda lied about that ‘can’t change recordings in memories’ thing. That’s not really possible. What’s possible though is blocking your memories, keeping it locked up deep within your mind. It sounds impossible, I know, but with enough magic experience, one can actually do this amazing feat! After reading and trying and testing this skill so many times, I am certain and confident that I can do it without any problem.”

I felt a sharp pain at my neck and immediately my vision was gray and blurry. I began having trouble breathing and my body stiffened.

“I’m sorry that you have to go through this…” She whispered, removing the syringe needle from my neck. “But I have my orders. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure nothing bad happens to you during the experiments. I will be with you...for as long as I can…”

Chapter 15.5

View Online

Darkness. Hope. Regret. Suffering.

“Is he going to be okay?”

“Don’t worry, Amethyst. He’s a tough one, he’ll survive.”

“To the point where his body is just nearly filled with bullets. I don’t when was the last time he got a check-up but when I operated on him, the amount of metal I found inside him was surprising.”

Three voices...one feminine and two masculine. Amethyst, Fortis, and the doctor.

“Must have been a hell of a fight out there. We were lucky that phase 2 followed quick enough.”

“Even still, we suffered heavy casualties. Any more deaths on our side and we lose Lux.”

“What happened out there?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, Amethyst...for now, you don’t have to know…”

Memories of the battle filled my mind, nearly taking me away to the warzone once more. The guns, the blood, the screams..It all terrifies me.

“Wait, I think he’s finally waking up.”

No matter how much I refused, my eyes opened anyways. Back to the harsh reality called the wasteland. Back to the cruel wastelanders. Back to…

“Where am I?” I managed to ask. The doctor peered down at me.

“Back at the clinic here at Lux, my friend.” He replied. “How are you feeling?”

“Terrible…” I muttered.

“But alive!” Amethyst happily included.

“Ugh….I guess…” I mumbled. “So...anything interesting that happened while I was out cold?”

“There’s a lot of things to explain to you, friend,” The doctor said, half-smiling. “But we’ll talk about it as soon as you fully recovered. You should really take care of yourself next time.”

I gave the doctor a questioning look, “What do you mean?”

“As I said, we’ll talk about this later,” He answered. “Now, go to sleep. You're going to need it. We’ll all see you later.”

I simply nodded and closed my eyes. I could hear them walk out the door, leaving me alone. I sighed and let my mind drift back to those dreams while I still can remember them.

“How are you feeling today?”

“I’m fine, Doctor, just fine…”

I stared at him and waited. He continued to shine his light at my eye, insisting that there was something wrong. I batted away the source of the light from his grip and crossed my forelegs.

“Look, Doc, I’m fine, ok? What are you so worried about?” I asked him.

“Well, I detected some kind of...Err,” He rubbed his chin, thinking. “Some kind of magic energy spike...or, you magic energy levels spiked while you were asleep...as impossible as it sounds…seeing that you're just an earth pony.”

“How is that something to worry about?” I questioned.

“If you were a unicorn and that happened, then your magic goes haywire,” He answered. “That’s why I’m worried about you. We both know you’re not exactly pure earth pony, you’re also somewhat unicorn and pegasus. I need to know what happened to the excess magic and where it went.”

“Uhm, I’m still fine, I think,” I insisted. “I’m really hungry, you know?”

He sighed and finally gave in. He kept his doctor stuff and lead me out of the clinic. As I walked out of the door, I was suddenly crushed by a bear hug. The sweet smell of lavender drifts up my nose.

“You’re back!” A familiar feminine voice chirped.

“Can’t...Breathe…” I said between gasps. I felt her grip loosen.

“Oops, sorry,” She apologized before finally letting go. Turning around to face my “attacker”, I was greeted by the face of the mare I know as “Amethyst”.

“For a mare...damn, you’re strong,” I remarked. She smiled and winked at me.

“Hey, amigo!” I heard another voice call out behind me. “You seem to be in great shape today, eh?”

“Larynx, it’s a pleasure to hear your voice again,” I greeted him as I turned around to face him. “What’s happening out there so far? I haven’t heard the radio for some time now.”

“Ah, there’s some unusual news out there, my friend,” He replied. “There’s a group in the Capital that’s stirring up some trouble. I’m not saying that they’re bad, it’s just that ever since that mare came to the surface, the Wasteland has been different.”


“Eeyup. If you were listening to the mare in Tenpony, also know as DJ Pon-3, you’d find out that the mare made a name for herself...multiple ones in fact. She’s also the leader of the group, which makes things even more weird...Not many groups are lead by females and less are even successful…”

Could it possibly the same mare I have encountered on my first day?

“Hey, you also caused quite a ruckus here in Land 35,” he chuckled. “Maybe I should talk all about you too and see if my story can rival her’s…”

“Hey, can we stop talking and go get some food? I’m starving…”Amethyst whined. “And I bet Eclipse is too!”

“Hungry already?” Larynx smirked. “I thought you were on a diet?”

“Hmph...that’s mean of you…” She stuck out her tongue at him and looked at me expectantly. “So, shall we eat?”

I laughed and nodded my head, I am hungry after all. She smiled wide and bounced happily in a manner that seems familiar to me.

“Great! Let’s got to Velvet’s and see what we can eat!”

I bit my tongue and gulped. My smile never faded away so quickly.

Never judge a book by its cover, a lesson taught to nearly everybody at a young age. Another teaching I can recall is to make a first good impression. So, what if one were to make a bad first impression but later on, they’re actually good?

I have never been so deceived in my entire Wasteland life and I never expected it to come from food. Especially from those damn muffins.

“So, Eclipse, how’s the muffins?” Red asked me with that mischievous smile.

“I’d rather not tell…” I grumbled and continued munching. “After what you gave me on my first day here.”

“Ooh, she gave you the bad ones too?” Amethyst asked me. “Hey, I must tell you, that batch gave me a stomach ache for days.”

“Hehehe...Seems I’m not the only one then that munched their way through the stomach ache,” Larynx smirked.

After hearing what the two said, I could not contain my anger anymore.

“What in bloody hell were you thinking in giving me those burnt muffins?!” I yelled at her. “And on purpose too? You are crazy, lady!”

Red gave a squeak and jumped away from me. Fortis immediately placed himself between me and her.

“W-Whoa, calm down, friend. No need to be too aggressive,” he stuttered. “It was just a...t-test. Y-Yeah! A test me and Red made!”

Amethyst and Larynx gave worried looks at Fortis and shook their heads in disapproval.

“For what?” I growled, already contemplating on knocking him out.

“We just want to see how...strong your stomach is. If you can eat those muffins, then you can eat anything in the Wasteland,” came his pathetic answer. I snorted and dropped the topic. I was in no mood to continue the conversation.

In the Wasteland, food is not to be made fun of.

I continued to eat in silence, ignoring the worried looks everyone was giving me. Soon, the rest also continued to finish their food, though once or twice, they’ll look at me and wait for me to speak again. Suddenly, a jolt of electricity courses through my body, causing me to fall down from my chair, gasping for air. They immediately formed a circle around me with worried expressions.

“Are you alright?”

“Is he al-? Of course he’s not alright!”

“Everyone, give him some space to breathe!”

“For the love of-”

“I’m fine!” I quickly interrupted them, weakly standing up. They, and maybe I, were amazed by my fast recovery. “I-I’m fine.Whoo, I feel alive already, hehe…”

“Geez, what happened to you? We, or I, thought you were dying for a moment there,” Larynx told me, slightly amused. “And what’s with that beeping sound? It’s making a hell lot of noise.”

Of course, I recognized the familiar beeps and clicks that continue to disturb everyone in Red’s bakery. With an annoyed grunt, I decided to check what was setting my PipBuck off. On the screen was a message that I haven’t expected to see.

Primary Objective: Find Family.

My eyes widened as I continued to stare at the screen. The screen flickered,the words changed. Only one word stays in my mind: How?

Primary Objective [Updated]: Find Friends.

“I...I've stayed here too long,” I mumbled, quickly finishing the last of my muffins. “As much as I like to stay here, I need to get going.”

“Wait, where are you going?” Red asked me. “You should really start explaining things to us, we’re kinda getting worried about you.”

“You’re getting worried about me? I’ve been here only for at least two days,” I shook my head, “I’m also a stranger. I never really got to know most of you.” I looked at Fortis and he understood what I needed him to say for me.

Fortis started explaining, “He’s going to look for a couple of friends of his. He told me about it when he first found me.”

I nodded and sighed, “Sorry that I didn’t tell you all about this problem of mine earlier but I just had so much things in my mind...Anyways, I better get going.”

I walked towards the exit, thinking of the things I needed to bring. It would be a long journey, that’s for sure.

“Do you know where they could be?” I stopped walking and looked at Larynx, the one who asked the question.

“Do you know...where they could be?” He repeated.

“I’m not sure…” I told him, suddenly realizing my chances of finding my original group in the vast wasteland is pretty low. “But I will find them...I know I can find them.”

“I know you will,” Someone spoke out. We turned to where the the source of the voice came from and saw the doctor.

“Doctor, what are you doing here?” Fortis asked him, confused at his presence. “I thought you were helping my sister in her research?”

“I have my reasons and she seemed fine with it,” he quickly replied then he turned to me once more. “Now, I believe you’re done eating and ready to go, yes? Anyways, come with me while we still have time.”

“W-What?” It took some time to process the doctor’s words but even then, I was still bemused.

“Just follow me, chap,” he then eyed the group and stopped at a certain mare. “You too Amethyst, we’re going to need you.”

Larynx suddenly walked up to the doctor,looking at him with suspicion “What do you want from her, Doc?”

“I appreciate your concern over your...ahem, sister but, I can assure you no harm will befall her,” the doctor replied, now standing a bit taller than Larynx. “And also, you and me know what she actually is. That’s why she needs to come with us.”

Larynx narrowed his eyes, “She’s not yet ready to see what’s outside this walls, Doc, and why now?”

The doctor brought out something from his saddlebag, “Only she can access this. Eclipse has his own and he can’t just remove his for another, that can lead to disastrous consequences.”

I looked at the others while the two were arguing. They were as confused as I was and Amethyst seems to be the most affected of them all, giving me worried glances now and then. As soon as it started, the two finally stopped their argument. One stayed in place while watching the other went to speak to his sister. The doctor has won.

“Come on now, both of you,” The doctor ordered me and Amethyst. “We have a job to do...while we still have time.”

Chapter 16: Rescue

View Online

"The day I decided to rescue the ones I considered my friends
Was also the day I have forsakened myself.
It was either my life or theirs.”

The doctor lead us to the watchtower near the entrance, the remaining one anyways. He stayed silent throughout the walk despite the amount of questions we asked him. It was very worrying indeed.

We got a good look of the wasteland up the watchtower. I looked and observed what I can see, slightly smiling at the view. The clouds were still there but I could see the faint sunlight passing through. Amethyst walked up next to me, looking through the window

“I...I don’t understand,” Her eyes scanned the vast horizon. “I was forbidden to go out the walls because of this?”

“You never saw the wasteland?” I asked her.

“The wasteland? Heard of it but never saw it…”Came her reply.

“But you live on a tower that can allow you to see such a view,” I told her, slightly confused. “And you’ve been here for a long time, right?”

“I wasn’t allowed to use the elevator outside the tower and there are barely any windows in that place…” She turned towards the doctor. “Is there a reason why I’m allowed to see the world now?”

“You were raised in a beautiful place, Amethyst. It was only right that we kept it that way for you when you’re here,” The doctor told her. “But me and Larynx knew we couldn’t keep the truth from you forever. I mean, it’s ridiculous for you to continue to live in a reality that has passed away.”

“A reality that has passed away?” Amethyst was even more confused now.

“The past, my dear…” The doctor answered. “But I’ll not talk about that for now, it can be quite complicated for you to understand. We shall focus on helping Eclipse, his friends may be in more danger than he thinks.”

I continued to look out the window, searching for something, “Doc, where are they? And how sure are you they are the group I’m looking for?”

“I just know, chap. Providing proof right now will be difficult,” I heard him hum for some time. “But...I believe a filly named Raindrops is one of the ponies you’re looking for?”

I quickly turned around to face him, “Tell me, Doctor, where are they?”

“Good, I got your attention. Don’t worry, you will get them back,” He then walked towards a locker and grabbed something. “Now put this on. Make sure to remove your Stable-Tec suit before putting it on, ok?”

I stared at the gear he gave me. The first thing I noticed is that it was made out of leather and had a hell lot of spikes, especially on the shoulder pads.

“What is...this supposed to be exactly?” I asked him while closely looking at the spikes.

“Just put it on and find out for yourself,” He answered, half-smirking. “Me and Amethyst will be...in another room while you change.”

He placed it on a nearby table and proceeded to go to the room next door with Amethyst in tow. As soon as I heard the door close, I continued to inspect the leather armor. It had a familiar look to it, as if I’ve seen it somewhere. I decided not to waste anytime and just get on with it. With a sigh, I reluctantly removed my Stable suit, though with difficulty as it was pretty attached to me(or maybe I was attached to it?).

“Hey, are you done?” I heard the doctor’s voice through the door.

“Wha-? I mean, no!” I yelled back, somewhat surprised. “Just, just stay there!”

“A-Are we talking to the same stallion?” He mockingly asked. “Because it seems you’re acting a bit...girly.”

“Hey, that’s not true!” I answered back, slightly embarrassed. “It’s been a long time since I’ve removed this...clothing, ok?”

“Ok, ok. Just hurry up there. You seem to be taking lot’s of time.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes, “You can admire yourself later,” I told myself. “Just gotta put on the leather armor first…”

After a few more minutes of trying to wear and adjusting the armor to my likings, I was looking at my reflection on the window. My new look was very intimidating, as if it was made to scare off or warn anyone of my appearance.The armor also looks pretty durable and it covered most of my body, as if it was made to survive most tough situations.

“A leather armor made to withstand the trials of the wastes…” I told myself. “With the looks to scare off most unwanted visitors…”

“An armor that serves as a reminder of who’s in charge in the Wasteland,” The Doctor finished, surprising me. “I’m surprised you made a fitting description for the thing you’re wearing. You know what it is?”

"It’s Raider Armor, isn’t it?” I replied, looking at the Doctor’s reflection on the window. “I’ve wore one once, ended up being shot...Though it wasn’t as protective as this one.”

“Ah, it’s because the armor you’re wearing belongs to a former friend of mine,” He explained. “His name is Longshot, one of the most feared raiders in the waste. He made it to suit his lifestyle.”

“You’re friends with a raider?” I asked him. “I find that pretty difficult to believe, especially since most of the ones I encountered wanted to kill me.”

“Look chap, not all raiders are despicable or rude or disgusting…” The Doctor sighed. “Some are just forced into that kind of living, like Longshot. You see, his family is...was living a terrible life. Food was hard to find and caps nearly impossible to earn.”

“So he became a raider since he had no other choice,” I concluded. “And since raiders raid others, he can get the necessities his family needs from other ponies…”

“Right, and he was determined too. Soon became one of the most feared Raiders out there,” He continued. “I met him some time ago and despite his intimidating look, he proved to be a nice guy. He doesn’t immediately fire his weapon and rarely kills to get what he wants. And when he does get something from someone...he makes sure to pay them back in a way, though that plan doesn’t always work.”

“What happened to him?” I suddenly asked. “Because I have a feeling this armor I’m wearing is his only armor.”

“He told me that he's tired of his raider life, that he wants to go back to his family once more,” I heard him sigh. The next words he spoke was filled with sorrow. “I accompanied him back home since he wanted to give me something. On the way, he told me that his glad to have a friend like me since most of his comrades soon betrayed him. He knows he had many enemies out there, waiting to kill him, and he doesn’t really have that much friends, maybe just three or four if I recall correctly.”

“We arrived to a grim sight...his house, or what’s left of it, was on fire. Outside was 2 smoking corpses of what was once his beloved uncle and aunt who stayed with him when they were kicked from the town they previously were in. Next to the corpses were guns...It was obvious they fought back. Then we heard screams from inside the still burning house. Longshot never hesitated, he just jumped into the flames to save whoever was still there…”

He closed his eyes, as if he was being pulled back to that exact memory. A tear streaked his face. He let out a sigh and shook his head.

“The whole place exploded just as soon as he entered the place. Just...Boom! I was thrown back by the force of the blast and got knocked out. When I came to, all I felt was pain. I struggled to get up and looked at what was once a house. Just debris everywhere…” He finished, wiping some of the tears of his eyes.

“Oh...I’m...I’m sorry to hear that,” I weakly told him. “But...But that doesn’t explain one thing.”

“The armor...It was a tough one. Even then, I found it somewhat broken...Found it on Longshot…” I then heard a loud thud and an angry shout. “They took her, those damn traitors! There was no one in that burning house, no one! Someone must have played a recording there to lure him in and then...Fuck!”

I was taken aback by the Doctor’s sudden use of profanity. I looked back to see him sitting down, face buried in his hooves.

“It’s a filly, isn’t it?” I slowly approached him.

“The most adorable one I ever met,” He replied. “She was the whole world to him and they took her…”

“This isn’t just about my group, isn’t it?” I asked him, slowly piecing together what information I had.

“No...but your group was the primary objective” He answered. “She would be the optional choice…”

“Optional? I don’t think so Doc, She’s now the secondary objective,” I told him. “I’ll find her, Doc, I promise you.”

