/bootleg/ Rambo Fast

Mar 31st, 2018
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  1. >Today’s the day your order arrives
  2. >You’ve taken painstaking preparations to convert the waifu shrine in your attic into a costly sky-themed Romanesque bedroom
  3. >Her visage splashed across various artworks and woven into the tapestry will play well into her narcissism
  4. >A knock at the door breaks you away from admiring your loving handiwork
  5. >You race through the house, heart pounding at the thought of meeting the girl you’ve (wet)dreamed about for years
  6. >Pulling the box inside, you rip the tape halfway down before an excited pony burst through the top
  7. >It wasn’t quite the Rainbow Dash you expected
  8. >The red in her mane and tail was replaced by a wavy pink curl; the green missing all together
  9. >You recall the rumors surrounding the strange pink parts; something about the Pinkie Pie model being the first made and top seller, and a sudden shift in customer demands
  10. >At least they come preassembled now
  11. >She stares with an eager smirk; her sky blue eyes not quite looking you in the eye
  12. >”Aw yeah this is happenin’; who’s ready to bake a way past cool confetti cake!”
  13. >You were prepared to look past bootleg appearances, but that offer didn’t sound as Dash-like as you’d hoped
  14. > You ask who she is
  15. >She replies in a bubbly voice, “C’mon silly, I’m Rambo Fast of course!”
  16. >Sure enough it was a Pinkie Pie voice box, but it was strained into a poor gravelly imitation of RD. The Rainbow Dash line was the newest, and it seems Hasjew pulled no stops in cutting corners
  17. >Awkward silence passes as you chew on the regret of your purchase, face furrowed in disappointment
  18. >Her wings fidget nervously as she looks for a way to break the silence
  19. >Perking up a bit, she adopts a new confidant stance with her arms reaching towards you, ”Rrreach for the sky!”
  20. >Rolling your eyes at the corny demand, you reluctantly give in to the earnest display, pulling her from the box
  21. >Coming in closer to you, she blinks a few times and squints, focusing on your face before grinning wide.
  22. >Is she nearsighted? Does she ever stop smirking?
  23. >At least the details on the wings look ni–THWAK
  24. >Rambo Fast tumbles back into the box as you cradle the blood dripping from your nose
  25. >”What the hell was that for you little shit?!” You curse in anger
  26. > “Oops s-sorry– I didn’t mean– I have karate chop action– m-my wing and you touched– I –“
  27. >Her face is contorted into a grimace of shame and tears
  28. >You realize her right eye is stuck in a glare, to give her that edgy and cool Dreamworks look
  29. >None of this is her fault
  30. >You sigh, “Don’t worry, it’s all right Rambo. I suppose I’ll show you to your room.”
  32. >Be Rambo Fast
  33. > You shakily wipe away your tears of embarrassment.
  34. >A weight has been lifted from your chest, so you take deep steadying breaths to regain your composure.
  35. >Acceptance protocol has been achieved; the chosen friend has offered you a home.
  36. >Overcome with joy, you bound away from your tiny box prison to squeeze his leg and head towards the door.
  37. >”Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Besty! I’ll bake that cake for you in ten seconds fl– oof.”
  38. >Where’d that brick wall come from? Not cool.
  39. >”Heh. G-gotta blast!” Coolness regained.
  40. >Entering your destined home for the first time, you bounce past the drab living room and make a dash towards the kitchen, hardly noticing your newly acquired best friend for life wearily collapse on the tattered couch behind you.
  41. >While rummaging around, you find that the fridge houses an army of condiments. No produce. No milk. Some forgotten Chinese take-out. The cobwebbed cabinets look no better: instant ramen and black eyed peas? Blech, lame.
  42. >By shuffling around the back of the pantry you spot a light in the darkness: Chocolate chips. Radical!
  43. >You fire up the oven, at last feeling your inspiration flow.
  44. >A tune about being awesome enters your head as you diligently begin pouring your heart into this concoction.
  45. >You don’t know why baking is so awesome to you, but it just feels right. You hum along with the comforting tune.
  46. >Sneaking a peek over the countertop, you can see your besty hunched over a small wooden table scribbling on something.
  47. >His resentful sigh hits your ears, filling you with sorrow. With a kitchen this empty he must be starving.
  49. >Be disgruntled Besty.
  50. >Damned instructions are a mishmash of Engrish and Cyrillic demon runes. If you sign this in nose blood, her soul might not be the only soul you send back.
  51. >DING! The unfamiliar sound of your own oven timer startles you.
