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The

Conversion Bureau

Alternate Universe

Story Archive Companion Document

-or-

So You Want To Read Ponies?

Version: 1.04

Friday February 10th 2012


Introduction

Hello, Midnight here again. Welcome to the revamped, renewed and re-something-else’d Conversion Bureau Extended Alternate Universe Story Archive Companion Document. Or, as I like to  call it, the RRARSETCBEAUSACD. You’re welcome.

I find it rolls off the tongue like a lead brick rolls off the roof of a Fortune 500 multi-national conglomerate and I think I forgot where I was going with this metaphor.

The original Conversion Bureau is an as-yet unfinished story created by somepony going by the name of Blaze. As a setting, it has spawned a whole side-community of spin-offs. You don’t need to read the original but you may wish to for completeness. A better introduction would be “First Contact”, “Midnight’s Tail” and then everything by Chatoyance. I think I get to say that :)

In this post, you will find most of the spin-off stories that took the original premise and ran with it, building a rich tapestry of an alternate near-future Earth where the fate of every man, woman, child and pony on the planet has become entwined with that of the realm of Equestria.

Use the ToC to find stories grouped by author and, in some cases, by series or genre. Check out the Conversion Bureau Guide for more information or if you wish to write your own.

Check out the current Ponychan Thread for even more stories!

NOTE: Since the last update, we've had an influx of new stories, and fimfiction.net has created groups. The new TCB Group can be found here, which is just about everything from fimfiction.net on it.

Update Checklist

Midnight here for version 1.02

That’s right, I promoted it to post-1.0. We’re out of beta and we’re releasing on time.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but that’s why we have more editors than just me!

PS: HOLY BALLS is that a lot of fiction.

Table of Contents

Authors

Anonsi

Yellowstone

Yellowstone the Series

Yellowstone the Series - Minisodes

Hidden Brony

The Conversion Bureau - A Mare’s Tale

Purple Prose

First Contact

Second Impact

Ponies of a Rising Sun

Midnight Shadow

Midnight’s Tail

Midnight’s Tail - A Twist in the Tail

A Twist in the Tail - Community Service

Midnight’s Tail - Minisodes

Conversion Bureau - The End

Conversion Bureau - Together

Conversion Bureau - The Day the Sky Changed

Conversion Bureau - Gypsy

Chatoyance

Conversion Bureau - The Big Respawn

Conversion Bureau - Euphrosyne Unchained

Conversion Bureau - Letters from Home

Conversion Bureau - Teacup, Down on the Farm

Conversion Bureau - 27 Ounces

Conversion Bureau - The Taste of Grass

Krass McWriter

An Azure Future

One For The Road

Windchaser

Last Man Standing

Ring of Fire

The Conversion Bureau - Eye of the Beholder

Sonic

The Conversion Bureau - Sidelines

First Time Pony Writer

The Conversion Bureau - Change of Life

More Authors

Lightsideluc

Videomaster21xx

Series

Salvation Through Destruction

Death Row

Freedom Corp: New Dawn

Dinner Among Friends

The Conversion Bureau - Guardian Chronicles

Shard

Founding Fics

The Conversion Bureau: Ten Rounds

The Conversion Bureau: Pride

One-Shots

Random



Authors

Here are certain well-known and/or prolific authors.


Anonsi

Equestria Daily Post

Yellowstone

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ]  | [ 7 ] | [ Epilogue ] | [ Bonus Chapter ]

Description: Two years after the camps opened up, the Western Territories of the USA are nearly vacant. It is once more a frontier, ripe for exploration and settlement. On bequest of Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle is to experience the human world by joining a family of Pony Settlers on their journey out West. It's Dangerous to go alone however, so in an act of good will, the US government is sending someone to make sure no harm befalls the ponies.

Tags: [Normal] Twilight Sparkle, OC ponies

Yellowstone the Series

On-going

Google Docs:

Episode 1: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Yellowstone the Series - Minisodes

On-going

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] |

Youtube: | [ 1 - Video ] |

SoundCloud: | 1 - Audiobook |

Description: Two months after the events of Yellowstone, Wild Magic from Equestria has run rampant throughout the world, resurrecting ancient horrors from around the globe. Mysterious and terrible monsters of human myth threaten to exterminate both mankind and ponydom. With the blessing of Princess Celestia, Twilight and her friends reunite with Agent Hawk and his team to combat this new threat before it destroys the world!

Tags: [Adventure] [Normal] [Action] [Shipping]

Additional Tags: Mane 6, humans, OC's, The Conversion Bureau, shiptease, Monsters and

Monster hunting, Magic


Hidden Brony

The Conversion Bureau - A Mare’s Tale

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ] | [ 8 ] | [ 9 ] |

Google Docs: | [ 10 ] | [ Finale ] | [ Epilogue ] |

Description: It's been a few years since the Conversion Bureaus opened up all over the United States, and only a few humans remain in some of the bigger cities. One such girl attempts to hold on to what's left of hers, but what's left at all?

Tags: [Normal]

Additional Tags: Conversion Bureau, Spinoff, Violet, Albuquerque, Al


Purple Prose

First Contact

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ] | [ 8 ] | [ 9 ] |

Description: Earth is in the throws of the Singularity, but far from providing a utopia for it's citizens, things are worse than ever. Jobs are scarce, the environment is devastated - it is clear things must change, but how? In the midst of all this comes the greatest change of all - the sudden appearance of a mysterious island off the coast of the USA which cannot be approached by normal means. What secrets does it hold?

Tags: [Normal]

Additional Tags: slice of life

Second Impact

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Description: After first contact with the Equestrians, many people were suspicious of the new equine race. Such tensions were exacerbated with the creation of the Conversion Bureaus. While some may jump at the chance of transformation, others railed against it. This is a story of the birth pangs of what would become the HLF.

Ponies of a Rising Sun

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Description: Ponies in Japan? Ponies in Japan!


Midnight Shadow

Midnight’s Tail

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] |

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Bonus Story: Peachy and Cobalts Excellent Adventure, Part 1 (New, Fimfiction only)

Description: Martin Danielson is living in a time after the last revolution, the singularity. A spoiled earth, polluted, crowded and yet empty... An advert on the holoprojector offers a new life as a pony. Martin takes the offer. this is his story.

Midnight’s Tail - A Twist in the Tail

Incomplete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

New: Parts 7, 8

Description: Glenn has been hanging around conversion bureaus for a long time - long enough to be forced to choose the express lane, or forever be barred from entry. His unorthodox queue jumping leaves Rarity (the on-site technician) hoofing it to find a backup potion... she finds an older one, version R63...

Tags: [Normal][Comedy][Random]

Additional Tags: Funny, switch, slice of life, oops

A Twist in the Tail - Community Service

Incomplete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

New: Parts 1, 2

Description: Edge used to be a man, convinced that ponification was just a plan to “scoop out the brains” of humans and replace them with pony doubles. When she breaks into a Bureau to steal some Potion and is caught, he downs it. She wakes up as a pegasus with an audience with the royal pony sisters. For her crimes, she is sentenced to community service. This won’t end well ;)

Side-Story Spinoff to “A Twist in the Tail”

Tags: [Normal][Comedy][Random]

Additional Tags: Funny, switch, slice of life, oops

Midnight’s Tail - Minisodes

On-going

Google Docs: Minisode 1

Google Docs: Mini-Minisode 1

Description: These are small slices of life tales from within the same “Midnight’s Tail’ universe. Also found under “A Twist in the Tail” on Fimction.com

Conversion Bureau - The End

Google Docs: The Conversion Bureau - The End

Youtube: [ The End ]

Description: This is a short story about the end of the conversion bureaus. Not canon with the main “Midnight’s Tail” alternate universe.

Tags: [Grimdark] [Sad-Depressing]

Conversion Bureau - Together

Incomplete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: This is a currently one-shot story about conjoined twins who wish to get converted. Not for the faint of heart, but you might like it.

Conversion Bureau - The Day the Sky Changed

Incomplete / Ongoing

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: This is a collection of Conversion Bureau fics examining the other side of the coin - it features insane ponies, scheming unicorns and godlike beings tearing apart the fabric of reality. They’re to show the darker side of the Conversion Bureau universe - dealing with the inescapable fact of mass genocide on a scale never seen, albeit a ‘kind’ one.

Featured Stories:

Conversion Bureau - Gypsy

Incomplete / Rewrite in progress

Google Docs: [ First Draft ]

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Note: Fimfiction features only “published” material, so the Google Doc is considered DRAFT. It is functionally complete, but with holes in later sections. You may want to save this until next year some time when it’s finally finished...

