Hunting and Hunted Full

shukaku20 Aug 31st, 2012 2,766 Never
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  1. Chapter 1: Set up
  3. >Everything feels warm.
  4. >And wet.
  5. >Bringing your hand to your face, you feel a liquid between the two.
  6. >Its sticky and smells metallic.
  7. >Opening your eyes, you can’t see anything in the blackness of wherever you are.
  8. >"Ah, you’re awake. Good."
  9. “Who are you and where am I?”
  10. >"All in good time Anonymous, all in good time."
  11. >Forcing yourself up, your feet slip on the liquid all over the floor.
  12. >Bracing yourself against the wall you manage to keep your footing.
  13. “Show yourself.”
  14. >"My my, Impatient aren't we."
  15. >"Don't worry, soon enough you won’t have any problems."
  16. “What are you talking about?”
  17. >"It’s best if you see for yourself"
  18. >A flame flickers into existence, revealing the room.
  19. >Everything is coated in a layer of red.
  20. >Blood.
  21. >On everything.
  22. >On you.
  23. >All around you are parts or something; the light is too dim to tell.
  24. “What the Fuck”
  25. >"That sort of language is unnecessary here"
  26. >In front of you stands a horse, no a pony holding a candle.
  27. “Are you the one who did this?”
  28. >"Of course, but I’m not the one who is going to suffer for it, that’s your job."
  29. >"That is, unless you want to play a little game?"
  30. “What kind of game?”
  31. >"Oh, nothing to complex, if you can catch me before the guards catch and execute you, I will turn myself in, and vindicate you."
  32. “And if I can't”
  33. >Well, you'll be dead, so it won’t matter then will it?"
  34. “You Fucker”
  35. >Lunging at him, you slip in the blood, and faceplant.
  36. >"Now now, it wouldn't be fun for the game to end here, so I hope to see you later."
  37. >"Or not"
  38. >A heavy impact to the back of your head leads you to darkness.
  41. >As you come to, the first feeling you get is pain.
  42. >Lots of it.
  43. >Trying to sit up, you find your arms bound behind you by rope, and you can feel fresh blood running from assorted scrapes all over your arms and face.
  44. >At least nothing is broken.
  45. >Rolling onto your stomach, you use your face to force yourself into a sitting position.
  46. >"Looks like your awake Scum"
  47. “Huh?”
  48. >Looking around, you find yourself in a cell, surrounded by stone walls.
  49. >"Come on, get up you bucking monkey"
  50. “The hell.”
  51. >"Get moving or you will be late for your own execution."
  52. >you feel your body being dragged upright by some weird force.
  53. >"Now are you going to move, or am I going to have to drag you all the way there?"
  54. “What the hell is going on here?”
  55. >"You are being executed for the murder of half a dozen ponys"
  56. “No I mean with the talking pony thing.”
  57. >"The buck are you talking to, you’re the only weird thing here, Now get moving."
  58. >You stumble behind the pony, as it opens the cell, and leads you out.
  59. >Around you, several Ponys in gold armor form up.
  60. >'Probably guards or something' you think to yourself
  61. >You are led down a winding series of corridors and staircases, until you are finally brought before a pair of wooden doors.
  62. >Your escort opens the door, and shoves you through.
  63. >Stumbling into the room beyond, you manage to avoid crashing on your face and only fall to your knees.
  64. >A smooth but hard voice rings out through the room
  65. >"Stand".
  66. >With some effort you struggle to your feet.
  67. >The owner of the voice is a white Pony, nearly as tall as you.
  68. >It bears a crown and breastplate, along with its natural horn and wings.
  69. >"You are accused of the murder of six innocent citizens. How do you plead?"
  70. “I.. I don't know.”
  71. >The pony raises an eyebrow at you questioningly.
  72. >"You don't know?"
  73. >You shake your head.
  74. >"Let us just see about that then."
  75. >Her horn glows, and you feel a presence attempting to enter your mind.
  76. >It stops before actually entering, and you see a surprised look appear on her face.
  77. >She focuses again, the force reappears, but this time its pushing. HARD.
  78. >The pressure builds, and you find yourself staggering with the pain.
  79. >"You certainly are resistant aren't you."
  80. Resistant to what?
  81. >You get no answer, as the pressure increases once again.
  82. >"OPEN YOUR MIND!"
  83. >The pressure reaches unbearable amounts, and you collapse on the ground, barely able to breathe.
  84. >As soon as the pressure appeared, it vanishes, leaving you panting on the ground.
  85. >"Why do you resist me when all I seek to do is determine your innocence or guilt?"
  86. “I wasn’t *gasp* resisting.”
  87. >"Then why could I not enter your mind?"
  88. >You can't respond, your lungs burning from the psychological torture.
  89. >"It seems you refuse to explain, therefore I am left with no choice."
  90. >No...
  91. >"You will be executed at sunrise."
  92. >NO!!....
  93. >The strange force picks you up again, dragging you along the ground, further damaging your already damaged arms.
  94. >Soon enough, you are back in the cell, your arms scraped and bloodied.
  95. >Too tired to do anything else, you drift asleep.
  98. Chapter 2: Escape
  99. >Morning comes, coated in pain and dried blood.
  100. >You feel the same feeling as yesterday, getting pulled up by an invisible force.
  101. >"Rise and shine, ya monkey, it’s time to die."
  102. >Shaking the sleep out of your head, you are carried through the hallways again by that strange force.
  103. >You say nothing during the trip, not like you could say anything that would help anyways.
  104. >Again you find yourself thrown to the ground in front of the white pony, but this time there is a dark blue one beside it.
  105. >"Is this the one sister?" The blue one asks.
  106. >"Yes, its mind is too well shielded, it’s probably an agent of Discord"
  107. >The white one motions a guard forward.
  108. >"Untie it."
  109. >"But princess..."
  110. >"Do it, it is no threat to us"
  111. >The guard looks unsure, but follows the white ones orders.
  112. >As the ropes come off, you move your arms in front of you, and give them a good going over, brushing off all the dried blood.
  113. “Thank you for this kindness Princess, even though you plan to execute me.”
  114. >"It seems that even though you are a killer, you have manners" The white one says, looking down at you.
  115. “I have never killed anyone, or any pony for that matter either.”
  116. >The guards shuffle a bit, but the princess’s faces show no change in expression.
  117. >"So, you claim, but do you have any proof as to your innocence?"
  118. >You shake your head, looking down.
  119. “I’m afraid I don't.”
  120. >The White one looks over at her sister, sharing some kind of silent message, before turning back.
  121. >"We would like one more chance at penetrating the shield around your mind. If you would allow us one more try, we will grant you a final request."
  123. >Wow, the blue one sounds like it’s got a megaphone stuck in her throat.
  124. “But of course Princess. Please go ahead.”
  125. >"Good, now let us begin"
  126. >Both Unicorn pegasii approach you, before pressing their horns to your head.
  127. >The same pressing sensation appears, but it is far less painful this time
  128. >Your body is locked up, but you still feel the two get nowhere.
  129. >After several minutes, they both step back
  130. >"It seems like whatever set up the shield made it impossible to break."
  131. >"We do apologize, but for the safety of our ponys we must do this"
  132. >You simply bow your head.
  133. >Looks like you are not getting out of this easy.
  134. “For my last request, might I be able to view the sunrise from a balcony nearby?”
  135. >They look at each other and nod, gesturing one of the guards to them.
  136. >After some quiet whispers, the guard takes and motions for you to follow.
  137. >A pair of guards form up behind you as the one in front leads you out a small door on the side of the room.
  138. >Beyond the door lies a hallway with doors on both sides.
  139. >You are led down this hallway to a door on the far side.
  140. >Through the door is a staircase winding up and down.
  141. >The guards usher you up these stairs, until you hit a landing with a balcony off of it.
  142. >One of the guards behind you not-so-gently pushes you forward.
  143. >Stepping out onto the balcony, you are greeted by a sight unlike any you have seen before.
  144. >The full moon sits just above the horizon to the left of you.
  145. >Stars spread out across the sky in beautiful constellations, twinkle faintly, their soft light adding to the glow of the moon.
  146. >The balcony itself overlooks a garden near the front gate of the castle
  147. >Past the gate, a cityscape like something out of a fantasy novel lies, streetlights flickering here and there.
  148. >The lights begin flickering out as the sun begins to peek over the horizon.
  149. >The flowers and plans below you are thick, but well kept, their colours forming an intricate mosaic.
  150. >As the moon slips further under the horizon, the sky begins to change.
  151. >Bands of red, orange yellow and pink begin forming, taking over the deep blue of the night.
  152. >A creaking sound distracts you from the magnificent sight of the sunrise.
  153. >Swinging outward on its massive hinges, the front gate slowly creaks open.
  154. >Something clicks in your head, and an escape plan forms.
  155. >Without looking back at them, you address the guards as you lean forward on the railing.
  156. “You know, there is an old saying where I am from, and I think the princesses could benefit from knowing it.”
  157. “Every end is a beginning, and every beginning an end.”
  158. >Turning, you face the guards while sitting on the railing.
  159. “Whenever something ends, something new begins.”
  160. >As you gesture around you, the guards look at you confused
  161. “Take the sunrise for example; the end of the night is the beginning of the day, just like the beginning of this day is the end of my previous life.”
  162. >Leaning back, you gaze upwards at the now mostly blue sky.
  163. “I wonder what will begin? Ah well, it’s not like we will learn for a while.”
  164. >Shifting your weight all the way back, you slide off the railing and fall down into the plants several stories below.
  165. >The impact jars every bone in your body, and leaves you with many more bruises and cuts, but nothing feels broken.
  166. >You lie there, resting for a moment in the cover of the bushes, before you hear guards shouting and raising the alarm.
  167. >Scrambling to your feet, you sprint from cover, even as the gate begins the process of closing.
  168. >Bells everywhere begin ringing, drowning out the sound of the gate closing.
  169. >Your adrenaline finally kicks in, giving you a small boost to speed and numbing the pain of your cuts and bruises.
  170. >The gates are almost closed as you reach them, and you make a twisting dive to fit through.
  171. >CRASH!!!
  172. >The gates slam shut right behind you.
  173. >You can hear the guards yelling, and the gates begin their opening process again.
  174. >Dashing into the city, you work your way towards the outer limits.
  175. >Empty streets and no particular destination allow you to easily lose the guards chasing you.
  176. >After a good half hour of running, ponies begin appearing in streets, so you find yourself in a back alley behind a bakery.
  177. >While you catch your breath, you take the time to look around.
  178. >The alley is dark, but overall it’s fairly neat considering it is an alley.
  179. >A door swinging open to the right of you snaps your attention away from your analysis of the alley.
  180. >Pressing up against the wall, you watch a singular figure step out.
  181. >Silently, you lunge at them, your hand wrapping around their mouth, silencing the scream that would have come.
  182. >They immediately look at you with pale blue eyes filled with fear.
  183. “Don’t worry; I don't intend to harm you.”
  184. >Some of the fear is now replaced by confusion.
  185. “I am being hunted right now, and if you had screamed they would have all swarmed here and I would be done for.”
  186. >The pony nods in understanding, and you remove your hand from their mouth.
  187. “My name is Anonymous; it’s nice to meet you, even if the circumstances are odd.”
  188. >The voice that replies is gentle and feminine, leading you to believe that they are, in fact female.
  189. >"It’s nice to meet you as well, my name is Cherry Blossom"
  190. >She gestures to the doorway and asks
  191. >"Would you like to come in for a moment?"
  192. “I suppose, though I shouldn't stay long, I have to leave the city soon.”
  193. >Just then your stomach lets off a mighty growl.
  194. >This causes you to realize you probably haven’t eaten for the better part of a day at least.
  195. >"You can leave as soon as you have had breakfast"
  196. >She gives you a smile, and steps inside.
  197. >As you step inside, your nose is overtaken by the smells of fresh baked pastries and breads.
  198. >Once in the light, you finally get a good look at each other.
  199. >She is a sand coloured mare, with a deep red mane and a Sakura flower tattooed on her flank.
  200. >Her eyes go wide, and she gasps as she looks over your bruised and bloodied body.
  201. >"First things first, you must get cleaned up, and then you can eat then leave. The bathroom is the first room on your left up those stairs there"
  202. >You simply nod, and make your way up the stairs.
  203. >As you open the door to the bathroom, Cherry’s voice calls up the stairs.
  204. >"I will have breakfast ready for when you finish, so take your time. I am also making you a basket of stuff to take with you."
  205. “Are you sure you want to do this for me? I don’t really have any way to pay you back.”
  206. >"Is it wrong for me to want to help somepony in trouble, even if they are not a pony?"
  207. >A smile crosses you face, as you enter the bathroom, the door closing softly behind you.
  208. >The bathroom itself is small, consisting of a toilet, a sink and a tub, along with standard bathroom objects like mirrors and what not.
  209. >Filling the sink, you remove your shirt and put it in, the blood beginning to soak out of it.
  210. >Running the tub, you remove your remaining clothes and set them aside to wash, before lowering yourself into the tub.
  211. >The heat sinks into your joints, easing out the stiffness and tension of the last day or so.
  212. >Shifting your body, you lower your upper body and arms underwater.
  213. >The water slowly changes from transparent to pink as you shed layers of dried on blood.
  214. >You soak for a moment more, before rising out of the tub, water dripping off your lean frame.
  215. >Stepping out, you pull the plug and watch the blood of many ponys as well as your own swirl down the drain.
  216. >Removing your shirt from the drain, you wring it out and set it to dry on the baths edge.
  217. >After a quick towel dry, you put back on your underwear, pants and shoes and step out.
  218. >Stepping down the stairs, you are once again assaulted by the smell of fresh baked goods, and your stomach gives another growl.
  219. >"Come, breakfast is on the table Anonymous; you don’t want it to get cold."
  220. >Approaching the table you are greeted by the sight of plates of steaming fresh bread, as well as fruit muffins and pastries by the half dozen,
  221. >In the center of it all sits a Cherry pie, complete with whipped cream and peach slices.
  222. “This all looks amazing Miss Blossom; are you sure you are okay with me having some?”
  223. >"If you want, you can have it all, and please, call me Cherry. Miss Blossom makes me sound old.
  224. >Sitting down, you begin filling a plate with bread and pastries.
  225. “Thank you Miss... er I mean Cherry, it’s always nice to meet someone so kind, especially when I am in trouble.”
  226. >”Thank you kindly, but please eat. You must be hungry from being hunted continually.”
  227. >You nod, before taking a bite of an apple fritter.
  228. “This is excellent Cherry, did you make this yourself?”
  229. >"Yes, I run this bakery so I would hope it is good."
  230. “It most certainly is, probably some of the best I have had in a long time.”
  231. >You politely dig in, going through pastries and breads at an alarming rate.
  232. >The sound of rushing hooves snaps you out of your veritable feeding frenzy
  233. >You quickly drop your food, and press yourself to the wall by the staircase.
  234. >"What’s wrong?"
  235. >You make a silencing motion with your hand, before edging around to the doorway to the main store area.
  236. >Through the front window you can see dozens of guards in gold armour stream past, some stopping to knock on doors.
  237. >A pair begins to pound on the bakery door, and you look back to Cherry.
  238. “Tell nopony I was here. I must leave, but you have my eternal thanks for what you have done for me. I pray we meet again."
  239. >You disappear up the stairs, as Cherry goes to the door to answer.
  240. >Entering the bathroom, you put on your mostly dried shirt, and open the window leading out back.
  241. >Squeezing through, you drop the story and a bit to the ground, rolling to minimize impact, before backing up to the wall.
  242. >Pressing your ear to the door you make out some bits of the guards talking
  243. >"Looking.....Monkey.......Dangerous......Reward.......Two Thousand Bits...."
  244. >Cherry starts to reply, but you step away with a sigh, before moving down the alley.
  245. >The sound of wings overhead draws your attention, and you press yourself deep into the shadows.
  246. >Feeling something warm trickle down your arm, you notice several of the cuts from earlier have opened up again, and are slowly dripping down your arm.
  247. >God you hope they don’t have bloodhounds, as you are leaving a literal blood trail.
  248. >Moving further down the alley, you come to an opening to the street.
  249. >The street is mostly empty, save a few ponys wandering around.
  250. >More flapping draws you back into the alleys shadows.
  251. >When the sound fades, you peek out again and are awarded with the sight of an unguarded wagon, just off to one side.
  252. >Making sure nopony is watching, you dash from your cover, and dive under the cart, a small trail of dust rising from behind you.
  253. >The cart itself has an underside practically designed for you to attach yourself to, as you pull yourself up into position.
  254. >Kicking out the block holding the wheels, you begin pushing the wagon by across the ground.
  255. >It takes a moment, but the wagon begins picking up speed as it clatters along the cobblestone pathway.
  256. >Gasps and surprised exclamations come from all around the wagon as you cling to it for dear life.
  257. >Ahead, you can see the road split, leaving you with only two options.
  258. >Slow down and risk getting seen
  259. >Or keep going and crash, possibly harming innocents.
  260. >The first option it is then.
  261. >Digging your heels into the ground, you shift your weight and feel the wagon begin to turn to the left.
  262. >It barely makes it around the corner before you hear the screams of ponies that spotted you.
  263. >Pushing again, you speed the cart back up to a near full speed.
  264. >Looking left and right, you try to spot a way out.
  265. >For a moment, time seems to slow down, as you spot a familiar face in the crowd.
  266. >Those cold glacier blue eyes.
  267. >The same eyes that looked down at you while they set up framing you for murder, laying the groundwork for your death.
  268. >A grin crosses his white features, a horn protruding from his golden mane.
  269. >And just like that, he was gone, you having rolled past at a bone rattling speed.
  270. >Rumbling through the city, less and less ponies can be seen on the road, as you feel the road change from cobblestone to a smooth material.
  271. >Taking this as a sign, you dig your heels in again, slowly bringing the wagon to a stop.
  272. >Dusting yourself off after rolling out from under the wagon, you look around and see a few pony remain around, but they scatter immediately upon seeing you notice them.
  273. >Setting the wagon to rest against a building, you take stock of your situation and surroundings.
  274. >Good news, you are near the edge of the city.
  275. >Bad news, the city is attached to the side of a mountain
  276. >Worse news, you are on the side furthest away from the mountain.
  277. >Time to assess my options.
  278. >Option 1: Travel all the way back through the city and look for a way out there.
  279. >Nope, to risky, the guards are probably swarming the entrance over there.
  280. >Option 2: Find a save way of this side.
  281. >It has possibilities but we should consider other possibilities first.
  282. >Option 3: Turn ourselves in and get this over with
  283. >NO straight up NO
  284. >Option 4: Find somepony who would be willing to help us escape from the city.