  52. >”Oh shit!” You didn't think the little bastard would find anything to actually bake.
  53. >You drop your pen to bolt to the fire extinguisher, but before you can fully stand from your chair, a loud thud shakes the table.
  54. >Rambo stands below you grinning with a plated brownie balanced on her wings. Her right eye was already swelling.
  55. >”Eat up Besty. We can’t be awesome together on empty stomachs.”
  56. >Fueled by anticipation for your delivery today, you had forgotten to eat anything.
  57. >You tentatively reach for what appears to be an edible treat.
  58. >Rambo watches your hand intently, all the while prancing giddily in place.
  59. >Bringing the brownie to your mouth, its rich aroma hits your nose like a bag full of candy bar bags carrying candy bars.
  60. >You sink into that first bite, “Oh my God, this is fantastic! It’s like it’s thawing my taste buds from cryostasis.”
  61. >She squeals in delight as you heartily chow down, your mind lost in a hazy bliss of chocolate.
  62. >Then, like some unknown beast shuffling towards you in a fog, a thought lurks. Your brow furrows. Your chews lose momentum.
  63. >You mumble, “I don’t have any flour or milk. How’d you make this?”
  64. >“I used Black-eyed peas.” She proclaims with pride, then adding on a bit more sheepishly,” ...and my own…milk.”
  65. >You hold the little abomination up for emphasis, “This. This is a mare-milk bean brownie?”
  66. >She shakes her head in affirmation; she’s beaming with enthusiasm.
  67. >Considering the horror you've just experienced, your mind flashes back to the everyday diet of a depressed hermit: hotdogs, P.B.Js, Cheetos, Ding Dongs, frozen chimichangas, canned ravioli…
  68. >”Huh.” You shrug and nod, “Not bad. Best damned brownie I've had in years.”
  70. >Be Rambo Fast
  71. >You have just bonded over food with your new friend.
  72. >Bursting with excitement you try to initiate play, but he brushes off your foolhardy advances, stating something about bills and forms to fill out.
  73. >Your body slumps in defeat; you stare at your hooves, unsure of what to do with yourself.
  74. >Picking up on your deflated demeanor, he flips on the radio and promises to play with you afterwards.
  75. >A jubilant roar of brass rolls throughout the sepia walls and with a glimmer of hope in your eyes you begin swinging with the tune, forming various dance routines to kill time.
  76. >You start with some peppy pop moves and twirling steps, but as the time drains so does your enthusiasm.
  77. >Your lively jigs become leaden horseshoed shuffles. The repetition bores you to the point of doubt.
  78. >A few hours grind by when at last you hear the wooden chair scrape jarringly across the floor.
  79. >Holding him to his word, you beg him to play Batman and Joker.
  80. >The nefarious Joker agrees to the game, and begins blanketing the living room in pillows while cackling about the importance of safety.
  81. >You cackle with him before giving chase, crashing into pillows to and fro, all the while giggling and snorting in between shouts of, “I’m Batman!”
  82. >You become so lost in the moment that you do not hear an out of breath Joker leave to take out the trash.
  83. >The sudden silence causes you to peek out from beneath your Batcave of pillows.
  84. >It was the first time you were alone since meeting your chosen best friend.
  85. >You give a few desperate calls, the last one trembling before he strolls back thru the door.
  86. >A sigh of relief escapes your lips; He won’t abandon you.
  87. >Winding down, you snuggle close to Besty on the moth-eaten couch to watch season 9 of the Little Pony show.
  88. >Besty nudges you when the rainbow pony is on screen, claiming it’s where you got your coolness from.
  89. >You like her catchphrases, but you find the scene where she fights a thousand orcs a bit scary.
  90. >You feel a deep connection with the pink one. She just wants to dance and spread joy to the elves through cookies and song.
  91. >After a few episodes, Besty decides that it’s time to put you in bed by ushering you towards the attic.
  92. >You taunt him into a race up the stairway, “You’re too slowoah!”
  93. >Halfway up the steep incline you’ve clipped your leg into a banister.
  94. >Your chin meets the missed step, rattling your teeth before tumbling down head over hoof.
  95. >A pair of strong arms latches to your body; His concerned face narrowly avoids an involuntary karate chop.
  96. >Besty holds you close, carrying you to the finish line; you like the idea of sharing the victory with him.
  97. >You crane your neck at the sudden appearance of grand marble pillars reaching towards heavenly azure murals.
  98. >The swirling cloud motif spurs your mind towards fancies of flight.
  99. >Your wings twitch in anticipation, but nothing comes to you.