Description: In the later days of the Conversion Bureaus, the Earth is a mess of crumbling infrastructure, abandoned townships, wastelands, stood right alongside the prosperous and burgeoning newfoal population as the shield-bubble expands. Those who don’t wish to get ponified and don’t wish to live amongst ponies make their own way through the Great American Desert, where civilization has collapsed. Some ponies are out in this manmade hell, living a strange vagabond life. This is their story.


Chatoyance

Conversion Bureau - The Big Respawn

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau universe, two young men face the inevitable totality of the expansion of Equestria into our world, and in the decision of one to choose transformation, both must come to an understanding about what is truly important about the meaning of self.

Conversion Bureau - Euphrosyne Unchained

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau universe, A young woman prepares for Conversion, but there is more she wants to change than merely her physical form.

The second story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

The previous story was "The Big Respawn".

Conversion Bureau - Letters from Home

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: A Newfoal Earth-Pony Stallion writes from Equestria to tell his still-human best friend about his education there, and how Equestrians live and work.

The third story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

Conversion Bureau - Teacup, Down on the Farm

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau universe during the years after the last human is gone, Newfoal Teacup faces the fact that however much she tries to fit in, the fact of once having been human must always set her apart.

This is the fourth story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

Conversion Bureau - 27 Ounces

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau Universe, 27 Ounces is the story of the lives affected by a single Erlenmeyer flask of Conversion Bureau Ponification Serum. Each chapter explores some aspect of humanity lost or kept, and the impact of a reality where changing species is the most important matter ever presented to Mankind.

Conversion Bureau - The Taste of Grass

Complete

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ]

Description: A direct continuation of '27 Ounces: A Tale of Eight And One Half Ponies', the lives of a family of newfoals from their very first arrival in Equestria is followed. Join Caprice, Alexi, Pumpkin and Buttermilk in their day-to-day lives as they adapt not only to being humans-turned-Equestrian, but struggle to help found a new village in the ever expanding Exponential Lands.


Krass McWriter

An Azure Future

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ] | [ 8 ] | [ 9 ] | [ 10 ] | [ 11 ]

FimFiction: An Azure Future (Collection)

Author: Krass McWriter

Description:  John Norris is another broken man in the last days of humanity. Its been years since he left his apartment for something other than to restock his food and water supply. Enter Azure Wind, a young colt bearing a letter that explains he is John's son. The two bond and much is learned by both in this light-hearted comedic tale.

Tags: [Normal][Comedy]

Additional Tags: father son bonding, Dressclub, California, TCB, saaaack!, PER

One For The Road

Description: “A horrible fic by Krass McWriter” (a quote from the author of the story). A death metal band member gets the band together for one last blowout as hate is leaving the world, making an impact with help from the HLF.


Windchaser

Last Man Standing

Equestria Daily Post

Rewrite Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [Author’s Notes] |

Description: In the many years after the Conversion Bureaus’ shutdown, Twilight Sparkle is tasked by the Princesses with finding the last living human on Earth, Isaac Hamilton, and learning the story of his past. What she hears is a tale of loss, tragedy, joy, and the discovery of one’s place in the world. But how much longer would that place last with what Twilight has to tell him?

Tags: [Sad], Twilight Sparkle, Humans, OC ponies, The Conversion Bureau

Ring of Fire

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ]

Youtube: | [ Intro ] |

Description: When the HLF sabotage the ponification serum with an exotic poison, the results are entirely unexpected and could result in inter-species war.

The Conversion Bureau - Eye of the Beholder

Incomplete

Description: Gizmo is an Equestrian-born earth pony running a Conversion Bureau in suburban Philadelphia. He's seen the best and worst of what humanity has to offer in his work running the facility. But all of that will be questioned when a group of terrorists take the residents of the bureau hostage, demanding the immediate removal of every pony from the country.

Tags: [Grimdark] OC Ponies


Sonic

The Conversion Bureau - Sidelines

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ] | [ 8 ] | [ 9 ]  | [ 10 ]  |

Google Docs: | [ 11 ] | [ 12 ] | [ 13 ] | [ 14 ] | [ 15 ] | [ 16 ] | [ 17 ] | [ 18 ] |

Incomplete

Description: Michael Frost is 28 year-old ex-physics instructor, inventor, and among the few humans who do not want to be ponified. But when his best friend tells him he's going to get ponified, Michael decides it's time to dig deeper. He just wants answers, but with mysteries at every turn, he decides to use his skills and knowledge to infiltrate the system and find out the truth behind the Ponification Camps once and for all.


First Time Pony Writer

The Conversion Bureau - Change of Life

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] |

Description: Robert Parker is a 24 year old ex-web developer living in New York city. In the wake of the conversion movement, he has seemingly lost everything. Haunted by the same nightmare every night, he soon realizes that he must make a choice.

Tags: [Mild-Grimdark] [Shipping] Everypony


More Authors

Here are more series’ and one-shots by certain authors.


Lightsideluc

The Conversion Bureau - My Kingdom for a Horse

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] |

DeviantArt: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Description: The stream is magical, powerful, almost irresistible. Almost. For those passing through it, it offers them a siren song of a new life in Equestria as a pony - where they will forget their previous lives. Very few can resist it's pull.

Maverick

Incomplete / One-shot

Description: Equestria offers a new life to those willing to take it, for free. For the unscrupulous, there are always ways to profit. A one-shot set in a dystopian future where Earth’s governments have been discretely selling off young talent to a certain equine country to fuel its industrial revolution, Maverick is the tale of one young teen who finds himself “on the wrong side of the fence”. ‘Tinker’ is your typical street urchin, complete with worn clothes and a jaded view of the world. However, after a fateful encounter, he soon finds himself embroiled in a secretive exchange of assets, with his mind and body on the bargaining table...


Videomaster21xx

The Conversion Bureau - Fragments of Regret

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ] | [ 8 ] | [ 9 ] |

Google Docs: | [ 10 ] | [ 11 ] | [ 12 ] |

Description: Over half the world's population has now become Ponies. Despite the human populace waning, there are still plenty still needing to be ponified. 21 year old James Fowler would be just another one of those humans heading to be ponified, except for the one big thing that makes him different. He never wanted to be a pony. Despite this, recent events have forced his hand, and so he begins his stay at his local center. Determined to find the resolve to go through with the process. However the ponification is the least of his problems. An event, long ago set into motion, is about to come to pass, and James has a part to play in it... When it happens. The entire game will change forever...

Tags: [Normal]

Additional Tags: Twilight Sparkle, Spike, James, Wing Berry, Rose

Last Man Standing: Aftermath

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Description: A little over a year after the Purification, mankind has vanished and the world has changed into a new place of magic and wonder, with the pervious earth leaving its legacy in history books. However, with the arrival of a strange object crashing to New Equestria, everything is about to change once more. Windchaser is first on the scene, and discovers something that nopony ever expected to see. It is but the first in a series of events that will threaten the new world that the ponies have worked so hard to achieve...

Insanity

Condemned

Author: Videomaster21xx

Description: Oh god what is this I don’t even (A quote from the editor of this document).

Yellowstone The TV Movie

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] |

Description: A fanfic of the fanfic Yellowstone, which is a fanfic of the fanfic The Conversion Bureau, which is a fanfic of My Little Pony: FiM. (Just speak up if you want a better description, Videomaster.)


Series

Here are longer stories that have not been promoted with an author tag.


Salvation Through Destruction

Google Docs: | [ Prologue + 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] |

Incomplete

Author: RoflLuxRay

Description: A rich British man takes on the mission of, single handedly, saving mankind through an elaborate plan that requires the cooperation of both humans and ponies, in an earth where humanity faces its last days due to their own faults. Will he succeed? Or will he fall to the weaknesess of every human?

Tags: Mild-Grimdark, Mild-shipping

Additional Tags: Twlilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia, Rarity, Spike, Applejack, OC’s, Gunfights, Morale conflicts, Messiah Complex, Action


Death Row

Google Docs: | [ Prologue ] | [ 1 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Dermathil

Description: Death Row is a fanfiction based off of Blaze's Conversion Bureau fanfic. I know many have already been written, but what hit me was that none of them is using the point of view of the HLF. The vast majority of the conversion bureau fanfictions portrays them as an evil organisation that is against the ponification process, but not much beside that. The goal of Death Row is to explore the inner workings of the Human Liberation Front slightly more, through a protagonist working for the organisation rather than a protagonist who antagonizes the HLF.