  285. >Maybe, but they are probably just as likely to turn us in for that reward the guard mention. Two thousand of anything is nothing to scoff at, though I have no idea how much a 'bit' is worth.
  286. >It’s probably worth quite a bit, all things considered.
  287. >Not even a day and I already have a huge bounty on my head. Not bad.
  288. >Sighing you snap out of your internal debate, and focus on the buildings and city around you.
  289. >You can see a number of giant balloons behind the buildings ahead of you.
  290. >Must be an airship dock, could be a way down there.
  291. >While adding grand theft airship to your list of crimes isn't exactly high on your priority list, it's becoming a possibility.
  292. >Running down the streets, ignoring the throbbing pain in your joints, and finally come out near the edge of the airfield.
  293. >Several warehouses line the back of the area, facing towards the main staging ground where dozens of hot air balloons and airships sit docked.
  294. >Sticking to the shadows as much as possible, you make your way to the nearest warehouse.
  295. >A small service door provides you with entry, and you find yourself in what appears to be a repair hanger, cloth and wood, along with tools lie all over the walls.
  296. >With the supplies at hand, you have only one plan...
  297. >An hour of cutting, nailing and sewing later, and your masterpiece is ready.
  298. >A fixed wing glider, eight feet across, six feet long and with a built in stabilizer system and strap system.
  299. >Attaching yourself in, you line up with the main entrance, and chuck a hammer against it.
  300. >It impacts with a deep resounding thud loud enough to be heard several warehouses down.
  301. >You can immediately hear the guards for up outside it, before the doors are thrown open.
  302. >As soon as the door has opened enough, you rush out, giving a cry like a banshee, the guards scattering before the giant monkey with a kite on its back.
  303. >Lowering your upper body, you sprint to the edge of the city.
  304. >With a final leap, you throw yourself off.
  305. >Almost immediately, you are sent into a downward dive, gaining speed at an incredible rate.
  306. >Pulling the nose up, you hear the frame creak and groan in protest, but you eventually level out, soaring over the landscape, a few hundred feet up.
  307. "Hmn..., I'm feeling like I'm forgetting something..."
  308. >A sudden gust tugs the glider's direction slightly, and you realize this thing has no form of steering.
  309. >Glancing over your shoulder reveals a number of pegasii have begun following you, and are gaining slowly.
  310. >Focusing on the land before you, you search for a good place to land.
  311. >A wide open plain runs for a while, before it is overtaken by a forest.
  312. >Near the forest, you can make out a small town.
  313. >Tilting the nose downward, you bring yourself near to the level of the treetops, then quickly pull and detach yourself from the glider.
  314. >You skip off a few treetops, before coming to rest in a massive ancient oak.
  315. >Running your arms over your body, you find a plethora of new scrapes, cuts and bruises, but nothing broken so far as you can tell.
  316. >You just lie in the tree resting and clearing your head, while the sound of many wings flapping travels overhead.
  317. >Your pursuers are likely chasing your still flying glider.
  318. >Relaxing, it isn’t long before you drift to sleep.
  320. Chapter 3: The Chicken and the Manticore
  321. >It’s been eight years already...
  322. >Eight years since they found their Marks and left.
  323. >Sure you've managed to get by performing odd jobs to earn bits, but without a special talent...
  324. >You glare at the reflection in the mirror, its purple mane and orange coat mocking you.
  325. >Always a reminder of the failure you are.
  326. >Angrily you slam your forehooves into the ground, your useless little wings flapping pathetically against your sides.
  327. >As hard as you try, tears begin to form.
  328. >Nopony needs a blank flank like you around, even if they don’t say it.
  329. >That’s why you decided to end it today.
  330. >Gathering what few bits you have, you set them in a bag on the table, as well as your house keys.
  331. >Walking out the door, you take our last look at your home.
  332. >Or so you thought.
  334. >The town is mostly empty, most of the population at town hall for some sort of emergency meeting.
  335. >What few ponies you do encounter barely even look your way, let alone say hello.
  336. >But why should they?
  337. >You're just some blank flank pegasus who can’t even fly.
  338. >Nopony would care if you just up and disappeared one day, never to return.
  339. >The edge of town quickly approaches, and you make your way directly to the Everfree Forest.
  340. >Plenty of dangerous things in there to end it.
  341. >I wonder which I will encounter first.
  342. >A cockatrice maybe; It would be the most painless way to go, simply turning to stone.
  343. >Perhaps a manticore; probably the fastest way, though likely pretty painful.
  344. >Timberwolves could also be quick, but they might also drag it on as well.
  345. >Shrugging, you continue on your journey of self-destruction, occasionally glancing around at the forest.
  346. >Telltale signs of a manticores territory begin to appear all around you.
  347. >Large claw marks cover the sides of trees, bits of red fur stuck in nooks and crannies.
  348. >The shadows seem to dance around you, taunting you, drawing you further to your destruction.
  349. >It’s not long before you come across a small clearing, mostly covered by the foliage of the surrounding trees.
  350. >In the center, dozing in a sunbeam that made its way through the trees sleeps a full grown alpha manticore.
  351. >The beast is easily five times as large as the biggest of stallions, with claws that could split you in two with ease.
  352. >Picking up a rock, you hurl it at the sleeping manticore.
  353. >You are rewarded by a direct hit.
  357. >A massive roar shakes you from your slumber, as well as sends you down a couple layers in the tree.
  358. >Another roar comes out from below you, and you lower yourself further to see.
  359. >In the clearing below you, you can see a rather angry looking lion beast.
  360. >It has a scorpion’s tail raised behind it, poised to strike, and a pair of dragon wings flared up.
  361. >Almost directly below you, you spot an orange pony with a purple mane, just staring at the angry manticore.
  362. >The manticore charges the pony, its jaws opened wide, ready to consume the unlucky pony.
  363. >Dropping from the tree on the manticore, you land right behind its head, forcing it to the ground for a moment.
  364. >This distracts it, and it begins bucking around trying to knock you off.
  365. >Still thrashing, its tail swings in and scores a hit on your left shoulder.
  366. >A sharp pain lances through the arm, before it goes numb and falls limp.
  367. >Using your good arm, you grab hold of the manticores mane, and do your best to steer it, while avoiding the tail.
  368. >It makes a huge lunge, along with your pulling, and crashes headlong into a tree, knocking itself out.
  369. >Rolling off the now unconscious manticore, you sit for a moment, watching the orange pony standing at the edge of the clearing.
  370. >Slowly standing, you feel the venom coursing through you, slowly numbing your body.
  371. >Making your way over to the pony, it doesn’t move, just stare at you as you check it over for injuries.
  372. >"Will you just kill me already!!"
  373. >Grabbing its jaw with your still good hand, you turn her to face you.
  374. “No, I won’t. Why would you want me to kill you?”
  375. >"Because you’re a monster, and I want to die, so just kill me."
  376. >Tears begin to form in your eyes, and your head and hand droop.
  377. “Even out here, I am still considered a monster. Why won’t anypony believe me.…?”
  378. >You feel a soft pair of hooves wrap around your shoulders
  379. >"I’m sorry I didn't.... It’s just... Nopony cares for me, I'm just some flightless blank flank pegasus.
  380. >Trying to return the hug, you find your once good arm is now disabled too.
  381. >The numbness spreads with increasing speed, and soon you fall back, unable to move.
  382. >"Hey what’s wrong mister?"
  383. “Poisons taking over can’t move much, can you get an antidote?”
  384. >"Of course, but first we gotta get you out of here, in case the manticore wakes up."
  385. >Forcing herself under you, she slowly drags you through the forest, blood dripping over her and the ground from your new wound, as well as some old ones.
  386. >"Stay with me, just a bit further"
  387. “I...I’”
  388. >Sounds and sights become harder to make out, your pain disappearing.
  389. >Another voice appears, just before everything goes black.
  393. >Setting down the weird monkey thing, you motion Zecora over, and nudge it, trying to get it to respond
  394. “Hey, come on mister, I know you’re in there, get up...”
  395. >"Greetings my little pegasus friend, what beast is this you need me to mend?"
  396. “He saved me from a manticore, but he got stung and now... please, you have to save him...”
  397. >Zecora nods, before heading back into her hut, and you push yourself under his head, resting him on you like you’re a pillow.
  398. >The sounds of clanking bottles and rustling of paper come from inside the hut, before Zecora emerges carrying a bottle and some bandages.
  399. >Setting the bottle aside, you and her manage to bandage his shoulder, as well as some of the worse cuts on his arms.
  400. >"The venom has certainly made its course; we must hurry before it gets much worse."
  401. “But how are we gonna get him to drink it? He can’t move.”
  402. >Zecora pulls a book from behind her, and opens it, showing you one of the pages.
  403. >Reading it, you understand that in order to force liquid down an unconscious or immobilized beings throat, you must perform mouth to mouth feeding.
  404. >The diagram included brings a blush across your features.
  405. “Do I have to do it?”
  406. >"You are the one who wishes to save his life, so you must try and feed him like you are his wife."(Fucking Zecora, I always hated your rhymy things).
  407. >Slowly nodding, you gently lower him off you, and pull the cork out of the bottle.
  408. >taking a swing, you store some in your mouth, before pressing your lips to his mouth, and forcing the liquid out and down his throat.
  409. >You do this several more times, until the bottle is empty.
  410. >On the last pass, you feel his body under you move, and his right arm comes up and wraps around you, pulling you down like a stuffed animal.
  411. >Squirming, you try to work your way out, but his other arm wraps around you, locking you in place.
  412. “Zecora, how long does the potion take?”
  413. >"In order for this to do its best, he must get lots and lots of rest."
  414. “So basically I’m stuck here until he wakes up, huh.”
  415. >"That does indeed seem the case, be glad you have such time to waste."
  416. >Sighing, you curl up in closer to the strange monkey man who saved your life, and relax, your eyes slowly drifting shut.
  419. >The feeling of something soft pressed against your chest slowly rouses you from the painless slumber.
  420. >A gentle squeeze reveals that you are cuddling whatever is on you.
  421. >Opening your eyes, your face is obscured by a pile of purple, gently swaying in a soft breeze rolling through wherever you are.
  422. >Releasing the purple thing, you slowly move it off you.
  423. >When you can see it better, you can identify it as an orange pegasus.
  424. >Memories begin to come back, and you remember jumping the manticore to save this pony.
  425. >You also remember this pony wanted to die.
  426. >Carefully lifting her up, you look around, and spot a nearby hut, and the zebra sitting outside of it.
  427. “Excuse me, but what happened here?”
  428. >Z: "The little orange mare you hold, she helped you for your act so bold."
  429. “I see, perhaps I could get your name, and hers if you know it.”
  430. >Z: "My name is of no need to you, but her name is Scootaloo."
  431. >A soft groan from your arms alerts you to Scootaloo's awakening.
  432. “Morning my little friend, how was your sleep?”
  433. >S: "Huh... Oh... WAAAA!!'
  434. >Scootaloo freaks out, and falls out of your arms, landing in a small poof of dust.
  435. >S: "Hey, warn a pony before you carry them around like that."
  436. “I’m sorry, it’s just you were sleeping on me, so I just picked you up as I stood up.”
  437. >Scoots picks herself up and shakes indignantly.
  438. >S: "Even so, that’s no reason to pick up a lady like that, and besides, you were the one who forced me into that position."
  439. “I’m a little confused, do you think you could explain what happened? Everything’s kind of fuzzy after that manticores sting.”
  440. >S: "Well um...."
  441. >Scootaloo is nervously shuffling her hoof in the grass, looking down with a slight pink tinge over her cheeks
  442. >S: "You see, you found you couldn't move after you checked on me, so I dragged you here and got an antidote to the venom, and while it was working, your arms shot up and grabbed me, cuddling me like a stuffed animal."
  443. “I see, well you are quite soft and fuzzy, so it was comfortable, but, I must apologize, it was inappropriate, even if I was unconscious.”
  444. >Bowing, you hear her shuffle around a bit more, before you rise, and she looks back to normal.
  445. >S: "You know, you should come back to my home, you can spend the night there, and then head off in the morning, since its getting pretty late already."
  446. >Looking up at what you can see of the sky, you see that it is indeed darkening slowly.
  447. “That’s probably a good idea; I have no clue where I am, so any help would be nice.”
  448. >Before the two of you leave, you hear Zecora say
  449. >Z: "To go as is would not be wise; you should have him don a disguise."
  450. “Actually Scootaloo, she is right, I’m kind of being hunted right now, and you would be in danger if we were seen together.”
  451. >Both of you stop to ponder for a second, eyes wandering all around.
  452. >At one point your eyes meet, and she looks away quickly.
  453. “Too bad I lost my glider, then I could just fly somewhere safe, but they have probably found it by now...”
  454. >"Your glider? What’s that?"
  455. “Its a type of big kite, you wear it on your back and it lets you fly in a sense. I used it to fly from Canterlot to here in a matter of about an hour.”
  456. >Scootaloo practically jumps up in your face
  457. >S: "Seriously! Only 1 hour, even the fastest pegasii have trouble doing it that fast and maintaining that speed for that long. Of course, I couldn't ever fly from Canterlot, my wings just don’t work well..."
  458. >Flapping her wings, you notice they are rather underdeveloped, and barely generate any breeze.
  459. “Don't worry about it, without my glider I can fly even less than you, and heck, if you did get to use my glider, you could probably fly pretty well, given you'd have wings for added power and steering.”
  460. >A red flush crosses her cheeks, and she looks up at you happily.
  461. >S: "You really think so? I mean with these small wings I couldn't do much."
  462. But that’s just it, the smaller wings give you more room to move them around between you and the glider. A pegasus with full sized wings wouldn’t be able to use them.
  463. >Her smile is growing with each second, before she jumps up and wraps you in a hug, which you return.
  464. “Of course none of this helps solve the current problem.”
  465. >Shadows begin stretching further, and you and Scootaloo continue on your way back to town.
  466. >The forest is dark as you reach the edge, and you can see lights slowly wandering through town, likely guards looking for you.
  467. “Hey, Scootaloo, which house is yours?”
  468. >She looks around for a moment, before indicating a house near the edge of town.
  469. >Making your way down, you stop back, while the guards pass by.
  470. “Scootaloo, go ahead and head in, I will wait nearby in the forest and see you tomorrow.”
  471. >"No, It wouldn’t be polite for me to get to sleep on you without giving you a chance for you to sleep on me... Er I mean on my bed... GAH!"
  472. >Suddenly the sound of clopping hooves approach, and you slink out of sight, hiding behind a further back building.
  473. >Guard: “Miss, what are you doing out past curfew?"
  474. >S:"I didn't know there was a curfew, when did this come into play?"
  475. >G: "It started this morning, when a dangerous beast escaped Canterlot and headed this way."
  476. >S: "Oh my, what kind of beast?"
  477. >G: "It’s some sort of monkey, most of us never saw it, but it is dangerously intelligent and fast."
  478. >S:"I see, but where did it come from?"
  479. >G: "Nopony is sure, but one thing is for sure, it has one heck of a bounty on it. Two and a half thousand bits and rising"
  480. >S: "Thank you for the information guards, but I should get home, Take care."
  481. >G: "Of course miss"
  482. >The sound of hooves leaving draws you forward back to the edge of the street.
  483. >Scootaloo steps inside a house, and you rush across the street and dive in the door after her, pulling an epic roll and finishing in a classic 'paint me like one of your French girls' pose.
  484. >"Was that entirely necessary?"
  485. Not really, but it was kind of fun.
  486. >Sitting on a cushion, she looks over at you sternly.
  487. “I suppose I have to explain all this to you. Let me start from the beginning...”
  489. Chapter 4: A Dark Encounter
  490. >Recounting your tale of escape, embellishing it here and there, like your landing when you jumped off the balcony, or how you rode the wagon down the street.
  491. >"That’s amazing um..."
  492. “Oh right, I never did tell you my name. I’m called Anonymous, but you can call me Anon."
  493. >"My names Scootaloo, but I guess you already knew that"
  494. >You nod, getting a look around the house
  495. >Its rather small, and sparsely decorated. The furniture is a little ratty, but otherwise clean.
  496. >"I guess we should head to bed, so we can get up and out of town tommorow"
  497. “Yeah, but what do you mean we?”
  498. >”Well, we are kind of in this together now, and besides, you told me that everypony thinks you are a monster, and I am going to help prove you aren't."
  499. “We will *Yawn* discuss this in the morning, but for now can you show me where I will be sleeping?”
  500. >Leading you to a room in the back, she opens the door revealing a small bedroom with a bed that would be barely big enough to fit you.
  501. >"You will be sleeping here, while I use the couch in the living room."
  502. >As she turns to leave, you scoop her up in your arms, and carry her, struggling, to the bed.
  503. >"Hey, what are you doing?"
  504. “Just because you owe me doesn't mean I am going to let you sleep on that ratty old couch while I am comfortable in your bed.”
  505. >Setting her down, you bury her with the blankets, and step out.
  506. “Good night, see you tomorrow.”
  507. >Closing the door, you walk back to the living room and plop down on the small couch.
  508. >Gonna be sore in the morning, ah well....
  511. >Morning arrives earlier than you expected, and it is accompanied by a familiar feeling on your chest.
  512. >Opening your eyes, you are greeted with a face full of purple and orange.
  513. >Bringing a hand up, You tousle the mane, and gently shake its owner awake.
  514. “Hey Scootaloo, its time to get up.”
  515. >"Five more minutes dad...
  516. >Reaching down, you slowly run your hand down her exposed stomach, making her legs twitch involuntarily.
  517. >Suddenly her eyes snap open, and she begins flailing around, before falling off and landing in a pile on the ground.
  518. “Scoots, you gotta stop falling off me, it can’t be good for you.”
  519. >"If you stop ending up underneath me, I wouldn't have this problem now would I?"
  520. >Laughing, you get up and stretch, your joints popping softly.
  521. “I suppose that would help, wouldn't it. I'll make breakfast, then we can discuss your desire to come with me.”
  522. >"Fine, though I doubt you can convince me not to go with you."
  523. >The cupboards offer little in the way of food, so you make do with some bread and fruit.
  524. “Looks like you really were planning on dying out there weren’t you...”
  525. >"OF COURSE I WAS!! Do you not realize how much it sucks being not only a no talent blankflank, but a flightless pegasus as well...
  526. “No I don’t but...”
  527. >"DAMN RIGHT YOU DON'T. I am considered nothing, worthless, barely better than a piece of trash...
  528. >WHAM!!!
  529. >Slamming your hand down on the table shakes Scootaloo out of her rant.
  530. “YOU ARE NOT TRASH! You are a kind Pegasus who was willing to risk their entire livelihood to help one of the most wanted beings in this place...