  100. >Unlike your baking skills, you’re not sure if you know how to fly.
  101. >It’s okay though; wrapped in Besty’s warm embrace you feel as though you are gliding over the soft fuzzy carpet below.
  102. >In the cloud shaped bed by the window, he tucks you in and shuts off the light.
  103. >Rearing upon either side of the high gable walls, you see the blurred physique of Rainbow Dash towering above you in the moonlight. The details of her bright teeth are just barely visible to you in what you believe to be a reassuring smile; a guardian in the dark to keep you safe.
  104. >The fluffy white pillows engulf your body, pulling you into a deep slumber.
  106. >In the twinkling midnight sky, two beings leap and twirl as one across blueberry frosting clouds.
  107. >You could dance by your partners side for an eternity, but his frail body grows weary.
  108. >You croon an invitation to rest, and he complies with gratitude, climbing atop your sturdy back.
  109. >Unfurling your majestic wings, you dip through the clouds to soar towards the safe intimacy of the tiny brick home you share.
  110. >He holds close to your robust pink body as you nervously profess to him,”Y-Ya tebya lyublyu.”
  111. >His embrace tightens, legs squeezing like a vice on your sides.
  112. >Your face flushes red as your body grows hot at the response
  113. >The butterflies in your belly proliferate; there’s so much pressure that you grit your teeth.
  114. >You’re sweating profusely, and feel as though you could…you’re about to…
  115. >Your eyes pop open as a faint gasp escapes your lips, “Uh oh.”
  116. >You lie fully awake in a bed soaked with your disgusting shame and ponder how Besty would react to the incident.
  117. >If you lift his spirits by being the coolest and fastest pony around, would he not be disappointed and heartbroken at this shortcoming?
  118. >Determined to uphold your reputation, you creak open the window and let the tainted covers slide out into the shadows below.
  119. >In an effort to find new bedding, you creep downstairs towards the living room.
  120. >The TV is on, haunting the room with fuzzy voices and eerie light streams.
  121. >Soft snores resonate from the couch, upon which you find Besty sleeping atop the remains of the Batcave.
  122. >You aimlessly roam the perimeter to check for any pillows he might’ve missed.
  123. >The room is bare, with the exception of a chaotic heap of papers flung below the table.
  124. >Wincing at the memory of how hard your face met the table earlier, you believe the odds of the mess being your fault were quite high.
  125. >You entertain the notion of nesting in shredded paper, but stop yourself to consider how tenaciously Besty had worked on these.
  126. >You soberly set about forming a neat stack on the wooden chair when a familiar word on a still floored parchment catches your eye.
  127. >HASBRO, and below it more words spattered with blood: PRODUCT RETURN FORM.
  128. >The diminutive font is too difficult to read in the gloom, but your eyes bolt frantically to the larger penned scrawlings.
  129. >Inaccurate. Defective eyes. 100% dissatisfied… a cheap knockoff.
  130. >The last three words you mouth to yourself. They sting worse than your black eye and aching jaw.
  131. >Your hooves shuffle backwards as you desperately shake the words from your head until a hollow thump on your backside startles you.
  132. >You pivot around to again have the cursed word thrust in your face: HASBRO.
  133. >Here, in the darkest corner of the room, looms the menacing box you arrived in.
  134. >*Didn’t Besty take out the trash? Why didn’t he throw this out as well? Did he forget? Why is it still here? Why?*
  135. >Visions of utter darkness constrict and consume you.
  136. >Minutes grind as you stand frozen in a cold sweat, stimulated by nothing but the sound of your shallow breaths and fluttering heart.
  137. >You are back in your bed. It’s dry, yet still barren.
  138. >When exactly your numbed legs began moving was anyone’s guess; the journey back was a blur.
  139. >You cannot tell if you are cold; you feel nothing but despair in your heart.
  140. >Through glassy eyes you gaze at the gable walls.
  141. >Moonlit depictions of a painted goddess lurch high over your tiny cloud bed. Her perfect face mocks you with a twisted grin.
  142. >Tears of inadequacy begin their silent descent to the mattress.
  143. >A low rumbling from beyond your window heralds a coming storm.
  145. >Dry eyes slide against sandpaper eyelids. Your little hoof can’t stop the bright morning rays.
  146. >The lingering smell of baked blueberries fills your head with queasy visions of night skies and pink feathers.
  147. >“Was that a nightmare?” You reach for your covers, but you come up empty hooved.
  148. >With a groan, you roll out of bed and mope towards two sets of stairs. Three blurry paths? Thunk.