“Don’t make any promises you can’t keep,” He replied as he stood back up. “Besides, she’s all grown up now...if she’s still alive.”

I took a step back and sighed, “What’s her name?”


I nodded. “That’s all I needed. Where’s Amethyst?”

At the sound of her name, she stumbled in, wearing a dirty and torn dress. Her once clean coat and mane was also messy.

“What happened to you?” I asked her, bewildered.

“I...um...Don’t like the new look?” She asked with a sheepish smile.

“I love it.” I remarked sarcastically and looked at the Doctor. “Mind if you explain what’s going to happen?”

“You will bring Ms. Amethyst to a nearby raider town, where I tracked your group of friends. She will act like a captured slave, those folks there always have problems with fleeing slaves,” He told us. “I’m aware of the dangers you might face but I trust that you are good with a gun.”

“Wait, wait...I’m going outside the walls?” Amethyst asked him while nervously taking a glance out of the window. “Like, explore?”

“Not exactly explore, my dear. You're just going to assist Eclipse in getting in that town,” He told her. “Once we’re done with that, you’ll be staying once more inside these walls.”

“Oh,” She looked down, ears folded backwards.

“Anyways, once both of you are in, you need to find who you need as quick as possible. You need to lower your chances of getting hurt, or even worse, killed and I want all of you to return unscathed,” He then turned to face me, a serious look on his face. “If anything goes wrong, shoot. Do not hesitate.”

“I’ll pull the trigger if I have to, Doc,” I assured him.

“Good, ‘cause you’re going to need this,” He opened a drawer and placed a shotgun and a knife on top of the table. “You look like a raider, you act like one.”

Looking at the things the Doctor has placed on the table, a sudden thought crossed my mind. “What about my things? I can’t seem to find them.”

“They’re with Selena. We’ll return them to you once you’re done with all of this,” The Doc replied. “Now go, get out of here and find your friends. I marked the town on Amethyst’s map.”

I looked at Amethyst and she showed me her foreleg with a smile. I stared at it with a shocked expression. It was a PipBuck.

“So...got any idea where we’re supposed to be going?” I asked the trotting mare beside me.

“I...got no idea,” She answered softly. “I’m kinda getting used with this thing on my leg.”

“Are you kidding me?” I groaned and stopped walking. “Show me the device.”

She reluctantly showed me her PipBuck, weakly smiling. I easily accessed the map and looked for the tagged area. After a few minutes of looking, I determined that our destination was at least an hour walk to the north.

“Hey, mind if I ask you a question?” Amethyst asked as we walked.

“What is it?”

“What's your cutie mark?”

I stayed quiet for a few minutes, “Why do you want to know?”

“Uhm...just curious?” She replied with a slight hint of embarrassment in her tone.

“Just curious, huh?” I scoffed. “Tried looking?”

“L-Look?! I mean, no!” She yelled before realizing it was too loud. “I never...um...tried looking,”

“What about you? What’s your cutie mark?” I asked her. “I would have looked earlier but I’m not into looking at a mare’s flank.”

She gave me a weird look before answering, “Well, I’m not sure myself, what it means anyways. It looks like it’s related to music in a way, a G-clef maybe.”

“You must like to sing, your voice sounds beautiful, you know?” I complimented her.

“Why thank you, my dear friend. I do like to sing sometimes.” She smiled.

I smiled back and went back to looking around for the town. It wouldn’t be too far now. I was starting to get a bit worried, especially with the lack of any hostile encounters. If the small ones ain't here, then there’s a bigger threat.

“Hey Eclipse, what’s that?” Amethyst pointed to something running.

I squinted my eyes, “I’m not sure but it looks like...Is it headed towards our direction?!”

And it was. I quickly unholstered the shotgun and aimed, though it was a bit tricky holding it with my mouth. Amethyst looked ready to run, staying too close to me and taking at glances at the weapon.

“W-We don’t have to fight, right?” She shakily asked me.

“Mmmph hmpph mph,” I replied, still looking at the running creature. I finally got a closer look at it and nearly dropped the gun from my already shaking mouth.

It was a giant, furry monster with big and sharp claws. There was something strapped to it’s back and one of its eyes is shut tight. It did not stop, even if a weapon was aimed at it, it just kept on running. I fired once, the recoil caused my head to be knocked back and my mouth gave up holding it. The bullet missed it, not even hitting the ground close to the creature. Its movements slowed down and it looked like its hesitant in approaching us.

“Are you okay?” Amethyst asked me after seeing me fall on my rump from the recoil.

“I-I’m f-fine,” I stammered, still shaking. “W-What a-a-about it?”

She looked at the creature, which now fell on it’s fours and slowly walked towards us, “It’s still moving towards us, but slowly.”

I slowly reached for the weapon, thinking that I could get shoot it quick enough before it got to us but Amethyst stopped me, holding me back.

“Look, Eclipse, it looks hurt,” She told me. “And it doesn’t look like it wants to hurt us.”

“Y-You seem t-to be taking the W-Wasteland much m-more calmer than me,” I slowly got back up and noticed the creature has now stopped a few feets away from us.

It opened it’s mouth and a rough and deep sounding voice came out from it, “Longshot?”

“W-What…?” I looked at it with confusion. “Who...Who are you?”

It looked pained at what I said and stood up on it’s two feet, “Don’t you remember me? I’m Sebastian, you’re friend. You saved me from the ghouls, remember?”

I slowly looked at my armor and back at Sebastian, suddenly realizing who he thinks his talking.

“Sebastian...I’m sorry but I'm not Longshot,” I slowly told him.

He looked at me with disbelief, “You’re not...Longshot? But...he’s armor, you’re wearing...it…” His face was at first filled with confusion before turning into anger. He unstrapped the thing on his back and aimed it at me.

“What are you doing with his things!?” He growled. “You..You killed him…”

“No, I didn’t kill him!” I tried to tell him. “I was just give-”

“Liar!” He snarled. “You killed him and I’m going to-”

“He didn’t kill your friend!”

Me and Sebastian were surprised at the sudden interruption. Amethyst quickly went in front of me, effectively putting herself in danger.

“Who...are you?” The furry beast asked with a much more gentle tone this time.

“I am Amethyst, his companion, and I can guarantee he is innocent of your charges,” She firmly stated. He looked at her for a minute and lowered his weapon.

“You...you are good pony. I believe you,” He strapped his weapon and walked towards us.

“Y-Yeah...I believe so…” She weakly said before stumbling to my side.

“Amethyst, are you ok?” I worried asked her. Her face was very pale and she was leaning on me for support.

“Ok…? Oh, I’m feeling fantastic…” She answered, weakly giggling.

“I...I am sorry for my poor judgement,” Sebastian apologized, looking guilty. “I should have asked for your part of the story first.”

“It’s...okay. I guess you really wanted to meet him, huh?”

“It’s been a long time...What happened to him?”

“He...He died, trying to save someone. Turns out he fell into a trap.”

Sebastian sighed and looked up at the cloudy skies, “I should have come with him home. I kept telling him he was in danger but he never listened. Told me he's got another friend to come with him, told me that if he needed help, he’ll go look for me.”

The Doctor’s words echoed into my mind, “He doesn’t really have that much friends, maybe just three or four if I recall correctly.”

“So, how did you get ahold of his armor?” He asked me. “I am curious to how you got it.”

“A friend of his gave it to me to use. Probably the same friend Longshot was talking about to you before he died.” I answered.

He sadly nodded, “I see...What are you going to use it for? And what about your mare, what’s she doing out here?”

“I’m looking for my friends, one’s who were captured by raiders,” I answered him. “I’m acting as one bringing in a slave, which would be her.”

When I mentioned “friends” and “captured”, he didn’t look happy, “Friends...they’re like family out here. Good friends are like family, just like Longshot. I will help you get them back.”

“Sebastian, are you sure you want to help a stranger you just met?” I asked him, a bit doubtful.

“I am sure and willing for I know how it feels to have your friends taken away from you,” He answered determinedly. “Longshot...he would have done the same. What can I do for you?”

I thought for a moment and told him, “Once we arrived at the town, wait for us outside. Protect anyone that comes running out under heavy gunfire coming from the raiders, if possible.”

I also told him the description of each of my former group mates so he knows who and who not to shoot. Though he was bombarded by the amount words I said that may or may not get into his head, let alone, pass through his ears, he seemed to understand what I was telling him and nodded.

“Are we ready to go?” Sebastian asked me.

“I guess so, as long as Amethyst can walk on her own 4 legs,” I told him, nudging said mare to get her off me.

“5 more minutes…” she mumbled.


Well, we finally arrived in the so called raider town, I had to check the map twice. What I saw was just one big building that’s close to collapsing and two ponies guarding the entrance.

“Who are you?” One of the guards pointed a gun at me.

“Are names really important around here?” I asked them.

“Better safe than sorry,” the other said. “Now, who are you?”

“Name’s Jack, buddy,” I answered. “Now will you kindly-”

“State your business here, Jack,” one of them shoved the gun close to my face.

If there was one good thing in the area, it was that they had good security.

“Slave selling…” I answered. “Is that enough?”


“Slave selling?” one of them gave a doubtful look at the other. “Hey, Frank, when’s the last time boss ordered a slave?”

Frank shrugged, “I don’t really know, Bob. He doesn’t exactly tell me or anyone else around here.”

“Hey, maybe you should let us in then,” I butted in. “Before your boss gets angry, right?”

Frank once more aimed his gun at me, “And who said you could talk?”

“What? I thought I needed to talk-”

“Okay! That’s enough!” Bob motioned Frank to lower his gun. “You may enter but nothing bad should happen while you’re staying here, alright? Else, you’re dead to us.”

“Sure, sure,” I nodded slowly, “Just make sure it was me that did the problem before shooting me.”

I tugged on the rope connected to Amethyst’s collar (which was really weird but it seemed most slavers did this) and entered the building. As expected, there were some raiders around the area. What I did not expect was that they would suddenly block certain areas and stare at me with with a menacing smile. The feeling around the place was malevolent and I was starting to have second thoughts about this rescue mission.

“Boss is waitin for you up those stairs,” One of them said, sneering. “Just follow th’path and you’ll get t’him. You cans any of ‘em friends of mine if ye ever feel lost, hehe…”

I looked at the raider’s eyes and noticed something. A look of hatred and familiarity. It seems she hates me because she seemed to know me.

The look of betrayal and broken trust.

Me and Amethyst continued to walk the path to the raider’s boss. The feeling of dread at the pit of my stomach with every step I took. “Run! Run!” my mind kept on telling me, “Turn back now!”

“Eclipse...Is there something wrong with how I look?” Amethyst asked me. I looked at her and raised an eyebrow.

“Well, everyone’s looking at me with strange looks and I just thought…” she continued. I looked at the raiders looking at her and noticed something.

“Stay close to me, Amethyst,” I told her, wrapping my hoof around her neck and pulling her closer.

“Uh...Eclipse? Can you please ,loosen your grip on my neck?” she requested while looking at me with a questioning stare. “What’s wrong anyways?”

“It could be just me, or I just happen not to like the look the stallions here are giving you,” I answered while glaring at any males I see. They all just snickered when they caught me staring at them. “Just...trust me.”

“I trust you...but can you please stop choking me?” she asked again, this time nudging my hoof. I did so, but I still kept her close.

The smell of lavender drifted up my nose…

After what felt like hours, we finally reached a door. It was huge and it looked like it was made out of something very durable as there were barely any damage on it; A mighty guardian guarding something or someone important. One of the grunts pounded on the door with a specific rhythm. A few seconds later, it opened with a loud groan, as if it was never opened in ages.

“Well? What are ya waitin for? Git inside,” the one who knocked told us. When he saw us hesitating, he flashed a toothy grin, “Come on, git in. You want to meet the Big Boss, yea? Or do ye want some encouragement?”

Bang! He shot his pistol at the floor, the bullet lodging itself in the floor. That was enough encouragement for both of us to scurry through the door.

The room was dimly lit, the only light source coming from the boarded-up windows. Somewhere in the darkness, I could make out the outline of a table and a chair. A presence could be felt somewhere nearby.

“Ah...Visitors,” a voice spoke out from the dark. Slowly, two red, glowing eyes appeared somewhere behind the table. “And oh, what a surprise...an old friend!”

“What do you want…?” I asked him, not taking my eyes off his.

“What do I want…?” he chuckled and leaned closer, the features of his face becoming more visible. “Nothing more than to see you again…”

Amethyst gasped as I stared in shock at his face; Half of it looked burned and it seemed it wasn’t too long ago as the wounds weren’t fully healed, a psychotic smile was plastered on his face, and his mane was a mess, giving the sense of a crazed lunatic.

“My, don’t you know it’s rude to look at someone like there’s something wrong with their face?” his smile even grew wider.

We slowly backed away from him before the door blocked us. A deranged laughter echoed throughout the room.

“Scared, are you? You should be because you’re the one that made me look like this!” he yelled, leaning closer. He pointed at his burnt face and continued, “Remember this, Longshot? Remember the ‘surprise’ you set up for me? Well, I gotta say, it was a BANG! HEE HEE HEE.”

He started poking at it while laughing crazily. Amethyst whimpered and looked away while I was stunned. The feeling to kill him right there and then suddenly overwhelmed me.

He suddenly stopped laughing and clicked his tongue, “Do you think I make things easy around here?” He proceeded to reach for something below his desk and the floor area beneath us suddenly disappeared. Before we fell into the black pit, my shotgun fired, missing him barely. He laughed as we plummeted down, his voice slowly fading away.

Back into the void…

We both screamed as we fell, fearing when we will hit the ground. Quickly thinking, I managed to use the PipBucks light to illuminate our surroundings. We were just a ball of light in the middle of the darkness.

A memory crossed my mind.

I desperately tried to reach for Amethyst, who seemed so far away from me. I needed to get her, to reach her, I had a feeling the ground wasn’t too far now. After a few struggles, I managed get closer to her.

“Amethyst, reach for me!” I yelled. I looked down and my blood ran cold.

A flash of blue.

I landed hard on my back with loud crack. I panicked for a moment, fearing for Amethyst safety. That is, until I realized she was on top of me, my forelegs wrapped around her midsection. What made me sure of her survival was the rise and fall of her chest.

“Are you alright, Amethyst?” I weakly asked her.

“Te...terrified, but...I think I’m okay,” she replied. I sighed in relief.

“I-I heard a crack...are you alright?” She asked me this time.

The adrenaline that have coursed through my blood must have numbed the pain but I knew I was far from alright. My breathing was erratic, it was hard to move, and there was a metallic taste in my mouth.

“I’m fine, but can you get off me please? It’s kinda hard to breathe.”

“I’d rather let you hold me for a few seconds…please?”

We both chuckled and I agreed to those few seconds. The adrenaline may have gone, the pain slowly intensifying, but the lavender smell calmed me down and it kept me from thinking too much about the pain.

True to her word, Amethyst rolled off me after a few seconds. She could have done it a bit slowly, the action causing me some pain, but I kept my mouth shut and suppressed the sounds of pain.

“Wh-Where are we?” I gasped, trying to breath normally. The area was suddenly flooded by a lavender-colored light.

“It seems...we are in a prison cell or something like that,” Amethyst answered as she looked around. We were in a small room with iron bars separating us from what I assumed was a walkway and more cells.

The beeping sound of my PipBuck got my attention. As painless as possible, I checked the screen. It confirmed my suspicion; my body wasn’t doing so well.

“Say...did you touch the shotgun?” I asked, remembering it suddenly going bang.

“N-No, a dark blue light just suddenly enveloped it and then fired,” she replied. “It kinda freaked me out, since the stallion wasn’t a unicorn so I have no idea who did it.”

“Guh...Well, we need to find a way out of this place,” I forced myself to stand up despite the sharp pain the continuously shot through my body.

“Eclipse, are you sure you’re alright?” She looked at me worriedly.

“I’m fine-” A bit of blood forced itself out of my mouth. This is bad, I thought to myself as I looked at the small amount of blood splattered on the floor.

The smell of copper lingers in the air.

“Eclipse! You’re not okay, we have to-”

“Find a way out. We have to find a way out.”

I leaned against a wall, trying to normalize ny breathing. I pointed at the iron bars, “Check if there’s a door somewhere there. It might seem like more bars but if you look closely, you’ll see hinges.”

Amethyst gave me a worried look but followed what I said anyways. Meanwhile, I was thinking ways of getting out alive, getting Amethyst out of this place alive.

“I found a door!” Amethyst quickly told me. “But it’s locked with chains and a padlock.”

I weakly nodded, “Do you have bobby pins? A screwdriver even?”

“Uh…” she checked the pockets of her dress. “Yes, yes I do!”

“I’m going to assume that you know how to picklock. So, picklock the padlock,” I told her. Damn, that’s a lot of locks.

“I’ll try...but it might take a while…”

She got to work on the lock, taking her time to avoid any mistakes. I would have used the shotgun to blast through the chains if it wasn’t in two pieces. It crossed my mind that the loud crack was from the weapon when I landed on it.

“You didn’t have to do that…” Amethyst said as she worked.

“Did what?” I asked.

“Cushioned my fall, you didn’t have to do that.”

“Amethyst, you would have died if I didn’t do that.”

“But how about you? You’re hurt…”

I sighed, “Whether I used my body to save you or not, the fall wouldn’t kill me. Look at me, look at all the metal on my body.”