  531. Do you know what it feels like, being hunted for something you didn't do. And the only way that you can get out of it is to either catch the real culprit, or die? Not only that, I am stuck in a world where I have no family, no friends, no past, and if I’m caught, no future....”
  532. >"I Didn't...
  533. “Of course you didn't, you have no idea what it is like, being accused of the murder of six ponies, and having to try and catch a pony who you can barely identify in a world where you are unique, and that selfsame killer is hiding in the center of all the guards power....”
  534. >Your voice slowly releases the pent up rage of the past few days, and you finally slump down into the chair, drawing in deep breaths.
  535. >Silence hangs in the air heavily, before you both begin eating and Scoots speaks up.
  536. >"You know, I can be your friend if you want...
  537. “Thanks Scootaloo, and I’m sorry, I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. It’s just my past day or so have pretty much been shit, and hearing you degrade yourself just triggered it all to come out.”
  538. >"I’m sorry as well, I know how you feel about me saying those things about myself, but it’s just I finally had somepony I could release all these feelings to, and I just couldn’t stop them.
  539. >Both of you smile a bit, before finishing breakfast.
  540. >A rapid series of knocks on the door sends you into survival mode, and you reach over and cover Scootaloo's mouth.
  541. “Answer the door, act normal, somepony probably heard us yelling, and they are checking it out.”
  542. >She nods, and you slip off to the bedroom closing the door behind you, while she heads for the front door.
  543. >Inside the bedroom, you press your ear to the door to make out the discussion.
  544. >G: "Good morning Miss, A neighbor reported hearing some yelling, so we wanted to make sure everything was okay."
  545. >S: "Good morning to you as well. Everything is fine, I just flipped out a bit, had a rough night, and crashing into the table does little to improve your mood."
  546. >G: "I see, sorry to have bothered you Miss."
  547. >S: "No problem at all, besides, it’s nice having company once in a while, considering I'm pretty much always alone."
  548. >G: "Is that so..."
  549. >The tone of the guard’s voice suddenly shifts, sending shivers down your spine.
  550. >G: "Perhaps I should come in and keep you 'Company'."
  551. >Scootaloo Hurriedly replies
  552. >S: "No no its okay, I’m fine alone right now.
  553. >Two sets of hoof steps slowly get louder, before you hear the front door slam shut.
  554. >G: "Come now, there’s no need to be shy, I don’t bite. That is unless you want me to."
  555. >S: "Please just leave before it’s too late."
  556. >The hoof steps keep getting closer.
  557. >G: "You know you want this as much as I do, so why not let it happen?"
  558. >A body backs into the door in front of you.
  559. >Scootaloo....
  560. >Shifting back a step, you grab the handle and pull open the door, stepping into the shadows behind it.
  561. >Scootaloo, with nothing at her back, stumbles back into the room before falling and crashing into the foot of the bed.
  562. >The guard, though you can’t see him, is pleased by this development, staring at Scootaloos now airborne plot.
  563. >G: "So, you do want to play, you were just drawing me back here to make it more fun."
  564. >Scootaloo is too dazed to reply, and the guard steps into the room, and into your line of sight.
  565. “You know, I really don’t appreciate you trying to force yourself on my friend here.”
  566. >The guard turns to see you, and his jaw drops.
  567. >Stepping forward, you bring your fist down then up, and catch him right below his armor, knocking the wind out of him.
  568. >A pair of solid jabs to the side crumples him up in pain, but leaves no marks.
  569. >Yanking the top sheet off the bed, you use it to tie up the guard, and use one of the pillow cases as an improvised gag.
  570. “Be glad I don’t kill anything, or you wouldn't be surviving this.”
  571. >Picking up the still dazed Scootaloo, you carry her out to the couch, and set her down, before going and closing the bedroom door.
  572. >Muffled thumps can be heard from the bedroom, but you ignore them, and focus on refocusing Scoots.
  573. >It takes a moment, but she finally shakes the stars out of her head.
  574. >"Huh, what happened?"
  575. “You fell and crashed into the bed, so I took care of the guard and brought you out here.”
  576. >Scootaloo’s eyes shoot to the bedroom doors, before she hears the muffled thumps, and relaxes, sinking into your grip.
  577. >"You know, you didn't have to save me, I would have been fine on my own. But thanks anyways."
  578. “You’re welcome, but we should hurry and get out of here. Pack whatever you think will be useful, and all the food that won’t spoil quickly. I will figure a way out of here, and to keep that guard quiet.”
  579. >Nodding, Scootaloo rushes off to the closet and you head for a front window.
  580. >Outside the windows, you can see a number of ponies and guards going about their everyday business.
  581. >No wagons to help this time, but it doesn’t look like there are any pegasii either.
  582. “Hey Scoots, any way to access your roof from inside?”
  583. >"Yeah, but the roofs not very strong, and you would probably just fall through."
  584. “There goes that plan, but I do have another...”
  585. >Walking over with a pair of bags, she asks
  586. >"What is it?"
  587. >Leaning over, you whisper the plan in her ear
  588. >Her pupils go wide, and then shrink, and a smile crosses her features as you outline your plan to her.
  589. >"Go for it."
  590. >Reaching out, you gently pull a few feathers out of her wings, a bit of blood leaking from the base.
  591. >A pair of scissors helps you remove a few clumps of her mane and tail.
  592. >Stepping back into the bedroom, you use a foot to pin the struggling guard as you shove some hair into the ropes holding him, as well as a feather or two here and there.
  593. >A little blood spatter from a reopened injury helps to finish the scene, and you step out, closing the door.
  594. >A few drips here and there help to add further realism as you make your way back to Scoots.
  595. >Scootaloo has ruffled her mane, so you proffer her your open injury.
  596. >After a moment’s hesitation, she places her lips on it and sucks some blood out, before letting it dribble over her chin, and spitting it in the sink.
  597. Wait till I say go, then start.
  598. >She nods, and you make your way to a window near the back, carrying the bags of stuff.
  599. “GO!”
  600. >You head Scootaloo rushing out the door, yelling rape.
  601. >You wait a moment, before climbing out the window and rushing to the nearest bush.
  602. >The commotion Scootaloo is causing is slowly drawing ponys out of your path, and soon enough it is clear.
  603. >Dashing from cover to cover, you quickly find yourself back in the edge of the woods.
  604. >Reaching into a bag, you remove a colored piece of cloth, and tie it to a nearby bush, before scaling a tree on the edge of the clearing.
  605. >From your new perch, you can see several guards taking the offending guard away.
  606. >Scootaloo is brought behind, surrounded by guards and other concerned ponies.
  607. >They quickly leave sight, and you relax, giving the occasional glance around to make sure you’re alone.
  608. >An hour or two passes, and you see an easily recognized purple maned pony approach.
  609. >Arriving at the marker, she removes it, and sits down.
  610. >You don’t come down, making sure nopony followed them.
  611. >Your suspicions are well founded, as not five minutes after she arrives; a guard comes along towards Scootaloo.
  612. >You ready yourself, but remain in the shadows.
  613. >Scootaloo tenses up as well.
  614. >G: "Excuse me? Miss Scootaloo? Could I have a moment of your time to talk?"
  615. >S: "As long as you only plan on talking."
  616. >G: "Yes, I know the other 'guard' left you with a bad experience, but most guards are actually quite noble and gentlecoltly."
  617. >Scootaloo sighs, before motioning for the guard to sit.
  618. >S:"I suppose. Shouldn’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, as the saying goes."
  619. >The guard takes a seat, a little ways away from Scoots.
  620. >G: "Yes, well as you should know, the town’s librarian is the student to the princess Celestia, and as such has direct access to her."
  621. >Scoots nods, motioning for the guard to continue.
  622. >G: "Well when she heard about the incident, she immediately sent a letter to the princess, who sent this in reply.
  623. >The guard passes her a scroll, as well as a decent sized bag that jingles with the sound of money.
  624. >Taking the scroll, she reads it out loud.
  625. >* Dear Scootaloo
  626. >       It pains me to hear of the actions that one of my guards took, and attempted to take on you. I will personally deal with their punishment. Also, as a minor token to help deal with any physical or mental harm, I would like you to accept this sum of five hundred bits. I know this can hardly repay the pain you suffered, but with the situation as it currently is, it’s the best I can do. Please be well.
  627. >Sincerely, Princess Celestia.*
  628. >G: "Again, I apologize for what he did, and I hope you can come around and trust the guards again."
  629. >A faint smile crosses her features, and she raises a hoof to the guard. He raises his in return, and they shake hooves, before the guard takes his leave.
  630. > A quick scan of the area show nopony else watching or coming, so you make your way out of the tree.
  631. “Hey, Scoots, how much is five hundred bits?”
  632. >"Quite a bit actually, not enough to get a house or anything like that, but you could easily pay for rent and food for a few months without work."
  633. “Hmnnn, feel up for one last visit into town for now?”
  634. >She shrugs, before nodding.
  635. >Removing a piece of paper as well as a writing implement from one of the bags, you begin to make a list of things.
  636. >You hand the list to her, before you ask
  637. “You think you can get all these things?”
  638. >"Is Rainbow dash the fastest flyer in Equestria?"
  639. “Dunno, stranger in a strange land, remember.”
  640. >Scootaloo blusher, one of her hooves rubbing her mane,
  641. >"Sorry, I forgot. I’ll get this stuff, and be back before sundown."
  642. “Alright, just try and save as many bits as possible, I got a plan for our first stop, and we will need to pick up some materials there.”
  643. >She nods, and runs back into town.
  644. >Now time to catch up on some sleep...
  648. Chapter 5: Confessions
  649. >The road before and behind you both stretch for a distance completely uninterrupted.
  650. >It’s been two days since you and your new Orange friend left Ponyville, as you learned it was called.
  651. >The rolling plains to one side provide little cover, but few ponies traveled this road, especially at this hour.
  652. >The deep blue of the night sky begins changing, reds purples and pinks coming out as the sun makes its way into the sky.
  653. >You and Scoots immediately leave the road and make your way into the woods on the right side.
  654. >A small clearing about a hundred feet in provides an excellent campsite, and you start pitching a tent (No innuendo intended).
  655. >"You gonna tell me why we are going to Canterlot, the place where there are the most guards, and both the princesses?"
  656. “We are going there to fulfill a promise I made, and get some stuff to help fulfill another.”
  657. >Scootaloo tries to pry more out, but you don’t budge.
  658. >After the tent is set up, you prepare a small fire pit and grab some thread and a needle from one of the packs.
  659. >Leaving Scootaloo in the camp, you make your way deeper into the forest, until you find what you are looking for.
  660. >A small stream, barely ten feet across courses through this part of the forest.
  661. >The water is crystal clear, and you can spot a fair number of fish swimming in the slow moving current.
  662. >Slowly bending the needle, you finally get it into a hook shape, and tie it to the end of the thread.
  663. >Drawing out a good thirty feet of thread, you snap it off, and make a loop on the end.
  664. >This loop, you put over your right hand, before wrapping the tread around your hand till there is about ten feet hanging free.
  665. >Throwing the hook in the river, the fish are almost immediately attracted to it.
  666. >A few deft flicks of the wrist make the hook dance about, encouraging the fish to bite it.
  667. >You watch patiently, as a rather large cod takes the hook in its mouth.
  668. >Suddenly jerking your hand back sets the hook in its mouth, and it begins a violent struggle.
  669. >Letting out a bit more line, you let the fish swim a bit, before heaving, setting the hook deeper, and pulling the fish towards shore.
  670. >A rhythm of giving slack and pulling slowly tires the fish out and brings it closer and closer to shore.
  671. >When it is finally close enough, a final heave brings the fish right out of the water and onto the ground next to you.
  672. >Pinning it with your left hand, you remove the hook from its mouth, and set it down.
  673. >The sound of Scootaloo screaming draws your attention away from your future meal, and towards the safety of your only friend.
  674. >Taking hold of the fish's tail, you run at top speed back to camp to find Scootaloo being tied p by a pair of tall dog faced things.
  675. “Hey, you! Let go of my friend.”
  676. >B: "you think you can stop Brutur? Wimpy little monkey man will join orange pony in mines."
  677. >Stepping towards them, you can tell you stand a full head taller than them
  678. “And you think you can get away with threatening my friend with slavery?”
  679. >S: "Spike see no reason why not, you just wimpy little monkey and we two big Diamond dogs.
  680. “That may be so, but I have something you don’t have.”
  681. >They look at each other confused, before they ask what.
  682. >Raising your hand, you show them the fish, a Cod specifically.
  683. >They both begin laughing, until you dash forward and club one upside the head with your fish turned club.
  684. >The impact knocks it back a bit, and it falls on its butt, while the other turns to you angrily.
  685. >A wet smack rings out as you backhand the still standing dog with your fishclub.
  686. >The first one scrambles to its feet, while the other tries to clear its head.
  687. >Situating yourself between them and Scootaloo, you take up a defensive stance.
  688. >The first one you struck charges you, and swing your fish to intercept.
  689. >Your hand snags a bit as you swing, and you realize that the hook is still attached to your hand.
  690. >The fish collides with its arm, spinning off to one side, and the hook flies up and snags the others vest.
  691. >A horrendously stupid, yet incredibly awesome idea comes to you.
  692. >Yanking the hooks thread with as much force as you can muster; you channel your inner scorpion and yell "GET OVER HERE!!"
  693. >Amazingly the combination of your shout and the pulling on the hook makes the dog stumble forward to you, where you meet him with a left to the stomach.
  694. >He doubles over in pain, and you drop the fish, grab the hook, and bring your knee into its face.
  695. >The dog drops like a rock, and the hook comes free, the other dog look nervous at the fact you dropped the other.
  696. Take your friend here and leave, and I won’t have to kill you.
  697. >He hurriedly grabs the other, and rushes off into the woods.
  698. >Turning around, you kneel down to undo the ropes holding Scootaloo, and wrap your arms around her in a hug.
  699. >"Hey, I’m okay; they didn't hurt me, though you sure laid the smack down on them. But what was with the fish?
  700. “It was supposed to be my lunch, but I suppose I can go without it, seeing as how it is covered in dirt and diamond dog fur.”
  701. >Scootaloo breaks from the hug, and scurries back away from you.
  702. >"You...You eat meat?!?
  703. “Yes, my species is omnivorous; we eat both plant matter and meat. We don’t eat anything intelligent or sacred to us though.”
  704. >"So, you won’t eat me?"
  705. “Of course not, you are both intelligent, and your species is sacred to my kind. Not to mention you are my friend, and I would never hurt a friend.”
  706. >Slowly, a smile reforms on her face, and she sets back towards you.
  707. >"I guess I shouldn't worry, I mean you are so nice and you have only tried to protect me."
  708. >Running your left hand through her mane, you draw her in beside you and hold her close.
  709. >Grabbing the fish you wind up and throw it as far as you can away from camp.
  710. “Well, there goes my lunch. Did you have anything planned?”
  711. >Scootaloo digs through one of the bags, before coming out with a loaf of bread and some cheese in her mouth.
  712. >Ripping the loaf in half, she hands you one half, before doing the same with the cheese.
  713. >Graciously, you accept the food, and sit down next to Scootaloo to start eating.
  714. >Lunch is eaten in relative silence, punctuated only by the occasional sound from the woods.
  715. >"Hey, what is the promise you have to keep?"
  716. “Somepony helped me out when I first escaped, and I promised I would see them again.”
  717. >"How can you be sure they won’t just turn you in to the guards when you see them?"
  718. “I can’t, but I feel like they are trustworthy, and won’t do anything. I think, while you are in Canterlot you should visit Celestia and thank her for her kindness.”
  719. >"I guess but..."
  720. “Don’t worry, you will be fine. If something does happen, I will make sure that the one who hurts you pays.”
  721. >Scootaloo smiles, and leans into you, your arm coming to drape over her side.
  722. >She looks up, leaning towards your face, and you look down at her.
  723. >At that moment, she lunges up and latches onto your lips with hers.
  724. >Your arms involuntarily wrap around her, drawing her up and closer.
  725. >Pulling back, you stare into her violet eyes, and see the love flowing from them.
  726. >Shifting your grip on her, you pull her into a close hug, before diving in for another kiss.
  727. >Her eyes open, then close as you hold her close, her whole body trembling slightly in your firm grip.
  728. >"A-anon.... Do you really feel that way about me?"
  729. “Even though I have only known you for a few days, I care deeply for you, even with us being different species.”
  730. >Deep crimson works its way over her face, and she looks down, snuggling into your chest.
  731. >"Nopony has ever said that before and meant it; I mean nopony ever cares for a blank flank."
  732. “What’s a blank flank? You have mentioned it a couple times, but I never understood what it meant.”
  733. >Scootaloo spends the next thirty minutes or so sitting in your lap, your arms wrapped around her, as she explains what a Cutie mark is, and how those who haven’t gotten their mark are called blank flanks.
  734. >She also recounts tales of her childhood and how she used to search for her talent, along with her friends.
  735. >"But after they found their marks, they started hanging out less and less, until they stopped completely."
  736. >Her voice starts to break up, and you feel tears drop onto your arms.
  737. >A quick motions spins her around, and you pick her up for a kiss.
  738. >Her tears stop, her breathing calms and she sinks into your chest again.
  739. >Breaking the kiss, she looks up at you with her lovely violet eyes.
  740. >"Thanks, I needed that."
  741. “We should stop kissing so much though. If somepony saw us, they would think we are something more.”
  742. >"But... but aren’t we?
  743. >Tears begin to form again, and you boop her nose.
  744. “Of course we are, I’m just playing with you, you silly filly.”
  745. >Scootaloo puffs up her cheeks, and gives you an indignant glare.
  746. >You respond by kissing her, sucking the air from her lungs.
  747. >The air is faintly sweet, and you pull back.
  748. >"It’s really hard to stay angry at you when you can just suck my anger away like that.
  749. “I think that’s a good thing, but besides, we should get some sleep if we want to be up to get into Canterlot tonight.”
  750. >"Fine, but since we are special someponys we have to sleep next to each other.
  751. >Laughing, you scoop her up, and carry her into the tent, and snuggle up to her under the blanket.
  752. >She falls asleep curled up on your chest, but you can’t fall asleep.
  753. >Staring off at the roof, thoughts run through your mind at a mile a minute.
  754. >Did you really just become, as she called it 'Special someponys' with an orange Pegasus you met only days ago?
  755. >Dragging her into trouble that could lead to her suffering the same fate as the one you are destined to...
  756. >The regular motion of Scootaloo’s breathing, and the beat of her heart slowly calm you down, and you end up stroking her mane, just enjoying the sensation of having somepony there.