  149. >Your vision snaps back to a frazzled pony in a silver frame.
  150. >You try shooting the fancy mirror one of your trademark movie poster grins, but what little confidence it held melts away as you notice a few chipped teeth. Those stairs did a lot of damage.
  151. >You begin to fret with your wavy pink hairs in an attempt to match rest of your mane, but they keep snapping back springier than before.
  152. >A hateful "Goddammit!” bellows from below, breaking your attention from fussing in the mirror.
  153. >You’re not perfect, but you still love your best friend, and he needs you right now
  154. >You tighten your cheeks into the best smile you can muster and trot towards the rising chorus of shrill alarms and clanging kitchenware.
  156. >You are Rambo’s Besty, or at least you’re trying your best to act the part.
  157. >Hell, you actually bought food without preservatives today.
  158. >You’ve never cooked anything that wasn’t microwavable, but you’ve been slaving over a stove to make something nice for the soon-to-be orphan in your attic.
  159. >What do they do with returned ponies? Are the funny little things fixed in frigid factories? Processed along conveyor belts with clanking machinery? Crush, smack. Rip, crack. Sulphuric smells of melting plastic and… the pancakes are burning again.
  160. >A familiar sound of clip-clopping chases off the festering thoughts, “Yo Besty, whatcha cooking? Is it done yet?”
  161. >You wish she’d stop calling you that.
  162. >Glancing to the trash can overflowing with salty, combusted, and mutilated failures, you mutter, “Not quite.”
  163. >The new batch you’re mashing is reaching Play-Doh consistency. “And please Rambo could you—”
  164. >The timer for the scrambled eggs shrieks over you. The eggs are green and rubbery, again.
  165. >“Um, you okay Besty?”
  166. > “Yeah, but please call me A—“ Fwoosh. A gust from the open window fans the blackened sausages in a fiery breeze.
  167. >“Besty?”
  168. >“Augh, could you please just use my goddamned name!?”
  169. >She recoils in hurt confusion from the sudden outburst. Shoot, why did you say it like that?
  170. >You fumble for an apology as you hurl pancake mix at the inferno, using your free hand to feel for the alarm’s off button.
  171. >Something topples past your hand. Crash! The alarm stops on its own, leaving you both in uncomfortable silence.
  172. >You fall to your knees, broken and numb by hours of frustration, and stare at the grimy kitchen turned breakfast warzone.
  173. >Rambo slips haphazardly across the spreading puddle of milk to pat your leg.
  174. >She looks up, trying to soften her stuck eye into a more caring expression, “Hey, don’t sweat it Bes-errr.” You never even told her your name you idiot. “Hey, I can still lend– “
  175. >“Woah, hey!” A finger on the muzzle stops her from going any further; you don’t want that mental image again.
  176. >Why would living toy constructs even have milk? Is it actually milk? Can they bang? Great, it’s in your head now. You need a drink.
  177. >Softening your own demeanor, you run your hand thru Rambo’s bizarre mane of silky strands and rough curls.
  178. >“How about we just eat at the Waffle House?”
  180. >The restaurant is packed.
  181. >Babies scream in hellish unison above the white noise of raucous laughter and clinking plates.
  182. >The elderly woman behind you won’t sit still; she’s practically humping the back of your sticky bench.
  183. >Gulping down your Irish coffee, you glance to Rambo Fast pounding waffles into her full cheeks.
  184. >You’re not used to eating with company at a bench table.
  185. >You’ve always preferred the bar, hunched over like a tortoise shielding itself from the world.
  186. >Isn’t this why you wanted to buy a Rainbow Dash, to have a bold and brash friend to lift you from your hobo-in-a-garbage-can ways?
  187. >So then why are you so hellbent on pushing this pony away?
  188. >Rambo notices your stare and stops mid bite to grin at you, releasing a wave of syrup from between her pearly whites.
  189. >Your heart warms a little and some of the misery slides away.
  190. >You’re not sure if it’s the coffee or the pony.
  191. >Be Rambo Dash
  192. >Your best friend excuses himself and staggers past busy servers towards the restroom; he must really have to go.
  193. >You giggle and wave every time he checks on you over his shoulder.
  194. >The moment he passes thru the door you drop the forced grin with a heavy breath.
  195. >Your jaw still aches from the stair accident, and putting on your happy face is making it worse.
  196. >You poke at the last bit of mushy waffle, mulling over new and frightening thoughts.
  197. >How much time is left for you? Will you get a new chosen friend? Will you get to say goodbye to the old one? Does he…love you?