Freedom Corp: New Dawn

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Google Docs: [ Character Bios ]

Author: Everything Man

Description: Ponies and super heroes? Ponies and super heroes!


Dinner Among Friends

Incomplete

Google Docs: [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4/Interlude 1 is fimfiction-only ]

Fimfiction: [ All Chapters ] + Interlude 1 (New)

Author: Mray

Description: A dinner date between friends gives each a chance to talk things through - one will soon be a pony, the other must come to terms with this.


The Conversion Bureau - Guardian Chronicles

Incomplete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] |

Deviant Art: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4a ] [ 4b ] (New) |

Author: Notorious

Description: A year had passed since the establishment of the Conversion Bureau. The human race seeking a chance at a better life, a better future from their dark, decaying world long ravaged by the hands of the greedy and the corrupt through the act of 'Ponification'. However, the anti pony extremists, the Human Liberation Front (HLF) desperate to save what is left of mankind, intends to eradicate the Pony menace by whatever means necessary. Having forced their hand, the Bureau established V.A.N.G.A.R.D, a special military strike force, operating above the law with the sole intention of protecting the Ponies and suppressing the resistance.

This is the story of 21 year old Dr. David Stone, a self conflicting young man, caught between the harshness of reality and his dream of a world without conflict. Unexpectedly recruited as a V.A.N.G.A.R.D agent, David joins the Conversion Bureau, only to discover that he alone will holds the power in restoring the balance to a world long forsaken. Based loosely on Blaze's original fanfic, The Conversion Bureau.

Tags: [Grimdark-Mild Violence, Mild Language][Adventure]

Additional Tags: OCs, Mane Cast, Humans, HLF, V.A.N.G.A.R.D, Guardian, Magic


Shard

Google Docs: Shard - Main Directory Link

Google Docs: [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Sparky

Description: The GENESIS project was humanity's attempt to cross the space-time continuum. It was sabotaged. Six humans are sent to survey the damage; a simple search and rescue turns into something all the more interesting.

Tags: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Grimdark, Crossover, Incomplete

Additional Tags: Soundtrack-ed, Action, Realistic


Third Party

Complete

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] | [ 4 ] | [ 5 ] | [ 6 ] | [ 7 ]

Author: Pony Soldier

Description: It has been about 20 years since Equestria first made contact with Earth. In that time diplomatic relationships between most countries, the United States in particular, and Equestria have flowed smoothly.  However, not everyone is happy with these relations, and wish to disrupt them by any means necessary.  When an anonymous threat is aimed at the annual meeting between the Equestrian Ambassador and the President of the United States, two secret agents from the extremely covert Experimental Espionage Service are called in as insurance against the threat, but little do they know that they may have stumbled on something bigger than a small group of angry people.

Tags:  Grimdark (Action Violence), OC characters, Sci-Fi

Characters: Anthropomorphic OCs, OC ponies, Celestia, Luna, and the Mane Six.


The Conversion Bureau - Signal Lost

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Winston

Description: When the dwindling human population sparks a desperate last-ditch attempt to colonize Mars, two engineers quickly find themselves wrapped up in a sinister plot to swat mankind's dreams out of the sky. (Thanks to Pride, chistery, PK, Fluttershy, and SunshineSmiles for proofreading and convincing me this was worth writing!)

Tags: [Mild-Grimdark] [Adventure]

Additional Tags: Twilight Sparkle, Celestia, Luna, Space, Mystery, Disaster, Conversion Bureau, Spinoff


The Conversion Bureau - Why?

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Complete

Author: Minalkra

Description: As the Conversion Centers convert more and more humans into ponies, one question is answered in a multitude of ways.  Why can be a very complex question.

Tags: [Shipping]

Additional Tags: OC ponies, humans, Celestia, Luna

 


More

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] |

Fimfiction: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Sonicboom01

Description: One stormy night in the middle of a gradual "drought" of customers, the Conversion Bureau gets a surprise visitor- and he's in a rush to get ponified. The man's rush seems a bit suspicious, and some of the info in his forms isn't all there. There must be more to the story...


The Breaking Point

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Incomplete

Author: BronyOfSteel

Description: The Human Liberation Front has been pursuing its agenda of pony genocide for nearly five years and the time has finally come for their endgame. As events rush towards an inevitable climax, Cpt. James Miller will hold the fate of two races in his hands as he and the rest of the Internal Defense Initiative strive to prevent a cataclysm that would mean final victory for the HLF in its five year war against Equestria and its converts.


The Scientist

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Azul

Description: The HLF. Dedicated to the extermination of pony-kind and the re-affirmation of mankind’s greatness. Or are they? A scientist deeply embroiled with the shady organization may just have plans of his own.


Pandemic

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Sir Issac Johnington

Description: Ten years have passed since the first human underwent ponification, and now half the world has turned into them. It is then that a strange new disease started to tear though the human population, completely new, and incredibly lethal. As questions rise, from how to treat it to where it come from, so do inter-species tensions, as startling revelations are made about the disease. Will this prove to be mankinds undoing, and what might happen as humanity grows more desperate for a cure?


VIIII Days

Google Docs: | [ Prologue ] | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] | [ 3 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Scalier

Description: After recently escaping jail, Jack decides that the only way he's going to keep out of trouble is to undergo Ponfication, unfortunately for him, and few other people seem to have an interest in him, and he finds himself thrown into the Gutters and Sewers of the Anti-Pony movement in Britain.


Singularity

Google Docs: | [ Prologue ] |

Incomplete

Author: Hunter X

Description: The emergence of the ponies and the Conversion Bureaus as seen through the eyes of the AIs.


The Kid, The Colt and a Filly

Google Docs: | [ 1 ] | [ 2 ] |

Incomplete

Author: Erac

Description: What would happen to a family that decided to get ponifed if their young child refused to become a  pony just yet, at least until his parents prove it’s safe, and that they are not different?


Founding Fics

Here are some of the original spin-offs that created a lot of the mythos and set the tone.


The Conversion Bureau: Ten Rounds

Author: Defoloce

Description: In the days following the Conversion Bureaus, the ponies have taken on new tactics to "convince" humans to join pony-kind. Semi-parody and spinoff of "The Conversion Bureau".


The Conversion Bureau: Pride

Author: Pride

Description: By refusing to answer "Yes" to a single question, the freshly-graduated programmer witnesses first hand the slow decay of the world; a world that could handle wars, recessions, disasters and plagues, but could not handle paradise appearing overnight. A short story set in the world of The Conversion Bureau by Blaze, this fic shows how even the most well-intentioned creatures can sow ruin without realising. Written also as a soft offset to the anti-human message found in the original.



One-Shots

Here are one shot stories set in the TCB extended universe.


The Conversion Bureau: Unknown Occurrences

Complete

Author: Beese

Description: The Doctor Investigates a Ponification camp and finds a portal to Equestria. What is this force which has changed the fate of the planet Earth and the humans that inhabit it?

Tags: [Crossover] Dr. Whoof, Celestia


One of Many

Author: Mush

Description: Ponies in England? Ponies in England. And trains!


Random

Note: These are an example of either the best or the worst TCB has to offer. Which one of these they are is up for debate. You have been warned. Skip ‘em if you want the real stories, otherwise the management will accept no liability in impaired mental functions post exposure.


Random Open-Doc-Night TCB Extravaganza

Complete (and beyond any hope of salvage, flee if you value your lives and sanity)

Google Docs: [DON’T DO IT]

Author: EVERYPONY

Description: I have no idea what this is going to be about...but it will be manic. Or rubbish. Or amazing. OR ALL IN EQUAL MEASURE. May contain traces of undesirableness! (Naughty words, situations and banned substances). Do not read this sober. Do not read this drunk. Don’t read this. It’s barely TCB. It’s barely literature. It should probably be considered an act of war.

Edit: The extravaganza is now over and I still don’t know what it’s about. There are no words for what the words say. This is truth.


The Conversion Bureau

A Newfoal Companion Guide

-or-

So You Want To Be A Pony?

Version: 0.2, Thursday 1st of December, 2011

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Table of Contents:

Introduction

Overview

Useful Links

Fanart

TCB Universes


Editors’ Note

This is an old doc, it severely needs updating, but you should take what you can get.

Without a dedicated archivist (and I am no longer willing to either post TCB compilations on TCB nor shepherd this document) this information will grow stale.

TCB information is best gleaned by running through this document, and then joining the Conversion Bureau group on www.fimfiction.net.

Have fun,

Midnight out.