  757. >Hours pass like this, enjoying her sleeping form pressed against you, until the colors outside begin to change.
  758. >Rousing Scoots from her slumber, you stand up and begin the process of disassembling the tent around her.
  759. >Scootaloo stands, rubbing the sleep from her eyes with a hoof.
  760. >"Time to go?"
  761. “Yep, grab your stuff and get ready to go, we are leaving as soon as I have this tent packed away.”
  762. >The tent takes only a few minutes to finish packing, and you set it across your shoulders.
  763. >Turning back to the road, you hear Scootaloo up and ready behind you.
  764. >You and her quickly make your way back through the forest in the fading light, until you reach the road again.
  765. >Although unlit, the moon provides enough light to easily navigate your way to the city.
  766. >Some time later, you find yourselves outside the main gate, walls several dozen feet high situated on each side.
  767. >Lights move back and forth along the wall, likely held by guards, and a large beacon sits at the main gate.
  768. >They really aren’t making this easy are they...
  771. “Scootaloo, go and enter through the main gate. Hopefully the guards will be distracted by that. Your letter might help, but I can’t guarantee anything.”
  772. >She stares at you, trying to figure out what you are planning.
  773. >"Fine, be careful"
  774. “I will. Find some place to stay for the night, then go to a bakery run by a miss Cherry Blossom. I will meet you there by tomorrow night. If not, assume the worst, and head back to Ponyville.”
  775. >"Is she the pony you need to see again?"
  776. “Yeah, but now we need to get into Canterlot.”
  777. >You both go your separate ways, Scoots headed for the gate, you moving off to the side.
  778. >Pulling a rope from a bag, you wrap it around your shoulder, and wait.
  779. >Soon the lights cluster towards the gate, and you book it to the wall, and begin your ascent.
  780. >Digging into the cracks between stones, you slowly climb, ignoring the screaming of your shoulders and hands.
  781. >Cresting the wall, you drop low and cross the top quickly.
  782. >Looping the rope over a bracket in the wall, you dive off the inner wall, bringing yourself to a slow stop, just before dropping off the rope.
  783. >Hitting the ground, you roll and launch yourself into the nearest alley.
  784. >Shadows soon cover you, and you begin your progress towards Cherry’s bakery.
  785. >Pausing only to let patrols pass, you approach your destination, when you trip over something in an alley.
  786. >"Watch where you’re going you fool!"
  787. >The things raspy voice is vaguely feminine, but echoes horribly around through the streets.
  788. >Ah Shit...
  791. Chapter 6: Filler
  792. >"What in the name of Tartarus are you?"
  793. >You don't respond; instead you reach down and grab it, covering its mouth.
  794. >The sound of rushing hooves approaches from all directions, as does the sound of flapping wings.
  795. >Staring down at the thing in your arms, you notice its pupil-less blue eyes, and its jet black body.
  796. "Look, If we don’t get out of here, we are probably going to end up executed; got it? Now can you think of some way out of here?"
  797. >The black thing in your hands ponders for a moment before nodding.
  798. >Releasing it, it steps into a doorway where a burst of green flames engulfs it, leaving a pony that looks like one of the guards, save the armor "Pretty neat, but how does that help us?"
  799. >"Hide yourself, and when the guards get here, I will direct them away.
  800. "This had better work."
  801. >"Trust me; I want to get caught about as much as you do at this point."
  802. >Sliding into a nearby doorway, you do your best to cloak yourself in shadows.
  803. >G: "What happened? We heard a shout."
  804. >C: "Some crazy monkey thing jumped me, and mess up my hoof so I couldn't chase it. The thing ran that way."
  805. >G: "Think you can make it back to the barracks?"
  806. >C: "Yeah, It might take a while, but I should be fine Get that bastard for me guys."
  807. >The guards give a collective shout, and run off in the direction the thing indicated.
  808. "That’s a pretty useful skill. Kind of wish I had it."
  809. >The black thing makes a soft laugh, and flames engulf it again; leaving it in its normal form.
  810. >"Well, if you want that ability, you would have to be a powerful unicorn or alicorn, or you could be a changeling like me."
  811. "Looks like I got the short end of the stick, all I got were these hands and fingers.
  812. >Holding out your hands, you wiggle your fingers in front of it.
  813. >"What are you anyways? Some kind of Diamond dog?"
  814. "Are diamond dogs those dog faced things that look a bit like me?"
  815. >The changeling nods, before transforming into one.
  816. >"Like this?"
  817. "Yep, that’s them. So what makes a Diamond dog special? Besides their moronic way of speaking of course."
  818. >Turning back, the Changeling laughs again.
  819. >"That’s one way to put it. They are tough to beat, and incredibly aggressive
  820. >This time you laugh, and the changeling looks at you weird
  821. "You call those things tough? I fought off two of them earlier with nothing more than a fish, and a hook on some string."
  822. >The changelings jaw drops, before it stutters out.
  823. >"If what you said is true, I might have a job offer for you. Meet me outside Canterlot tomorrow night when the moon is at its highest.
  824. "I'll consider it, but for now we should probably leave while the patrols are distracted."
  825. >"Agreed"
  826. >You continue on your way, and the changeling scurries off down some dark alley.
  827. >The sun begins to peek over the horizon as you reach your destination..
  828. >Making your way through the alley, you come to a familiar door.
  829. >Testing the knob reveals the doors unlocked, which is odd, considering the state the city is in.
  830. >Stepping inside, the door shut quietly behind you; you make your way towards the stairs.
  831. >Up them, you can hear soft humming, and you smile before sitting down at the table.
  832. >Soon enough, the sounds of hooves can be heard coming down the stairs.
  833. "Morning Cherry. Sleep well?"
  834. >The humming stops, and is replaced by a gasp before Cherry comes barreling down the stairs.
  835. >"Anon, You’re Okay!"
  836. "Of course, did you think I would break my promise?"
  837. >"No, But after I heard more about what was going on, I was worried you would get caught and...
  838. >You set your hand on her head silencing her.
  839. "I have a special somepony coming here sometime today. If you can keep an eye out for her I will be more than happy to help out back here in the meantime."
  840. >"Really! You have a Special somepony! What is she like? When is she getting here? How did you meet? Have you kissed yet? Where...
  841. "Cherry, please calm yourself for a moment. I’m sure she will be more than happy to answer you when she gets here. Her name is Scootaloo, and she is an orange pegasus with a purple mane.
  842. >"All right, but in the meantime, could you wash the dishes? Not much baking needs done at the moment, so that’s all I have for you to do."
  843. "Okay, just make sure no guards follow her. Even though I am in trouble, I want her to remain safe."
  844. >"I will. Wouldn’t want an innocent pony getting hurt."
  845. >With a smile, you walk to the sink and start working.
  846. >Cherry occasionally brings over some trays and pans to be cleaned, but besides that you spend your time washing dishes and just relaxing.
  847. >When the shop opens, you start focusing on the voices in the main area.
  848. >A few customers, then a break, where Cherry comes and gets new stock out, and the cycle repeats.
  849. >You occasionally hear a voice that sounds familiar, but none that belong to your special somepony.
  850. >As the day goes on, you become more and more nervous that Scootaloo is having trouble finding the place.
  851. >"Excuse me, but would you happen to be Cherry Blossom?"
  852. >You would know that voice anywhere.
  853. >CB: "Yes, and you would be?"
  854. >S: "My names Scootaloo. Anonymous told me to come here and wait for him."
  855. >CB:"I can’t say I know a pony named Anonymous, but you can wait in the back for him to come."
  856. >S: "Oh no, I don't want to inconvenience you. I will just look around elsewhere."
  857. >CB: "Please, I insist. You might even find somepony interesting back there."
  858. >You could swear you heard Cherry wink there.
  859. >S: "Okay, but I don't plan on staying here long. I have some plans for today."
  860. >CB: "That’s alright, please this way."
  861. >The pair enters through the doorway, and Scootaloo rushes you, so you grab her in a hug.
  862. >Her hooves wrap around your neck, her plot dangling as you stand up and look down to kiss her.
  863. >She returns the kiss, before you set her down, much to her dismay.
  864. "Cherry, this is my Special somepony Scootaloo. Scootaloo, this is Cherry Blossom, she helped me out when I first escaped execution.
  865. >S:"WAIT! EXECUTION!"
  866. >Cherry Blossoms reaction matches Scootaloo's to a pitch.
  867. "Yeah, I didn't want you to worry knowing I was to be executed, and are still likely to be if I get caught."
  868. >Scootaloo begins crying, and you kneel down, bringing her to your chest.
  869. >She leans in, her tears soaking into your shirt, and you softly stroke her mane and back.
  870. "Don't worry, I promise I won’t ever leave you. I plan on getting this situation cleared and then we can spend our lives happily together."
  871. >CB:"Dawwwwwwwww"
  872. >You glare at her.
  873. "Don't you have a store to run?"
  874. >CB: "Fine, but don’t do anything too inappropriate while you are back here."
  876. >Cherry heads back to the front, and you release the now calm Scootaloo from your chest.
  877. >"Now that we are alone again, can I ask you something?"
  878. "Of course, ask away."
  879. >"How do you know I won’t just turn you in to Celestia when I go to see her today?"
  880. >You give a sigh, and shake your head.
  881. "I don’t know. But what I do know is that I care for you, and if you think turning me in is the best option, I won’t object."
  882. >Scootaloo leaps forward, knocking you to the ground and sitting on your chest.
  883. >"I don't exactly know how much you care for me, but I care enough that I would never turn you in no matter how much your bounty is."
  884. >Reaching up, you grab her head and pull her down for a kiss, your hands proceeding to run down her back.
  885. >Cherry decided that this was a good time to walk in, and she stands there, looking down at you disappointed.
  886. >CB:"I leave for not even five minutes, and you two are all over each-other..."
  887. >Breaking the kiss, you look over at Cherry.
  888. "Ces't l'amore."
  889. >Both Cherry and Scootaloo look at you confused.
  890. "It means 'That’s love', or 'This is love' depending. It’s an old language I learned a bit of years ago."
  891. >S:"I think it sounds romantic."
  892. "I would be surprised if you didn't think so. The languages nickname is 'The Language of Love'."
  893. >CB: "Do you think you could teach me it? It may help me in finding a special somepony."
  894. "I should be able to teach you some simple phrases before I have to leave tonight, so sure."
  895. >S: "So we have to leave tonight? I was kind of hoping we would spend some more time here. There was so much shopping I had planned."
  896. >Lifting Scoots of your chest, you turn her around and set her on your lap once you sit up.
  897. "After this is all over, I promise we will come here and you can shop to your heart’s content."
  898. >S:"I will hold you to that, you do realize"
  899. "Just one more reason I have to end this."
  900. >The door rings, as a customer enters, drawing cherry to the front.
  901. >CB: "Princess Luna, It is an honor to have you grace my shop."
  902. >L: "We thank thee for thy kind words. We were wondering if perhaps we could purchase a cherry pie."
  903. >CB: "Of course, it will only be a moment. There is a fresh one set to come out of the oven any moment now."
  904. >Cherry comes back into the kitchen, and you motion her over.
  905. >Speaking in hushed tones, you say
  906. "Cherry, do you think you could take Scootaloo with the pie to Luna? She needs to see Celestia today, and this may speed up the process."
  907. >S: "Do I have to go? I don't want to be separated so soon after we met back up."
  908. >Holding her tight, you plant a kiss on her forehead.
  909. "I will be here when you get back. I promise."
  910. >Cherry has grabbed a pie from the oven, and is boxing it up, so Scoots stands up and takes a place by the door.
  911. >As Cherry takes the pie to Luna, Scootaloo follows, and you listen in on the conversation.
  912. >CB: "Here is your pie Princess. Fresh from the oven."
  913. >L: "Thank thee. How much do we owe thou?"
  914. >CB: "Six bits, but I would like to request a favor; could you perhaps take my friend here to see Celestia? She needs to meet her, and she is only in Canterlot for today. She forgot to make an appointment, so she is worried she will not be able to see her."
  915. >L: "We can accomplish that. Our sister has been troubled by something recently, and this may be a good distraction for her."
  916. >CB: "Thank you, and please, feel free to stop by again."
  917. >Placing the bits on the counter, Luna levitates the pie and motions for Scootaloo to follow.
  918. >Scootaloo nervously follows after her, and you return to your work in the kitchen.
  921. Chapter 7: Intrigue
  922. (Scootaloo's POV)
  923. >Oh shoot, it’s too late to turn back now.
  924. >No, even if I could leave, Anon would be so disappointed if I did.
  925. >Come on Scootaloo, you can do this.
  926. "Excuse me Princess Luna, but how are we getting back to the castle?"
  927. >"You are a pegasus, are you not? We can simply fly there."
  928. >Shuffling your forehoof, you mumble something the princess can’t quite make out.
  929. >"We could not discern what you said. Could thou perhaps speak louder?"
  930. "I’m not able to fly..."
  931. >"We don't see why not, are thou tired? Or perhaps injured?"
  932. "No, I just can't, I never could, and I still can't..."
  933. >tears begin to form, and Luna lays a comforting wing on your back.
  934. >"It is nothing to be ashamed about. How about instead of flying, we take a stroll back to the castle?"
  935. "That would be nice Princess."
  936. >"Please, call us Luna; we can't stand the formalities all the time."
  937. "Alright Luna, Shall we get going before your pie cools off?"
  938. >"An excellent idea miss, let us go."
  939. "I almost forgot, my name is Scootaloo, so you know."
  940. >"Would you perhaps be the one my sister is concerned about?"
  941. "Most likely, but hopefully my visit will help dispel and concerns she has about me."
  942. >You both begin your trek to the castle.
  943. >Aside from the occasional pony thanking Luna or offering free samples the trip is only filled with occasional small talk between you two.
  944. >The guards of the castle bow as Luna and you approach.
  945. >Doors are opened, and Luna leads you up a flight of stairs to a room with Celestia's Cutie mark on the door.
  946. >"Sister, we have somepony who may be able to help you with your dilemma. we have also brought you a cherry pie."
  947. >C: "Come in sister, though I doubt anypony could help me with my issue."
  948. >Luna opens the door, revealing Celestia pacing around nervously, papers and books scattered everywhere.
  949. >C:"I apologize for the mess, I have a case I am dealing with and it has me at my wits end."
  950. >L: "Truly, it is an unusual case, but Scootaloo here might be able to help."
  951. >Celestia stops pacing and looks over at you.
  952. >C: "So she might. My little Scootaloo, how may I help you?"
  953. "First I want to say thank you for caring about a no-pony like me, it’s more than most ever have."
  954. >C: "Of course, everypony is important, even one as seemingly unimportant as you."
  955. "Thanks again Princess. Secondly, Could you not be so hard on the guard for his punishment? He may have done the wrong thing, but there wasn't really any damage done, and besides some definite good came from it."
  956. >C: "Oh and what good might that be?"
  957. >A huge blush crosses your cheeks.
  958. "I kind of, umm met somepony special because of that incident."
  959. >C: "Good for you, but he must still be punished, and I have been struggling to find a suitable one."
  960. >L: "Might we interject? Perhaps a punishment that isn’t precisely a punishment? We need all the guards available to help deal with this murder situation."
  961. "Actually, that is a great idea Luna; perhaps you should 'give' him more hours, unpaid, or send him to guard a far off place where few guards would volunteer."
  962. >C: "Those are excellent idea's, both of you. Perhaps it won’t be as difficult as I previously figured to find a suitable punishment. Thank you both, but if you would be so kind as to leave, I have some serious thinking to do. Oh, and thanks for the pie little sister."
  963. >Celestia levitates over the pie, and you and Luna leave the room.
  964. "Thank you for this Luna, It was a pleasure meeting you and Celestia, but I have somepony special waiting for me to get back."
  965. >L: "Thou art most welcome miss, and be sure to say hello and congratulations from us to your special somepony."
  966. "I will Luna, take care."
  967. >Parting ways, you make your way back through the castle and out the main gate.
  968. >I have a few hundred bits on me, and only today here...
  969. >Maybe I should visit Anon before shopping...
  970. >But if I do I will have less time to shop...
  971. >Then again, he would probably kiss me if I stopped by...
  972. >Little did you realize, you had been wandering in circles, and were drawing unnecessary attention.
  973. >RP: "Are you alright miss? You seem kind of confused."
  974. "Sorry, I was just thinking, and got kind of distracted."
  975. >RP: "Ah, perhaps you should sit; it might help keep you from wandering around in circles."
  976. >Making your way to a bench, you continue thinking.
  977. >Didn't he say we had to leave before nightfall?
  978. >Yeah, but it’s not like we would be out shopping all night.
  979. >Maybe we should go see him, but shop along the way.
  980. >Yeah, that should work.
  981. >Rising, you begin your shopping walk only to accidentally bump into a white coated unicorn.
  982. "Sorry, I wasn't paying enough attention to where I was going."
  983. >U: "Oh that’s quite alright dear, accidents happen."
  984. >Looking up at him, you see his handsome features encircled by a golden mane.
  985. >As he looks at you, you feel his eye's boring into you, making you shudder involuntarily.
  986. "Sorry again, but I've got to run. Take care"
  987. >U: "And you as well."
  988. >You run off heading towards the bakery, and you feel his eyes continually following you, sending shivers down your spine.
  989. >Not slowing down until you reach the shop, you enter and Cherry looks over and asks.
  990. >"How did everything go Scootaloo?"
  991. "It went alright. Is he still here?"
  992. >"Yep, he's still in the back waiting for you."
  993. >A soft smile, and you are running through the door and into the waiting arms of your special somepony.
  996. (Anon's Pov)
  997. >You hear Scootaloo enter, and get directed to the back where you are.
  998. >She comes rushing in and jumps into your arms, where you enfold her in a tender warm embrace.
  999. >In your arms you can feel her shaking a bit, and you lean down and kiss her on the forehead.
  1000. "What’s wrong Scoots? Did your meeting not go well?"
  1001. >She shakes her head, and curls up tighter against you.
  1002. >"It was somepony I bumped into. Even though he was polite, his eyes, they scared me."
  1003. "Do you think you could describe him for me?"
  1004. >"Uh-huh. He was a White unicorn. His mane and tail were a gold color, and his eyes were a light blue."
  1005. >Your grip on her unconsciously tightens as she describes him, and she looks up at you worried.
  1006. >"Are you okay? do you know that pony?"
  1007. "You could say that. He is the one who murdered all those ponys and blamed me for it. Did you get his name or something that might make finding him easier?"
  1008. >Scootaloo shakes her head and looks down dejectedly.
  1009. >"I could go look for him, maybe he is still around."