  198. >From behind the bench, a flowery voice calls out, “Why hello there Pinkie Pie sweetie, how are—oh, oh my.”
  199. >You spin around to see a pretty white unicorn hanging over the bench. An opal studded collar with silver tags decorates her neck.
  200. >“I’m terribly sorry,” she apologizes while flipping her bouncy violet curls, “My sensors were detecting a Pinkie Pie unit nearby. I’m afraid I don’t recognize your model.”
  201. >You bounce on your sticky booster seat completely star struck, “By the power of Greyskull! You’re that Rare pony who hangs around Rainbow Dash!”
  202. >She shoots a charming wink as she corrects you, “Ha-ha, yes, I am Rarity. Not that Rarity as I’m not truly on the show per se, but I embody her in a sense.”
  203. >Her sparkling eyes scan past you, “Where is your darling? Are you here alone?”
  204. >“Huh? Oh right, no.” He is taking a long time.
  205. > Rarity looks to the restrooms with concern, “Oh dear, is your darling sick?”
  206. >She must’ve picked up on your worried glances.
  207. >“No.” The lump in your throat makes it difficult to speak.
  208. >“Is something troubling you, dearie?”
  209. >“It’s just that… I’m getting returned.”
  210. >She gasps, “Tha-that’s terrible news. But why?”
  211. >“I’m not the colors I should be.” There were worse complaints listed; you picked the least hurtful.
  212. >“Sweetie, looks aren’t everything. Everyone has an inner beauty; a way to shine for the ones they love. Perhaps you still have enough time to show how fabulous you really are in here.”
  213. >Her hoof gently taps your chest, filling it with hope. For the first time today, smiling doesn’t seem to hurt.
  214. >Next to Rarity, the dark mountain you hadn’t noticed till now begins to jiggle around, revealing a swollen face.
  215. >“Rarity, who the fuck are you talking to?” the man grunts, his beady eyes darting around.
  216. >“Darling! I-I was just—”
  217. >“Wow, morons still buy these cheap outsourced goof-ups? What’s the name of this model, Runblow Trash?”
  218. >He laughs like a fat bubbly fish, sending spit flying onto your muzzle.
  219. >Rarity looks horrified, her ocean blue eyes messaging bottled apologies your way.
  220. >You could easily karate chop the giant’s chuckling face, but you have to stay cool for Besty.
  221. >Boiling rage melts into quiet embarrassment as he sighs away the last of his laughs.
  222. >“Time to bounce Rarity, I just got an idea for a little Youtube project, and you get to help me design the arena.”
  223. >“What? Wait!” The man grasps Rarity in his sausage fingers, “Watch the hair,” she pleads before she’s plunged into a crusty Rainbow Dash backpack.
  224. >The two leave passing your best friend, who slurs out a compliment about his choice in bag.
  225. >Your friend is nothing like that meanie.
  226. >You’ll shine for Besty. You’ll both shine together.
  227. >Besty was really peeved on the way home, arguing with someone over the phone. You’ll have to try extra hard to cheer him up.
  228. >The ideas flood from your mouth as you both approach the house, “What’s next? Kicking cans? Chewing Bubblegum? I know some killer pranks involving three seashells!”
  229. >You prance into the dark interior, but you don’t hear his footsteps following.
  230. >“Sorry girl, I requested today off, but my supervisor really screwed me over not telling the manager. Hold tight for 5 hours, I’ll be back.”
  231. >As the door shuts, a few of the papers fly off of the oak chair. The return form happens to float down in front of you. You slump and skirt wide of the thing.
  232. >It’s too quiet, so you playfully tap the remote till the TV turns on, “and now back to Dan VS. Depression on the Hub, it can happen.
  233. >You begin pacing nervously like the Dan person on the screen. “What do I do now? How can I shine?”
  234. >Your pacing takes you to the kitchen. You always feel better when working with food.
  235. >A slapped together peanut butter and frosting sandwich flies off the grill as you spice up its aerial maneuvers with engine noises.
  236. >Airplanes are awesome. Maybe you can pilot a plane with Besty someday.
  237. >Your wings twitch, “Maybe I can learn to fly.” You imagine yourself zipping thru castle halls like Rainbow Dash and Rarity, with Besty in your heroic hooves.
  238. >Flapping your wings as hard as you can, you manage to hover just an inch off the stool for a few seconds.
  239. >You try leaping from the sofa, hovering further with more air time before crashing into the book shelf.
  240. >Bursting out of a heavy book pile, you wonder where you can find a bigger boost.