Introduction

        Hello my pony friends, this is Midnight Shadow again butting his great big head in where not wanted to bring to you a short guide on the original alternative universe of the Conversion Bureaus.

For those of you looking for fanfics, I suggest you check out The Conversion Bureau Story Archive document, or the ponychan thread (which will generally have more but potentially harder-to-find fanfics in it)

The ponychan thread - the current one - may have a bigger, better and badder up-to-date list of all the TCB fanfics, the TCB post itself on EqD is now generally reserved for updates only.

Overview

        Originally by Blaze and posted on Equestria Daily, The Conversion Bureau is an as-of-this-moment unresolved tale about how ponies come to Earth to offer humans a choice: continue to live in their rundown rapidly-going-to-hell Earth, or become a pony and move to Equestria.

        The original has been criticized as being very misanthropic and quick to jump on the “all humans are bastards” bandwagon without building or elaborating on the mechanics of it all - some of these criticisms find their mark - but the premise itself is an intriguing one. What if you could become a pony? What if you were given another roll of the dice - a single roll - to come out as a pony? Be it Earth, Pegasus or Unicorn pony, you would forever lose your thumbs and leave the human race. You’d be given a new life with new hopes and dreams in Equestria.

        All of these questions and more are being answered by ponies who have read not only the original but the horde of spinoffs. Some take the original universe as-is and fit within it’s relatively loose guidelines. Others add their own spin. Some are humans becoming ponies, some are ponies moving back to Earth. Some refuse outright, some cannot take the gift. Some end badly, some end gloriously.

        Even if you didn’t like the original, give some of these a spin - I won’t name favourites because that would be unfair in a guide for the whole shebang, but the ponychan thread may tell you ones you’d like to try out.

        

        If you think you’d like to write a shameless self-insert “wow I’m a pony now!” story without having to come up with unlikely premises, then steal this one - it’s fun!

Guidelines

        Well there aren’t many - at first I was trying to stay within the original universe, but you know what? It can be as much fun not to, just be consistent. So the guidelines so far (and they are guidelines) are relatively few and simple:


Useful Links

Fanart

Some more pieces are being worked on but first, a surprise piece for “A Twist in the Tail” by Starshine Dawn:

Squee! [ Ed’s Note: If you have fanart for these universes, let me know! ]

A Twist in the Tail

Twilight you fiend!

Robo Writing Kanji - Ponies of A Rising Sun

Robo making himself pretty


TCB Universes

NOTE: There may be some spoilers here! Proceed at your own risk, these are for instructional uses in case you like the off-shoot premises. These universes are marked with the original occurence of the deviated set of rules, and companion stories are the author of this document’s choices - the authors of the stories themselves may heartily disagree.

This list is incomplete, but have fun finding them all, or where you fit! Or, make your own!

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Last chance to avoid spoilers! Read on if you’re interested!

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First Contact / Lost in the Herd / Midnight’s Tails

This should be counted as the current manestream Conversion Bureau universe, as it is the most well-defined and most written-in definitively shared setting.

The bubble-universe of Equestria is an entirely different reality, with magical energy seeping into the human world. It is eventually fatal to humans, like radiation (a trait somewhat shared with the Yellowstone the Series set). The shield is expanding, it is ‘eating’ the planet and it is presumed that one day, it will cover everything.

The only escape is moving, and waiting, or becoming a pony.

Highlights of this universe are a genuinely darker backstory, with pollution, crime and corruption running rampant across a world almost devoid of hope for the 99% whilst the 1% live in the lap of luxury. Equestria, on the other hoof, really is everything that has been promised - bar not-perfect ponies, wild beasts and unpredictable magic. Realism (character and event-wise, these ARE pastel talking magical ponies, after all) is valued.

Stories nominally in this universe: Midnight’s Tails (tail, twist, gypsy, day the sky changed, etc), A Dinner Date, A Mare’s Tail, why, Lockdown, Change of Life, First Contact, everything by Chatoyance (see fimfiction!), An Azure Future

This is the “new manestream”

Last Man Standing / Yellowstone

This is separated here as it has one big difference, that of intent and result, otherwise it should be considered part of the “new manestream”.

Unknown to the general populous, the Conversion Bureaus are in fact the salvation for Humanity. Celestia wishes to purify the world through the use of an immensely powerful spell, and the only safe haven from the blast is in the shielded nation of Equestria. However, no human can survive the magical energies that exist there unless they undergo ponification.

Most if not all aspects of LMS have come from or have been a part of the “mainstream” universe for a long while, so this along with Yellowstone could be seen as one of the seminal Conversion Bureau Altermate Universe fics.

The prime difference between this and the expanded “original universe” setting are that the shield itself and it’s expansion is specifically engineered by Celestia, and that the resultant realm is the planet Earth, plus all that Equestria used to be.

If your Equestria will be on Earth (claimed by Equestria) then you’re in the LMS/Yellowstone universe. If your Equestria is less a planet and more a magical realm, then you may be in the “Lost in the Herd” universe. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

Stories nominally in this universe: Last Man Standing, Yellowstone

The Conversion Bureau

Blaze’s original universe. Nothing can get through the shield but ponies, and humans can’t take the magic in that pocket-universe. It may or may not be physically expanding. Humans become ponies, and many are taking the plunge.

Since the original is now one of the smallest and least-defined settings, it’s almost fair to say that IT is a fanfiction of the latter entries, and would almost certainly need to be rewritten to take a lot of the expanded mythos into account.

Stories nominally in this universe: The Conversion Bureau, Pride

Ten Rounds

Further into the future, the ponies have gone from passive to active - this was a kind of subversion of the original, where niceness is actually a weapon. Ponies are more or less enslaved by Equestria and Celestia, but they like it so much and just want to help...

Stories nominally in this universe: Ten Rounds, The End, Ten Charges

Fragments

Humanity, in becoming Pony, loses many of their negative emotions - but these emotions roam free and begin to take on a life of their own. Marked changes in this universe is that humans can become magical.

Stories nominally in this universe: Fragments of Regret, Last Man Standing: Aftermath

Sidelines

Sidelines is very similar to Fragments. Sidelines features magical humans and a penetrable shield. The above is, broadly, true for Fragments.

Stories nominally in this universe: Sidelines, Yellowstone the Series


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (like Anansi the Spider. Get it? I thought it was clever)

Yellowstone

Part 1:

Out with the Old

Two years have passed since the camps opened up, and in that time more than half the human population in the United States have shed their old skins for a new pony body and the promise of paradise on Earth. Though many have been transformed, the Equestrian ponies and human converts have remained primarily on the East Coast, leaving the mid-west and onwards abandoned, ripe for resettlement. The six remaining Native American tribes have moved into the many of the major cites of the abandoned territories and have formed a new nation in hopes of preserving their culture.

With no one to maintain them, many settlements have become ghost towns ravaged by the elements. Now they lay dormant and empty, save for some that serve as lairs to wild beasts and escaped Equestrian monsters. Nature herself seems to have begun reclaiming some of the land taken from her.

As the dwindling human authorities left more and more territories to fend for themselves, wild outlaws seeking riches and power make this new frontier as dangerous as ever. The only semblance of law are the Agents of the dying human governments, who have denied ponification for one reason or another. Whether it be for honor, duty, or glory, these men and women are the only defense for the now expanding pony populace.

The Western Frontier has been reborn.

*              *              *

Twilight Sparkle was reading over some figures in her private office at the New York Conversion Bureau, which was the largest and most efficient one on the planet. A fact that gave her some small feeling of personal pride. She looked at the digital clock that came with the office and saw it read 4:37 AM. She released a sigh that seemed to not only express her weariness, but also her frustration. The figures she was researching were a mix of new lists of human ponification candidates and news reports of violence against ponified individuals by a radical group known as the Human Liberation Front. The numbers we staggering, and were counted in the hundreds. No pony had died yet (thank Celestia), but this was still getting out of hand.

“So many,” she said. “How can a race of creatures as violent as them live and thrive? It just doesn’t make any sense.” She decided now was as good a time as any to go to her room at the bureau, at least there she could think from the comfort of a bed. She promptly stood up and walked towards the door making sure the lights were off, a habit she had needed to get used to, as human light switches tended to not have ponies in mind. As she left, her thoughts returned to the actions of the human species of late.

“I mean, really! They burn and pillage the planet for…Celestia knows what, and then act         surprised when they find themselves on the brink of extinction!” She passed the dormitories which were mostly unoccupied. It could easily be refilled, daily even, if not for the mandate to wait for everyone on the hall to be ponified first. This existed to build camaraderie amongst the occupants, and discourage any doubts about the process being completely safe. As she continued, she found a door that read:

AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.”