“I did it! The door’s unlocked!” She excitedly told me.

“Great, now open it to make sure.”

The door creaked loudly as it was opened. It was loud enough to alert anyone nearby. I gulped and gestured Amethyst to back away from the door.

The sound of iron being hit echoed.

“Come back here ya little twat! Ah know yer there so come out and face me like a real stallion!”

It was a mare’s voice.

“Garshdangit, stop banging the bars. He won’t come, he made that clear.”

Followed by a stallion’s.

Amethyst looked at me, “What do we do now?”

“We check where those voices came from,” I replied.

"Are you sure? What if..?”

“Trust me, nothing bad will happen to us when we look for them, yeah?”

Amethyst nodded and took a deep breath. With a grunt, I got off from the wall and slowly walked out the cell, followed by Amethyst to light the way. We followed the sound of metal which, surprisingly, is still being heard.

"Hey! Light, ah could see light!”

“Huh? What do you…”


Pretty soon, we reached the area where the sound was coming from. It was also a cell but it was pitch dark in the inside despite the light. I decided to lean in closer to the cells, peering in between the bars to see if there’s was even anyone in there.

“Take this, ya knucklehead!”

Coming out from the darkness was a white hoof, zooming in closer to my face so fast that I failed to react in time before it hit me. The force was tremendous and I was knocked off a few feet away when it connected with my snout. Amethyst yelped in surprise and backed away from the bars before looking at me worriedly.

I was a bloody mess.

I could hear laughter as the darkness slowly receded, allowing the light to take its place. The light revealed two ponies, a mare who looked pretty satisfied with herself and a stallion who seemed annoyed at his companion. Both faces suddenly turned into shock and regret when they saw me.

“Eclipse?! What the fuck are ya doing here?!”

I wiped the blood off my snout and struggled to get back on my four legs, glaring both of them. The mare let out a small squeak.

“Next time both of you gets captured, you’re on your own…” I growled.

I looked for the door and found it was also locked with chains and a padlock. Having no time to pick it, I raised my forehoof and struck the lock with it, the sound of mechanical clicking can be barely heard.

The padlock broke and the door was open. I got tackled to the ground by the same mare I’ve meet maybe a week before.

“Oh sweet Celestia, what the fuck happened to you?!” She proceeded to kiss me in the forehead several times before tightly squeezing me. “And what the hell are ya wearing..that?! We talked about this, we wouldn’ be wearing any of those.”

Her male companion walked to the side of Amethyst, staring at us with an amused look. Amethyst, on the other hoof, looked at us with her mouth agape.

This was the softest side of her I have ever seen so far.

“C-Can you please stop squeezing me?” I tried squirming out of her grip. “I-I can’t breathe…”

Her grip loosened enough to allow me to breathe normally again, “You’re alive...Ah can’t believe it, yer really alive!”

“I don’t think I’ll be alive if you don’t stop this...drama,” I mumbled. “Hey, is it just the two of you down here? Where are the others?”

“They had a better chance of escaping than us, since they had more gun power than them,” the stallion answered. “We were just outnumbered and we know if they manage to surround us, all of us will be here.”

“So the both of us decided to distract most of the raiders while we let the others get away…” the mare continued, “As far as we saw between both you and Raindrops, you really cared about her. We figured you’d at least want her safe, along with that Sweetie Bot.” She squeezed me again.

The stallion nodded, “One of them will check us out pretty soon. To make sure that we’re still here...and to...Sweet Celestia, we need to get her out of here too.”

The mare finally let me go and looked at her companion, “Ya think we can all make it out of here alive?”

“As long as we make it quick.”

Again, I struggled to get up again except this time, I had some magical help from the mare.

“Wait, who’s her?” I asked them.

“Some mare a few cells away, poor girl. One of the goons here would come down and have his way with her,” the stallion pointed the opposite direction of where we came from. “She is not going to last here long if they continue to torment her.”

“Okay then, me and Amethyst will get here while you two stay here and watch out for any raiders,” I told them as I slowly walked towards the direction the stallion pointed.

“Sure thing, Eclipse,” the stallion looked at me and smiled. “Just hurry up, yeah?”


Tugging on the rope which was still connected on Amethyst’s collar, we both quickly checked each cell we passed by for any mare. By the Doc’s description of this place and the raiders, I expected a lot more life in the dark place. Instead, we found the remains of what used to be living things in most cells we passed by. It suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea who I was looking for.

A name, I needed a name.

Feeling desperate to find our damsel in distress, I yelled out the last name I heard from another pony’s mouth.


Somewhere, in the darkness, I heard a whimper.

Scared, alone, helpless. Orphaned at a young age and no one to help her.

I managed to locate where the whimper came from. A cell so small and dirty, so filled with filth and stains, that it makes the other cells look comfortable. Cautiously this time, I looked through the bars. With a messy mane, dirty coat, and frightened eyes, the mare cowered before us.

“D-Don’t...p-please…” she slowly backed away from the bars. Frightened eyes looked at us, studied us.

“It’s okay, we’re here to help,” Amethyst assured her. The mare cautiously looked at her.

“She’s right, we aren’t here to hurt you,” I told her. “Don’t be afraid of us.”

She continued to look at both of us, not sure if she could trust these two strangers or not. Meanwhile, I looked closer at the bars, looking for the same old bar door. Rusted bars, rusted bars, rusted bars, no door. I began to frantically search for a way in.

I noticed the mare looking at me intensely. As if she’s trying to recognize me. And then she spoke, a word that always caught me off-guard.


Eyes caught the shine of a metal. A door. Inside.

“Amethyst, can you enclose her in a protective magic bubble?” I asked her.

“I-I think. Larynx taught me how to do it before,” she replied, tilting her head in confusion. “Why?”

“Just do it, I’ve got an idea,” I simply replied. I looked at who I presumed to be Chara, “Do you trust us to get you out of here? Trust me?”

She nodded.

Play the part.

“Everything will be okay, Chara,” I assured her once more and turned to Amethyst, “Now.”

The bars seemed weak enough to be broken through with all the rust it accumulated throughout the years. With some mechanical clicks and determined mind, I managed to break through two bars, creating enough space for a pony to get in or out the cell. As I expected, the bars were sent flying towards to Chara. There wasn’t enough space for her to move out of the way but the protective bubble served its job perfectly. Both bars bounced off the lavender colored sphere and landed on the floor with a clang.

“Wow…” Amethyst looked at the places the bars used to be. “Earth ponies are much stronger than they say..,”

Released, Chara tightly wrapped her forelegs around my neck. For a moment, I felt a connection with her. For a moment, I genuinely believed she was my daughter. I returned the embrace and sighed in relief, we can finally leave.

After a few moments, we let go of each other. I noticed she was teary-eyed. After so many years of being stuck here and being separated from her father, she must be really happy to be out if this place and as a bonus, see her father again.

Longshot and I must really look alike.

“There’s a door inside your cell, we can use that to our advantage,” I told them. “Now all we have to do is call for the-”

“What’s taking y’all so long?” Jewel walked into the light.

“If we’re going to get out, we’re going to have to get out now,” Autumn followed. “One of them will be coming down here soon.”

I pointed at the door, “Through there. It’s the closest exit so far.”

“Okay, everyone quickly...wait, what happened to those-”

A door creaked at somewhere far from us. Amethyst quickly put out her light and we all held our breath. The sound of footsteps followed; someone else was definitely in the room. I walked as fast as possible while being quiet to the door and checked it. It was locked.

“All of you, come here now,” I whispered to them. The faint light of my PipBuck showed where I was.

As soon as I know they were all inside the cell, I steeled myself and kicked the door as hard as possible. The sound of metal hitting hardly at another metal echoed loudly. The door didn’t budge.

I cursed at myself and kicked again. And again. And again. We could now hear someone quickly walking to our area. I tried one more time and gave up, the door just wouldn’t budge.

Coming up with one more idea, I gestured everyone to go to the sides. Whoever was coming was close now, the sound of footsteps getting louder by the second. I readied myself and waited.

A raider appeared and looked at the cell. I immediately acted.

Forehooves on the ground, using it to launch myself into the wall behind me. Hindlegs on the wall, using it to launch myself towards the raider. Once on the raider, I delivered a swift but hard blow to his face, knocking him out instantly.

Jewel whistled as she lit up the place again, “Nice move you got there, bro. Where’d ya learn that?”

“Got no idea,” I replied as I got back on my hooves. I noticed a handgun on the side of the raider and grabbed it, throwing it at Jewel, who caught it with her magic.

“There’ll be more here soon once they notice how long he’s taking to come back,” Autumn said, looking at the unconscious body. “So going to where he came from is out of the question.”

“This handgun doesn’t seem to be the best to fight them and we also have limited ammo,” Jewel sighed, “So what now?”

I walked back towards the metal door, “This door hasn’t received any attention yet from the outside so I can assume that there are hardly any raiders in this side.”

“But it’s locked and you can’t kick it open,” Amethyst pointed out.

Firmly planting my forehooves on the ground, I gave the door a weak kick, “Oh I can, I’m just testing it. Besides, what other choices do we have?”

Taking a deep breath and hoping for the best, I reared up my hind legs and kicked the door with everything I got. I felt the door and for a moment, I thought it wa really stuck. Then the door finally swung open. It revealed a staircase going up.

Another surge of pain coursed through my body and more blood forced itself out of my mouth. Everyone looked at me with a horrified look, worried about me.

“Let’s move before another one of them appears!” I yelled at them. We were running out of time to escape.



Jewel went up first as she had the gun. She was followed by Autumn, then Chara, and finally Amethyst. One last worried look at me before following the others. I coughed out a few more specks of blood and took a deep breath. I closed the door on my way out.

No gunshots so far, no battle cries heard yet. Just the sound of us walking up the stairs. I strained my ears to listen for any incoming raiders, some dialogue, a yell, but nothing. It was deathly silent.

This couldn’t be right, I thought to myself, The guard should be awake by now and looking for us.

I could also notice that Autumn is looking around, his ears twitching.

“I could see another door in front of us,” Jewel informed us, her voice low enough that only we(I assume) can hear it.

“Stop, let me go first,” I quickly walked passed by them until I was in front of Jewel. The door was a few inches away from my face. “Make sure you’re ready to shoot once I open this door.”

The door looked liked it was made out of wood. It could have been a beautiful door back then but now, it’s just a rotten piece of wood. I gently placed a hoof on the door and pushed it a bit. It moved with little resistance, squeaking softly as it did.

No reaction from the other side.

Steeling myself, I barged open the door and immediately stood still. I blinked once, twice, the amount of guns aimed at me stayed constant.

“Well, well, well, look what we got here,” a voice from the back spoke out with a mocking tone. “Surely you didn’t think that your escape would be easy now, did ya?”

I looked back and shook my head. Stay low, I try to tell them (telepathically), Just stay low and don’t move. Whether they actually knew what I doing or not, they seemed to understand what I was trying to say by looking at me.

“Hey now, the spotlight’s on me, not those dirty...ponies behind you,” the voice called out again, making me turn back to the mob before us. I took a deep breath and tried to think witty things.

“Yeah, yeah, what d’ya want now?” I mockingly asked. “Wait, could it be? You want my autograph?”

Most of them gave me a confused look, some chuckled, and I found myself standing face to face with the two-faced stallion. He gave me grin, a not-so-good grin.

“After all this years, you still have that smart-ass attitude.”

It was at this moment, I felt I was a different pony. I felt unusually calm despite the guns aimed at me. Words slowly formed in my mind and I said it with hesitation.

Maybe if you succeeded blowing me up, then instead of a smart-ass attitude, I’ll be giving you the silent treatment.”

The stallion smirked and shook his head. He faced his fellow raiders and said, “Can you believe this guy? Acting tough even though we all know he’s terrified of us deep down?”

Then he looked back at me, his face twisted in anger. Suddenly, a pistol was placed firmly at my head, the angry red aura surrounding it slightly burning me.

“Well friend, looks like thus is where you finally drop for good,” he sneered.

I heard a gasp and a growl behind me. I quickly closed the door with a back hoof, I had no intentions of getting them killed too.

“You think you can still save them?” He mockingly asked, “Once I’m done with you, I’ll have my fun with the rest...especially with those three mares.”

The ground slowly started to rumble. The raiders looked down in confusion while I let out a sigh.

About time.

Two raiders were suddenly dragged down into the ground, the sound of manly screams and bones being crushed followed. The rest panicked and backed away from the hole that formed. Two-Face also got distracted and looked behind him, lowering his guard. I took this chance seize control of the weapon that was t be my end and punched him a good few meters away.

Everyone else is now in a panic, torn whether to watch what come out of the hole or shoot at me. Sometimes, being dumb has their perks. To me, that is.

“W-What?! How did you-?” the shocked stallion looked at me in fear.

“Seize control of what was to be my demise? Magic,” I answered, feeling a smile creep into my face. “Though I understand why you’re confused.”

“I-Impossible!” He yelled out, “My magic is supreme! No one else can surpass my magical exper-”

A click and his face paled. The sudden turn of events left everyone in the room paralyzed.

What’s mine is yours.

“W-We can negotiate something! Tell me what you want and I’ll see what I can do!” The stallion desperately pleaded with me. His eyes looked at me and at the gun in quick succession.

“At least you have some common sense in that thick, egotistic skull of yours, eh?” The gun’s muzzle tapped his forehead. “What I want is simple.”

“W-What is it?”

“Let me and my friends go and never bother us again, yeah? Sounds simple enough, no?”

He hastily nodded his head and gestured his men to lower their guns. They did it reluctantly and most went to observe the large hole in their floor and the remains of their friends. Satisfied, I did one last warning tap on his forehead and turned around to get the others.

The door. Where’s the door?

“Even after all this years, you haven’t learned a thing about me. My magic is supreme.”

A strange sensation overwhelmed my body and I was suddenly lifted off the ground. The pistol, which I had complete control over it, has disappeared to Luna knows where.

“You aren’t a unicorn, are you? You’re mane may be big and messy enough to cover a horn but it only takes the touch of another unicorn’s magic to know…”

He turned me around and brought me closer until all I see is his terrible half-burnt face. Eyes that showed triumph, a smile that showed cockiness, and the fact he had barely any mane to cover his head made me question something.

“Where’s your horn?”

His smile turned into a scowl and he proceeded to slam me on the floor.

“Let’s just say a certain stallion thought thar cutting off a unicorn’s horn will make said unicorn not able to do normal unicorn things,” he answered as he continued to force me down on the floor.

“H-How…?” It was getting harder to breath each second.

“He was right on that thinking though, but he failed to realize that some unicorn are expertly trained with their magic and how to release in other ways other than the horn,” he explained, using an exaggerated tone. “Like me, for example.”

He proceeded to wipe me on the floor, the pressure never staying the same. I knew I’ll pass out soon if I can’t get out of his grip. In the nick of time, the ground shook once more. I felt the magical grip on me weaken as it’s user is distracted by the shaking.

And the ground next to the stallion erupted, sending out a cloud of dust and dirt into the air. As soon as the dust has cleared off, it revealed a pretty angry dog-looking creature. Sebastian was finally here.

Then another unexpected action happened. The sound of bullets being fired can be heard somewhere not within the room. Three green streaks of light shot out of the wall, striking a nearby raider in the torso; his death was quick. This was followed by a rectangular piece of the wall, where the lights came from, being ripped apart and then crushed together to form a really small ball.

What followed was the chaotic music of war. Bullets sprayed and either hit the wall, floor, or a body. The sound of sharp claws tearing into raiders, their screams loud and agonizing. The whimpers and cries of two mares, ones who doesn’t understand what’s happening and is too terrified to react. The stallion seemed to be getting angrier by the second as he watches the chaos happen.

“I am DONE with bullshit,” the stallion yelled out. He suddenly lifted me up into the air.

“Hey! Put me down!” I pathetically waved my limbs in an attempt to escape. As quick as it started, the fighting stopped. Five eyes were on me and it was making me uncomfortable.

“To all of you scums who thinks they can fight back against us, you’re wrong,” the stallion said in a booming voice. “Look at your saviour, powerless before us, before ME.”

“Now, I will show all of you scums what happens when you mess with me.”

A sharp pain radiated from my abdomen to the rest of my body. I can feel something sharp enter my body from the back. My body violently lurched backwards in pain. Blood begins to fill my mouth, the taste sickening.

I forced myself to look down and see what had entered through my back had exited from my stomach area. It was a metal pole, with its tip sharpened. It was quite fascinating actually to see this, at the same time, dreadful. I have been pierced with a sharp metal pole and also suffering from blood lose.

My vision blurred and I was feeling weak. I slowly looked around to find for them, the one I had cared enough to rescue. Their looks of shock and disbelief makes me feel guilty for letting them see them, their tears stabbing me again, this time in the heart. Yet I continue to look for somepony, a face I yearned to see one more time.


Chapter 16.5

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It was getting harder to cling on as I fade in and out of consciousness. My body hung limp, still being levitated. My breathing was slow and shallow, my body numb, and my blood slowly making a pool underneath me The metal pole has been cruelly left in my body, probably to make me suffer a bit more.

“Are you finally dead?” The stallion mockingly asked, shaking me a little. “Maybe you would like to give us a sign you’re still kicking, maybe a moan or something.”

I was too tired to barely do anything. All I could do was think.

What was I thinking? Why have I not seen this coming?