  241. >Your hair sticks straight with a fierce streak of red; the cherry frosting holds surprisingly well.
  242. >You flex against a fake marble beam, noting that your karate-action wing feels a little stiff, but with enough speed and height you’re sure this’ll work. Why else would you have wings?
  243. >A step forward takes you closer to your open window.
  244. >“All right Ramb—augh,” you try to shake that lamesauce name from your head. “My name is Rainbow Dash, and I can do this.”
  245. >A few more steps, “Up,” you’re at full gallop, “up,”
  246. >The tiny cloud bed creaks under the might of your hooves as you launch yourself like a rocket thru the window, “and away!”
  247. >Blinding rays of light sting your eyes, but you feel the cool summer breeze rushing through your feathers, lifting you high above the ground.
  248. >Then your head begins to swim with a sinking sensation. Hair stands on end as gravity drags you down.
  249. >Chk-snap! A solid impact to your side glances you sideways at dizzying speeds into clanging metallic walls.
  250. >Thick sickening scents of rot and blueberries fill your nose as you lie helpless on a crinkling bed of mush.
  251. >You try to move your limbs but they only twitch in pain, except for your left foreleg; there’s no leg to move.
  252. >Ringing ears won’t block out the taunting echoes in your head: Runblow Trash.
  253. >You stare weakly at the shrinking plate of blue sky. Two smaller plates. Three blurry dots.
  254. >It’s getting hotter, “Help…” It’s so dark.
  255. >Be Besty. You're exhausted.
  256. >The customers were a pain today. This sweltering heatwave has been driving everybody loony.
  257. >You’re just relieved to finally be home with a pony who cares.
  258. >Stepping from the car into the sweltering humidity, you wave to the haggard garbage man hauling away your trash.
  259. >A cool burst of air conditioning rolls over you as enter the house, “Rambo, I’m home.”
  260. >She’s not on the couch despite there being toons on, and there’s no response yet; is she hiding?
  261. >You shout a more playful follow up, “C’mon out Ms. Fast the jig is up!” Paper crinkles beneath your foot. Those blood stains look familiar, “Uh oh.”
  262. >You try a more reassuring tone, “Hey, it’s okay Rambo. No one’s leaving. I want you stay with me, just the two of us. Besties for life, right?”
  263. >Walking towards her room you pass a half-eaten sandwich on the counter. For a little pony she can eat a lot, and you know she could’ve finished that easily.
  264. > You sprint up the stairs taking three at a time. Your cold moist hands barely cling to the banister.
  265. >The room is dim, only the central portion is lit by the open window, through which you spot a little blue noodle in the yard, and a red smear across the overhang.
  266. >Your heart propels into your throat. You stumble outside in a panic, cradling the limb and hoarsely calling her name.
  267. >She couldn't have fallen this far. Your eyes trail to the empty trash by the porch. More red smears lined its walls.
  268. >The thought of her dying and forgotten under oceans of garbage was too much to bear.
  269. >You scramble to the street like a wild man, nearly colliding with a biking couple.
  270. >The garbage truck is gone; you never before thought to pay attention to its route.
  271. >The dump, you’ll find her at the dump.
  272. >Anon grabs his keys and sprints out the door, leaving the TV to play to nobody but an empty house.
  273. >“Breaking Hub news. Annabelle Matervich, the chief of former Hasbro subsidiary Solnechno Toys, was tragically found shot dead in her office today in an apparent suicide. Family claims she was constantly on edge after coming under fire in the wake of an ongoing investigation regarding online sales of unregulated and dangerous My Little Pony toys. The Russian based company has denied these charges, as well as any illicit use of the Hasbro name to push said sales. When questioned on rumors linking these toys to experimental prototypes for Hasbro’s current top selling BioPlushie Pony Friend toy line, Hasbro’s lead product designer, Ribbon Wishes, gave no comment. And now back to Pound Puppies…”
  275. >Months have passed.
  276. >You eat less now than you did before meeting her.
  277. >Dry cheerios hold your stomach pains at bay as you swig down more apple rum.
  278. >Your scarred hands clack sluggishly on the keyboard.
  279. >Youtube and booze have been doing a crap job of filling the void in your heart.
  280. >As ritual dictates, before opening said site, you take a minute to stare at the newspaper clipping on the wall.
  281. >The monitor’s glow offers too little light to read, but you know what it says.
  283. >The article mentions you screaming about Sylvester Stallone movies while clawing through mountains of garbage for horse toys.