  1010. "Absolutely not, I don’t want to risk losing you, even if it would help prove my innocence."
  1011. >As strange as it seems, having a special somepony you can completely wrap your arms around and snuggle like a stuffed animal is surprisingly nice.
  1012. "So, Scootaloo, how did your meeting with Celestia go?"
  1013. >She turns around in your lap so she is facing away before speaking.
  1014. >"It went well. She was having trouble figuring out a punishment for the guard who tried to rape me, and Luna and I suggested a punishment which wasn't exactly a punishment. I offered a few Idea's and Celestia seemed to grateful for the help."
  1015. "That’s good, and I'm glad you didn't want him punished badly. I wouldn't want my special somepony to be mean. One question though, weren't you planning on going shopping?"
  1016. >"after that encounter earlier, I am much happier right here with you."
  1017. >You smile and hold you little orange marefriend close.
  1020. (Bluebloods Pov)
  1021. >Something about that pegasus is interesting.
  1022. >Staring at her running form, you question "why?".
  1023. >She wasn't very physically attractive.
  1024. >Sure, she would be classified as cute, but she isn't my type.
  1025. >As she rounds a corner, you follow in time to see her enter a building.
  1026. >The sign out front read Cherry Blossom Bakery.
  1027. >Sending a telepathic message to one of your personal guards, you order them to watch the building for an orange pegasus with a purple mane leaving.
  1028. >Grinning to yourself, you continue on with your day.
  1031. (Anon's Pov)
  1032. >Shouldering your pack, you sneak a glance out the window.
  1033. >The sun has just set, and the moon was beginning its slow passage across the sky.
  1034. "Remember Scoots, act normal, and I will find you out there. Promise."
  1035. >"I won’t forget, but maybe I could have one last one? For good luck."
  1036. >You smile, she is certainly the pony you've come to love.
  1037. >Leaving down, you pull her up into a deep kiss, cradling her in your arms.
  1038. >Cherry "Awwwwwwww"s and you separate, setting her on the ground.
  1039. "Ready?"
  1040. >Scootaloo nods, and quickly leaves through the front door.
  1041. >After a few moments, you leave through the back.
  1042. >CB: "Take care of her Anon, she will make a fine wife someday"
  1043. "Well, hopefully someday I will be able to be a husband."
  1044. >Slinking into the shadows the light from the door vanishes, and you rush off down the alleys.
  1045. >The patrols are more concentrated, and you lose more time waiting for opportunity's to sneak past.
  1046. >Eventually you reach the wall, and you notice the number of lights atop the wall has dropped drastically.
  1047. >Shifting your pack, you begin the long process of scaling the vertical wall,
  1048. >Nearing the top, a patrol of guards stop right above you.
  1049. >G1:"Did you hear about how that monkey thing was spotted in the city last night?"
  1050. >G2:"Yeah, though what surprising that it would return to where it was first caught so soon."
  1051. >Peering over the top, you can see they are facing away from you.
  1052. >G1:"What I wouldn't give to be the guy who catches it. Four thousand bits, not to mention the fame."
  1053. >G2:"I know what you mean. Still, how did it get back inside the city? The gates were all watched, and all shipments were thoroughly checked."
  1054. >Silently pulling yourself up, you sneak up behind the two.
  1055. "I climbed."
  1056. >Before either can react, you sweep their heads together, knocking them both unconscious.
  1057. >Carefully lowering them, you draw a rope from your pack.
  1058. >Glancing around, you figure you have time, and take out a piece of chalk as well.
  1059. >On the wall, you write *I have never killed an intelligent being, nor do I plan on it. Signed, Anonymous*.
  1060. >Tying the rope to a bracket, you lower it over the edge and begin your descent.
  1061. >The rope falls a few feet short, and you drop the rest of the way, rolling to absorb most of the impact.
  1062. >Re-settling your pack, you sprint for the nearby woods.
  1063. >In the safety of the trees, you whistle, indicating your approximate position to Scootaloo.
  1064. >Bushes to your right rustle, and you duck back into the shadows, until Scootaloo pushes through.
  1065. "Scoots, you got out without any trouble I presume?"
  1066. >"Of course, nopony can resist my charms."
  1067. "Good thing I am not a pony, or I might be kissing you right now."
  1068. >"Hey, why aren't you kissing me right now, anyway?"
  1069. "Because you aren't Scootaloo, am I right, Miss Changeling?"
  1070. >"How'd you know, I thought my transformation was perfect."
  1071. >"Scootaloo" is engulfed in green flames, and in her place stands a changeling.
  1072. "Simple, Scootaloo is usually the one who initiates after being separated, plus, you are not carrying the bags she was."
  1073. >"I guess I missed that when I was going through her memories. Consider your preliminary test passed. If you will follow me, We will rejoin Scootaloo and my partners."
  1074. "You had best not have hurt her, or the only thing you will get from me is a lot of pain."
  1075. >"Fear not, we have not harmed her. We truly do want your help, and if harming her would cost us that, we will do all we can to protect her."
  1076. "That is quite smart. Please, lead the way."
  1077. >The changeling begins making her way through the forest, you following close behind.
  1078. >Less than five minutes pass, and you find yourself on the edge of a clearing, a fire burning in the middle and three tents set up.
  1079. >Two of the tents must be the changelings, as the third is the one Scootaloo was carrying.
  1080. >Two changelings and Scootaloo sit by the fire.
  1081. >As the two of you approach, Scootaloo rushes to you, and the changelings stand at attention.
  1082. >S: "Oh Anon, I was so worried, even though the changelings said you knew them, and that they were going to get you, I was still worried you would get caught trying to leave."
  1083. >Wrapping her in a hug, you gently stoker her soft mane.
  1084. "I did promise I would meet you out here, and I never break my promises."
  1085. >C: "Excellent information to know, because we would like to hire you. A number of us are needing to be moved between hives, but the tunnels have been destroyed by diamond dogs. Because of that, we are going to have to travel on the surface, and We are not very good at moving and defending groups in such terrain. We need somepony to help the few guards we can spare help protect the group while it travels."
  1086. "And you want me to help, correct."
  1087. >C: "Yes, after hearing how you beat two diamond dogs without a proper weapon, and confirming that with one of Scootaloo's memories. With Proper armor and weapons, which we could provide for you, even a dozen dogs would have trouble matching you."
  1088. "And what would I get out of this, besides the armor and weapons?"
  1089. >C: "What would you want?"
  1090. >Good question, they could probably offer you and Scootaloo a home in one of their hives, or a nice pile of bits.
  1091. >Problem is, if anypony caught wind of you in one of their hives it could spark a war.
  1092. >Wait, maybe they could...
  1093. "Do you think you could get me info on a certain pony? He's a white unicorn from Canterlot, he has a gold mane and tail, as well as cold light blue eyes."
  1094. >C: "We should have little problem obtaining this information for you. So I assume we have a deal?"
  1095. >The changeling holds out a hole filled hoof, and you take it in your hand, shaking it."
  1096. "Deal. We should get moving though, I want to get far away from Canterlot before they find the guards I ko'd"
  1097. >One of the other changelings speaks up.
  1098. >C2:"How many did you knock out?"
  1099. "Only two, but that was after I scaled the wall and snuck up behind them."
  1100. >All three changelings look fairly impressed, and Scootaloo settles further into your grip.
  1101. >C: "Alright boys, lets get those tents down an move out in ten minutes.
  1102. >C2+3: "Yes Ma'am"
  1103. >You and Scootaloo watch as the changelings begin disassembling their tents, before the female one turns to you.
  1104. >C: "And Why aren't you disassembling your tent?"
  1105. >Scootlaoo hops up as well and turns to you.
  1106. >S: "You best get that tent disassembled and packed away or you wont get any hugs or kisses for two days."
  1107. "Wouldn't that be as much a punishment for you as it would be for me?"
  1108. >S: "Your right, how about... hmnnnnnn."
  1109. >A smile forms on your lips, and you rise and disassemble the tent in a matter of moments.
  1110. >As you finish packing it away, Scootaloo turns to you and says.
  1111. >S:"I know, if you don't do it, you will have to do whatever i say for a whole.... Oh."
  1112. >Stepping over, you pat her on the head.
  1113. "Better luck next time Love."
  1114. >S: "Did you just call me..."
  1115. "Yes, I did. I love you, my little Scootaloo."
  1116. >The changelings all lick their lips, but you glare at them.
  1117. >C: "Sorry, we changelings feed mainly on the energy of emotions, and love is the best tasting one."
  1118. "Now when you say eat, do you mean you consume the entire emotion or what?"
  1119. >C: "We take the energy of the emotion. It doesn't affect the one its taken from unless too much is taken."
  1120. >You lean down and whisper to Scootaloo.
  1121. "Do you think we could let them feed of our love a bit? It might make traveling with them easier, and may give us some bonuses in the end."
  1122. >She turns her head and whispers back.
  1123. >As long as it doesn't affect how we feel about each other, I’m fine with them eating a bit.
  1124. >Rising up, you address the head changeling.
  1125. "If we were to allow you to feed on our energy's would it affect the emotions themselves?"
  1126. >C: "No,that would be a bad thing, considering our race feeds on emotions. If a species consumed the source of its food, it wouldn't survive long, would it?"
  1127. "Fair enough. In that case, Scootaloo and I are fine with you eating small bits of our energy every couple days, and only when we say so, alright?"
  1128. >C:"That seems fair, now let’s get our butts moving before guards start coming out."
  1129. >The group and you nod, and begin you journey to the changeling hive.
  1132. (Bluebloods POV)
  1133. >Adjusting yourself a bit, you settle yourself into your exceptionally fine red velvet and cougar leather recliner, a glass of top quality apple brandy sitting to your right.
  1134. >Its unusual, I haven't heard anything back from the guard I sent to watch for that pegasus, and its already sundown.
  1135. >Perhaps she is staying there...
  1136. >A sudden mental transmission interrupts your thoughts.
  1137. >G: "Sir, The pegasus has just left the bakery, and is headed for the main gate."
  1138. "Follow her, but keep out of sight."
  1139. >G: "Yes sir, I will keep you updated as it goes."
  1140. >Now that is interesting. Why would a lonely little pegasus leave Canterlot alone with a murderer on the loose?
  1141. >Perhaps she is meeting somepony special on the way, though she hardly seems like the kind of pony to have one.
  1142. >G: "Sir, she just left the city and is entering the forest. Orders?"
  1143. "Follow for a bit, but don't get lost. I would rather not lose a guard over something like this, no matter how interesting she may be."
  1144. >G: "Understood sir"
  1145. >This just keeps on getting more and more interesting.
  1146. >This might almost be as interesting as that monkey man I brought in to take the fall.
  1147. >Who would have figured it would not only be able to escape Canterlot, but sneak back in as well.
  1148. >Not like anypony would ever suspect me, Im pretty much untouchable.
  1149. >G: "Sir, the pegasus was captured by several changelings, should I enact a rescue?"
  1150. "No, I will do so later, for now, you are dismissed."
  1151. >G: "Yes Sir!"
  1152. >While this fool monkey is in Canterlot, perhaps I should increase his bounty with another body.
  1153. >And then, I will go and become a knight in shining armor for that most interesting pegasus.
  1154. >Yes, and then. Then, she will be mine.
  1156. Chapter 8:  Still Untitled
  1158. "How much longer till we get to the hive?"
  1159. >C: "Not much longer. We should soon be able to see the entrance to Delta Hive, and from there we will take a caravan down to Epsilon Hive."
  1160. "I am guessing Epsilon Hive is the one that has been having all of its tunnels collapsed by Diamond Dogs?"
  1161. >C: "That would be correct. Each year they have been more and more aggressive towards us, even though we have made several attempts at peace."
  1162. >S:"Is there any reason they might be mad at you?"
  1163. >C: "Besides the initial incident when our tunnels first crossed, no."
  1164. "Do you think you could describe the incident for me?"
  1165. >C:"I don't see why not. It happened six years ago, about the beginning of spring. Epsilon Hive tunnelers were building an emergency bypass tunnel to Delta hive, when their tunnel hit another one. The tunnel looked natural, as the walls and floors were rough and jagged, not like changeling carved tunnels, which are smooth. After the bypass tunnel was completed, an expedition of miners was sent down to examine it. A number of rich untapped metal veins were discovered, and groups were immediately dispatched to extract them. This was about the time the Diamond dogs arrived. They must have assumed we were stealing, and opened fire on us with their crossbows. A number of us fired back with magic, and several lives were lost on each side. Eventually the situation was resolved, and things seemed fine for a time. That was until they started raiding and kidnapping."
  1166. >S: "Those dogs that Anon beat were trying to kidnap me to make me work in the mines."
  1167. >You rest your hand on her shoulder.
  1168. "Even if I hadn't gotten to you on time, I still would have done anything to get you out, even if it meant turning myself in to Celestia to get her to save you."
  1169. >Scootaloo blushes, and leans against your side.
  1170. >C: "Eye's up front, we should be able to see the entrance soon.
  1171. >Cresting a hill, You, Scootaloo and the changelings all look down to see a battle going on.
  1172. >A dozen or so well armed Diamond dogs are pressing in on four changeling guards trying to hold them away from a tunnel in a cliff.
  1173. >C: "We have to hurry; they may not be able to hold off for much longer."
  1174. "Scootaloo, stay close and you will be fine. Alright."
  1175. >She nods, and you start running towards the fight.
  1176. >The changelings have formed up around you and Scootaloo, making a diamond shape with Scootaloo in the middle.
  1177. >Barely having any time to react, the dogs change into a sort of circular formation, facing all directions.
  1178. >Avoiding a clumsily thrown mace, you crash into the nearest dog, driving your momentum powered fist into its face.
  1179. >The sound of cartilage breaking and a small spray of blood comes out as it stumbles back and collapses.
  1180. >Spinning to your right, you deliver a backhand to the dog there, stunning him into dropping his sword.
  1181. >Diving down, you grab the blade and swing the flat of it across its owners face, knocking it cold.
  1182. >A cursory glance getting up reveals two other dogs are down, as well as one of the changeling guards.
  1183. >The other eight dogs are currently occupied pressing against the six changelings.
  1184. >Striding forward, you club another dog on the helmet, before driving your knee into its gut, dropping it.
  1185. >One of the dogs notices Scootaloo standing back a bit, and ruses towards her.
  1186. >Interjecting yourself, you cleanly slice through the handle of his hammer.
  1187. "You won’t touch my Scootaloo."
  1188. >Driving the pommel into its nose, and then a solid kick to the groin, it goes down like the rest.
  1189. >The changelings have taken down tree dogs, and only three remain standing, while one more changeling has gone down.
  1190. >The dogs look nervously between the changelings and you, before running off into the woods.
  1191. >Dropping the blade, you run over to the nearest downed changeling.
  1192. >Feeling for a pulse, you manage to find one, although faint, and begin running your fingers over its body, looking for injuries.
  1193. >Some cracked ribs, a broken leg as well as assorted cuts and bruises.
  1194. >Nothing too serious, so long as he is moved carefully.
  1195. >The female walks over, and looks down at your examination.
  1196. >"How is it? Will he survive?"
  1197. "He should. A few damaged ribs and a broken leg, but nothing too serious. As long as he is handled carefully, he should be fine.
  1198. >"That’s good to hear. The other one caught a pretty bad backhand that knocked him senseless."
  1199. >She starts to move back to the others, and you notice she is trying to hide a limp.
  1200. "Wait; let me see what I can do about your injury. If it’s not too bad, I may be able to treat it.
  1201. >"Fine, but only so I won’t have to show weakness before my partners."
  1202. >She presents her hoof, and you run your fingers over it, probing the muscles and bones, until you come to the femur.
  1203. >Some delicate touches reveal she has a minor fracture and some pulled muscles.
  1204. >Taking the sword, you split one of the mace's handles in two, and line one half against her leg. >Removing some spare cloth from your bag, you tightly wrap the makeshift splint.
  1205. "Avoid putting too much pressure on it, and it should be fine. You had a small fracture on your femur, and some muscles were pulled, but otherwise there are no problems."
  1206. >"Thank you Anon, Is there anything you can do for the injured one?"
  1207. >You could swear you saw some red under the black as she said thanks.
  1208. "Not with what I have. Maybe if I had some morphine or other painkiller and some sterile bandages I could do something."
  1209. >The changeling walks over to the others who were tying up the dogs.
  1210. >Motioning to one of the guards she addresses it.
  1211. >C: "You, is there a medical kit in the guard post?"
  1212. >G: "Yes ma'am. Shall I retrieve it?"
  1213. >c: "At once."
  1214. >The changeling rushes inside the cave, and returns carrying a white box in its mouth.
  1215. >C: "Good, take it to Anon over there, and he will begin treatment on the injured."
  1216. >When you are given the kit, the changeling scurries off as fast as he can.
  1217. >Pulling out a roll of bandages, you begin carefully but tightly wrapping the changeling’s chest.
  1218. "Scootaloo, can you come over here? I need you to lend a hoof."
  1219. >S: "Sure Anon, what do you need?"
  1220. "Hold him down carefully. I am going to reset the broken bone in his leg, and if he struggles it could make it worse."
  1221. >S: "O..Okay."
  1222. >She sets herself over him, pressing down on his shoulder and thigh.
  1223. >Firmly grasping both halves of the broken bone, you get them close to alignment.
  1224. "Ready?"
  1225. >Scootaloo nods, and you make the final push, aligning the bones with a sickening crack.
  1226. >The changeling unconsciously tries to flail around, but between the two of you, you keep him restrained.
  1227. >Grabbing the other half of the mace handle, you take more bandages and form another splint, before taking a painkiller shot and pumping it into the changeling.
  1228. "You are fine to let go now Scootaloo."
  1229. >Moving off him, she steps around to beside you, shaking slightly,
  1230. >Your arm wraps around her, drawing her to your side.
  1231. >The two still conscious guards come over to you and Scootaloo.
  1232. >CG1:"Umm... Thanks for helping; we would have been goners if it wasn't for you. On behalf of Ambassador Chryo, you are granted free entry and leave from Delta Hive."
  1233. "Thank you for this honor, but I must ask, who is Ambassador Chryo?"
  1234. >CG2:"She is one of the changelings you have been traveling with."
  1235. >S: "Well, she never told us any of that."
  1236. >CG1:"She likely had her reasons, but for now we have to deal with the captured dogs."
  1237. "I can handle that. First take all their weapons and armor, then I will talk to them."
  1238. >The two walk back to the dogs and strip off the few remaining bits of armor.
  1239. >Digging through the weapon pile, you pull out a long knife.
  1240. "Can one of you make a fire here?"
  1241. >C: "Yes, but why?"
  1242. "Just trust me."