“You know, since you aren’t responding, I might as well move on to others who needs my attention,”

A gasp, a growl, a whimper, a pleading cry.

From what I could see from my blurred vision, Sebastian has been incapacitated and the group of 4 has been surrounded. Despite Sebastian’s strength, he was outnumbered. The group lacked gun power to take them down and the two unicorns seems to suffer a sudden amnesia on magic.

The raiders that surrounded the group made way for the stallion, who approaches them with a mean-looking bat. A sinister smile was plastered on his face.

“Well, look what we got here,” the stallion chuckled as he waved the bat in front of their faces. “It’s been a long time since I released my anger...so why not release with a satisfying splat?”

A sudden feeling of dread overwhelmed me.

“Let’s make this quick, shall we?” He pointed the bat at Autumn.

I struggled to move, even if it’s just a pathetic attempt to reach out to them.

He moved that bat towards Jewel. She glared at him.

With all what’s left of my strength, I tried to object. But all that came out was more blood.

Then he slowly moved it towards Amethyst. A barely audible whimper came out of her mouth.

“Looks like the lucky winner of this game is,” the stallion gleefully yelled out, raising the bat into the air. “You!”

As he swung the bat towards Chara, a sudden flash of blue blinded me. A loud crack ripped through the air and once more, I felt dread.

Soon, the blue light slowly faded away, which was followed by the manic laughter of the stallion. Not wanting to see the bloody sight once the light completely disappears, I concentrated on my outstretched foreleg. As I looked, I realized I can’t move my body, try as I might. That would explain why it was still outstretched.

I observed a faint blue aura around it.

“I knew it!” The sudden shout snapped me out of my thoughts. My eyes have violated my will and turned to look at the scene.

The bat has been broken and Chara looked okay, though she was pale and looked ready to faint. Blue arcs of energy surrounded her.

“You’re one of them aren’t you?” The stallion turned to face me, an insane smile in his face. “One of those things they have created, no?”

I opened my mouth to respond but only air came out.

“Don’t be so modest now,” he slowly lowered me. “I know a lot about your kind, from strength to durability. Come on now, speak.”

I stared blankly at him, my mouth open. Combined with the blood loss and my confusion, my mind couldn’t process what’s happening properly.

“Is that bar troubling you? Here, let me help you.”

. . .

With an effortless tug, he pulled it out and threw it at the floor beside him. He slowly circled around me, waiting for me to speak.

I was surprised to feel myself more alive than dead when the bar was removed. I was even more surprised that I was still alive despite all the blood loss.

“Wha...Wha are ya…” I tried to say. He stopped and looked at me.

“What am I talking about?” He gently patted my head. “Hmm, you must be a late learner then.

“I don’t know how long you’ve been staying here in Land 35 but basing on your confusion on this topic, you’ve stayed here for at most...5 days. Shame really, this topic really is interesting.

“The things I have referred to are known as the “Projects”, a group of ponies that were experimented on. These kinds of experiment usually involve science monstrosities and dark magic. That’s why they’re also called “Abominations”.

“They’re powerful...very powerful. Much more powerful than you, I must add. Their strength and endurance are far more superior than the measly normals. They also have special abilities, from being unnaturally quick to mighty tanks to even lethal spellcasting.

“Luckily for everyone here in Land 35, they are rare...super rare. Even so, encountering one of them means certain death. Unless...it’s me. I’ll have you know that I have killed 4 of those monstrosities...without breaking a sweat, I must add. That’s why I’m known as “Mad Scientist”...Mad because I fight them and scientist because I was one back then.”

He sighed as he finished his “interesting” talk, gently stroking my mane. He seemed calm, unusually so.

“I don’t know about you though, you’re so weak and much easier to deal with than the others,” he told me. “You could just be simply another me, a unicorn with no horn. I did say that there are some who knows how to channel their magic without the use of their horn. That must be why you’re still alive.”

“In fact, you may really be my old friend, Longshot.”

He chuckled for a while and let out a satisfied sigh. I looked at the group and they also have the same confused look as I do;. Two-Face seems to also have two personalities to compliment his looks. He then slowly moved my until all I could see was his face.

“You know, I have conflicted feeling about you,” he said in a low, serious voice. “I really want to kill you, to beat you into a pulp, and then feed you to my dogs.”

I gulped and slowly shook my head. My reaction only gained another laugh from him.

“But it’s been a long time since someone else came along and gave me meaning to my life. After the death of Longshot, assuming that he’s dead of course, I had nothing to do but just sit and stare and wait for something interesting to come into my life…”

He sighed before continuing, “I made up my mind, Longshot, I’m letting you and...some of your friends go. It will be like the good ol’ days, you and me just chasing each other around the beautiful wasteland.”

Suddenly, I found myself hitting the floor with a thud. Pain shot throughout my body, making me grit my teeth. Soon, I found myself surrounded by my friends and Chara, who looked down at me with worry.

“Oh wait, before you go, would you like to say something to your furry friend?”

And I was dragged towards Sebastian, Two-Face fixing me until I can see his face properly.

I gasped in surprise as I look at him. It was impossible for him to change in such a short time. His once steely look became one of defeat, the dirty white fur now bloodied, and when he looks at me…

“Sebastian...what happened?”

What have I done?

He gave me a weak smile, “Longshot...I am...sorry that I didn’t succeed.”

“No, no...I shouldn’t have made you done this,” I quickly told him. The amount of guilt I felt was enough to crush me. “I should’ve not gotten you involved, but I did. I risked your life over ponies you never knew...I’m so sorry.”

He shook his head before looking at me straight into my eyes, “Take care...Chara, take care of her. Seen her only once, when she’s small. 10 years ago...2 days before you died.”

He wasn’t thinking straight. There was a huge gash on the side of his head. He wasn’t thinking straight.

“Okay! Time’s up. Time to put this puppy to sleep.”

The grip around me suddenly tightened, making it impossible to move. The only thing I can do is watch in horror to the execution of Sebastian, a loyal friend till the end. Two-Face slowly walked behind him and placed a pistol on his head.

Sebastian smiled one last time and closed his eyes, “See you later...Old Friend”


I was paralyzed with disbelief as I felt the blood splatter all over me. My mind couldn’t believe it, my consciousness couldn’t believe it.

My friend is dead. All because of me.

“You might be wondering why I killed him,” Two-Face kicked the body away from him with disgust. “I faced his kind before, the… hellhounds, I think they’re called. Nasty fellas really, have the habit of spitting all over your face when talking.”

He slowly walked closer to me, which I assume is a habit of his towards his captives, “Look, buddy. I don’t just let you out of here free of any kind of trauma. I don’t want you to think that you’re free from me. Know that from this day onwards, you’re my prey. Killing him was the first step to making sure you wouldn’t get away from me and that you will know what you’re dealing with.

“Know that no amount of running will save you. No amount of guns will protect you. Nothing will help. I am the hunter, you are the prey, you cannot reverse the roles that have been set by me. Anyone with you will be in danger and you will be forced to walk alone. You are the weak, little prey and I’m the savage hunter, do understand?”

I stayed silent, forcing myself to look down. He noticed this and was obviously disappointed by my actions. With a sigh, he angrily pistol whipped me and forced me to look towards the group. Guns were aimed at them from everywhere. Lil’ pistol of Jewel is not likely to save anyone.

“Do you understand me?!” He yelled at me, threateningly pointing his pistol at them. “You better answer or you’ll be really alone!”

Any traces of defiance has disappeared and I knew he had broken into me, mentally and emotionally.

“Well? Removed freedom or isolation?” He asked one more time. Defeated, I looked up to him and said the only thing I can say.

“I understand...Please, let them go.”

With a satisfied smile, he looked at his men and nodded. Finally, all guns were holstered and all bladed weapons sheathed. This would be the last of the threats against us, for now.

“Good to see we finally reached an agreement, yes?” The stallion went back to his gentle attitude. “Now, how are you doing? I’m surprised you haven’t died yet after I impaled you. You lost a lot of blood too, I can see.”

Once more I lowered my head and felt the hole where the pole exited. It was still wet and it seems it’s still dripping with blood. I was beginning to feel tired and breathless. I just wanted this to be all over.

A loud click came from the PipBuck, which was followed by a long beep. Pain coursed throughout my body as my legs gave way, making me fall on the floor with a splat. Too tired, full of pain, and still bleeding out, I just had no will to get back up.

“Looks like whatever magic you were using to save yourself has its own limits,” the stallion clicked his tongue. “It would be a shame to see you go after we made such a deal.”

He tapped his hoof on the floor, “You, mare with a green cross, come here if you still want to save this friend of yours.”

“W-Why don’t you just do it yourself?” Came the defiant reply of Jewel, “You obviously still want him around...d-don’t you?”

The stallion chuckled, “Of course I want him around...as a prey. I can end him right here and right now if you wish it, he is in such a vulnerable state after all.”

“W-Wait! Fine, I’ll...follow you,” Jewel feeling defeated, gave in. I could hear her walk closer to both of us, though I wasn’t so sure if it were her hoofsteps or my own beating heart.

“Ah, attagirl, keep that attitude up and we may be best of friends in the near future,” the stallion once more chuckled. “Now, here’s a scroll that contains a magical spell that will temporarily fix him up, maybe just long enough for you to get him to a doctor or something. He may be knocked out unconscious though, just think of this spell as something like anesthesia...a strong one.”

He chuckled again (which was slowly getting into my nerves), “And Green Cross, stop trying to hide that accent of yours. It just doesn’t suit you.”

“Now, me and my men will be taking our leave. We all bid you a good and safe day and hopefully...we’ll meet again.”

A bright white light filled the entire room for a second or two before fading into nothingness. The room was now empty, save for a corpse and the rest of us.

“Okay, okay, don’t worry lil’ bro, I’ll get ya fixed,” Jewel said after a few moments of silence.

“Father? Father, are you still with us?” A pleading voice asked me. “Please talk to me, father, please tell me you’re still with me…”

That voice triggered something within my mind...not my mind, but another consciousness. It isn’t mine but I feel like it belongs to me.

Despite the pain and the fact I’m really, really out of blood, my body still tried to look at her, the mare that grew up an orphan.

Another conscience, another mind.

“Chara, I’m so sorry.”

And then I blacked out.

I was staring at a wall, blinking only seldomly. The room I was in was dark, the windows being shut and covered by curtains and the door locked. The atmosphere was bleak, life had so little meaning to me at this point.

“With so many casualties on both sides due to the ongoing war, every pony and zebra is worried if they will ever get to see their loved ones again. This war has caused so many unnecessary deaths and-”

The radio continues to talk about the war. It was the only thing with me at the moment. I let out a heavy sigh, doing nothing else other than sitting on the bed and staring at the wall.

“Why do you look so down, my son?” A voice so soothing and familiar spoke out, which was followed by the comforting embrace, “Why do you look like the world has brought down a huge burden on you.”

“I...I don’t know, mother,” I replied, feeling a tear gently streaking down my face. “I don’t even understand what’s happening anymore.”

“Why are you here alone?” She asked, “Where are your friends? Your father?”

“I...don’t know either…” I struggled not to cry, “Dad...he just told me he had to go. Why did he have to go? To the war? He knows what’s happening out there but why did he still agree to go?”

“Oh, my poor colt, thinking so much already,” she tightened her embrace. “Sacrifice, your father loves you so much to sacrifice his life for you. It may not make sense for you but in time, you’ll see why. Why he did all of those things to you...for your sake. He loves you no matter what, never forget that. He always wanted to you to have a good, if not the best, and comfortable life.”

She was right. His actions still confuses me and it caused a lot of conflict within me. But I know he doesn’t act without a good reason. With this in mind, I trusted every word she said.

“Mom...what about you?”

There was silence for a few seconds before she answered.

“I never left you, my young one, and I will never so even if time ends. A mother’s love will stay with her children forever, no matter what happens. My son, if you ever feel down and the world is against you, know that I will be forever by your side, guiding you and protecting you.

I love you so much, and I hope you will not hate me for my actions…”

“I love you too, mom,” I placed my foreleg on my chest, on where I felt her comforting embrace. The tears have now been freely falling down.

A whisper, her final words to me, before she sings me to sleep.

“A mother’s love never leaves her children.”


A long beep and a click.

“Vital signs stabilized. Subject --- ‘s condition acceptable.”

Once more, I opened my eyes to see the grayish ceiling of what I presume is medical facility. Trying to move my body further showed that I was restrained again.

“Eclipse, can you hear me?”

I sighed and nodded my head.

“Can...you speak?”

“I guess…”

He sighed in relief, “Then I guess that operation went just fine without any negative consequences. Thank Celestia your friends brought you here in time.”

“We were...lucky,” I muttered. “How are they?”

“They’re fine, physically speaking, just a few cuts and bruises here and there,” the doctor replied. “They’re undergoing psychological examination right now, to see if their mind still has their marbles.”

He let out a soft chuckle, “Though to begin with, we’re not even sure about their mind yet. Guess we have to hear their backstory before we can judge.”

I just nodded and moved my limbs a bit, “Doc, why am I restrained again?”

He took a deep breathe, “Well...When your friends brought you here, you were screaming, moving as if you’re trying to get away from something, though you were restrained by magic.

“It took Amethyst and your unicorn friend to hold you...barely. It seems your magic has gone haywire once more, though in a much more chaotic way. That’s why when you were brought here, we had to restrain you as fast as possible. Amazingly, you nearly took me out in your sleep.”

I sighed and closed my eyes, “Sorry ‘bout that, Doc. So, how am I now? And have they found out what’s new about me?”

He chuckled and proceeded to remove the restraints, “You’re fine. It seems your body is stronger than it looks. And about your secret,not really. It’s still me and the team here that knows about it.”

I sat up and stretched, my muscles a bit stiff for not moving for…

“Hey Doc, how long was I out?”

“Two days. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything important,” he replied. “Your friends should be in...the main tower. I believe they’re done with their check-ups by now.”

I looked at Doc and at my hooves. I debated whether I should get out and go see my friends or if I should stay and talk with Doc. In the end, I chose to lie back down and closed my eyes.

“Hey, Eclipse, you feeling weird?” Doc asked me, sounding worried.

“I’m just...going back to sleep,” I replied.

“Oh no...Oh no, Eclipse, don’t go to sleep now!” I could hear clicks and beeps as he started shaking me. “I knew this would happen, wake up!”

I opened one eye and looked at him, “What are you talking about?”

His look of worry slowly turned into relief, “Oh, uhm...Well, you see, your body is also unstable. Those metal things on your body isn’t just for show, it’s some sort of life support and they’re very rusty.”

I gave him a confused look but I still nodded. It did make sense though, as it’s been on me this whole time.

“Uh, okay, basing on how you’re looking at me, you have no idea what i just said, huh?” He sighed and rubbed his muzzle. “Okay, now listen closely. When you first arrived here, I was wondering what those things on your body were. I didn’t have enough time to study you so I assumed it was just your armor or something familiar.”

A few more clicks and then he showed me a screen. It displayed a stallions body with the same metal parts on the same area as mine. Could be me.

“Now since I had more time to study you, I’ve discovered something extra-ordinary,” He pointed at the metal parts, “This are pre-war life-support systems made for the soldiers back then, so that when they’re heavily injured, they can go to the nearest medic with a high chance of surviving. Hell, if they want to, they can fight until they’re really dead.”

He tapped the screen, “Well, unfortunately, they proved to be short-lived. Once they’re damaged, it’ll have to be replaced. And with the resources being scarce, this was not favored and so, the project was dropped. Also…”

After a few taps, the life-support exploded, leaving only a few pieces of roasted stallion left.

“Should the technology be used despite the damage on it, then you could say the user has turned into a ticking time-bomb. And, and amazingly, yours have suffered so much damage yet it still hasn’t failed or exploded yet!” Doc laughed for a while before continuing, “But there’s no need to worry now, my boy! I replaced most of the out-dated technology with newer and more efficient ones. I’ve also fixed up all of the broken parts.”

He continued to talk about the improvements he made to it and how he made it much more protective of the areas it covered, especially my back. He also asked question on how I have it or why I have it, to which I answered that I had no idea to both. Finally, he finished what he needed to say and allowed me to sleep, though he said he’ll keep an eye on my vital signs to which I still had no idea why.

Another day passed with me still at the clinic and I finally decided to get out to see the others. After some final check-ups, I was finally let go. Finding them wasn’t hard as they were in the main tower, even after three days.

During my ride in the elevator, I checked myself in the mirror, which was placed there for some reason. Maybe it was placed there for or by Larynx, he seemed to like to look at himself in most reflective surfaces.

I haven’t realized what a mess my mane was.

Finally, the elevator has reached its destination and I knocked on the door. It took some time before someone opened it for me, some stallion I had never seen before. He looked at me with a questioning look.

“What do you want?” He asked me, his voice really deep that it actually intimidates. Must be some guard.

“I’m here to see...Larynx,” I told him.

“You got an appointment?” He asked again, with more gruff in his voice.

“Uh, no...but-”

He slammed the door on my face. I stumbled back a bit and rubbed my muzzle, before looking at where I stopped and realized how lucky I was not to fall.

The door opened again to reveal his face once more, though he was smiling.

“You gonna go in or what?” He asked me, his tone as serious as ever.

I glared at him, “Well, may I?”