  284. >You tried a more rational approach after the incident by putting up missing posters, but most of the locals pointed and laughed.
  285. >At first you thought they were jeering at you, the madman from the paper with the artistic skill of a five year old, but you died inside the second you realized they were mocking her.
  286. >There was nothing wrong with her; if only you had the chance to tell her that.
  287. >“I belong in that landfill.”
  288. >The mouse arrow hovers between your playlists of depressing rock and baby animals.
  289. >Both eventually break you into a sobbing mess, but then a recommended video catches your eye.
  290. >Big Sal’s Slaughterhouse. You’ve heard of the channel. This psycho by the name of L0RD_SAL has been rapidly climbing the list of top viewed channels with incredibly brutal bootleg pony death matches.
  291. >All this time you’ve avoided it like the plague, but you’ve been incredibly numb these past few weeks.
  292. >This won’t faze you. Click.
  293. >“Welcome back to another exciting episode of Sal and Rarity’s Slaughterhouse, where we put worthless MLP bootlegs to use in glorious combat-combat-combat!”
  294. >The cheesy explosion effects and booming voice is already giving you a headache.
  295. >In what looks to be a lightless dirt floor basement, the camera zooms in on a torch lit arena lined with rusted barbed wire entangling little pony extremities.
  296. >Two bird cages slowly lower from a system of pulley’s and chains to the tune of “Bodies” by Drowning Pool.
  297. >“In the left cage, from last week’s most popular match yet, we have returning veteran Captainjack, who proved a perilous foe to the now slain Bonborg.”
  298. >A stoic Applejack knockoff hobbles out on a hook nailed to the stump of her right foreleg and adjusts her eye patch. Her long white braid is stained beige from trailing on the ground.
  299. >“And in the right cage, facing the carnage for the first time ever, is the feeble and fumbling Fluttershave.”
  300. >Seconds pass, but the frail bootleg is clinging desperately to the top of the cage. She’s hyperventilating at an alarming rate.
  301. >A loud pop from the electrified cage catches you off guard. Your muscles tense as the poor thing scrambles away from the cage rattled with terror.
  302. >Her sides are scratched away like she’d been run thru machinery, and her mane is gone save for a single lock across her face.
  303. >“Gladiators, commence the battle!”
  304. >Captainjack lunges with initiative, apologizing while getting in a few cheap shots on the bewildered newcomer.
  305. >As she begins answering back with a few half-hearted strikes of her own, the announcer slips in some opportune advertising, “Remember watchers, if you’re a bloodthirsty fan, feel free to send us more bootleg ponies, or become a patreon.”
  306. >Captainjack is now stumbling from exhaustion, but manages to keep the pressure up with an offensive flurry of left jabs.
  307. >Fluttershave flinches in response, pushing outwards with her mangled wings to send the veteran tripping backwards over her own braid. Her head collides with a jutting stone.
  308. >Fluttershave looks around, unsure of what to expect next.
  309. >“A lucky knockout! But it looks like she’s forfeiting her own life to spare the loser. A bold strategy; let’s see if it pays off for her.”
  310. >The confused pony squeaks at the threat, and timidly climbs on top of her victim, placing two hooves on the neck.
  311. >Tears stream down her clenched eyes as she leans forward.
  312. > She can’t stop stammering over how sorry she is.
  313. >Your stomach is twisting in knots.
  314. >“Uh oh, is this it folks? Will our little Captain join the Wall of Failures?” the camera pans out as a bright spotlight illuminates the basement backdrop lined with severed heads.
  315. >”I…*cough*…I don’t wanna die yet!” Captainjack screams as she lashes out with her hook, inadvertently slashing the shocked Flutters across both eyes.
  316. >Captainjack sputters between sharp inhales, trying to regain her breath, before spotting her whimpering attacker slink away along the ground, feeling for a safe place hide.
  317. >Heavy hoofsteps clop and clink closer to the miserable ball of yellow.
  318. >The Captain plants a hind hoof firmly on Flutter’s back while a hook presses into her throat.
  319. >“All right folks it looks like Captainjack is going for the big finish!”
  320. >She’s hesitating. Don’t do it, you plead. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.
  321. >Stock sound effects of a cheering crowd cry out their fictitious approval, but a barely audible snarl can be heard offscreen, “I said it’s time for the finish!”
  322. >A volley of peanuts pelts Captainjack in the face.
  323. >“Ah’m so sorry sugar ball.” The Captain bends low to nuzzle the top of Fluttershave’s head as she tenderly whispers “I love you.”