“Well, this is me.”

She gave a tired sigh and pushed the door open, revealing yet another hallway. She came to a fork and took a left into the staff dorms wherein was her temporary home. “It’s like they just hate the world...” a slight pause when she came to her room. “…but that’s just absurd. I mean, it’s not like the planet has been trying to kill them or anything.” She pushed open the door and entered her room, and with as much grace as a falling cinder-block, collapsed onto her bed.

*              *              *

“TWIIIII-LIIIIIGHT!” rang a voice from outside her room, “Wakey-wakey! Time to rise-y and shiny!”

Twilight rolled over in her bed, looking at the clock on her wall, which showed the time at 9 AM precisely. She could only grimace and groan as she rolled onto her stomach, and prepared to leave the warm comfort of her bed.

“C’mon Twilight! You’re gonna be late for ornamentation, and you are never late so I was worried that you were sick and then I thought that maybe one of the cupcakes I gave you was bad so I...”

It was at this point that Twilight, with little more than an exasperated sigh, magically opened her door to the bouncing pink earth pony that was eagerly waiting to help Twilight welcome the new ponyfication subjects at today’s orientation. She hopped, skipped, and practically jumped next to Twilight’s bed. The pure and infectious grin she always wore was shining particularly bright today.

“Oh golly Twilight, you look awful! Did you get any sleep? I didn’t sleep well once and I was a nappy-napperson ALL DAY! I fell asleep at one of my own parties! I was so embare…”

“Pinkie,” Twilight interrupted.

“Yes Twilight?” replied Pinkie expectantly.

“Could you please be quiet for like…ten minutes,” the unicorn pleaded slightly, her bloodshot eyes barely able to focus on her pinker than pink friend.

“Mmm Hmmm!” agreed the pink pony, making a gesture of zipping her lips together.

Twilight shifted out of bed and telekinetically picked up a comb from her bedside table. She walked over to a mirror that hung on a wall and began brushing her purple-with-a-strand-of-pink mane. It was an absolute mess, with wild locks going every which-way. Twilight concluded on getting a net or something to keep her mane in line.

“MM MMMM!” hummed Pinkie to Twilight.

“What is it Pinkie?” Twilight asked sleepily as she turned to stare at her friend.

Pinkie had her lips clamped shut around a pile of letters, one of which bearing the royal seal of Princess Celestia. A sudden feeling of dread washed over Twilight when she saw the scroll. Usually, she only got missives from the Princess via Spike and those were usually just to check up on her. For one to be hand delivered like this, Twilight couldn’t shake the feeling that some emergency had presented itself. Her thinking immediately turned towards thoughts of Spike being hurt, or worse.

“Pinkie, could you inform Applejack that I won’t be able to do this morning’s orientation?”

“Mmm MMMM MMmmm Mmm!” Pinkie hummed, lips still firmly closed.

“Thank you,” replied Twilight, slightly bemused despite her worried feelings about the letter. When Pinkie bounced merrily out of the room, Twilight opened the letter with her magic and read her mentor’s unquestionably beautiful handwriting,

“My dearest student, Twilight

As you know, we are planning to not only expand into the human world, but begin healing it from the wounds they inflicted upon it. I am most pleased to announce that the first family of settlers is scheduled to leave in two days for Yellowstone, a nature preserve that the family will be at the forefront of maintaining. I am having you accompany them as I am afraid that you have not left the Ponification Center since your arrival, and it’s high time you explored this new world.

The Human President has also warned me of the possible danger to both you and the family however, and informed me that he is sending his best guardian to escort you safely to your destination. The President has assured me that, although unorthodox, this guardian is fiercely loyal and will die to protect those under his care. Please be careful my student, and always remember the human world is not the same as Equestria. It may not have beasts that equal those of your homeland in size or strength, but they more than make up for it in ferocity.

Your eternally proud mentor,

Celestia.

P.S. Wish me luck with the debate this week, as the Human Liberation Front will be my opponents. I hope you can see it, if not in body, then perhaps via a television somepony will be kind enough to share with you.

“Oh that wasn’t so bad,” Twilight said to herself. “I thought someone had died, but-” Then she re-read it. Oh no’ thought Twilight. ‘Oh no no no no no no…’

*              *              *

               Her two days of preparation passed by faster than Twilight had anticipated, and she couldn’t help feel as though she was constantly forgetting some crucial piece of equipment. So while in front of the compound waiting for this human ‘Guardian’ character amongst a field of abandoned cars, she decided to run through her mental list:

Okay,’ thought Twilight, ‘checklist. Okay, so friends: Applejack is in charge, Pinkie and Dash are doing reception, Rarity is ponifying, and Fluttershy is…Fluttershying. Right! Good! Now gear: food, money (Dollars and Bits), flashlight with 4 sets of extra batteries, a comb, a blanket and pillow for camping, a canteen and-’

“Hey!”

‘-do I need those apples? AJ said they were good for anything but I-’

               

“HEY.”

               Twilight nearly jumped out of her skin. She was so deep in thought that she hadn’t noticed the tall figure that stood before her. “Oh my goodness I’m sorry!” Twilight tried to rearrange herself to look a bit more graceful in front of her surprise guest, but only aided in making embarrassing movements and silly faces.

“Are you Twilight Sprinkle?” the man asked, his face showing signs of mild amusement.

               

“It’s Twilight Sparkle, and yes I am.” She replied, finally taking in the man who was to escort her and a Pony family halfway across a continent three times the size of Equestria.

               He stood at six feet seven inches (Human measurements were so odd), and wore nothing that resembled a uniform. Instead he sported a wide brim leather hat, no doubt made from the skin of some poor cow, a red plaid over shirt with the sleeves rolled up and chest unbuttoned with a plain white t-shirt underneath, dark blue jeans covering his legs with sturdy looking boots on his feet, fingerless gloves over his hands, and a revolver and knife at either side of his hips. Twilight felt intimidated to say the least, if by nothing else than his height.

“I thought human agents wore fancy suits,” Twilight said with a tinge of curiosity in her voice.

“Yeah,” he replied looking to one side, like some far off thing had caught his interest, “well when the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket, dress codes aren’t as enforced as they used to be.” He paused and looked up thoughtfully for a moment, “I think they said dressing casual would frighten you wee horses less.”

               Twilight frowned a bit before letting a forgiving grin cross her face, “We’re ponies, not horses, though you’re not the first one to say that, or call me Twilight Sprinkle for that matter!”

She chuckled weakly hoping to ease the tension she felt from conversing with this human that, she assumed, had probably killed more of his own kind than she had years in her life. He gave only a weak smile back, but soon simply stared at her patiently, like he was determining in what way he should respond or silently judging her. It gave the small unicorn an uncomfortable feeling.

               After an awkward minute of silence he finally spoke, “Anyway, we have to get going. The settlers are meeting us at the train station in about two or so hours.” He walked over to one of the parked cars in the lot, reached inside and pulled out a large black duffel bag, its contents clunking and clanking together. Twilight was glad to see that the human at least came prepared for travel, but wondered why he would remove his luggage from his car. She remembered being told by one of her ponified friends that humans normally only owned one vehicle, but she didn’t dwell on it, as he walked to another car and opened it, throwing his luggage in. “C’mon, this one has a near full tank. Pretty good considering it’s a Ford,he said to Twilight with a light chuckle, who moved awkwardly towards the passenger’s seat.

“Is there a reason you own two cars?” asked Twilight after she deposited her luggage in the back seat and assumed her position within the vehicle.

“I don’t. This car belongs to a…” he rifled through the glove compartment and found a wallet, opened it up and read, “…Jericho Lukowittz. Some name huh? I always liked the name Jericho.” He smiled to himself more than to Twilight, who was less enthused about the news.

“WHAT!?” Twilight shouted. Her shock was almost palpable, “You’re STEALING this thing!?”

“No,” he replied with a stern look, “you can’t steal something someone has abandoned. This car and hundreds of others in this lot are up for grabs as far as the law is concerned.”

“But…” even though he had a point, the idea that she might be stealing did not sit right with Twilight, “well…If you’re sure this is alright. But if a policepony stops us I’m telling the truth! I mean the law is the law after all!”

“I am the law,” he countered, a dumb grin spreading across his face like he was expecting her to pick up on some joke, but Twilight just stared back with a slightly worried expression. With a sigh he continued, “Whatever. You may call me Agent Hawk.” He extended a hand to the young mare. She reached out with a hoof and he gripped it firmly.