He stepped out of the way, indicating I was free to enter. I quickly went in, expecting him to close the door in my face again. Luckily, he did not do such monstrosities. He lead me into the lobby and told me to take a seat.

“So, you want to meet Larynx, huh?” A pen and a paper floated next to him.

“Yes, so can I go see him?”

He wrote something before giving it to me. I sighed and grabbed it, hoping it was not a “No”. Instead, it read,

“Welcome back, Eclipse. You’re looking at him.”

I looked back at the stallion, who is now Larynx with a mask on his head, the mask lifted up.

“So, from a scale of one to ten, rate my acting skills,” he told me. He had this big dumb grin on his face.

“One,” I said before getting up and walked to his face. With a smirk, I knocked him down with a gentle punch to the snout.

“Owww!” He groaned in pain as he rubbed his muzzle, “Why would you do that to me?”

“That’s for nearly killing back there,” I told him before gently kicking his side, “And quit whinin’, will ya? It was just a soft punch.”

“But with all that metal, it might as well been a really hard punch!” He whined, rolling around in pain. I shook and my head and smiled, debating if I should continue my torment or help him up.

But before I could do anything, I was tackled to the ground by somebody. But I didn’t have to look at my attacker to know who it is, the smell was enough for me to identify.

“Damnit, Amethyst, can’t you just greet me like any other pony?” I scolded her. Her grip on me only tightened.

“I’m no other pony, silly!” She replied happily, “I missed you so much.”

“Hey now, remember where our relationship stands,” I told her, squirming, trying to get out of her grip.

“Yeah, yeah, just friends. I know,” she answered, finally loosening her grip on me. Her stare remained at me though.

“Hey, hurt stallion over here, can you please shift your attention to your brother?” Larynx yelled out.

Amethyst got up and lifted me and Larynx into the air, “You barely even have a bruise.”

Larynx just crossed his forelegs. That proved to be an inappropriate gesture, as Amethyst let him go as soon as he did that. He immediately went back to rolling in the ground in pain.

“So, can you let me down now?” I asked before quickly adding, “Properly, please?”

And she did just that, properly putting me back on my hooves. I sighed and looked at Amethyst before giving her a quick hug. She was surprised, of course, but then she closed her eyes and returned it.

“Say, you haven’t seen the other three ponies now, have you?” I asked her once I broke up the hug.

“Oh, uh, yes!” She replied after some thinking, “I believe they’re sleeping in the temporary room we set up. It’s kinda late anyways, I think.”

I nodded, “I presume they’re fine?”

“Yep, I think.”

“And how about you?”

She blinked once or twice before replying, “I’m fine, I guess? Well, I feel fine…”

“Something wrong?” I looked at her worriedly. If I remember what she said, it was her first time facing the Wasteland.

“Can...can we talk back in my room?” She asked, looking down at the ground. “I don’t feel comfortable talking in here.”

“Uh, sure. Let’s go.”

Before we walked to her room, Amethyst finally and properly helped Larynx get up. He seemed tired, probably because of how much he rolled. He shook his head and looked at me then at Amethyst.

“Amethyst,” he said in a serious tone. Her body seemed to freeze, her eyes wide in fear.


“Make sure you close the door, ok?” He said before breaking into laughter, “You don’t want to repeat the duo’s mistake now, do ya?”

Larynx never seen that attack coming.

Chapter 17: A Talk

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I was sitting on the same chair I sat on the last time I was in Amethyst’s room. I was already feeling uncomfortable staying there as soon as I looked at the bed. Sitting across me was Amethyst. She seemed as uncomfortable as me, though there’s also a hint of worry somewhere in her eyes.

“So, what was it you wanted to talk about?” I finally broke the silence.

“So, uhm, I was thinking of what you told about yourself and…” she bit her lower lip.

“You told the Larynx and the others?” I asked her, tilting my head to the side.

“N-No! I mean, not yet anyways…” She quickly replied before looking at the door then back at me. “Would it be okay though?”

“Amethyst, I’m not really sure about what I told you is actually true. So it’s best not to tell them until I’m really sure about my story, okay?” I told her, to which she merely nodded her head.

“That wasn’t what you wanted to talk about it, was it?”

Her ears splayed sideways and she shook her head.

I sighed, “So, what is it really?”

She closed her eyes and took a deep breathe before she said, “I’m really worried about you…”

I just stared at her. She opened her eyes and looked back at me after a few seconds of silence. She began chewing the inside of her cheek after a few more seconds.

“Why…?” I finally asked her.

“Why? Why?” She looked at me in disbelief, “Eclipse, have you heard what that stallion said to you? About how he’ll hunt you down and nothing will stand in his way?”

“Amethyst, I’ll be-”

“No! Don’t tell me you’ll be fine! Don’t tell me that!” She yelled at me. After a few seconds, she quickly withdraw from me and look down, “I-I’m sorry...I didn’t mean to yell at you like that.”

I tapped the table to direct her attention back to me, “It’s okay, I understand why you feel like this. But I can assure you, I’m the least of your problems.”

“What do you mean?” She hesitantly asked.

“I mean that I shouldn’t be your main focus of worry, Amethyst,” I told her. “You have much more to worry about, much more important things than me.”

“B-But what about--?”

I quickly interrupted her, “Amethyst, I am nobody special, just another Wasteland resident.”

Once more, her ears flattened backwards and she looked down at the table. She muttered out, “You’re special to me…”

I sighed and let my foreleg guide her face to look back at me, “I must have really done something to make you feel like this in just a few days, huh?”

She slowly reached out for my foreleg and held it tightly, “I always feel like I’m safe when I’m with you...that I can trust you with my life anytime. And, you proved it when you risked your life for...the four of us.”

She let out a small chuckle and sighed, “Do I sound too cliché?”

I nodded my head and smiled, “The way you started was already cliché to begin with.”

“Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that...I greatly value our friendship, Eclipse,” Amethyst closed her eyes once more and tightened her grip on me, “And I...I don’t know what I’ll do without you. We may be together for a few days but I can’t help but to feel this way.”

Tears were starting to appear at the edges of Amethyst’s eyes, followed by her sobbing. Though I understood everything she said, my mind had to process it a million times. Instinctively, I closed the distance between us with a warm embrace, which she immediately returned.

“Please take care of yourself,” she whispered.

“I will,” I answered before breaking the embrace. I looked at her and wiped the tears off her face.

“Now, go to sleep, Amethyst. It’s pretty late and you must be really tired today,” I told her before gently kissing her on the forehead, which made her body stiffen for a moment. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

I slowly removed my forelegs from her grip and got up from the chair. I gave her one last smile before I made my way for the door.

“Uhm, that kiss...W-Was there an intention behind it?” Amethyst quietly asked before I managed to open the door. “I-I-I don’t mean to imply that you're implying that...ngh…”

“I kissed you with the intention of making you feel safe,” I answered as I opened the door. Looking back at her, I included, “This has nothing to do with romance, if you’re wondering. We’re still just friends, one reason being that we have been together for just a few days.”

For a moment, she deadpanned. Then after what I said kicked, she gave a sheepish smile as her face slowly turned red. She stammered out, “R-Right, just friends!”

I just shook my head as I stepped outside of the room.

“See you in the morning.”

Sitting in the lobby area, I wasted my time reading the old books and magazines they had. Interestingly, there were some magazines that had...questionable topics, not to mention some of the pictures it included. Like what anypony (more specifically, any stallion) would have done, I looked around and picked one up.

Everything you need to know about:

Pony Anatomy

I was soon immersed in reading that I haven’t notice a certain pony sit next to me.

“Enjoying what you read, Eclipse?”

With a yelp, I immediately closed the book. I looked to my side and found Doc silently chuckling. Regaining my composure, I cleared my throat and placed the book down.

“Uh, hey Doc,” I greeted him. “What are you doing here?”

He placed a saddlebag on a nearby table, “I’m here to give your things back. I’m surprised to hear from Larynx that you and his sister ganged up on him, is that true?”

I smiled at the memory, “Well, I guess he deserved it. But I doubt we hurt him that much, there was barely a bruise on him after the supposed attack.”

Doc nodded, “I see. Well, it seems that Larynx still has hope he can be an actor.”

“He has the potential, I suppose,” I told him. Again, he just nodded.

“Anyways, here’s your things,” he opened the bag and started placing things on top of the table, “The armored up Stable suit, a modified revolver, a statuette, and an old looking fedora hat and trench coat.”

I looked at the things the placed, relieved to see them in good shape. I grabbed the statuette first, studying it before hugging it like a foal receiving a toy for the first time.

“You seem pretty happy to have that,” Doc mentioned, having an amused look on his face.

“You have no idea,” I told him, giving the statuette another look. “I really missed having this with me, it somewhat gives out a calming effect.”

“I see what you mean,” Doc then looked at the revolver. “How about this gun? How do you feel about it?”

I stared at it, “Well, it give me a sense of safety, of course. But I can’t help but to feel this weapon was made...for me. It was the first one I found and used and it stuck through with me for a long time.”

He nodded, seemingly thinking about what I said, “What about the stable suit and the old clothes?”

“The stable suit is a somewhat painful memory, but the old clothes...I only used those recently, before I arrived here.” I answered, studying the articles of clothing. Somehow, after all this time, somewhere in my mind tells me that ponies wearing clothes just doesn’t seem to make sense.

“Ah, I see,” Doc said, nodding his head again. “Now that we have gotten those thing out of the way, would it be okay if I were to ask you a question?”

“Uh, sure thing, Doc,” I told him after some hesitation.

“How are you, and uhm, Amethyst?”

I sighed and placed the small pink pony back at the table, “We’re fine, I guess. You’re the doctor, tell me, is there something wrong?”

He looked at Amethyst’s room then back at me, “Well, I just want to know if she’s alright. It was her first time out there, you know? And if she is hurt, then Larynx would stir up a storm...and you wouldn’t want to see that, I’m telling you.”

I scratched the back of my head and thought, Well, was there anything wrong with her?

“Can’t be sure, Doc, but she seemed a bit too attached to me after that trip,” I told him, smiling a bit, “Though I reckon she’d be fine, if not mentally scarred from what she seen...out there.”

“What happened out there?” Doc asked, ears perked up.

“None of the ponies I brought back with me told you?” I asked back. Usually, the saved ones told what happened to the audience about what happened if the savior has been killed or in critical condition. That could be just my thinking though.

“They...did, though I found it unbelievable. You met face-to-face with one of the most viscous raiders in the wasteland, got impaled but survived, and still managed to make it here. Not to mention the fact that you got Chara back and...the death of Sebastian.”

A mixture of sorrow, amazement, and joy came across his face. I sighed and keep my eyes on the statuette.

Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it.

An uncomfortable silence has lingered in the air. The once cozy lobby has turned too cold to my skin and the comfortable chair I sat on turned too hard for my rump. After a few more unbearable minutes, I turned to Doc and asked him something.

“Got some apple cider?”

With that, Doc was jolted out of whatever world he was in. He looked at me, then after a moment of what looked like he was thinking, he shook his head and let out a chuckle.

“Some? We got plenty!” He answered, which he followed with more laughter. “Ever since we got that Apple project going, with the help of a Stable, we can rest easy knowing we have something to drink in an event!”

I can feel my mouth watering. Without wasting anymore time, I popped the question, “So, shall we grab a drink?”

With an eager nod similar to a young colt, he answered, “You don’t even need to ask me that question.”

Packing all my things in one saddlebag as fast as I can, I followed Doc out of the door and to where cider awaits us.




Keeping my eyes on my book, I yelled out, “The door’s open!”

It was another winter in Equestria, just another normal day as any other. Even if there was a war raging, and it’s fire is getting fiercer everyday, a lot of folks like to act as if everything was fine. Including me, of course.

Reading a book inside a cozy room in an apartment during winter was the way to go.




“I said, the door is open!” I yelled out again, starting to get annoyed. The book in question was a great one, something similar to Daring Do. I wouldn’t dare take my eyes off it lest I forget which part I currently am.




I slammed my head on the table and sighed, trying not to yell at whoever is knocking on my door. The last time I did that, I nearly got kicked out for being “rude” to the land-mare. In my defense, who on their right mind would keep on knocking at the dead of the night?

“All right, all right! I’m coming, sheesh...” I told the door. With some reluctance, I turned the chair (It was a swivel chair, mind you) to face the door and got up, only for a familiar orange mare burst into my room.

“Hi-Hiiiya cuz~!” She slurred out, walking a bit around my room while trying not to tip over. The only thing I managed to do was to look at her in bewilderment.

“Wha-What on Equestria are you doing here?!” I demanded. “And where you drinking?”

“Why-hic-why are ya askin me all these question?” She whined as she put on a puppy face, “Aren’t...aren’t ya happy t’see me?”

“Well, Ah’ll be happier t’see ya if ya told me earlier that you’ll be comin,” I answered her, imitating her accent.

She walked around a bit until she discovered my bed. She plop down on it with a happy sigh, “Ah...ah thought ah did-hic-”

I sighed and sat back on the chair, rubbing the side of my head. She did and I received it. I was expecting her to come for sometime now but not in this state. Her mane looked like a tornado passed by it, there were dark and huge shadows beneath her eyes...and it looked like she was crying for some time.

“Hey, what have you been drinking?” I asked her.

“Sweet...sweet apple cider…” she mumbled, hugging a nearby pillow.

“I thought apple cider can’t make you drunk,” I pointed out.

She giggled a bit, “Th’softies don’t...but it’s the-hic-th’hardies ya wanna...look for.”

I was beginning to worry, “Hey, you still with me? This is out of character for you...very out of character. What’s wrong?"

“What’s...what’s wrong?” She got up and faced me with a smile, “No-nothin’s wrong, other than that blasted-hic-war!”

She threw an imaginary something and plop back down on the bed. I was glad she didn’t threw the pillow, it was my favorite.

I sighed again and proceeded to continue reading my book. She might as well sleep and get over the effects of being drunk anyways. I’m aware that she’s acting so unusual but it’s better to talk to her once she’s sober.

“Hey...aren’t ya...goin t’ask me more questions?” She whined again, looking at me. “Ah thought...ah thought you-hic-cared about...me?”

“Why do you think I’m single after all this years?” I told her, a stupid grin on my face.

“Because yer socially awkward?”

I took a deep breath and closed the book. Well, she got me there.

“Well, yeah. The only mares I’ve talked to is you six, comfortably that is,” I agreed. “So, now you’ve got my attention, how are you?”

“Whyy...why don’t ya just try -hic- try hittin on one of us?” She blabbered out, letting out another giggle. “Ah mean, Rare...that white unicorn looks sexy~”

“Okay, you just made this whole meeting awkward,” I had to battle the thought that came to mind, “And no, I wouldn’t try to start some relationship with one of you six...especially in this time.”

She continued laughing like a little foal.

I cleared my throat, hoping to get her attention, “Anyways, speaking of you six...how are your friends? It’s been a long time since I...actually talked to them face-to-face.”

“F-Friends? Mah friends?” Her giggle slowly faded as a far-away look took place in her eyes. “Our...friendship...friends...war…”

“Hmm? You’re not making sense,” I leaned in closer. She looked at me, her eyes moist and filled with pain.

“Cuz, ah have a feelin that our friends...aren’t exactly friends anymore,” she slowly told me.

“What do you mean?” I asked her, “You six have been best friends for a hell of a time now, what happened?”

She sighed heavily and started to explain, “Pinkie’s addicted t’some mints and Twi’s takin her addiction seriously. Fluttershy’s been...under heavy fire after some...mishaps. Rarity’s been t’busy with her work, same goes for Twi. Ah’m not sure about Dash though….All too busy or holding grudges against each other t'have a nice and proper...friendly meeting.”

She hiccuped once more and closed her eyes, “This war...has been affectin lot’s of us, cuz. Ah just wanna...close mah eyes and hope this is all just some bad dream…”

I shook my head in disbelief, “You six have been through together for a long time now. You all have faced many challenges together and still through with each other. This war shouldn’t be different from the other challenges you girls faced. Especially in times like this, friendship should be maintained."

“Hah...ya do care about me…” she smiled.

“Yes, yes I do care about my lil’ cousin,” I agreed. “Now, since you’re here and still pretty...out of your mind, go to sleep. Tomorrow morning, I’m making sure you have a little talk with your group of friends, that is, if you manage to wake up.”

“Why...can’t ya just...can’t ya come with...me...” She mumbled out as she slowly drifted to sleep. Shaking my head, I waited for a few minutes before getting out of the chair to put a blanket over her. Carefully, I reached down under the bed and grabbed one of my drinks, Sunset Sarsparilla.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, this problem is up to you six to fix,” I quietly answered, waiting for a response from her. Only thing I got was a snore, which made me sigh in relief. Removing the cap and sitting back on my chair, I took a sip as I opened a drawer. Inside was rolled-up blueprint, a letter from the Crusaders, and writing materials.

“Besides, I have my own problems to take care of.”

I looked at the bottle of cider, just woken up by some noise. The dream was somewhat fresh in my mind. I furrowed my eyebrows, thinking hard. Was it a memory? Or was it just really another dream? It seemed familiar, yet, I don’t feel like it belonged to me. Conflicted feeling arise as I continue to think, trying to remember the other dreams. But slowly, just like any other dream, it fades away no matter how much I tried to remember it.

Who am I and why am I here?