  1243. >Soon you have a small fire, blazing along happily beside you, and one of the dogs has begun stirring.
  1244. >Putting down the knife so the tip of the blade rests in the fire, you step over to the dog.
  1245. "Good to see you are awake."
  1246. >D: "Who are you? We fighting changing bug things, not monkey things."
  1247. "That’s a bit of a problem, you see I am supposed to help protect the Changelings, but I don't understand why you are attacking them."
  1249. >D: "We don't know either. We just fight because boss dogs tell us to fight."
  1250. "If I was to let you go, would you come back and fight again of the big boss dogs said so?"
  1251. >The dog seems to stop for a moment, considering.
  1252. >C: "What are you thinking Anon?"
  1253. "You will see."
  1254. >The dog comes to a conclusion and speaks up.
  1255. >D: "Yah I would fight. If the big bosses says ta fight im suppozed ta fight."
  1256. "But what if I told you that you would die if you came back?"
  1257. >The dogs expression immediately becomes terrified, and it tries to squirm away.
  1258. >D:"I won’t come back, I promise."
  1259. "Good, but I have to make it so that you will die if you come back. This will hurt, but it will prove to your bosses that you can’t come back."
  1260. >Taking the now red hot knife, you draw an X over the dog’s heart, the smell of burning fur and flesh hanging in the air.
  1261. "I am sorry that it hurt so much, but I will release you now. Remember, if you return you Will Die."
  1262. >The dog nods hurriedly, and as you cut its bindings it runs off.
  1263. >By this time, a number of the dogs have awoken and understand what’s going on.
  1264. "You all understand what I intend to do right?"
  1265. >They hurriedly nod, and you proceed to "Mark" each one for death.
  1266. >The dogs that woke up later get it explained to them by the others as you mark them.
  1267. >After what feels like hours, you have the ninth and final dog marked.
  1268. >Scattering the coals of the fire, you walk away from the cave and void your stomach.
  1269. >Spitting out the last of the taste, you walk over to where they had moved the wounded to, and were waiting out your "Display".
  1270. >C: "That was... Brutal to say the least."
  1271. "If you knew anything about my races history, you would think I was merciful. Honestly, they needed some kind of physical reminder that would stay with them. Chopping off their hands or arms or something would be far too cruel, so I went with a simple self-cauterizing cut."
  1272. >C:"I suppose it did work. I saw how terrified they were of that bluff. You should still comfort your special somepony though. She was quite shaken by the whole ordeal."
  1273. >You nod, and head in the direction Chryo indicates.
  1274. >Scootaloo is sitting in the corner of the guardroom, curled up tight.
  1275. "Hey, Scoots."
  1276. >"Hey..."
  1277. "I’m sorry you had to see that. I did promise these changelings that I would help protect them, and by doing what I did, I made sure less dogs will come back, if any do at all.
  1278. >"I know, it’s just...."
  1279. >Stepping over, you grab Scootaloo, despite her squeaks of protest and wrap her in a tight hug."
  1280. "Never forget I will do anything to protect you. If I have to harm others like today, I will without hesitation. I will try and avoid killing others, but if it becomes necessary, I will. Only to protect you."
  1281. >"It's just, you were so serious when you did that, you didn't hesitate or anything."
  1282. "You obviously missed me puking my guts out afterwards then."
  1283. >Scootaloo giggles a bit at the thought.
  1284. "I had to keep up the act or they might not have believed it. Trust me it felt horrible knowing I was scaring another being for life, but it was necessary.
  1285. >"Okay, but could you warn me before you do stuff like that again?"
  1286. >You smile and pet her mane.
  1287. "Hopefully, I won’t ever have to do that again, now let’s get back to the changelings and get on with the job."
  1288. >Standing up, you make your way over to where the changelings were waiting.
  1289. >C:"I see you have calmed your marefriend. One of the guards was sent ahead to announce our arrival and ready a new guard."
  1290. "Anything we might need to know before we meet the queen to accept this mission?"
  1291. >C: "Not much that you shouldn't already know. Be respectful, don't do anything stupid, the ususal."
  1292. >A number of armored changelings come from the tunnel, along with what looks like a small crowd of normal folk.
  1293. >One of the guards stops, and the others head out the entrance.
  1294. >G: "Ma'am, the queen is ready to see you and your guests."
  1295. >C: "Thank you soldier. Anon, Scootaloo, let’s go. It is impolite to keep royalty waiting."
  1296. >Chryo leads and the crowd parts for herm and you follow behind, Scootaloo at your side.
  1297. >The tunnel grows darker for a bit, before green crystals in the wall begin to glow.
  1298. >Sounds of civilization are soon hears, and changelings are now seen, traveling along paths, and through tunnels off-shooting from the main branch.
  1299. >Soon the tunnel widens, until it opens up into a massive chamber, in which an entire city lies.
  1300. >C: "Welcome to Delta hive. We are remaining only so long as to get a suit of armor and weapon made for you, and to meet the queen to discuss the mission."
  1301. >You and Scootaloo nod, taking in the sights of the subterranean city.
  1302. >C: "Follow me, and I will take us to the palace. Stay close, and don't lose sight of oneanother or me."
  1303. >Kneeling down, you motion Scootaloo to climb onto your back.
  1304. >She sets her forehooves over your shoulders, and you stand up, putting your hands under her plot to support her.
  1305. >This elicits a giggle from her, and you smile, turning to your escort.
  1306. "Lead the way, Lady Chryo"
  1307. >Again, you swear you see some red under her black skin.
  1308. >C: "Just Chryo is fine. You are not a changeling, nor am I royalty."
  1309. >Scootaloo giggles again, and rests her head beside yours.
  1310. >Chryo starts leading you through the winding streets of Delta Hive, until you come to a large building in the middle of town.
  1311. >Several armored guards stand watch at the entrance, but they let you and Chryo pass.
  1312. >Inside, more guards stand at attention, as well as a larger pair flanking a set of double doors at the end of the hall.
  1313. >Chryo confidently strolls down the hall and through the double doors which are opened by the guards.
  1314. >Following, the room beyond it is similar in design to the throne room in Canterlot, but on the other end of the color spectrum.
  1315. >Where Canterlot is white, this room was black.
  1316. >Sitting on the throne at the far side of the room is a large but elegantly thin changeling.
  1317. >On her head rests a crown made of what you can only assume to be obsidian and emeralds, the gems gleaming in the green glow of the room.
  1318. >Q: "Come Ambassador Chryo, show me this creature you hired to assist us with our problem."
  1319. >Chryo steps forward, and you follow, after setting Scootaloo on the ground.
  1320. >The Queen looks you over, even going so far as to get off her throne to get a closer look at you.
  1321. >Q:"I will admit, Chryo, this creature is large, but is it truly as capable as you claim?"
  1322. >C: "Quite so. I am sure you have heard about the dogs most recent attack on out gate?"
  1323. >The Queen Nods, and Chryo continues.
  1324. >C: "He singlehandedly took down four of the nine we knocked out, and afterwards he intimidated them into believing they would instantly die if they returned."
  1325. >Q: "Interesting, perhaps we could have a demonstration? Him against one of my elite guards in single combat, not to the death of course."
  1326. >C: "It seems fair, but he would need weapons and armor made for him."
  1327. >Q: "Yes, but it might be more fair if it was hoof to hoof, or whatever it has for forelimb graspers."
  1328. >Shifting a little bit, you address the queen.
  1329. "Your majesty, if I may. I was wondering if we could delay this until tomorrow? I am a little tired after marching all day, and them fighting the dogs, and I would like a chance to rest."
  1330. >Q: "My word, it speaks. And such manners for an unusual being. Of course we can delay this until tomorrow. I shall have a room set up for you and your pony friend. Servants!"
  1331. >A number of changelings come out of who knows where, and rush up to the queen.
  1332. >Q: "Prepare a room for our guests here, and send word to the barracks to prepare a combat area for tomorrow, right after lunch."
  1333. >They all bow, before running off in their own directions.
  1334. >Scootaloo yawns, and you pick her up, and she falls asleep in your arms.
  1335. >Q: "You two make quite an unusual couple, but a cute one I must say."
  1336. >C: "They certainly are, but their love is strong and delicious."
  1337. >Both changeling look at you, licking their lips.
  1338. "Now Chryo, you may have had permission to feed on us occasionally during our travels when we both consent, but since Scootaloo is asleep, you will have to wait for her to wake on her own.
  1339. >Both Chryo and the Queen look mildly disappointed, but they don't push the subject.
  1340. >A very tiny female changeling hardly up to your knee comes over to you.
  1341. >Her voice is squeaky, rather than slightly raspy like the full grown ones, so you assume she is a child.
  1342. >LC: "Sir, your room is ready. If you would be so kind as to follow me."
  1343. >Adjusting your grip on Scootaloo, you make a small bow to the queen and Chryo, before following the little changeling through the halls.
  1344. >Soon you arrive at a door which the changeling opens, revealing a large bedroom with a bed easily big enough for several of you.
  1345. >When you set Scootaloo on the bed, she stirs a little but doesn’t wake.
  1346. >Turning back to the small changeling, you step over and sit down.
  1347. "Thank you for your help. What might your name be? Mines Anonymous."
  1348. >She emits a scared Squeak, but works up the nerve to talk,
  1349. >LC:"I don’t have a name. My parents never gave me one when they threw me away."
  1350. "Why would they do that? I don't see anything wrong with you."
  1351. >LC: "That’s sweet mister, but I'm a runt, and most runts are thrown away to die when they are born. I was lucky enough to get given to the palace as a servant."
  1352. >Reaching out, the changeling flinches as you move your hand towards her, but relaxes when you begin stroking her head.
  1353. "If I could get you a family and permission from the queen for you to leave, would you come with me?"
  1354. >Her blue eyes begin brimming with tears, and she practically jumps into your arms.
  1355. >LC: "Of course I would. No-one has ever cared for me. Even if it was a family of minotaur’s I would be happy."
  1356. "The family I have in mind is different, but I’m sure they would love a nice happy child like you."
  1357. >The little changeling is crying into your chest, mumbling thank you's and nuzzling you like there is no tomorrow.
  1358. "Yes, I understand you’re happy, but you must listen. You will have to go about your normal work tonight. Tomorrow, I want you to come and wake me in the morning so we can prepare for convincing the queen."
  1359. >She nods, before jumping off and running out the door.
  1360. >S: "That was sweet, so who's the lucky family?"
  1361. >Turning around, you give your dopey eyed special somepony a smile.
  1362. >It takes her a moment, but her sleep addled mind finally puts two and two together and her eyes go wide.
  1363. >"You mean it!"
  1364. "Since we might not be able to have a foal or filly of our own, I figured I would try to give us a head start. My only concern is keeping you and her safe while I track that unicorn."
  1365. >"Well, I could use the remaining bits two support her and I for a month or two, but I don't think I could stand being away from you that long."
  1366. >You leap forward, catching Scootaloo and turning onto your back as you land on the bed, Scootaloo on your stomach.
  1367. "Honestly, neither could I."
  1368. >Scootaloo smiles and lays down on your chest.
  1369. >"Even though we haven’t known each other long, and given the situation we can't do anything, but still, I really wish we could, you know.
  1370. "I understand, though I am kind of unsure as to if I could do it. I mean we are of a different species and where I come from..."
  1371. >She leans in and kisses you, the tension in your body melting away.
  1372. "Thanks, but it doesn't make me want to do "It" more.
  1373. >"We will deal with that bridge when we come to it. For now, sleep."
  1374. >You and your special somepony curl up on the royalty sized bed and fall asleep.
  1377. Chapter  9: Parallels
  1378. >Morning comes with a face full of purple mane, a soft bed and a small voice beside the bed trying to wake you up.
  1379. >LC: "Come on Anon, miss, it’s time to get up."
  1380. >With a groan, you roll over, and fall of the bed.
  1381. >The blankets are pulled with you, and with them comes Scootaloo.
  1382. >S: "Huh? Wha?"
  1383. "Blankets decided to pull us off the bed, still it’s time to get up."
  1384. >S: "Fine, but I get the shower first."
  1385. >You laugh, and Scootaloo and the little changeling leave, and head towards the shower room.
  1386. >Digging into your bag, you pull out a small knife you had Scootaloo get for you.
  1387. >Taking it to a mirror, you begin the arduous process of shaving several days’ worth of stubble.
  1388. >As the last bit falls, you stow the knife, and pull out a pair of scissors.
  1389. >Again using the mirror, you use the scissors to trim your hair down to a more tidy length.
  1390. >Finishing with your hair, you throw a towel over your shoulder, and head down the hallway in the direction Scootaloo went in.
  1391. >The sound of water falling and Scootaloo's humming comes from behind a door.
  1392. "Hey, mind If I join you?"
  1393. >S: "Only if you can prove you are you."
  1394. "Okay, but how?"
  1395. >"Easy, answer me this question. When did we first kiss?"
  1396. "In the woods, after the diamond dogs got scared away."
  1397. >"Correct, unless you count the time, no never mind."
  1398. >Pushing open the door, you step inside to see a soaking wet Scootaloo in a stall with water pouring from above.
  1399. >Setting your towel aside, you turn away from her and remove your shirt.
  1400. >POOMPH!
  1401. >Her wings now stand straight up, and look incredibly stiff.
  1402. "What’s wrong with your wings?"
  1403. >"This, oh uh it’s called a *mumble mumble*"
  1404. "A what?"
  1405. >Scootaloo tries to hide within herself.
  1406. >"A wingboner."
  1407. >Chuckling softly, you strike a bit of a pose.
  1408. "I guess you like what you see then."
  1409. >She nods, a bit of drool dripping from her mouth.
  1410. "Do you want to see more?"
  1411. >Her eyes go as wide as they can, and she is practically shaking with excitement.
  1412. >"If you are okay with it."
  1413. "I do plan on showering, don't I?"
  1414. >She nods, and you go to undo your pants when the door comes crashing in.
  1415. >In runs a familiar small changeling and behind it comes one of the changeling guards.
  1416. >Scootaloo runs and grabs a towel, before hiding behind you, and the little changeling scurries behind her.
  1417. >Raising yourself to your full height, you glare down at the guard, who is now trying his best not to shake in fear.
  1418. "Is there a problem here sir?"
  1419. >G: "My dearest apologies for interrupting, but that youngling was shirking her duties this morning and I was given the task of getting her back to her post."
  1420. "I must apologize, for that was my fault. Last night when she escorted us to our room, I requested she awoke us in the morning, and helped us prepare for the challenge today. Again, my apologies for any inconveniences it may have caused."
  1421. >G: "That’s fine. She should have informed her superiors that she was requested, and none of this would have been a problem."
  1422. >Turning around, you address the little changeling.
  1423. "Now you will go with him and explain to your superiors that I requested for you to assist me in the morning, and then wait in our assigned room."
  1424. >She nods, and walks out the door, the guard following close behind.
  1425. ">S:"I think I am done in the shower for now. We'll have to continue this some other time."
  1426. "You sure?"
  1427. >"Yeah, I wanna be waiting for our future daughter when she gets back."
  1428. >Reaching down, you run your hand through her wet mane.
  1429. "You are going to make a great mom when this is over."
  1430. >"And you will make a wonderful father."
  1431. >Giving one last run through her mane, you give her a soft pat on her flank to get her going.
  1432. >She blushes, and giggles a bit before leaving.
  1433. >Stripping down, you step under the flow of water.
  1434. >It’s not very warm, but it’s still refreshing, and small trickles of dirt wash down the drain at the bottom.
  1435. >Pulling a small lever on the wall stops the water, and you step out, grabbing your towel.
  1436. >Wrapping it around your waist, you take your clothes and shove them in the shower stall.
  1437. >Turning on the water again, you wash the blood and dirt from the fabrics.
  1438. >Wringing them out as best you can, you throw them over your shoulder and make your way back to the room.
  1439. >During the trip, you pass a fair number of changelings; at least some of them female, given their wings show the same reaction Scootaloo's did.
  1440. >opening the door reveals Scootaloo, running around the room playing with the young changeling.
  1441. "Looks like you two are having fun."
  1442. >Scootaloo stops, and the little changeling crashes into her, causing the pair to land in an adorable heap.
  1443. >S: "You done your shower Anon?"
  1444. >Stepping forward, you untangle the ball of giggling cuteness.
  1445. "Yep, I just need my clothes to dry, and we can head for breakfast."
  1446. >LC: "If you want, I can take them to the drying room for you."
  1447. >Patting the little changeling, you give it a smile.
  1448. "That would be nice, thank you."
  1449. >She giggles, before grabbing your clothes and running off.
  1450. >S:"*Poomph* So, uh, do you have anything else to wear while we wait?"
  1451. "You shake your head, and sit down on a chair.
  1452. "Nope, I hope you don't have a problem with that."
  1453. >She steps closer, shaking her head.
  1454. >"Could I maybe... Sit on your lap, if you are okay with it?"
  1455. >She makes an adorable squeak as you pick her up and set her on your lap, before pressing your forehead to hers.
  1456. "I’m worried."
  1457. >"Huh?"
  1458. >You begin gently stroking her mane, and rubbing behind her ears.
  1459. "I have never realy fought before. Most of the stuff you have seen was purely instinctual."
  1460. >"It’s just a practice match though. There's nothing to be worried about."
  1461. "No, there will be more at stake. I plan on making a bet with the queen, If I win, I gain custody of our little changeling friend. If I lose, I was planning on offering to let her feed on me once or twice a month for a year.
  1462. >Silence hangs heavily in the air, neither you nor Scootaloo making any attempts at breaking it.
  1463. >Finally, you speak up.
  1464. "Hey Scoots, when this is all over, would you consider living in or near one of the hives for a time? It would make things so much easier on her if she stayed close to home."
  1465. >"Hmmmm?"
  1466. "One way or another, I am going to win, and I figure living in or near a hive will make out soon to be daughter more comfortable."
  1467. >Scootaloo relaxes against you.
  1468. >"The way I see it, we will live wherever we want after this."
  1469. "How do you figure?"
  1470. >"Celestia will feel like she owes you a lot for all you got put through, and for catching the actual killer. Because of that, she will probably end up giving you a ton of bits and favors."
  1471. "Is that so..."
  1472. >Your thoughts are interrupted by the door opening, and a small black thing buried under your clothes walks in.
  1473. >LC:"Your clothes are done."
  1474. >Reaching down, you grab not only your clothes but the changeling underneath.
  1475. "Thank you very much, but where did you go?"
  1476. >The pile of clothes and changeling in your hands giggles.
  1477. "Hey Scootaloo, did you see where she went? I can’t find her."
  1478. >Scootaloo feigns looking around, you always holding the clothes and changeling so she can see Scootaloo.