“I am…honored Mr. Hawk,” Twilight half lied. Though he seemed like everything Twilight imagined when she thought of wild and lawless humans, she was somewhat flattered that he was there to protect her.

They shook on it. After releasing the mare’s hoof, he then began adjusting the driver’s position to his liking, and from a pocket on his over shirt he extracted sunglasses that covered his vision completely. Twilight couldn’t make out his eyes beneath them, but she decided that was probably for the best, as she would feel rather nervous if she knew he was constantly watching her. This way she could at least pretend he wasn’t. She magically drew forth a book she was reading during the days before this particular experience. It was entitled, ‘An Egghead’s guide to Road Trips.

               “Groovy,” said Hawk as he started the engine and began driving.

To be continued?

Probably.

I wouldn’t leave a story just hanging there.

Unless no one reads it.

Then I would abandon it and eat ice cream.

Sweet…non-judgmental Ice Cream.


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (Who loves you, I guess)

 

Yellowstone

Part 2:

In with the New

 

 

The Ford began moving with a lurch, as if it had not been activated in at least a week. As much as Twilight hated the pollution these things caused, she marveled at the concept. A machine that moved fast enough to make land travel a simple chore, and could carry a load far greater than any pony could. Applejack would no doubt love to have something like this.

Despite herself, Twilight couldn’t help but occasionally glance over at her human partner every time he stopped the car to let pedestrians cross the street. She felt the need to converse with him. Even though she had just met him, she just wanted to talk. It could be about anything: the weather, why he carried weapons, what he thought of the mission they were on, or if he HAD killed more people than even she suspected. Anything would be preferably than sitting in silence.

 

“So Agent Hawk,” she started, “what do you think of this mission? Pretty exciting to be going so far west, right? I hear there are many interesting landmarks and natural wonders to visit!” Twilight smiled up at him and did her best to sound genuine in her excitement.

 

The sunglasses kept Twilight from reading his eyes for any expression or emotion, but he responded quickly, which led Twilight to believe he had been through this conversation in his mind many times before. “I would sincerely discourage hoping to get any excitement out of this little excursion. Now a days, out west, a little ‘excitement’ can get you killed. And quite frankly Ms. Sparkle, I am in no particular rush to get shot, stabbed, mauled, or eaten alive this week.” Hawk turned to face Twilight, “Not to dampen the mood or anything.”

Twilight looked disheartened, to say the least, and concluded that now was an excellent time to figure out what kind of man she was working with. If the west was as dangerous as they say, she’d at least make friends with her escort. “Sounds…rough out there, you think we’ll be safe enough with just you and me?” unable to hide a small tremble of fear in her voice.

 

Hawk smiled, picking up on the unsteady tone in her question, “Don’t worry, the train goes directly to Yellowstone, nonstop. It’ll take more than a few marauders and ill-tempered moose to cause us any trouble.” He again glanced at Twilight, “This’ll be over before you know it, and then you can get back to being an awkward shut in, working tirelessly to turn sheep into cattle.”

 

Twilight’s face darkened at the last comment. “What do you mean by that Agent Hawk?”

 

“Oh, nothing.”

 

“Do you not like what we ponies are doing here Agent Hawk?” she continued, eyes scrutinizing his features.

 

“Far from it Ms. Sprinkle, I don’t think the human race has ever been so well off or as free as it is now.” His face and tone were deadpan.

 

“Then why haven’t you gone to be ponified?”

 

His smirk returned, “Because I like having these.” His thumbs started to twirl in circles.

 

Twilight, unconvinced, continued to probe, “That cannot be why you are staying in such a…” what was a nice way of putting it, “…rough state of existence.”

 

“Are you kidding? Check this out.He took his hands off the wheel and meshed his fingers together, thumbs facing each other. They then began spinning in opposite directions. “Pretty neat huh?”

 

Unfortunately, Twilight was distracted from the amazing feat by a concern she was all too pleased to voice, “WHY ARE YOU TAKING YOUR HANDS OFF THE WHEEL!?” She put her front hooves on the dash board, gazing out the window as the car began to swerve.

 

“Hey are you watching? This was a rare talent when it was just us humans on the earth, and by now I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who can do it.”

 

“ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh”

 

Hawk sighed and put his hands on the wheel, taking back control of the vehicle and narrowly avoiding a small stack of empty trash cans. “No one appreciates my talents.”

 

Twilight decided it would be best to hold off on questions until they were out of the car, and spent the rest of the trip nose deep in her book. ‘Celestia preserve me, I’m under the protection of a maniac.’

                They spent the rest of the trip in silence, Twilight only occasionally looking up from her book to make sure there were still driving on road. Eventually she put her book down and closed her eyes. ‘I wish Applejack or Rainbow Dash were here, I’d at least be able to have a laugh or two with them. Not to mention feel safer.’

“We’re here,” said Hawk gesturing out the front window. Twilight gazed on a structure that resembled a large, old, stone building that seemed more to fit as a palace than a simple train station. Hawk parked the car in front of the building’s steps. Twilight noted that no other cars were present.

Hawk reached behind him and grabbed his black duffel bag. Twilight, with a shimmer from her horn, did likewise with her own pack. As the two exited the car, the doors to the train station swung open, and a tanned man with smooth black hair and a well groomed moustache began walking towards them with a wide smile. He wore only black, but not in a way that seemed intimidating, but more stylish and loose. At his side hung what appeared to be a sword.

 

“Well, look who got here on time for once!” said the man, his accent was unlike anything Twilight had ever heard.

 

Hawk looked up, and frowned to an almost ridiculous degree, “Zorro,” Hawk said with exaggerated disdain, removing his sunglasses in a slow, dramatic motion.

 

                Moments passed in silence before the two exploded into laughter and embraced into a hug.  Twilight felt relieved that this ‘Zorro’ was evidently a friend. After more laughs, Zorro finally acknowledged the small unicorn, “Hola pequeña,” he gave her a swift and fluid bow, adding a small flourish with his hand to boot.

 Twilight didn’t know what he said, but it sure sounded nice. “Hello…um…Mr. Zorro, my name is Twilight Sparkle.” She gave a small bow of her own.

 

“I know who you are Miss Twilight, I was briefed on the mission by the good Agent Hawk, but I enjoy hearing you say you name. You speak with such…grace. I am looking forward to working together with you, and listening to whatever other sounds may dance from your mouth.”

 

Twilight couldn’t help but blush. She had never thought humans could be charming.

 

“Neither man nor beast is safe from you…” Hawk said as he walked past them with his bag, eyes rolling in great arcs. He called back to them, “Don’t be too impressed with him Twilight, he’s dropped that line on at least fifty other girls. He’s sort of a one trick pony!” Hawk laughed deeply as he continued up the stairs.

 

                Zorro merely grinned, and turned to follow. Twilight, after wiping away a dumb grin that had somehow gotten onto her face, she  trotted after the two. About halfway up the stairs, she finally gathered the nerve to ask, “Are you coming with us Mr. Zorro? I was under the impression that the human government was only sending one of their Agents.”

                Zorro had arrived at the door to the station and held it open for her. “The government is indeed only sending one agent, niña. I however am here on request of my old friend,” he paused to look at Agent Hawk, “I owe him that much.” Twilight moved through with an appreciative nod to Zorro for the small courtesy.

 

“Yeah, thanks for that by the way. But regardless Z, why are you carrying around that antique? I mean come on,” Hawk replied from inside the station.

 

                Zorro looked hurt, “An antique? My poor, deluded friend,” he chided, “bullets are becoming more and more of a rarity than humans every passing day,” he looked to his hip, and then back to Hawk, “Fencing is making a comeback my friend. Soon it will be that revolver that is the ‘antique.’”

                With a grunt, Hawk turned towards Twilight, “Come on Sprinkles, the train awaits, and from what I hear, she’s a beauty.”

Twilight rolled her eyes, “If you’re calling me that to be funny, I’ll have you know it lost its luster when I was in kinder garden.”

Zorro chuckled to himself as all three of them proceeded towards into the station. The building was empty save for the three of them, and the echoing of their footsteps left Twilight with a curious thought, ‘What was this place like in its prime? It seems like such a waste not to use it.’

They all passed through two large double doors, which opened up into a great hall, with two sets of tracks. On the one closest to them, a gleaming four sectioned train sat waiting. It was not at all like the ones in Equestria, far from them in fact. This train was sleek, smooth, and hovered a foot above the rails. Twilight’s eyes widened, and stood somewhat flabbergasted. “How is it floating? I thought humans didn’t have magic!” She stared at Hawk expecting some sort of explanation.