Chapter 18: Another Day

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I stared at the ceiling, trying to remember last night’s events. I remember Doc including Fortis, Red, Selena, and a few more ponies whose names I don’t remember. Apparently, Larynx heard about our drinking meeting and...well, he joined us in our happy hour. The massive headache I was experiencing wasn’t helping me remember anything else though. Whatever was on those apple cider packed quite a punch.

After a while, I tried to move, only to realize that one of my forelegs have been pinned down by something...soft but heavy. Another moment passed and I tried moving again, only to be stopped by my pinned foreleg (again) and something wrapped around my body.

What in...damn apple cider.

I sighed and finally decided to turn my head into one side. A familiar table and chair came into view. Any sign of drowsiness instantly vanished, my eyes opening wide and I swore I felt myself slowly feeling much. Much. Warmer.

OH sweet Luna, tell me this is not happening...again.

I tried to move my pinned foreleg again, just to see if I even can. I wasn’t able to move it...and it resulted with a small groan from that side. The sudden revelation that I wasn’t alone in a quite familiar room sent shivers up my spine.

Sighing, I mentally prepared myself before I turned my face to the other side. The (sweet and) familiar face of Amethyst comes into view, followed by that recognizable lavender scent (I wonder where she gets that smell) I have somewhat enjoyed smelling...much to my shame. A million thoughts popped into my mind on how to handle this situation, only to be interrupted by her saying something.

“Mr...Mr. Snuggle Cuddles….where are you?” She muttered, squeezing me in the process. It was hard for me not to snicker. Finally, one idea became the brightest of them all.

“Mr. Snuggle Cuddles is here, my dear,” I whispered in her ear, a stupid grin plastered on my face. “What’s the matter?”

“I’m...I’m scared,” she replied to her imaginary friend, or me. “Scared of them.”

“Who, my dear?” I asked her. Maybe by taking advantage of this opportunity, I can understand what I saw from her the memory.

“The ponies who….” she tightened her once gentle grip to a death grip, “Took everything away from me.”

“It’s. Okay.” I said through gritted teeth. “Canyoupleasestopsqueezingmesotight”

She responded, now just hugging me as if I’m some huggable toy (which I may be). There was still a worried look on her face. Whatever dream she was experiencing...involving Mr. Snuggle Cuddles and her, must be really deep.

“As I was saying, it will be okay,” I told her. “I won’t let anything involving them happen to you.”

She let out a happy sigh and she went back to smiling in her sleep. She also moved her head off my foreleg, which gave said leg a good needed relief, only to transfer the uncomfortable pressure on my chest. How she knows where it is, I’ll never know, but by doing such act, what had been fun turned to awkwardness.

I gently shook her, “Uhm, Amethyst, wake up.”

She groaned, “Five more minutes…”

I sighed and tried to make myself as comfortable as the situation allowed me to be. I went back to thinking about everything that happened so far. As far as I know, close to two weeks has passed, most my time being spent either knocked out or relaxing. I have unintentionally made a group on the way, adopted two fillies, and now, I’m on a bed with a mare. You could say things have escalated way too quickly.

Being lost on my thoughts, I haven’t noticed that I started stroking her mane. It was smooth though, so it was worth it. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by the door being kicked open.

“RISE AAAAAaaaand…” Larynx yelled out before his voice trailed. His eyes went wide as he continued to look at us. “...shine.”

I looked at Amethyst and saw that she’s awake, staring back at Larynx with wide eyes. I was also suddenly aware at the sudden increase of pressure around my body.

“Come on Eclipse, that’s my sister you're sleeping with!” He said, defeatedly pointing a hoof at me, “The first time was funny and obviously a misunderstanding but the second time gives off the wrong signals.”

“I-I-I can explain!” Amethyst stuttered, raising her head off my chest.

“You...can explain later,” Larynx replied, shaking his head. “I’m just going to...leave both of you alone in the meantime. You know where to find me.”

He turned back and closed the door. Silence filled the room for a few minutes before Amethyst plopped her head back on my chest.

“Can you please kill me now…” Amethyst muttered. “Actually, just hold me. I don’t want to leave this room right now…or ever again.”

“So, how are you going to explain this?” I asked her.

She groaned and lightly bopped her head on my chest, “I don’t know...I just hoped we haven’t done anything regrettable in this room last night.”

“So, hugging me isn’t regrettable?” I questioned, a small smile creeping into my face.

“Can...can you just be quiet for a few moments and be my pillow?” She told me gruffly. She moved her head a bit, trying to get comfortable, before taking a sniff.

“Ok, so I haven’t exactly washed myself ever since I arrived at the wasteland but I’m not that smelly,” I told her, maybe a bit hurt, before proceeding to sniff myself.

“No, no, uhm…” she sniffed a few more times. “Is that...Did you drink apple cider?”

“I did, why?” I replied, slightly confused.

She immediately lift herself up and looked at me, “How many?”


Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. She sat up and covered her face, “Oh no...Eclipse, you drank so much cider!”

I merely blinked and looked at her, confused, “What’s wrong about that?”

“Eclipse, those were hard cider!” She replied before she started to examine herself, “I-I-I-HELP ME OUT HERE!”

Alcohol, bed, and a mare aren’t good things to hear or see in the morning when you too are involved in it. Sitting up, I grabbed her shoulders firmly and started shaking her, “Calm down, Amethyst! Panic is not going to help us in this situation. Perish the thought that we’ve done anything unspeakable in this bed!”

A few shakes was enough to calm her down to a much more rational level. She took heavy breaths, trying to control her breathing.

“Do...Do you remember anything last night?” She asked me worriedly, avoiding eye contact.

“I don’t…” I replied, before quickly adding, “But I can assure you that the worst we have done here is cuddle! Nothing more, hopefully less!”

She seemed to accept my answer, though reluctantly. After a few more controlled breaths, she exhaled and plopped back to her bed. I merely shook my head and stretched my limbs, undergoing the natural process of waking up after waking up. A little cracks here and there and I was finally ready to tackle the wasteland once more, that is, if I wanted to anyways.

I did a little look around the room, most specifically the table, and spotted my good ol’ saddlebag just on top of it. I slowly slid off the bed, as to not to disturb the mare, and walked my way towards it. I examined the bag, trying to spot anything out of the ordinary. Nope, it was the same bag I got when I left Ponyville. I proceeded to open it and searched for something. After a few minutes of inspecting every object I had (which wasn’t much), I settled with the heavily modified Stable suit and my revolver.

I should probably get better gear when I have the chance, I thought to myself as I inspected the items. I slipped into the suit, which was a bit tricky considering the modifications made on it, and stretched in it. It took a couple stretches before it finally felt comfortable to move in it. I then grabbed the handgun and placed it on the holster the suit had, a pretty nifty thing to have when you’re an Earth pony.

“You look ready to start the day off,” I turned around to see the mare looking at me, lying at her side.

“Well, how do I look?” I asked her. She studied me with a critical eye, as if she’s actually taking my question seriously. I gulped and nervously smiled, waiting for her answer.

“You look as good as the first day you came here,” she looked back at me and smiled. “Which means, not really. If it's any consolation, you still are pleasing to look at though.”

“Thank you, I guess,” I replied, not sure what to take of it. “If it’s fine with you, I’ll go to the lobby.”

She scrunched her nose before shaking her head and smiling once more at me, “It’s...fine. I can’t really tell you what to do anyways. Besides, I still have to stay here until I find a good reason to tell my brother.”

I nodded and smiled back, “See you around then. Take care, Amethyst.”

“--around the wastelands. Heh, it looks like ever since the mare from the stable appeared, a lot has suddenly happened, not only on the capital, but also in the surrounding areas. With all this commotion, I recommend everyone to stay alert and--”

The mare from the radio continued to talk about safety tips and what to do out in the wastes. Listening to the news, I flipped another page of a book (Thing you need to know: etc.). I was apparently under informed, maybe due to the fact I have rarely tried using the radio function of the PipBuck.

“Hey, Eclipse, there you are!” I looked up to see Larynx approaching me, his eyes still struggling to look at mine. “You know, for a moment, I thought you left this place.”

“And what? Leave the safety of Lux and suffer out there?” I firmly shook my head and let out a snort. “You wish, I’d rather stay here and live.”

He gave me an uneasy grin as he rubbed the back of his head, “Yeah, I suppose that’s a...valid reason to stay here, eheh...you know, with what you’ve gone through in the wastelands..”

I sighed and placed the book back to its place, “It is a good choice, isn’t it? No more getting hurt out there...no more sufferings to see.”

“Hey, I recognize that radio. Are you listening to her?” He asked me, changing the subject. “The legendary mare from the capital. The one, and only, DJ-Pon3.”

“You seem to know something about her,” I told him as he took a chair near me.

“Of course I know who I’m talking about, you dingus. In the wasteland, you have to know who you are listening to,” he replied. “See if whoever’s talking is a reliable source of news or actually worth listening. Not to mention the music they play during breaks.”

“So, there’s more speakers other than you and this mare, huh?” I asked him, to which he simply nodded. “Then how come she speaks about what happens in the Wasteland while you speak of just Land 35? Or whatever the name of this place is.”

“You must be pretty forgetful, huh? I told you this things yesterday.” He chuckled and pointed to my PipBuck, “Let me tell you again, the wasteland is pretty big, Eclipse, one mare can’t cover it all. She knows that, the folks in the wasteland knows that. And so, they created a...pact, I think? Not really sure, this was a long time ago.

“Anyways, they agreed that the mare, or PON-3, will deal with the whole of the wasteland, though it’ll only be general information. She won’t go into the specifics of events that will happen out there, unless it happens in the Capital, that’s where the others come in. Speakers will be placed in different areas where they will talk about everything about that area. Like, everything, to the smallest detail. That way, you can listen to what hot stuff is happening out in the wasteland and you can listen to everything that’s happening in your area. Pretty neat, huh?”

It was hard keeping up with what he said but it wasn’t impossible. It took me a good few minutes to process and and analyze and I was good to go. And also ask a few questions.

“Wait, you said this was a long time ago, right? Then DJ PON-3 should be, uh, dead if this was like a, uh, really long time?” I asked him.

“Well, I’m pretty sure the original is dead. But that doesn’t mean she any successors,” he replied. “Each successor keeps the title of the main mare and I think there’s some magic involve to make sure they speak like the original when they are heard from the radio. That’s what they told me, anyways.”

I slowly nodded, “So, who’s the new one? Does she, if it’s a she, has a name?”

He shook his head, “I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. For safety reasons. She’s been receiving a lot of death threats lately and if one was to learn her real name, then she’d be dead meat. And all successors are female, I think.”

He then shifted his eyes into the source of the radio and shushed me, “Listen to this, Eclipse. Most of her messages are pre-recorded but during this time of the day, she’ll give everyone an update.”

I increased the volume to make it easier for both of us to listen.

“--and let’s get to the highlight of the day. I’ve been speaking a lot about our favorite mare from the stable lately that I think it’s time for a change, even if it’s just for a short time. Folks, I want you to find any Equestrian map still around and look at the land with no name. That’s right folks, I’m talking about about the numbered land 35. There are some reports that something new is happening to the usually quiet and mysterious area.

“A pony has been causing quite a ruckus for the fierce raiders that reside there. Now, I’m not sure what this pony is up to or how well his mental state is but we all know that the raiders there make the raiders here look like babies. He or she either has something planned for them, is just unlucky and keeps on encountering them, or is purposefully annoying them. Who knows? Ask him or her for me if you ever have the chance.

“But that’s as far as I can talk about the stranger for today, don’t wanna make the stallion in charge of the radio there run out of ideas for his audio show. Maybe listen to him if your around the area. Also, anyone travelling there should be extremely careful. As I said, the raiders there are extremely dangerous and this commotion really made them pissed off by, like, a lot. Anyways, as usual, stay tuned to, uh, this radio! Ah, shit, this is a bad time to forget the name. Uhm, music!”

The radio cut to some tunes that sounded really old. Maybe they were, maybe not. I looked at larynx. He seemed to be staring at the PipBuck quizzically.

“Well, that’s strange. She doesn’t usually sound or speak like that,” he remarked. “Usually, she’ll be a bit witty in her reports. And rarely will she forget the name of her own radio!”

“So, what do you think about her attitude then?” I asked him.

He shrugged, “While she may not sound like her usual self, there’s nothing really to be suspicious of. I heard that she’s a bit involved in things there in the Capital so I have reasons to believe that she may just have a bit too much things going on her mind. Especially with the sudden rise of a certain mare which is immediately followed by a sudden increase of events around the area.”

I nodded then asked him another question, “How come she decided to report something about this pony in Land 35?”

“That’s simply her telling me to start talking about you before she takes credit of everything involving you, “ he humphed. “Well, at least she didn’t dwell too much about the topic. You should consider yourself lucky, especially during this times.”

“Why? So you can talk about me more?” I raised an eyebrow at him. He slowly shook his head and sighed.

“Eclipse, you are close to what the folks here would define as a hero. Someone to look up to in times of distress,” he told me soberly. “The term hero may sound good but it carries a lot of responsibilities and dangers. Sure, a lot of heroes has popped up now and then but rarely do they last a few weeks. Most of them die off by the hooves of raiders, get crushed by the pressure the wasteland is giving them, give up and drink their sorrows away, or even become the enemies they once fought. It’s tough being a hero here, you live such a short and possibly tortured life if you’re one.”

“But ponies like you still talk about them,” I pointed out. “It’s kind of ironic if you do so even with this knowledge.”

“It’s our job, tell the world what’s happening. Don’t be biased, report everything you see, don’t leave anything out,” he replied. He then looked at me, a serious look on his face as if a serious decision is upon him, which may be the case. “I’ll give you a choice, for your sake. You can choose not to be talked about too much in the radio, which might still give you a chance in living, or...allow every actions you do to be broadcasted everywhere, a high risk option that might end up killing yourself.”

I slightly leaned forward, “I don’t have much of a choice here to be honest. I was never playing hero, nor do I want to…”

I gave him a small smile, “But you and I know it’s too late to back out now. I have a feeling I’m already noticed by quite a few groups of wastelanders and raiders. There is no point in changing the amount of times you’ll talk about me. Just do your job.”

He sighed and returned the smile, though it was much weaker, “Well, you are right. I guess you aren’t considered a hero yet so I might as well continue what I’ve started without any changes.”

He stood up and nodded at me, “Well, back to work. Maybe you should check the clinic, your friends are probably waiting for you there. I’ll see ya later.”

The clinic. Apparently, it’s my body's most favorite place in Lux, choosing to go there every time it’s possible.

“Ah, Eclipse, fancy meeting you here,” Doc greeted me as I entered the place. “Need anything?”

“Yep, I’m here to see my friends. I want to see how they are,” I told him. He nodded and gestured me to follow him. He lead me through really bright hallway, doors appearing on either side after a few steps forward.

“I see. Well, lucky for you, they seem to be doing just fine,” Doc told me. “Looks like they’re Wasteand veterans too, that would explain why they handled what happened much more calmly than Amethyst and Chara. What a set of friends you have, Eclipse.”

“I, uh, wait...what about Amethyst and Chara?” I asked him, increasing my pace until I was beside him.

He furrowed his eyebrows, “Chara’s traumatized real badly out there. Years of being separated from her father and experiencing abuse while in the hooves of her captors, her mind’s taken a huge toll. It might, uh, take a really long time for her to recover.”

I nodded sympathetically, “At least she’s out from that hell hole. She can...with the help of everyone who’s willing...she might still be able to rebuild her life. Though the trauma and experience will be there, she can put it all in the past and live her life. That is…”

“If she’s willing to let us help her,” Doc sighed. “She, hell, nobody should experience what she went through, but the Wasteland...Land 35 is brutal, unforgiving to the weak, favoring the stronger but more savage ones. Hopefully, she does recover. I’ll try my best to make sure she does, with the help of Miss Selena and the other gentler ponies around here.”

“Let’s hope for the best. And let her know that she won’t be alone anymore,” I looked at him, “How about Amethyst, is she fine?”

He sighed, “I must confess something to you, Eclipse. Young Amethyst has already been in the wastes before. While not as experienced as your friends, she still had knowledge of the Wastes. She also experienced a fate similar to Chara’s, some time long ago. Amethyst...tends to avoid that issue. There’s a high chance that she forgot about it.”

I merely blinked in surprise, if blinking is the right way to look surprised anyways. I seem to really lack that much background info on who I’m with. The Doctor continued talking,

“But going with you on that dangerous trip may have opened old wounds, something that I should’ve realized when I first called her. She may look fine but when things gets really bad, she becomes scared...fearing the lives of ponies she holds dearly close. And things did go from bad to worse, when you became uncooked pony barbecue. Er, I mean, when you got impaled by the raider boss.

“Your friends have shown strength on your sudden near-death experience. They reacted quickly once the danger passed, acting professionally. This may have helped Amethyst deal with the traumatizing event, whose personality is somewhat influenced by others around. She didn’t break down or even shed a tear, instead, she showed bravery and helped your friends tend to your wounds. But that doesn’t mean she was affected. I, uh, tried to a psychological exam on her but she was too tired to do it properly.”

We slowed down our already slow walk so doc can continue to talk more, “I’ll do one later, once she has recovered sufficiently. But for now, can you watch over her? As far as I know, she seems to see you as a guardian type of pony.”

“Sure thing, Doc, it’s the least I can do around here,” I told him. I stayed quiet for a bit before shaking my head and smiled, “It’s amazing to see how fast ponies trust me.”