  1479. >S:"I can't find her either. Maybe she ran off."
  1480. >The little changeling jumps out of your arms and yells "Here I am! Did I startle you?"
  1481. "You certainly did. Could you two step outside while I change please?"
  1482. >Both girls step outside, and you can her them talking and giggling on the other side.
  1483. >Dropping your towel, you quickly change into your clothes.
  1484. >After setting your towel to dry, you step out the door to your future family.
  1485. "Ready to go?"
  1486. >The changeling is bouncing around happily, and Scootaloo has a content smile on her face.
  1487. "What did you two talk about?"
  1488. >S: "Oh, nothing. Come on Doppel; lead us to the dining room."
  1489. >While your little black escort leads, you lean over to Scootaloo.
  1490. "You named her Doppel?"
  1491. >"Yeah, is something wrong with it?"
  1492. "Not at all, I think it’s quite cute. Isn't that going to get her hopes up a bit though?"
  1493. >"You said it yourself; you are going to win no matter what."
  1494. >She says this with such confidence you can't help but smile.
  1495. "Of course I will."
  1496. >D: "Hey, watcha talkin about?"
  1497. >Reaching down, you pick the little changeling up and scratch her behind the ears.
  1498. "Nothing you need to worry about right now. So, where is this dining hall?"
  1499. >Looking up, you see a pair of doors labeled Dining Hall.
  1500. "Oh..."
  1501. >Both girls giggle, and you set down Doppel, before you part the doors and step inside.
  1502. >Silence permeates the room, and you can see many dozen changelings stop and stare at you.
  1503. >Q: "Ah, Anonymous, so kind of you to join us. Please, I have saved you and your pony friend a seat next to me here."
  1504. "Thank you your majesty, but first I have a proposition I would like to make you. In private if possible."
  1505. >Q: "Perhaps, what kind of proposition?"
  1506. "Just a bet on the upcoming match. Nothing valuable on either side, but something the other does desire."
  1507. >Q: "Color me intrigued. Follow me."
  1508. >The queen rises, and steps through a door behind her, and you move to follow her.
  1509. >Through the door, you close it behind you, before turning to face the queen.
  1510. "I will make this quick, as we don’t want your subjects worrying. I met one of your servants, an orphaned young female. If I win, I would request you give custody of her to me and my pony friend, so we may be a family for her. If I lose, give you permission to feed off my love once every two weeks for a year. Seem like a fair deal?"
  1514. Far away in Canterlot, a rather different, yet similar morning is unfolding.
  1515. (Bluebloods POV)
  1516. "Good morning dear aunt Celestia. I felt I should join you for breakfast on this fine morning."
  1517. >C: "Ah, Blueblood, it is good to see you. If I may ask, how have things been going for you?"
  1518. >You sigh, taking a seat next to her.
  1519. "Not as well as I hoped. I have some bad news that may make other news seem worse."
  1520. >Celestia looks over at you worriedly.
  1521. "I am sure you know about the most recent murder, as well as the beast escaping Canterlot again."
  1522. >She nods, levitating a glass of tea to her lips.
  1523. "Well, the night the beast escaped, one of my guards noticed a young pegasus leave Canterlot late at night. While on its own, it is unusual, what worries me is the changelings who captured her."
  1524. >"And you waited till now to tell me? We could have rescued her that night."
  1525. "I would have, but with only one guard in the area, I had him track the changelings’ direction, and he discovered something interesting."
  1526. >Her eyebrows rise as her focus shifts entirely to you.
  1527. "While he was returning, he happened to catch sight of the monkey going in the same direction."
  1528. >"And you suspect that it may be working with the changelings?"
  1529. "I do, and I would like to request permission to mount a rescue to save the captured pegasus, and catch the murderous monkey."
  1530. >Celestia's eyes bore into you.
  1531. >"And what do you wish to gain from this?"
  1532. "While the fame and fortune of capturing the beast are nice, I am more concerned with rescuing the innocent pegasus. The day she was captured, I bumped into her in the market. She was orange, and had a purple mane. She was rather sweet, if not a bit preoccupied."
  1533. >"Yes, she said something about a special somepony, and Luna mentioned that she heard that she was only going to be in Canterlot for the day. Something has been bugging me about this most recent murder though..."
  1534. "And what would that be, Princess?"
  1535. >"The time, Blueblood. Approximately what time would you say the pegasus was kidnapped?"
  1536. "Ten thirty perhaps, going on eleven."
  1537. >"Again, that bracket appears..."
  1538. "What bracket may I ask?"
  1539. >"Ten till twelve. The murder happened at approximately ten thirty, based on our best guesses. The guards who were attacked say that it happened sometime between eleven and eleven thirty. And now, we have the kidnapping happening at about ten thirty to eleven."
  1540. >Damn it, this could screw up everything.
  1541. "So you think the recent murder was a copycat?"
  1542. >"It’s possible, but it raises another possibility."
  1543. >No, this isn’t right. She should want that thing dead.
  1544. "You mean you think that thing is innocent?"
  1545. >"It is far more than a "thing". Here let me show you something."
  1546. >Celestia rises, and you get up to follow.
  1547. >She leads you through the back parts of the castle, coming to a stop in front of a nondescript door.
  1548. "I have never been to this part of the castle before. Isn't it usually off limits?"
  1549. >"No, actually this room used to be empty. Currently it is being used as a storage and analysis room."
  1550. "A storage and analysis room? What would that have to do with that monkey?"
  1551. >"Come in and look."
  1552. >The door swings inward, revealing a strange looking hang glider.
  1553. >You and Celestia step inside, and you immediately notice the notes and designs everywhere.
  1554. "I fail to see how this pertains. I barely understand any of this."
  1555. >"Then we are the same. That "Monkey" somehow built this and used it to fly off Canterlot within a matter of an hour or two. Our best minds have been deconstructing its physics, but there are some parts of it that are beyond us. That thing isn’t just some monkey."
  1556. "It built this!?!"
  1557. >"Yes, and I have a feeling it could make so much more. I have been considering allowing him to choose whether he wants to be executed, or work here as an engineer. In custody of course."
  1558. >Your jaw drops.
  1559. "You can’t seriously be considering letting that murderer walk free, can you?"
  1560. >"Of course not, But I'm sure it would be willing to live, even if it is a life of servitude."
  1561. >Wait, this could work in my favor...
  1562. >I must be the one to catch it, so I can lock out its memories of me.
  1563. "I suppose this brings us back to my original question. Do I have your permission to launch a rescue and capture mission?"
  1566. Chapter 10: Also Nameless
  1568. >S "Are you sure you want to do this?"
  1569. >Nodding, you continue to work the kinks out of your muscles.
  1570. >"Just promise me you will be careful."
  1571. >Grabbing your special somepony, you pull her up into the most loving kiss you can muster.
  1572. "I promise, but you must promise me something. When I win this, and when Doppel is our daughter, Will you agree to marry me?"
  1573. >Her squeal of joy could probably be heard, not to mention tasted throughout the entire hive.
  1574. >Standing up, you feign looking sad.
  1575. "I guess that’s a no then."
  1576. >Instead of a response, you get tackled to the ground, and your face is covered in orange and purple love.
  1577. >The room’s door creaks open.
  1578. >CG "The match will start any minute, are you ready?"
  1579. >Taking hold of Scootaloo, you invade her mouth with your tongue, before finishing her off by gently rubbing the base of her wings.
  1580. >Breaking away, Scootaloo is in her own little world of bliss, and you set her down beside you.
  1581. >Rising, you walk to the door and nod to the guard there.
  1582. "I'm ready to go."
  1583. >The guard turns, and you follow as he leads you down a hall and out into a courtyard area.
  1584. >A circle maybe thirty feet across is marked out in the center, and all around it are changelings on cushions and chairs, ready to watch the show.
  1585. >You quickly spot Chryo and the Queen, as well as Doppel, who is next to an empty seat, likely reserved for Scootaloo.
  1586. >Stomps and strange whistling sounds can be heard as you enter the ring.
  1587. >Behind you the door opens, and Scootaloo makes her way to her seat.
  1588. >Taking off your shirt, you motion Doppel over and hand it to her, before making a few final stretches.
  1589. >A large amount of buzzing starts coming form the crowd, and you can see many changelings wings are straight up and vibrating.
  1590. >Even the Queen's and Chryo's wings are upright, which you chuckle at.
  1591. >Another door opens, and out walks a changeling, a little larger than the rest you have seen, save the Queen.
  1592. >He carries himself with the confidence of an experienced soldier, and he shows no fear at the sight of you.
  1593. >Q "Anon, I would like you to meet Ditto, my top commander and head of the guards.
  1594. >Stepping forward, you give a small bow, before holding out your hand
  1595. "It’s a pleasure to meet you."
  1596. >His hoof? Comes up to meet your hand before he shakes it.
  1597. >D "Likewise Anonymous. Whoever wins this, I hope there will be no hard feelings."
  1598. "Of course, this is purely business. But as they say in my world, if you want to get to know a guy, get in a fight with him."
  1599. >D "Well, I expect we will learn much about each other in this fight then."
  1600. "I suppose we will."
  1601. >You both step back to opposite sides of the ring, and the Queen speaks up.
  1602. >Q "Welcome all to a practice fight between our own commander Ditto and the human Anonymous.
  1603. >The crowd cheers and stomps as the Queen speaks.
  1604. >Q "This match is to help determine Anonymous's combat ability, and determine usefulness in the mission to help Epsilon hive. It will be a one on one, weaponless combat, going until either one surrenders, or is knocked unconscious. There will be three, ten minute rounds with two minute breaks in between. If there is no winner after this time, a winner will be determined by our panel of judges."
  1605. >She motions to her right, indicating Chryo and two other changelings.
  1606. >Q "Our judges are, Ambassador Chryo, Second in command and leader of the change marines Boreal, and my younger sister, Princess Nympha."
  1607. >The judges nod as they are introduced.
  1608. >Q "Without further ado, let’s start the match."
  1609. >A bell rings, and you and Ditto begin slowly circling each other.
  1610. >Roughly three quarters of a rotation and Ditto charges, staying low to the ground.
  1611. >Widening your stance, you assume he is either going for your legs, or a knockdown tackle.
  1612. >Your first instinct is right, and he pivots at the last moment, launching his rear hooves at your right leg.
  1613. >Rolling to the left, you avoid the strike, but he is almost immediately back at you.
  1614. >He rears back, lashing out with his forehooves.
  1615. >Blocking both strikes, you counter attack with a right hook.
  1616. >It is easily dodged as he leaps back for another assault.
  1617. >You take a moment to stand up, and he reacts by backing up further.
  1618. >Taking the offensive, you dash forward and launch a downward right aimed at his head to either stun or knock him out.
  1619. >The strike is dodged, and his leg shoots out, catching yours and causing you to stumble.
  1620. >Pressing his advantage, he lands a solid kick on your side, pain shooting through you.
  1621. >Setting as much distance as you can from him, you quickly probe your injury.
  1622. >Wincing, you move back into a defensive stance, and spare a glance around.
  1623. >Scootaloo looks worried, and is holding on to Doppel.
  1624. >Everyone else is enjoying the fight most cheering for Ditto but some cheering for you.
  1625. >Speaking of Ditto, he is making another charge at you, but this time, instead of dodging, you drop to one knee and catch the charge, before directing his momentum upwards.
  1626. >This reveals his underside, and you manage to land a decent left to it before he flies back.
  1627. >He takes a defensive posture this time, and you begin circling him.
  1628. >You run at him, before jumping over him as he spins to kick you.
  1629. >Lashing out with a foot as you land, you catch his front legs.
  1630. >As his front end lowers, he launches himself with his rear legs.
  1631. >His horn pierces your back about half an inch, just below the ribcage.
  1632. >Ignoring the pain, you spin your torso, sending your elbow into the side of his head.
  1633. >It impacts with a solid thump, and you feel the horn jerked from your back.
  1634. >Lunging forward, you create some distance between you and the dazed Ditto.
  1635. >Ditto shakes his head and is back on his hooves.
  1636. >The side of his face is beginning to swell, and you can feel the blood trickling down your back.
  1637. >You both begin circling again, when a bell rings, signaling the rounds end.
  1638. >You both head to a medical station, where they begin patching you up.
  1639. >As you sit down, Scootaloo comes rushing over.
  1640. >S "Anon! Does it hurt? Are you going to be okay?"
  1641. >Patting her head, you keep your arms up to let the doctors work.
  1642. "Don't worry. It hurts a bit, but it’s only a surface wound. Nothing was damaged."
  1643. >S "You don't have to do this, you know."
  1644. >Shaking your head, you lift her up to eye level.
  1645. "Remember, I am not doing this only for us. I am doing it for her too. She deserves a family, something neither of us really had.
  1646. >"But... But how did you..."
  1647. "You talk in your sleep sometimes, and from that it wasn't hard to figure out. Don't worry, my family wasn't around much either, so I know what it feels like."
  1648. >"What do you mean?"
  1649. *Ding*
  1650. "A tale for another time."
  1651. >Setting her down, you step back into the ring.
  1652. >Looking over, you see Ditto standing ready, and you nod to him.
  1653. *Ding*
  1654. >Ditto takes the lead charging you, head low to spike your leg.
  1655. >Sidestepping, you bring your palm down to try and pin him.
  1656. >His wings give him a boost of speed and you miss, knocking up a cloud of dust and dirt as you strike the ground.
  1657. >He immediately plants his forehooves, and kicks out with his rear ones.
  1658. >There’s no time to dodge, so you take the brunt of the blow on your left arm, which goes completely numb.
  1659. >The next blow forces you to launch yourself back, landing on your numb arm.
  1660. >It gives out immediately and you fall to your back, luckily avoiding Ditto's low flying tackle.
  1661. >You make it to your feet in time to block his next strike.
  1662. >Adrenaline is now coursing through your veins, and some sensation begins to return to your numbed arm.
  1663. >Breathing deeply, you focus your mind on the fight, blocking out all unnecessary sounds and sensations.
  1664. >All senses focus on the black and blue creature in front of you.
  1665. >Shifting one leg back, you lower yourself, arms raised in what could be interpreted as a boxers stance.
  1666. >Ditto makes a charge, but with your heightened reflexes you bring your knee up under his chin as he enters range, knocking his head up.
  1667. >You take this opportunity to land a solid right into his exposed stomach.
  1668. >He goes down hard and you capitalize on this by, quite literally kicking him when he's down.
  1669. >Kneeling down, you nudge him gently.
  1670. >Getting no response, you lift him up and carry him to the medical tent.
  1671. >Your senses start returning in time to hear the queen announce your victory.
  1672. >Cheers immediately assault your ears, and you see Scootaloo running straight for you.
  1673. >S "You did it! You did it!"
  1674. >She jumps into your arms and assaults your face with kisses.
  1675. >Finally matching her with one, you hold the kiss until she pulls back for air.
  1676. "I'm glad to see you’re happy. Let me get patched up, and we can get the queen to complete her side of the deal."
  1677. >Scootaloo nods, and heads back over to Doppel.
  1678. >As the doctors get to work you hear Ditto groan beside you.
  1679. "Hey, you doing okay?"
  1680. >D "Feels like I got beat on by an angry monkey, but besides that I'm fine.
  1681. >Reaching over, you sick him lightly on the shoulder.
  1682. "Trust me, I don't feel much better. You have one hell of a solid kick."
  1683. >The doctors apply a cooling salve to your side, and you sigh.
  1684. "Ditto? Are you coming with me on the mission?"
  1685. >"No, but with you there, we have little to worry about."
  1686. "That’s too bad, I wouldn't mind having you watching my back.
  1687. >Having finished patching you and Ditto up, the doctors leave the tent.
  1688. >"You know, If we had a dozen of you, it would be so much easier to deal with the dogs."
  1689. >You laugh, looking over.
  1690. "If you had a dozen fully equipped proper soldiers from my world, you could easily take over Canterlot."
  1691. >Ditto stares at you skeptically.
  1692. >"Ten or so years ago, we tried to take over Canterlot with an entire hives worth of soldiers, and failed. I doubt a dozen of your soldiers could capture it."
  1693. "My kind has weapons that could erase the entire mountain Canterlot sits on, as well as wipe out all living things within a huge distance of it, not to mention make the land unlivable for a century or more."
  1694. >He laughs, before seeing your dead serious expression.
  1695. >"You...Your serious aren't you
  1696. "Deadly. My kind’s history has been defined by hundreds of wars. Between the seven billion humans on my planet, we have enough of those weapons to destroy the entire planet’s surface several times over."
  1697. >The sound of approaching changelings draws your attention for a moment.
  1698. "This stays between us. Not even your Queen can know. Got it."
  1699. >"Of course, those weapons should never come here."
  1700. >The tent flap opens, and the queen walks in, flanked by two guards.
  1701. >Scootaloo and Doppel are behind her, and you are immediately excited by their faces.
  1702. >Q "Congratulations Anonymous, that was an excellent fight. And you as well Captain Ditto. As agreed, guardianship of the youngling Doppel is now transferred to you and Scootaloo."
  1703. "Thank you, your majesty. As a sign of good faith, and friendship, I am willing to allow you to feed of me once, if you so desire to."
  1704. >Q "It is appreciated, but that can wait for later. For now, I believe you have two girls who want to be with you right now."
  1705. >She steps aside, and Scootaloo and Doppel come running into your arms.
  1706. >The three of you just sit there in each other’s embrace before Doppel speaks up.
  1707. >D "Daddy, Thank you."
  1708. "No problem Doppel. I'm guessing your new mom told you?"
  1709. >Scootaloo grins sheepishly, and you give her a soft poke on the nose.
  1710. "I know we may be a strange family, but we are all like you. None of our parents were around for us, and we wanted you to have that chance at least."
  1711. >D"I know, but still. This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me."
  1712. >You take on a more somber tone, and speak quietly to Doppel.
  1713. "I don’t know if Scootaloo told you, but I am being hunted by the ponies for something I didn't do. There is a way for me to clear my name, but it means you are going to have to stay here for a while, until I get back from the job I have. Scootaloo is going to stay here with you, and remember, I promise to come back to you, Okay."
  1714. >S "You had better keep that promise if you are making me stay here."
  1715. >Grabbing her, you press your lips to hers, invading her mouth with your tongue."
  1716. >D "Ewwwwww!"
  1717. >Smiling in the kiss, you use your right hand to grab Doppel and move her in between you and Scootaloo, before wrapping them both in a hug.
  1718. >After a moment, you break away, and look down at your changeling daughter.
  1719. "It wasn't that bad, was it?"
  1720. >D"I guess not... It still looks icky though."