                Hawk looked down to her, pride obviously fueling his grin. “Very true my erstwhile equine escort, we do not possess magic in the way you Equestians do, we use something I think is far more powerful. Science.” He paused to read her expression, which showed an obvious desire to debate the previous statement, but before she could Hawk continued, “The Magna Rail is suspended by a magnetic field that allows it to hover, as you can clearly see, but it can only do so above metal. So we will be limited to keeping it on the train tracks.”

                

                “Is it fast?” inquired Twilight.

 

                “Is cruising at two hundred and fifty miles per hour fast?”

 

                “Is it?”

                

                Hawk looked down, “Yes Twilight. It’s fast. It’ll get us to Yellowstone in about eight hours.”

 

                “Eight hours?! But according to my map, Yellowstone is in…,” Twilight took out her map of the United States and looked for the territory that she marked with an ‘X’, “Why-Om-ing, and the distance from there to here is nearly the length of Equestria twice over!”

 

                “And that’s why we’re taking the Magna-Rail, which if my report read right, comes with a lounge, sleeping quarters, and a five star kitchen.”

                

“And something special for you my friend, that the President installed himself,” added Zorro.

 

                Hawk looked like a foal on Hearths Warming Eve, but before he could ask what it was a young feminine voice shouted, “Look Mama! Humans!”

 

                Twilight, Zorro, and Hawk each turned, and saw a family of four Earth Ponies, each standing with their mouths agape and eyes wide. Other than the mother, a yellow coated mare with a forest green mane with a blooming flower as her cutie mark, and the father, a brown stallion with green mane, with a single tree as his mark, were two fillies. The younger of which was cowering behind her father while the older seemed to be fidgeting with excitement.

The mother addressed Twilight first, “Hello there darlin, you must be our escort!” Her smile was almost as infectious as Pinkie’s. “We are just honored to meet y’all!” 

The older of the two fillies, a spry little thing with a yellow coat and unkempt brown mane and an open book for a cutie mark, pranced towards Hawk. “Woooooooooow! You’re so tall! I heard humans were tall, but wow!” she said, her face giddy with obvious excitement.

 

“Busy Bee!” the mother called, “Get back here young filly!” Twilight detected a small twinge of fear and panic in her voice. She understood though, considering all the rumors about the brutal and savage humans that were probably circling around the towns and cities of Equestria.

 

“But Mama, I wanna see if he has fangs like Scootaloo said they did!” pouted Busy Bee.

 

The mother gave the filly a glare that only mothers could. “Right now Bee.”

 

As she trotted back to her mother’s side, the father stepped forward, “Sorry ‘bout the youngin’, she follows gossip and rumors like a fish follows a river, but she means well enough,said the stallion with a big smile, “. I’m Tall Leaf, and this here is the rest of the Garden family.”

“The missus,” he said gesturing towards his wife, “is Morning Dew, you’ve met Busy Bee, and this little darlin,” he looked at the meek looking filly behind him, “is Merry Gold. Come on and say hello to the nice unicorn honey.”

A meek little pony with a white coat and golden mane, but no cutie mark, stepped out from behind Tall Leaf. With a nervous glance towards the humans, Merry Gold trotted towards Twilight, “Hello Ma’am.”  She quickly retreated back behind her father and looked out from between his legs.

Twilight giggled a little, ‘She is just adorable!’ she said to herself. “Well then Garden Family, welcome to the human lands, my name is Twilight Sparkle, and these two men,” she made sure not to use the ‘gentle’ prefix for honesty’s sake, “are Agent Hawk, and his friend Zorro.” Hawk gave a tip of his hat and Zorro did a small, respectful bow. “They will be our protection against any unforeseen complications.”

 

“Like cannibals? Scootaloo told me that humans sometimes eat each other when they can’t find anything else to chomp into!” Busy Bee exclaimed.

Merry Gold scrunched up her face in disgust, “Ewww! Bee that’s gross!”

 

“Busy Bee! That’s morbid!” cried the mother, dragging the filly next to her, as a similar look of disdain as Merry Gold’s crossed her face.

 

“Let’s hope we avoid such unpleasantries,” continued Twilight, who was also feeling a bit queasy after that last comment. ‘How did Scootaloo get THAT thought running through her head? Maybe I should tell AJ about this when I get back.

 

“All right,” Hawk finally spoke, “Let’s get this circus on the train already. Zorro, if you could please show the horses to their stables I’ll go get the train ready to go.”

 

“Horses?” said Morning Dew raising an eyebrow. Turning her head towards Twilight she asked, “He does know we are ponies right? Not hor-“

 

“He knows,” interrupted Twilight, a cold stare watching Hawk enter the Magna Rail.

 

Zorro clapped his hands together and with a big friendly smile said, “Now, my little ponies, let us board the train, please watch your step.” His voice was calm and friendly, and the Garden family followed him in with Twilight bringing up the rear.

The entrance led directly into the lounge area, which seemed to have two halves. One housed an elegant arrangement of chairs and couches around a coffee table, with a luscious rug on the floor, what seemed to be a wooden wardrobe with marvelous carvings depicting the sun over a lion on the wall, and from the ceiling hung a wide-screen television. The other half had two long couches that went along the walls, and between them was another rug, which was more coarse than the other one.

Zorro pointed to a door at the end of the section saying, “The beds are through there my friends. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must make sure Hawk doesn’t harm any of the controls.” Zorro then went through the door at the head of the section, which he closed behind him. The ponies pushed through the door in the rear of the section, which read “Beds” over it. The sleeping cart had four alcoves on each wall, and each alcove had a bunk and a window, plus a little light bulb for late night reading.

 

Tall Leaf approached the closest bed, his eyes widening in amazement, “Mercy! Lookit the size of these beds! We could fit half the extended family in one of these!”

 

“Ooh!” cried Busy Bee, “Dibs on this one! C’mon Merry we can share this one!”

 

“Okay!” replied Merry Gold, who seemed much more at ease away from the human agents.

 

“You can share my bed handsome,” Morning Dew cooed to Tall Leaf.

A blissful smile appeared on his face, “Yes Ma’am!” The two fillies made grossed out faces, and then proceeded to suffer from a giggle fit.

Twilight picked out a bed for herself and began to organize it to her liking. Then she delicately climbed onto it, taking in its cave like atmosphere. The beds were soft, like the kind of soft Twilight always imagined cloud beds would feel. ‘Amazing how such savage beings can make something so comfy.’ Twilight’s sudden, and rather judgemental, thoughts surprised her, ‘Well that wasn’t a nice thing to say.’ She shook her head to clear her mind of such thoughts. She noticed the rest of the family was finished settling in, and were beginning to move into the lounge.

Following suit, Twilight entered the lounge section and found a spot on an equally comfy couch next to Morning Dew, who was admiring the furniture’s comfort as much as Twilight.

The door to the outside slid shut by itself with a hiss, and a green light above the door to the front of the train lit up.

 

“This is your captain speaking,” Hawk’s voice came, seemingly from nowhere, “I hope you’re ready, because here we go!” The train lurched forward.

 

“Hold on to your butts!” Busy Bee exclaimed, far more excited than any other pony present.

 

                And with that, the Magna Rail shot out of the station at sixty miles per hour, and climbing.

 

 

Continue? Hell yeah!

When? Who knows?

Next chapter’s title?

Journey to the West.

Ballin’.


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (Why am I still doing this? Oh right, cowboys and Zorro.)

 

Yellowstone

Part 3:

Journey to the West

 

 

                Within minutes, the Magna Rail was well away from the city outskirts and moving gracefully at nearly two hundred and fifty six miles per hour. As Twilight stared out the window, she could hardly believe that something could move this fast. Well, other than Rainbow Dash of course.

                It was then that Agent Hawk came through the door that led to the cockpit, grumbling about something while carrying his large black duffel bag. He moved through the lounge and past the ponies with little regard, but making sure not to step on any hooves. The Garden Family made sure not to make eye contact. He entered the sleeping cart, threw his bag into the alcove above the one the two fillies were to be sharing and returned to the lounge.

                He moved towards the wardrobe and opened it up, revealing rows of books. Twilight eyes lit up and she immediately trotted over next to him.

 

                “How marvelous!” She looked over at Hawk, “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to read another culture’s literature!” She gazed at the books longingly, practically mesmerized by them.

 

                “Can you can even read it?” Hawk asked. “And if you can, are you sure you want to?”