“Eclipse,” he looked at me with a serious face. “Never break the trust these ponies give you. I believe the reason they trust you so easily is your charisma and easy-going attitude around here.”

“Uh, woah Doc, of course I wouldn’t break their trust,” I quickly told him. “I was just curious, that’s all.”

“I know you are, Eclipse,” he shook his head. “I know you are.”

After some more walking, Doc stopped in front of one of the doors and opened it. The room we entered was a clean and cozy one, possibly rivaling the rooms at the tower. I looked around and spotted Jewel sitting on a couch with Peridot. The mare seemed to be telling him about her journey, the stallion eagerly listening. Autumn, on the other hoof, was having a drink, also listening to what the mare has to tell. And finally, Chara was sleeping on one of the beds.

Before I stepped in, Doc asked me a question, “Eclipse, may I have your gun for now?”

“Why? Is there something wrong with it?” I asked back as I handed it to him. “Or do you think I might shoot one of them?”

“Oh no! No, not at all, Eclipse,” he quickly answered, shaking his head vigorously. “I just need to check this particular weapon before I can clear it for use again. I noticed a defect on it which could prove disastrous if left alone.”

“Oh, I see,” I thought about it for a while. I tapped Doc’s shoulder before he left, “Hey, mind if you can do a favor?”

He tilted his head, “Sure, what is it?”

“Tell Amethyst that if the same accident keeps on happening, she should ask her brother for another bed in her room,” I told him quietly. He stared at me for a few seconds before shaking his head.

“Youths this days, always doing the strangest in the name of love,” he sighed. Before I could explain, he said his answer, “I’ll tell her that, now go see your friends.”

He left before I could get another word out of my mouth.

Closing my mouth, I took a deep breath and walked towards the fridge. Nobody seemed to notice me yet so I quickly grabbed myself a drink from the container and silently walked towards the talking trio.

“And then, I appeared just in time to free him from the prisons of the raiders!” She said in a dramatic tone.

“Actually, he saved you from the prisons of the raiders,” Autumn butted in, earning a glare from the mare. “If you want to sound useful, why don’t you actually be useful?”

“I AM useful!” She yelled at him, causing Autumn to flinch. “I don’t see you doing worth a damn anyways back there.”

“The same could be said for you, filly,” he took a satisfied sip from his drink as the mare fumed at him.

Peridot, on the other hoof, looked like he wanted out of the fight. He was also the first one to see me as the other were constantly bickering. He waved at me, I waved back, we both stayed silent.

“Well, tough guy, if you’re actually as tough as the shit you spit out of your mouth, why don’t you take me on, huh?” Jewel challenged, going as far as to hit the drink off the hooves of Autumn.

The pegasus looked in shock at his spilt drink. If one were to look closely into his eyes, you could see fire slowly burning brighter and fiercer as the seconds passed. After a few more tense seconds, he shakily sighed and looked at Jewel.

“You’re going to regret that, country girl,” he said through gritted teeth.

“We’ll see if ah will, city boy,” Jewel growled.

The atmosphere was tense as the two ponies stared at each other with anger. Peridot looked scared, probably thinking that he may have to side with his sister. It was just a matter of when one will punch the other.

Then, as fast lightning, Jewel pounced on him, teeth bared like a feral ghoul (though I’m not sure if that description was fitting, as I’ve only seen one). Both were down on the ground, with an angered Jewel on the top of a somewhat bewildered Autumn. The pegasus quickly shook away his shock and fought back.

It was the most pathetic battle I’ve ever seen. All they did was roll around the floor, with some punches here and there. I stood there amused while Peridot can only look at her sister with disbelief.

“Hey, hey!” I yelled out, having enough of their attitude to dirty their coats. “When will both of you stop fighting, huh?”

They both stopped rolling on the floor and the current scene could have been romantic: the mare on top of the stallion, Autumn’s wings wrapped around Jewel’s body, both looking at each other snout-to-snout with a raging desire. Raging desire to punch each other, that is.

“Sometimes, I wonder why you guys still stick with me,” I thought out loud, making sure I have their attention. “You guys know you don’t have to follow me everywhere, right?”

“I know that, Eclipse,” Jewel said as she got off Autumn and looked at me. “But you’ve done so much for me. You sticked by me, rescued me twice, and hell, even got my brother back! With that, even the hardest of mares out there would feel compelled to follow you. Besides, without me, you won’t make it another day.”

Autumn got up to his hooves and dusted himself off, “Despite the arrogant tone of the Jewel of Land 35, she has a point. You also helped me a heck lot out there, even if that risked your life. Sure, you kinda screwed up and have some of us killed, but by jumping down two floors to the ground with guns blazing, you showed them that you were a much more important matter to take care of than us, granting us sufficient time to escape.”

He stopped talking for a while, furrowed his eyebrows, and continued, “That, and an alicorn who claims to be Princess Luna told me to make sure you stay safe. Didn’t promise her I’d keep you safe though, just follow and help you.”

I smiled and shook my head, “I appreciate what you guys said, really. But don’t you guys also have more important matters to attend to than to follow a death-prone pony around?”

Jewel scoffed, “What’s more important than exploring the wasteland with you? Sure, I may have a brother to take care of, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop being your companion. Besides, it’s funny to watch you panic when there’s pressure.”

“Hey, I do not panic under pressure!” I objected. She merely rolled her eyes.

“Ah suppose ah could go back t’where ah’m supposed t’be but ah reckon mah men could handle things there. B’sides, ah told ‘em ah’ll take control of group 35 while they should go t’much safer places,” Autumn said with his weird accent. Jewel rolled her eyes again.

“You put too much effort in that fake accent of yers,” she said with a criticizing tone. “Ya know us folks don’t speak like that, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Autumn waived it off, “I don’t really need to speak like that anyways ever since I found myself walking with Eclipse.”

I coughed and cleared my throat, “Well then, looks like you guys are fine so far. Right, Peridot?”

Peridot, the quiet stallion, nodded at me, “A-As fine as I can be, sir. Thank you again for everything you’ve done, even if I have no way of paying you.”

I smiled and walked towards him, “You don’t have to pay me back. Not everything good has a price, even in a world such as this. Remember that the next time someone needs help, ok?”

Again, he nodded and beamed, “I-I’ll keep that in mind, sir. Thank you, a-again.”

I looked back at the two and they were bickering again about something involving accents. I sighed and shook my head and turned to face Chara, who’s still asleep despite the noise.

“Hey, Peridot, how is she?” I asked the stallion, pointing at the sleeping mare.

“Uh, she doesn’t look too, uhm, fine when she arrived here, sir,” he said, also looking at the mare. “She...she went straight to the bed and maybe cried for a few minutes. I, uh, tried comforting her but, err, I don’t think I did well.”

I nodded, “Thank you. Now, why don’t you go explore this place a bit more? Maybe with those two.”

He looked at his sister and Autumn and sighed. He gave a small nod and jumped off the couch and talked to the two. After a few minutes of consideration, the three went out to explore the city. I hoped they wouldn’t go to the bakery first. If they do, it’ll leave a bad taste in their mouths.

I looked back at Chara and took a deep breathe. Despite the loud ruckus caused by my two companions, she hasn’t woken up or even moved. Her chest was still rising though, so whatever terrible ideas in my mind has been quickly dispelled. I finally exhaled and shook my head. Nothing bad is going to happen to her now, I thought. But even still, whether it’s me or somebody else’s thoughts, the feeling of dread was there.

She’s safe, that’s all that matters. Just have to trust the Doc and others to take care of...her.

I shook my head once more, a sudden headache nearly knocking me out. Whatever was in that apple cider, it would have to be hella...something to still affect me at this point.


For the third time, I shook my head and concentrated on reality. I looked at the mare who was not asleep but was actually listening quietly to what happened. She was still facing away from me.

“Uh, hey there,” I slowly replied. She quickly turned around and sat up, eyes wide open.

“Father?” For a moment, she looked happy. But not for long though, as she took a moment to look at me more precisely. “O-Oh, it’s you…Sorry.”

“It’s...okay. Just checking if you’re doing just, well, as fine as one can be in this world,” I told her. We continued to look at each other in silence, awkwardly.

After a few more moments of awkward silence(I don’t remember how I survived it), I sighed and gave her my best concerned look, “How are you so far?”

She looked away from me and lowered her head, “I’m...I…I don’t know...”

I slowly moved closer to her, “Do...you want to talk about it?”

She crossed her forelegs and sighed, “I’ll have to talk about it one way or another, right?”

“I’m afraid so.”

Another sigh came out from her and she finally looked at me, “It was...hard, though the word hard doesn’t quite capture what I experienced...or lived through.”

She didn’t continue after saying that, her head slowly lowering until she’s looking at the ground once more.

“Hey, hey, come back to me,” I waved a hoof in front of her. “Nevermind I ask you that. You don’t have to think about that or worry, you’re here now...safe and sound.”

She looked back at me with wide eyes, “I...I really am?”

I nodded, “You’re no longer locked up in some cage. No, you’re free now. You’re somewhere safe, where for once, you can freely do what you want.”

I tapped my chin for a moment, “Well, as long as what you want to do doesn’t contradict with whatever rules they made up here.”

A small smile appeared on her face before dropping again. She nervously rubbed her shoulder, “You’re...the one that saved me? Sorry, I tend to...forget things when I’m nervous...or terrified…”

“That’s understandable. I mean, I guess it’s our mind's way of protecting us,” I tapped my forehead. “Except mine right now is pretty broken. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know either.”

Another smile appeared and lasted a bit longer, “Do you think I’ll like it here?”

I nodded, “I sure do. So far, it looks like one of the most safest haven in this land and the folks here are friendly enough.”

Before I could continue to speak, an alarm blared out for a few seconds before the a voice started speaking.

“Eclipse, you are required to head to the tower at once. This is not a request but an order. Do not delay.”

I blinked in confusion and wondered what’s wrong. The filly in front of me seemed confused as well.

“Well, stay safe, Chara,” I told her. “I might not see you again for a long time but I’ll still try to keep contact, yeah?”

She sighed and nodded before giving me a sad look, “You’ll...you’ll come back, right?”

I gave her a hopeful smile and a pat on her head, “You’ll see me again, I promise.”

Chapter 18.5

View Online

The tower seemed to be less welcoming than last time, I noted as I walk down a hall somebody told me to go to. Compared to the warmly lit areas I was used to in the tower, the hall I was walking in contained very dim lights, some flickering from time to time.

“I wonder if I’m going to encounter something here, like a...ghoul or something,” I said to myself, chuckling at the thought. “Might be a good thing I don’t have my gun with me.”

Suddenly, the sharp pain in my head returned once more, blurring my vision and threatening me to pass out. I took a deep breath and shook my head, leaning on the wall for support. At this point, I was considering seeing the Doc after whatever I was called in for.

The next thing I know, I got rammed into the wall and held there by something screaming. As I frantically tried to get myself out of the situation, a pulse of magic sent my attacker towards the opposite wall with a thud. Using the opportunity, I quickly pinned him on the wall and raised a forehoof, the mechanics inside whirring to life as I decided whether to end or spare whoever thought it was a good idea to just attack me in a dim area.

Slowly, my vision returned to normal and I can make out who is in front of me. It was griffin, though he seemed a lot less bigger than I thought, maybe just as big as me. He stared back at me angrily, trying to land a scratch on me or two but can’t due to how he is being pinned and his size.

“Go ahead,” he said with venom in his voice, “Kill me like the cold monster you are!”

I looked at him in confusion, “W-What?”

He narrowed his eyes, “Don’t act like you have a heart. I saw the way you looked as you attacked me, cold and murderous. Your stance even shows that you’re ready to kill me.”

“What in Equestria are you talking about?” I asked him, lowering my raised hoof but still keeping him pinned.

“Don’t act like you’re innocent!” The griffin yelled, doubling his efforts to injure me. “The citizens here might think you as a hero but that’s because they haven’t seen the horrors you can bring. But I...I know because I saw you kill my group without mercy!”

As he spoke that last sentence, I threw him down the floor. I could see blood at the tip of his claws (or talons) and felt a tingling sensation on my chest; he managed to land a hit before I threw him.

“Do you have a deathwish?!” I yelled at him, taking a few steps back. My breathing was unusually heavy and I can feel myself slightly shaking. “Look kid, I don’t want any trouble and I think it’s best that you just leave me be.”

He slowly stood up, “Why should I leave you when I can end you right now? If you can bleed, that means you can die!”

I continued to walk backwards as he advanced, claws ready. “Great, the biggest mistake I had is that I thought I can relax a bit,” I mumbled to myself.

Swipe one, swipe two, he wasted no time trying to close the distance between us and eager just to kill me for some unclear reason. The best I could do in such a small space and with no weapons was to simply dodge his claws, which was hard as he was faster than me. Seeing as how close his fourth attack was at my neck, I knew I had to do something quick. I crouched, avoiding his fifth strike, and lunged at him, hitting him squarely in the chest. Once more, I pinned him down on the ground with another forehoof on the air.

“Do it. Go ahead and kill me, you murderer,” the griffin sneered. At this point, I was close to doing just that. Instead, I shook my head and aimed for the head, intending to just knocking him out.

“That is enough, Eclipse. Hurt him no further and leave him be,” a voice from behind spoke out. “It was a wise you you haven’t murdered him in cold blood.”

I obliged, wanting no more part of whatever this was. I got off him and walked a few steps backward, my eyes still on him. He glared back at me as he got back up from the ground.

“I want an explanation,” I demanded, turning around to face a robed figure. “Is there already a plan to just kill me here? Or am I missing something?”

The robed figure shook his head and tapped twice on the wall beside him, opening a hidden door, “Proceed here, the council is waiting. I promise you this time no one will try to end your life.”

I looked at the door and then at the two beings with me. It seemed the wound I sustained wasn’t too serious to them as they haven’t offered any help for it. With a sigh, I walked through the door to another dim walkway.

After a few minutes of walking and checking my wound, I have exited into a dark room. I concluded it was a large one, as I haven’t seen a wall yet.

What is it with large rooms with little to no lighting?

“Hello?” I called, my voice echoing.

A light flashed on me, temporarily blinding me. As soon as my vision cleared, I could somewhat see the room. There were platforms and on the platforms were more robed figures. It was an unsettling sight to be honest.

“Welcome!” The one in front of me boomed. “I see that you had no problems with your first test. Congratulations, you have been spared death!”

“Unfortunately…” I heard the griffin mumble behind me.

“But, that is one of the many tests we have for you!” With a blinding flash, my environment has been revealed. It was indeed as large as I thought, with panels of light running across the walls.

“Do you kill? Or will you risk your life in exchange for another?”

The way he spoke unnerved me, his tone cold and emotionless. I noticed the griffin fly up towards a much smaller platform and stayed there, keeping his eyes on me.

Suddenly, bullets whizzed by me. I quickly ducked at the closest cover to me, a large piece of concrete. The room surely was built for situations like this.

What the fuck?!

“What now, Lightbringer?!” An insane-sounding voiced yelled out. “Come out and fight me, you piece of shit!”

More gunshots filled the air. Once more, I was scared for my life. I had nothing to protect myself with against whoever was calling the shots.

I was back to square one.

“What now, hero? What are you going to do?” The griffin taunted me. I was confused, he was pretty far up from me but I can still hear him clearly. Even more confusing, it seems whoever is shooting doesn't notice the figures above him.

I looked up and my heart sank. I saw the clouds, the gray and angry clouds that block the sky. I was starting to think I was going insane.

What the fuck?!

I aimlessly stared in front of me, trying to calm myself down and snap back to reality. I had to do something; it’s do or die.

I cautiously peeked at the side, looking for the source of the gunshots. I see nobody and realized how quiet the place got. And it wasn’t the good, relieving silence, it was a tense and dreadful one.

“What’s happening…” I mumbled to myself. With a sigh, I looked back in front of me and got one of the worst shockers of my life. The face of a deranged stallion looked back at me, his eyes filled with madness and scars and festering wounds decorated his face.

“Look who we got here,” he spoke with childish glee. “The one proclaimed hero of the wasteland.”

I screamed and did what any sane pony would do; punch him in the face and hoof it. I could hear him running after me, his sickening laughter just behind me.

He has a gun, I kept on thinking, He has a gun and could shoot me at anytime.

I kept running. Run. Run. The laughter just behind me.

Then It stopped. I kept running but I couldn’t hear his footsteps anymore. Only his laughter remained but even that slowly faded away.

Suddenly, I was stopped by a metal wall. I was surprised, it seemed to come out of nowhere. I examined it and my blood ran cold as soon as my eyes landed on the middle of what I thought was a wall.


“Where did you come from?” A voice asked, “What is your past?”

Despite the thickness of the entrance, I could hear groans coming from the other side. I shuddered at the ghastly sounds and slowly backed away from the stable door.


My body froze as I looked at the entrance. The groans gave stopped, it being replaced by terrifying silence.


The door hissed, as it does when it opens. There was no blaring alarm though, just a hiss and the sound of moving gears.

Then the screech of two metals scraping against each other replaced the silence. The damned screech of the stable door opening. It was painful to my ears but I couldn’t do anything to dampen the noise. All I could do was stare at the door as it slowly moves back.

A deep laughter emanated from within the stable. I also noticed a small black mist snaking out of one of the cracks. The color seemed familiar to me.