  324. > Fluttershave’s watery eyes twitch open, before the quick upwards yank of the hook forces the little yellow bootleg to go limp.
  325. >The dam breaks as a flood of Cheerios torrents from your mouth.
  326. >“Wow folks, I did not see that coming, nor did Fluttershave apparently.”
  327. >The sociopath had the gall to chortle at that.
  328. >And now, as always, here’s Miss Rarity with news of next week’s featured gladiators.
  329. >In a pristine pink room, at a tiny desk, sits a disheveled toy Rarity.
  330. >She nervously adjusts her opal collar before reading from her post-it note script.
  331. >“Tune in next week to catch dashing rookie Rainbow Chop clash steel with our returning champion from last…”
  332. >Her hooves are trembling as she tries to get through the rest, “last f-frankenseason, Scorchie Pie 3.0. Till next time my lovely viewers.”
  333. >Two portraits appear behind her. The first is a jovial looking pinkie pie knockoff titled: Scorchie Pie (first season).
  334. >The second is, “Rambo?”
  335. >A fat man wearing a horse mask leans into the camera, “And don’t forget to smash that Like and Subscribe button for more content!”
  336. >Be Appleshine
  337. >Another package arrived in your crate today; the others must be getting crowded.
  338. >You dig your hook into the cardboard package.
  339. >You know what’s inside, but you still shut your eyes and imagine a huge being emerging from the box.
  340. >You would say to it: Howdy sugar ball, want to go for a run? And it would scoop you up in its loving arms to run through hills of sweet blossoming apple trees.
  341. >Your hook gets halfway down the tape while you daydream before a flurry of blue pops out, knocking you off your hooves.
  342. >“Rambo Fast’s the name, speed’s my game! Who’s ready to bake a…a…?”
  343. >Her head swivels around, looking for something, or rather someone. The confused pony must have rebooted.
  344. >“Where am I? Who are you?”
  345. >You rise to greet the stranger, putting on your best motherly tone, “Hello there sugar ball, my name’s Appleshine, and this here’s Bean Bean and Loud Kicker. We’re in a wooden crate.”
  346. >Bean Bean nods her head of blue and pink curls while curtsying as best as she can with her stubby legs.
  347. >The slender all-lavender Loud Kicker silently waves in her usual fashion.
  348. >Neither of them have been here long enough to know the real reason they’re here.
  349. >“Wood? Heh heh, my home isn’t wooden. Heh, it’s brick. I need to be home right now. My Besty. Where’s my Besty?! He said he’ll be back in five hours. How long is five hours!?”
  350. >“Whoa, simmer down girl. Everything’s okay.” You reach to comfort her.
  351. >"Eep, hat happened to your leg?!”
  352. >You break eye contact, hurriedly pulling back the hooked leg, “Oh,” how could you forget that horrid thing?
  353. >“What happened to MY leg?!”
  354. >Her left leg looked to be a wood handled kitchen knife crudely glued to an exposed metal shoulder joint.
  355. >That’s new. Looks like somebody got to her before he had a chance.
  356. >“No. No, I gotta get out of here.”
  357. >Rambo scrambles quickly up the crate walls, but her head crashes into a web of chicken wire.
  358. >“I need to get home! I can still shine, please!” She crashes the knife limb into the wire a few times before she starts losing her grip.
  359. >Loud Kicker looks to you in desperation and raps her hoof on the floor.
  360. >She’s right; you rush to stop the panicked pony.
  361. >Rambo crashes to the floor, and tries to climb again as you bite into her tail. She won’t stop pulling.
  362. >Bean Bean’s meek voice begs out a warning, “Please stop, you’re going to wake him,” and grabs a mouthful of feathers from Rambo’s left wing.
  363. >Rambo flinches and spins to confront the two of you, “Wait don’t!”
  364. >Whir-crack!
  365. >Time stands still. The tail drops from your mouth.
  366. >Rambo’s horrified gaze is locked with Bean Bean’s wide unblinking stare.
  367. >The steel between her eyes slips free as she crumples to the floor like a ragdoll.
  368. >Loud Kicker crouches to make herself less noticeable, then begins slowly backing away, one hoof at a time, until she’s huddled in the furthest, darkest corner.
  369. >She never once took her golden eyes off of Rambo.
  370. >“I-it was an accident…I *sob* k-karate…chopped…”
  371. >Her explaining melts into apologetic weeps. She curls into a ball, body trembling as she tries to hold herself still.
  372. >You’ve seen new ponies have rough nights before, but this one’s going to haunt you for a while.
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