  1721. >S "You are going to have to get used to it, because I love your dad, and people and ponies who are in love do that kind of stuff a lot."
  1722. >The Queen clears her throat, drawing all your attention.
  1723. >Q "Anonymous, if you would be so kind as to follow Ditto to the blacksmiths, we can get started on your armor and weapons for the mission."
  1724. "Of course. I assume you girls can find something to do in the mean time? And try not to spend all our bits."
  1725. >S "No promises. Have fun."
  1726. >Standing up, you follow Ditto out of the barracks, and to the nearby blacksmiths.
  1727. >D "Now, what kind of weapons and armor do you want?"
  1730. Chapter 11: Loss of Love
  1731. >you breastplate gleams in the sunlight as you leave the hive, the dozen guards accompanying you in formation behind.
  1732. >The clearing where not three days ago you fought off a dozen diamond dogs stands clear and clean as if it never happened.
  1733. >Behind you stand the queen, Scootaloo and Doppel, as well as the number of important changelings including Chryo, who will be coming with you.
  1734. >Q "Attention! Today, all of you fine soldiers embark on an important mission. You will be escorting important civilians from Epsilon Hive and guarding them on the way back here. Accompanying you will be Anonymous, who has proven himself twice as a great fighter, and a dependable ally. I wish you all the best of luck. Dismissed.
  1735. >She turns and heads back inside, and Scootaloo and Doppel run towards you.
  1736. >D "Promised me will be careful daddy."
  1737. "Of course Doppel I promised I would come back, and I always keep my promises."
  1738. >she jumped into your arms and you hold her in a gentle hug.
  1739. >Scootaloo moves in beside you and leans against you.
  1740. >Turning your head you kiss her in the middle of her forehead.
  1741. "Take care of Doppel while I'm gone, alright."
  1742. >S "Take care of yourself. I don't want you coming back all battered and bloodied.
  1743. > holding Doppel in one arm, you grab Scootaloo with your other and give them both a big hug.
  1744. >The moment is peaceful until a flash of white blinds everybody and you feel Scootaloo ripped from your grasp.
  1745. >Blindly reaching out, your hand brushes her hoof before she is gone.
  1746. >Around you, you hear bolts of magic come in and the rush of hooved feet.
  1747. >Changelings cry out in pain as they are brought down, and you take a defensive stance, Doppel hiding between your legs.
  1748. "Doppel when I say so, I want you run back to the hive and tell everyone what is happening."
  1749. >Your vision begins to clear and you can make out a straight shot to the entrance and you cry out "NOW!”
  1750. >She runs as fast as for little legs can carry her, and you turn to be attacking ponys.
  1751. >More than half the guards are incapacitated or worse, and those who remain have formed up around you.
  1752. "Stay tight, forehooves only we can't afford to show our backs outnumbered like this."
  1753. >Striding forward, the enemies charge at you but come up short due to a hastily made barrier, courtesy of Chryo.
  1754. >As the barrier falls, you kick their nearest guard sending him tumbling back.
  1755. >A pegasus dives you only to receive a fist to the face leading to him crashing into the dirt.
  1756. >The fight drags on, and you take down many an opponent, but your allies start getting dropped as well.
  1757. >Soon the only you and Chryo remain standing again to two dozen or more enemies who still remain.
  1758. >They have formed a half circle, and are slowly pressing you into the cliff face.
  1759. >Only one option comes to mind, and you speak to Chryo.
  1760. "I'm going to create an opening. When it's there, I want you to run. Run and don't look back."
  1761. >"But what about you?"
  1762. "I am the one they are after. But don't worry, humans don't die easy."
  1763. >Charging forward to crash into the guard in front of you, carrying it back several feet before knocking it to the ground, and giving it a solid kick.
  1764. >The guards immediately swarm you, and you let loose on them with a barrage of punches kicks in the occasional head butt.
  1765. >Chryo makes it the main entrance, and you see her glance back for a moment before running inside.
  1766. >Through your assault, the guards slowly over how are you, until you see you in one step out of the forest with Scootaloo, unconscious in a magic field.
  1767. >That white coat...
  1768. >That golden mane...
  1769. >Those blue eyes...
  1770. >Your strength surges forth, and you throw off all the ponys holding you down and run straight at him.
  1771. >A barrier forms as you swing at him, catching your fist and holding you back.
  1772. >Anger spills out of you, as you began raining punches down on his barrier.
  1773. >It begins to buckle under blows, until you are pinned to the ground by a number of larger guards.
  1774. >Your arms and legs are bound in iron shackles likely designed for diamond dogs.
  1775. >BB "Come now beast, or should I stay Anonymous, you have no chance of escaping. Accept your fate and at least die with some dignity."
  1776. "Why the hell should I listened to a murderer?"
  1777. >You spit at him, it striking his face.
  1778. >"You insolent little..."
  1779. >A hoof cracks into the back of your head, driving you face first into the dirt where you blackout.
  1780. >
  1781. >
  1782. >
  1783. >"Come now Anonymous it's time to wake up"
  1784. >A sharp sting lashes across your face as a hoof strikes it.
  1785. >Jerking upright, you are stopped by chains binding your arms and legs.
  1786. >The first thing you notice is you are in a cage.
  1787. >Secondly the white unicorn is in front of you.
  1788. >BB "Good, you're awake. I have much I wish to discuss with you."
  1789. "And I have nothing to discuss with you, murderer."
  1790. >BB "That's too bad. I was hoping we could discuss your "special somepony"."
  1791. >Lashing out at him, but coming far short of due to the chains you cry out angrily.
  1792. "What did you do to her!?"
  1793. >"Nothing you'll have to worry about soon.  All I did was remove your taint from her mind."
  1794. Straining against your bonds, you do the best you can to reach his arrogant face.
  1795. "You bastard.  If you do anything to her I swear I will rip your living heart from your chest."
  1796. >"Now, now.  No need to be uncivil. You wouldn't want her to see you like that."
  1797. >Scootaloo steps into view and you immediately notice her eyes are different.
  1798. >If instead of their usual violet color, they're faded gray.
  1799. "Scootaloo...  What did he do to you...?"
  1800. >S "He didn't do anything. He simply fixed the tainted thoughts you planted in my head. You think any self-respecting the pony would actually fall in love with you, an ugly monkey? And you even wanted to have a changeling as the adopted child. Bah."
  1801. >She spits at the ground in front of you, but you can see tears forming at the edge of her eyes.
  1802. "I know you're in there Scootaloo, please come back, I promise everything will be fine."
  1803. >BB "Hah, you expect that to work?  She is under my full control, and you have no cards left. The game is over. I win."
  1804. >You shake your head, managing a small grin.
  1805. "The game isn't over yet; I still have one card left to play."
  1806. >"Just give up; there's no way for you to win.  I already sent ahead, and a chariot will be coming to pick us up momentarily.  If the execution is tomorrow, so you best get what little sleep can, while you still can."
  1807. >Scootaloo leaves, and as he is about to, he turns to you for a moment.
  1808. >"Oh, that isn't optional."
  1809. A bolt of magic strikes your forehead, sending you crashing into the bars of the cage, triggering another black out.
  1811. Finale Part 1
  1812. >You crash against the walls of your mental prison, while your body does whatever that blue eyed murderer tells it to do.
  1813. >BB "It's a pity, I can't do anything to you yet, or Celestia might get suspicious.  After that scum has been executed though, I will be sure to fully enjoy my reward for "rescuing" you."
  1814. "Buck off you bastard. I would never cheat on Anon!"
  1815. >Of course nopony hears it, and your body responds as he wants it.
  1816. >"I look forward to it, lord Blueblood"
  1817. >BB "Of course, but we have time for that later.  For now, we must get to the execution grounds."
  1818. >"Yes lord, I cannot wait to see that murderer executed."
  1819. >Your body accompanies him as you leave your royal suite and travel down the halls to the throne room.
  1820. On entering, Celestia herself greets you.
  1821. >C "It is good to see you well Scootaloo. I pray Blueblood did a good job at removing the changelings influence from you."
  1822. "No! All he did was suppressed my mind with his own control."
  1823. >"He did an excellent job. I feel no trace of their vile influence in my mind."
  1824. >You mentally scream, slamming against the barrier, trying to get some iota of control.
  1825. >It's all fruitless, as Celestia greets Blueblood, before leading him and you out to the execution grounds.
  1826. >A large stone orb sits in the middle of an open field.
  1827. >On one side, a number of seats are set, likely for those observing.
  1828. >Celestia sits in the throne like seat in the middle, and you and Blueblood are given seats on each side.
  1829. >Many important looking ponys file in, and take seats and open spots.
  1830. The final seats are filled, and the heavy silence fills the air.
  1832. *you should finish at about 1:25 -1:27 for dramatic effect
  1834. >He is brought in, ankles bound, wrists pulled straight out by magic.
  1835. >As he is moved to the stand, he looks at you his face full of sadness.
  1836. "Let me out! I have to stop this! This isn't right!"
  1837. >He is aligned with the stone, which has begun glowing.
  1838. >His arms are bound by long ropes and his legs by iron brackets set into the ground.
  1839. Celestia rises, and addresses the gathered ponys.
  1840. >C "This man is being executed for the crime of brutally murdering no less than six ponys."
  1841. "He didn't! He's innocent" you scream, pounding on the mental barrier.
  1842. >C "Are there any here who have information that would prove otherwise?"
  1843. "I do, just please, somepony. Anypony, listen!"
  1844. >Tears are actively streaming down your psychic form, and the edges of your body's vision become blurry.
  1845. >C "Since there is no one forthcoming, we shall proceed with the execution."
  1846. >She steps up to the orb, which is glowing brighter and brighter.
  1847. >C "Anonymous I have a proposition for you.  Would you be willing to spend the rest of your life an engineer?  It would be under 24 hour supervision, and would have no contact with ponys, but you you would be allowed to live."
  1848. >Your heart catches in your throat.
  1849. "Please Anon, say yes.  It doesn't matter I won't be able to see you again, so long as you live."
  1850. >His eyes catch yours, and you see the resignation in them.
  1851. >A "No. A life without love isn't life at all."
  1852. >The glow is now focused on the front of the orb facing Anon.
  1853. >C"I see. Any final words?"
  1854. "No! Please Celestia, stop!"
  1855. >A "Yes."
  1856. >You slam yourself against the barrier.
  1857. >A "Scootaloo,"
  1858. >The magic is about to release.
  1859. >A "Take care of our daughter."
  1860. >Time feels like it slows down, and are forced to watch the bolt to magic shoot straight into his chest.
  1861. >For a single moment, everything hangs still.
  1862. >A gout of blood sprays from his mouth and his body falls forward.
  1863. "NOOOOOOO!"
  1864. >The mental restraints holding you shatter, and you run over to his form, tears flowing freely.
  1865. "NO! Anon..."
  1867. *you should finish at about 1:25 -1:27 for dramatic effect
  1871. Finale Part 2
  1873. >C "Scootaloo, what is the meaning of this?"
  1874. >Your sorrow quickly turns to anger and you glare at Celestia.
  1875. "He was my special somepony. He cared for me for who I am."
  1876. >C "That is merely..."
  1877. "No! It’s not! I met and fell in love with him days before we met the changelings. If you want to see the truth, look at my memories, or better yet look at his!"
  1878. >You point an accusing the Blueblood.
  1879. >BB "Me!? Don't be preposterous. I was the one who rescued you from that beast."
  1880. "You're the one who was murdering ponys. Not only that, you try to erase my memories of Anon, and when that failed, you suppressed my mind and to control my body to make it your toy."
  1881. >He takes a step back.
  1882. >BB "This is ridiculous. You expect us to listen to you? How do we know you aren't still under the changelings spell?"
  1883. >C "Any spells would have been canceled on the executioner’s release. It is part of the reason it is used for such things."
  1884. >You see Blueblood shift around nervously.
  1885. "What is there to be afraid of? If you're actually are innocent, you have nothing to worry about."
  1886. >BB "It is still a gross invasion of privacy, and it is only supposed to be used in the interrogation of suspects."
  1887. >Celestia speaks up, silencing both of you.
  1888. >C"I will examine Scootaloo as memories, and if everything is as she says, I will have to examine yours Blueblood. And if you attempt to leave while I am distracted, you'll be immediately arrested, and I'll have no choice but to consider you a suspect."
  1889. >BB "If it seems I have no choice. Proceed."
  1890. >C "Very well, Scootaloo are you ready?"
  1891. >You nod, and her horn glows, before it touches your forehead.
  1892. >Memories begin to flow to the surface.
  1893. >Time spent with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  1894. >Them leaving after they got their marks.
  1895. >Your plan to commit suicide.
  1896. >The Manticore, and Anon saving you.
  1897. >Feeding him the anti-venom mouth to mouth.
  1898. >Falling asleep on his chest.
  1899. >The discussion at breakfast.
  1900. >The more memories flow, the hard it hits you. You are never going to see him again.
  1901. >The guard trying to rape you, and Anon saving you.
  1902. >Him fighting off the diamond dogs to save you.
  1903. >Your first true kiss with him.
  1904. >Even locked inside your mind, you can feel the tears running down your face.
  1905. >Meeting Cherry at the bakery.
  1906. >Walking with Luna to meet Celestia.
  1907. >The meeting was Celestia, and encounter with Blueblood after.
  1908. >Anonymous explaining that it was actually Blueblood who was murdering the ponys.
  1909. >Meeting Chryo and the changelings outside of Canterlot.
  1910. >The fight outside the Hive, including Anon's marking ceremony.
  1911. >Meeting the queen and Doppel.
  1912. >Anon proposing to you, and then winning the right to adopt Doppel.
  1913. >Anger surges forth with the last memories to rise.
  1914. >Blueblood pulling you away from Anon, and locking you away in your mind.
  1915. >His insults to Anon, and his plans for you.
  1916. >You shudder as Celestia retracts the probe from your mind.
  1917. >C "He... He really did love you didn't he..."
  1918. >You nod, and Celestia flips his body over and you lie down beside him.
  1919. >C "Blueblood, her story checks out, so it is your turn."
  1920. >BB "I'm sorry, but the game can’t end quite yet..."
  1921. >His horn starts glowing.
  1922. >C "Guards! Stop him!"
  1923. *CRACK*
  1924. >Blueblood vanishes, and the guards immediately run off searching.
  1925. >C "Don't worry Scootaloo, we will catch him."
  1926. >She turns to look at you, nestled up beside his body.
  1927. >It's still warm, it's as if...
  1928. *Badum*
  1929. >It can to be...
  1930. *Badum*
  1931. >C"I'm truly sorry about your loss..."
  1932. >You hiss at her to be quiet.
  1933. >Pressing your ear to his chest, you listen.
  1934. *Badum*
  1935. *Badum*
  1936. >You move up, in front of his face, you feel a faint breath brush against you.
  1937. >His arm twitches, and his eyes flicker open.
  1938. >A "Hey Scoots" he says weakly.
  1939. >Tears well forth, and you wrap your forehooves around his chest.
  1940. "Oh Anon... Anon... I was so worried I lost you... I just..."
  1941. >C"I am curious as well. How did you survive?"
  1942. >He faintly shrugs his shoulders
  1943. >A "I don't know, humans just never die easy."
  1944. >He makes a move to sit up, but you sit on his chest.
  1945. "There's no way I am letting you move around right now."
  1946. >A "Fine, but it can't be good for me lying here."
  1947. >Celestia walks over, her horn glowing.
  1948. >C "Allow me to help with that."
  1949. >You hear loud crack, and everything goes white for a moment.
  1950. >When you can see again, you are in a royal room, on a huge bed.
  1951. >Anon lies beside you, Celestia stands by the edge.
  1952. >C"Is there anything I can get you?"
  1953. >A "Do you think you could get our daughter from Delta Hive? Ask for ambassador Chryo, and tell her "humans don't die easy". She should remember, and tell her I sent you to bring Doppel."
  1954. >C"I understand, but I am doing this only because of what I owe you. I do not trust the changelings, but they accepted you and I will tolerate them for this."
  1955. "Thank you so much princess. If would make you feel more safe, I could come with you to help convince them."
  1956. >C "That would be much appreciated."
  1957. >Turning to Anon, you give him a quick kiss before hopping off the bed.
  1958. "Be good while I'm gone, OK."
  1959. He smiles, and makes a small wave as you walk out with a princess.
  1960. >A "No promises."
  1962. (Anon's POV)
  1963. >You watch as your special somepony leaves with the one who just tried to execute you.
  1964. >Thinking back, you realize how crazy your time has been here.
  1965. >Besides the whole being wanted thing, you flew a homemade glider, fought a Manticore, snuck inside of the city crawling with guards, and worked with a species of bug pony things that change shape.
  1966. >You found love, adopted daughter and had been executed.
  1967. >One hell of a strange trip, but you would do it again in a heartbeat all for your new family.
  1968. >There's a knock at the door, and you call out "Come in".
  1969. >It opens, revealing a white unicorn with a blue mane.
  1970. >SA "Greetings Anonymous. My name is Shining Armor, Captain of the guards."
  1971. "It is a pleasure to meet you, even if I can't really move to give you a proper greeting."
  1972. >He moves around, and takes a seat beside the bed.
  1973. >SA "I'm curious as to how you avoided capture for so long?"
  1974. "I'm sure you know some parts, like the wagon and that drop from the balcony."
  1975. >SA "Yes, I am most curious about the glider, and the times after."
  1976. >You take a deep breath, before beginning explanation on the physics of the glider, most of which flies over his head.
  1977. >He is interested mainly in your fight to the diamond dogs, as well as your match the Ditto.
  1978. >You're about to start on the fight with the guards, when the door crashes open and a small black blur jumps on the bed.
  1979. >D "Daddy! I was so worried about you!"
  1980. "Hey kiddo, I am glad you are OK.  Did you enjoy the trip?"
  1981. >D "We got to ride in a superfast flying carriage! It was awesome!"
  1982. >Scootaloo hops up on the bed beside you.
  1983. >S "You wouldn't believe how excited she was when she heard should be seeing you so soon."
  1984. >Working a hand over onto her back, you pull Scootaloo towards you.
  1985. "I guess I will have to apologize to the changeling queen when I am better."
  1986. >Q "You won't need to worry about that."
  1987. >Turning, you see the queen, as well as Chryo alongside Celestia.
  1988. >Q "It seems the ponys have been having problems with the dogs well, so you're requesting Celestia to pick up Doppel lead to us discussing things, and we have decided to become Allies for the time being."
  1989. >C "But we can discuss this later, for no I believe you three should have some time together."
  1990. >With that the others leave, leaving only you, Scootaloo and Doppel remaining in the room.
  1991. >Your new family
  1992. >You could definitely get used to this.
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