And the door fully opened, black mist spilling around me, blotting out what’s left of the sun’s light. Somewhere within the mist, I could see a much darker silhouette shuffling towards me. The groans have returned, growing louder by the second.

A leg stepped out from the mist, a distinct blue clothing covering the upper half of it. The clothing was ripped and there was barely any fur on the leg.

A snarl came out from the owner of the leg.

“Please no…” I muttered, taking a step backward, eyes still plastered on the leg. And then I heard the laugh again. This time, I recognized who owns it.

“Welcome back, my little pony…” He laughed as he said that line. “Enjoying this so far?”

I scanned my surroundings, peering through the mist for any signs of it. Glowing eyes, a darker dark, anything to give away his position. Alas, I was met with nothing. Once more, my eyes rested on the leg which obviously belonged to a once-dead ghoul.

“Show yourself,” I growled at the figure in front of me. I was scared, terrified...but something compels me to be just a little bit aggressive.

“As you wish,” the cursed entity replied. With a sudden screech, the figure in front of me finally revealed itself as it pounced at me, snarling like some feral beast. Quick reactions or just fear and adrenaline, I punched it in the face as it got close enough, sending it back to the ground with a sickening crunch.

Stay calm, Eclipse.

I was shaking hard, my breathing ragged. I don’t know what’s going on but my mind is not handling anything very well. I felt vulnerable, just like the first time I entered the Wasteland.

And then the whole scenery changed once again. I was suddenly in a white room. It was clean and well-lit, a very different scenery than the ruined and dark environment I was somewhat used to. I also noticed I was sitting on what looked like a bed similar to the one in Doc’s place, except much cleaner and less springs poking out.

“Hey, hey, are you okay?” A feminine voice cut through my thoughts. I quickly shook my head and look to where the source came from.

A mare with white coat and pink mane looked back at me, a worried expression on her face. I noticed a small hat on her head, with a red cross on it. If I was confident enough, I would have assumed she was a nurse.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” She asked again, tilting her head to the side.

This time, I found my voice, “I...don’t know?”

She sighed, “You should really try not pushing yourself so hard on your job. You already do your job so well, you don't have to keep on overworking so much.”

I slowly nodded, unsure on what to say, and looked at my forelegs. The change in scenery to something much cleaner made me think that maybe the scenery isn’t the only thing that changed. And I was right, the metal braces or PipBuck was not on me.

I looked back at the mare and she raised an eyebrow at me. She seemed familiar, with her looks and such. A calm and peaceful aura seemed to radiate from her.


“You seem pretty interested in staring at me,” she told me with a smirk. “Do you think something is wrong with me?”

I shook my head, “N-No...that’s not it.” I stammered.

She leaned in closer, a questioning look on her face this time, “Then, what is it?”

I can only stare, my mind unable to think. She looked familiar, but at the same time, a stranger. Out of place, that’s what she also looked to me.

Out of time.

I opened my eyes and found myself back in the big room. Still standing in front of the robed figures. I felt exhausted, my mind filtering out information to determine whether I’m in some imagination of mine or in reality.

“You passed our last test, even with the confusing answers we have received,” the closest robe told me.

“Why…?” Was all I can say after what I went through. I wanted to be mad. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to strangle the damn griffin who kept his smug look as he continued to eye me. But all that came out was a weak "Why...?"

“You are not the first of your kind to come in here,” he answered. “He started with a pleasant personality. He helped the folks of this city and protected this place. But he slowly became aggressive. It was unnoticeable at first, a glare or an irritated grunt now and then. But it slowly increased as days pass, his actions becoming more dangerous to others.

“The first incident arrived. He hit someone with no reason, strong enough to knock them out. He smiled at the unconscious pony, a crazed smile. The security immediately arrested him and asked him questions. Then the second incident hit. He fought ferociously against the security. Lost two lives in the conflict, 3 more injured. It was at this point, they decided to bring him to us.”

He pointed to a dark mark on the wall behind me, “That was what’s left of him. We looked into his mind like what we did with yours a while ago. Unlike you, unfortunately, we found out he was what you may call a time-bomb disaster. He’s an experiment, made to slowly grow crazy as time passes. And he was close to exploding.”

“I...I see,” I observed the dark mark, coming to a conclusion that they have killed him where he stood. “So, what’s your judgement for me?”

“If you are wondering, it is not death,” the robe answered me. “But our judgement is not necessarily good for you.”

I gulped, not liking the last sentence, “What would it be then?”

“The council, after looking through your memories, have come to a final decision. You may be innocent and will not harm anyone in Lux but your actions have outside these walls require us to come to a final decision.”

He paused, probably for dramatic effects.

“Eclipse, you are to be exiled from Lux.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I’d find peace in the chaotic world I am in now. I think twice? Thrice? But I do remember when that thought first popped in: Stable 05. The clean walls and floor, the comfortable beds, the stale yet lovely food preserved in high-tech refrigerators, and the thick and protective walls and entrance.

And then as soon as I thought of it, disaster struck and left me running once more in the wastes. Defending myself from the dangers the Wastes threw at me. Protecting my friends who were unfortunate to find me.

And then I found Lux. It was a promising place, for me and those with me. At that point, I realized how much risk I am to be with for the others. I feared that if they continue to travel with me, they’d end up killed. It’s only luck they haven’t yet.

But I will not wait for death to catch up to them.

I made it my goal to complete my group and at least find a place that we can go to from time to time to rest. I can even leave Raindrops with someone(most likely Selena) while I go “adventure”, meaning she would not have to face rains of bullets and near-death experience at such an early age and maybe, she might find peace here. Maybe some other friends too.

But I would need to find Raindrops first.

Of course, I planned to look for her as soon as I checked on the others, but it seemed a wrench has been thrown at my plans, whatever that means.

And now, I worry how I’ll get Raindrops a nice place to stay.

I was too stunned to make a response, other than letting my jaw slacken. Exile. For what?

“Come on, what did I do this time?” I yelled at them with frustration. “Cut your cryptic mumbo-jumbo and get straight to the point!”

The robe leader took a step back in surprise, before composing himself and replying, “Your presence here has disrupted the peace we had with the raiders outside these walls, unfortunately. The attack a few days ago would be the first of many should you continue to stay here, especially after your encounter with the biggest raider boss in Land 35.”

“W-What…?” I managed to stammer out, confused at the reply. “Peace? Between you and the raiders?”

“Yes, peace…” He nodded, “We have made a deal with most of them some time ago. Do not attack our city and we will allow them to trade with us with a discount.”

“That must be one of the most unbelievable things I’ve heard today…” I mumbled to myself, “And how I did I ruin this so called peace?”

“You have attracted the attention of the biggest raider boss of 35, the stallion who had killed several abominations on his own. Knowing him, he will keep an eye on you, and if what your friends say is accurate, he will be hunting you down. And I cannot allow that. If he finds you here, he will show no mercy to the citizens of Lux. Everything we have done throughout the years can all crash down in just a few destructive hours.”

The griffin smirked at me and nodded. I had a feeling he somehow made this whole meeting happen.

“So, the majority of the council has decided to exile you from Lux,” the robed figure boomed. “We regret to make this choice but there is no other alternatives possible. We cannot risk the safety of Lux for just one pony.”

At that point, I...had the thought of killing the griffin. A hint of blue mist was around his neck for a moment but it quickly dissipated. Suffice to say, I was pretty pissed at that guy.

“What’s going on here?!” Somebody yelled from the darkness. I instantly recognized the voice.

Selena walked out from one of the doors shrouded in darkness, along with Fortis and Doc. She looked furious, and so was the other two. The griffin flew down towards them and huffed.

“This is none of your business, Selena,” the griffin told her. “The council has decided and there’s nothing you or your friends can do about it.”

“How many times I told you he isn’t the same pony that attacked your group?!” Fortis yelled at him.

The griffin’s wing opened and he puffed his chest in a threatening matter, poking a claw on Fortis’ chest, “Don’t think that your opinions matter here, traitor. Most may have accepted your return already but that doesn’t mean that they forgave you.”

“Enough!” The robed figure boomed as both griffin and pony were forcefully separated. “I will not tolerate a petty argument that could be the start of a pointless fight.”

He then looked at Selena, “We are sorry that we have not included you in this decision but your emotions could impair your judgement on what’s good for the city and its inhabitants! You have to understand why we did this-”

“Because a griffin with a grudge told you so?” Selena interrupted him.

“Because he might as well lead this city to its demise!” He replied, “He has attracted the eyes of one of the strongest groups in this land, a group we have no chance in winning with or without him.”

“What makes you think that they’ll leave us alone if we let him go?” She questioned, “He also has done a fair good amount for us! We can’t simply let him go out and die there.”

I stood there in silence as they continue to argue about me. It’s amazing how much can happen in a few days. Yesterday, I enjoyed a healthy amount of cider, wishing that we can do it every night. Today, it looks like I have to pack up and leave, due to the increasing danger the city is facing because of me.

But even so, I knew life wouldn’t give me a break. So I made the choice that would lead to a better life for others.

“Selena, it’s okay,” I finally spoke up. “You don’t have to fight for my place here.”

She looked at me, shocked and confused, “What do you mean it’s okay? Don’t you know how many lives have been lost whenever they were made to leave this place? I refuse to make the same mistake and lose another one!”

“I’d rather give my life for the safety of everyone else in this wonderful town,” I calmly told her. “He’s right, that robe, I might have brought too much trouble with me.”

“N-No…” Selena stuttered, a tear streaking down her face. She slowly walked towards me, “No, you...you don’t have to do this. W-We can think of a compromise!”

Doc stepped forward, “I hate to admit this but...I agree with him. And it’s his choice if he wants to leave, Sel.”

Selena let out a shaky sigh before wiping her tears away, “I...You’re right…”

Finally, the magic barriers holding Fortis and the griffin dissipated. The griffin grumbled something under his breath and walked away from us while Fortis glared at him.

I looked at the robed figure and spoke, “Would it be unfair to ask for a favor?”

He tapped his chin for a moment and shook his head, “Our words may be harsh but we are not unjust. We have acknowledged the good deeds you have done for Lux and it’s citizens. So, do tell, what is your favor?”

“There’s a place called Ghost town, for some reason,” I started. “It’s not too far from here and that’s where I found Fortis and the ponies he was protecting. If it was possible, could you try to fortify that place?”

“Hmmm, why so?” He asked.

“I can’t stay here and I doubt the friends that came here with me will stay here,” I replied. “You don’t have to fortify the whole place, maybe just an area big enough for a few ponies and maybe some passing travellers.”

He didn’t reply for a while, seemingly in deep thought, “That is possible, but there is a problem. There is group there, we fear it to be raiders. If you can clear them out, then you request shall be granted.”

“Then I’ll take care of them,” I bowed, out of respect. “Thank you, that’s all I’m asking for.”

The Wasteland grows darker.

I inspected my faithful revolver, seeing if there was anything different about it. It seemed to be in the same condition as when I found it in Ponyville, despite the amount of troubles it had to go through for me. With a nod, I holstered it and set my eyes on the Wasteland.

A tumbleweed drifts by.

“Looks like we can’t have a break with Eclipse around leading us,” Autumn mused as he gave his wings a flapped or two.

“Aiyup,” Jewel agreed, gently cleaning her beloved double-barreled shotgun. “Looks like we three are in another world o’ pain.”

“Hey, you guys can leave anytime you want,” I retorted, fixing my saddlebag. “I never threatened you two to stay with me.”

A chuckle arose from the two and I merely shook my head. They were going to stick with me for good, for the better or the worse. I sighed and turned around, facing the walls of Lux. Being made of concrete, they would stand for a long time to defend those that want to destroy the life within.

Since I was the only one being targeted, Peridot and Chara could stay. It would be up to them if they want to join us once we cleared up the place I chose.

Outside the walls with the me and my companions are Doc and Larynx. Selena had already said her goodbyes and Fortis was busy reassuring her I’ll be fine.

“Hey, if you need something, feel free to come back here,” Larynx told me. “The council decided that you can have short visits to Lux, one whole day max.”

“And don’t forget to check any clinics around the Wasteland,” Doc reminded me. “But make sure they won’t try to kill you. Most clinics always have a ‘Doctor Feelgood’ name on them.”

“Won’t forget about it,” I nodded, “Thanks for all the things you’ve done for me and my friends. If you guys need help, just look where trouble is.”

Larynx smirked, “You betcha! I’ll be listening for any ruckus you make out there.”


The sound of a large bell being struck once emanated from the town, echoing out into the outside world.

“Well, looks like we have to get inside now,” Doc pointed at the gate. “Every time the bell rings, the gates close until the break of dawn. You can get in during that time but you have to leave most of your possessions.”

“Well, see you guys sooner or later,” I told them. With a nod, both of them head for the gates.

“Let’s go.”

We started to walk towards our next destination, a not-so-abandoned town not too far from Lux. It seemed to always contain raiders, scavengers, or barely-surviving wastelanders. And I had the pleasure to meet all three.

“Who do you think will we meet this time?” I asked my companions.

“Probably justa bunch of raiders. That town seems t’be a hotspot for ‘em,” Autumn answered with a light chuckle.

We barely walked 5 meters away from the walls when we started hearing shouting from within. I stopped and looked back, curious to what’s happening. I was aware of how much Two-Face wants to get me but to arrive here in such a short notice?

My other two companions waited for a sign that it is indeed another raider attack while I was ready to unholster my weapon and shoot. Straining to hear something, I surveyed the surroundings for any sign of the familiar shape of crudely-made armor.

Suddenly, we spotted someone running out from the gate, quickly followed by a bunch more. The first thing I thought that it could be just a troublemaker. When I saw flash of purple and said pony was suddenly was suddenly much farther than their pursuers was when I recognized the pony.

“Amethyst!” I yelled out, waving my leg with a PipBuck to show her where I am.

She looked at me and started galloping towards me, with the other ponies following her too. I walked a few steps forward, expecting her to slow down once she gets close enough to me. Instead, she continued full force and tackled me to the ground with her infamous death hug.

While I lay down on the ground with a mare on top of me, I could hear the sounds of shouting getting closer. I heard a gasp as a magic shield covered both of us, interestingly enough.

“Amethyst, why can’t you greet me like a normal pony?” I jokingly asked her, tapping her shoulder.

“I-I’m so sorry!” She stuttered, quickly getting off me and helping me back up on my feet. Her face was red, probably from embarrassment. “I-I didn’t me to tackle you down to the ground.”

“Yes, you did,” I shook my head and smiled at her. “It’s okay though, I forgive you. What are you doing out here anyways?”

She looked like she was about to tear up, “I...I heard you were exiled from this place…”

I mentally hit myself, I have forgotten to tell her! I gave her a quick hug, “Sorry that I forgot to tell you, but I’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.”

She looked at me with glossy eyes, “Will I see you again?”

“Don’t be like that, Amethyst,” I hugged her tighter. “We struck up a deal, I can visit but only once every two days.”

“I...I think I should tell you something,” she told me, letting me go.

“Hmm, what is it?” I asked, curious to what she has to say.

She took a deep breath and started speaking quickly, “Larynx told me that I can tell you since he believes we might need your help one day. There’s a secret entrance to the radio tower, a tunnel underneath the city. Nobody but the me and Larynx- and you now I guess- know about it. Not even the council. Look for a nearby shack, there should be a mark on it. A cloud with lightning. That should be your way in.”

Once she was done, she did a quick inhale before placing her head on my chest. I sighed and gently patted her head before noticing once more the shield surrounding us. It became much more solid that I could not properly see what’s outside of the shield. There seemed to be no sound coming from outside too, though any that did manage to go through is just muffled. I safely concluded anything Amethyst said to me would not be heard by anyone else but me. Lucky her.

“So, Amethyst, what now?” I asked her after a while. She looked up to me, a shy smile on her face.

“I...I guess I could...go back…” She mumbled dejectedly before her eyes lit up, “O-Or maybe…”

“You have to go back,” I sighed. “Coming with us is out of the question. It’s too dangerous.”

“B-But...I promise I won’t get in the way!” She insisted, looking at me with puppy eyes.

“Amethyst, please, I can’t promise that I can fully protect you if you do come with us,” I sternly told her. “If anything happens to you under my watch, Larynx won’t forgive me. I won’t forgive myself. Do you understand?”

She placed her head on my chest again and mumbles a “yes” before sobbing again. Once more, I hugged her.

“This has been a weird two or three days meeting for both of us, huh?” I asked her, a dry chuckle coming out from me. “So much has happened. Come on now, it’s okay to cry but you still have to get home.”

“Promise you’ll visit me?” She lifted her head up and looked up at me.

“I’ll do you a better one,” I leaned closer to her and kissed her forehead. For that brief moment, she froze.

“I-I-Wasthatreallynecessary” she squeaked out. I gently smiled at her.

“It could be the last time I have a chance to do that”

“Don’t say that…”

I looked at the shield surrounding us, “Well, I guess you have to go now, before the folks outside find a way to break through.”

“I guess so…” She sighed and gives me a sad smile. “Stay out of danger, will you? And please come back and visit when you have the chance, I won’t be the only one missing you.”

I gave her a nod and watched as her horn glowed brighter before a bright flash blinded me for a moment. When I could see again, she was gone and so was the shield. A crowd of curious onlookers looked at me, a question look on their faces.

“Go home folks! Nothing to see here.”

Till death do us apart.