 

                “Oh yes, I’ve had to become quite familiar with the human alphabet. Reports and things demand it.” She gave Hawk a smile, “And I’ve heard quite a few good things about human books from the people that came through the ponification camps.”

 

                “Well alright,” Hawk faced the small library, “Take your pick.” Hawk pulled out a book with a green cover and gold inlay from the shelf bearing the title ‘Unforgiven. By: Clint Eastwood.’ Hawk then went to the half of the lounge that was barren of any ponies, laid down on one of the couches that lined the walls, and began reading.

 

                Twilight was more excited than she thought she should have been. She now had access to new books, exotic books, books that she could never get in Equestria. She scanned the rows reading each title with delight.

 

The Song of Roland.’ ‘100 Mystery Stories.’ ‘The Three Musketeers.’ ‘King James Holy Bible.’ ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451.’

 

The list went on and on of possible choices, Twilight could barely decide which one to take first. Eventually she saw one that caught her eye. It was a rather large book that looked like the kind of heavy reading Twilight so enjoyed: ‘Tales of The Round Table.’ She trotted back to where the other ponies were relaxing and talking to each other. She sat down next to Morning Dew, who was busy nuzzling her husband and talking about their new lives in Yellowstone. Twilight shifted in place until she had a comfy little space and began reading as Morning Dew began singing softly to her enamoured husband.

                

                “I’m gonna do it Merry Gold,” whispered Busy Bee to her sister, making sure her mother didn’t hear.

 

Merry Gold gave a concerned look, “But Mama doesn’t want you talkin to ‘em! She says they’re dangerous!”

 

“I know,” replied the elder sister with a smile, “but I’m not afraid to ask ‘em questions! And Mama always told us to never be afraid of asking questions didn’t she?”

 

“Well yeah,” Merry Gold couldn’t argue with logic like that, and just gave a plaintive look that seemed to beg her sister to reconsider.

 

Making sure her mother was distracted, Busy Bee hopped off the spot on the couch she had been sharing with her sister and trotted over to where Agent Hawk was as silently as she could. He was laying down with his back resting against a corner, reading quietly. Busy Bee leapt onto the couch and sat at his feet. Hawk lowered his book enough to peer at her over the edge of the cover, only to see the smiling face of the young filly.

 

“Can I ask you a question Mr. Hawk?”

 

The man rolled his eyes and closed his book on one of his fingers, sighing heavily through his nose.

 

Busy Bee looked elated, “Do humans have fangs?”

 

Hawk took a free index finger and lifted his top lip, showing off his canines. The young filly’s eyes narrowed her eyes in an attempt to see them. Seeing the young pony unable to make out his teeth, Hawk changed position and leaned forward, making sure she could see everything.

 

“Huh…They’re smaller than Scootaloo said they were. Whatever. Can I ask another question?”

 

Hawk leaned back into his previous position and grunted.

 

“Is it true humans can crush each other’s skulls with one hand?” she asked as she leaned forward with an eager curiosity.

 

Hawk looked at his free hand and made it into an open, claw like shape. He shook his head, “A man’s? No.” He reached over to Busy Bee and put his hand on her head. She was shaking, and her smile was replaced with a nervous, upward stare. “Maybe a filly’s.” Hawk smiled and ruffled her mane a little. Afterwards he returned his hand back to his lap. Busy Bee’s smile also returned, with a slight giggle to accompany it.

 

“I thought you humans were supposed to be scary! Scootaloo is such a fibber.She changed her face to show mock anger and softly stomped her hooves near Hawk’s feet.

 

Hawk once more leveled his book in between their faces. “We are scary. Especially when we’re angry.”

 

“Do your eyes turn red and your faces get all messed up?” she asked, once again giving a curious stare.

 

“Nah, we keep our same old faces, but they look different.”

 

“What’s that mean?”

 

“If you ever see an angry human, you’ll know.”

 

Morning Dew looked up from her husband, who had fallen asleep while she had sung to him, and noticed that both the fillies were no longer in sight.

 

“Busy Bee?” she asked, panic quickly entering her voice, “Merry Gold?”

 

She trotted off the couch and saw Busy Bee sitting by Agent Hawk’s feet, asking question after question about this and that. Merry Gold was curled up on the floor next to where the couch met the floor, out of sight of both the human and older sister, listening intently but to afraid to reveal herself. But when Merry Gold saw her mother seeing them, she gave a small squeak.

                Morning Dew, fear obvious in her features, slowly walked towards the still unaware Busy Bee. Hawk shot her a glance from behind his book, stopping her dead in her tracks. It wasn’t a mean look, just one that took notice of her, but all the same it made the mother’s heart skip a beat.

 

                Hawk smiled at Morning Dew and then spoke to Busy Bee, “Your Mom is standing behind you, looking like she’s seen a monster or something.”

 

                Busy Bee’s face looked like she’d been caught doing some foul crime. She slowly turned around, “Heeeeeey Mom…what’s up?”

 

                After regaining her composure, and giving Hawk a weak smile back, she addressed both her children, “Girls, please, don’t sneak off like that again, and stop bothering Agent Hawk by askin him all the questions in the whole world.”

 

                “Oh he doesn’t mind Mama! I think he likes answering questions,” the elder sister countered, “Don’t ya Mr. Hawk?”

 

Hawk gave a neutral kind of shrug. He reached into his pocket and removed an engraved silver pocket watch and gave a sigh. They’d only been traveling for thirty minutes.

 

“Who wants to watch some great ol’ human cinema?” he asked loud enough for even Twilight to notice. He got up, avoided stepping on Merry Gold, and walked towards the wardrobe as the fretful mother pony gave him a wide berth. Busy Bee hopped down after him, and Merry Gold followed her sister with Morning Dew giving them very relieved, but mildly disappointed, looks.

Twilight had been thoroughly enjoying the beginning of the book she was reading, but she was most interested in reading about the five knightly virtues that were the central theme of the whole piece:

 

A knight must speak nothing but the truth.

‘A knight must defend the weak and helpless from evil, even at the cost of his own life.

‘A knight must be loyal, not only to his king and his homeland, but must keep sacred his vows lest they lead to evil.

A knight must be humble before God and his fellows, be they man or woman, and generous to those in need.

A knight must show mercy to those who he has defeated and shun acts of cruelty, even in times of war and battle.

 

                Twilight was amazed that these ancient words from, not only a time of darkness and death in human history but also a culture completely separate from her own, resembled the Elements of Harmony so closely. Sure there was nothing that blatantly resembled the Element of Laughter, but ‘defending the weak from evil’ is something that laughing can do, as her friend Pinkie Pie can certainly attest to. ‘It’s like humanity had all the ingredients to be just like Equestria...but they were missing something.’ Twilight pondered the innumerable possibilities.

                But when she was interrupted by Hawk’s suggestion of a film, she grew excited and put a magical bookmark on the current page before closing the tome. She had once made friends with a ponified human, Kurt she thought his name was, who had told her that a series of films known as ‘Star Wars’ was a masterpiece of science fiction. Although war was not her favorite subject matter, she had been wanting to look into human film craft. Hawk bent down in front of the wardrobe and opened a small, hard to notice, drawer.

 

                “Okay, what are you all in the mood for?” He asked his charges, facing them with a grin.

 

                “I’ve heard very good things about Star Wars,” said Twilight. Then she remembered more of her conversation with Kurt and added, “…but only the originals.” She smiled, priding herself on remembering what seemed like an important detail.

 

                Hawk nodded in approval, “Good, but is there anything else you heard about these films?” he added.

 

                Twilight strained he memory, “Uhhhh…”

 

There was something else important to mention…Think Twilight…THINK!

                

                “Han shot first?” She recalled Kurt saying that often.

 

                Hawk gave an approving nod and a big smile, “You’ve learned much young Twilight, and as such we shall begin where all should. A New Hope.” And with that he gestured for the rest of the ponies to take spots on the comfy couch. The parents of the garden family looked at each other in confusion, while the fillies could barely contain themselves in their excitement. He then began the movie, which appeared on the large flat screen television which hung from the ceiling.

 

                “Twilight,” he said, “if you would be so kind as to read them the opening crawl, I’ll go prepare some popcorn.” Twilight nodded and Hawk disappeared into the sleeping cart. The movie began and Twilight read the words in a particularly dramatic voice, much to the amusement of the little ones. Hawk came back just as the crawl was finishing and placed a large bowl of popcorn on the coffee table in front of the ponies. He then walked towards the cockpit.

 

                “Aren’t you gonna watch it with us?” asked Busy Bee.

 

                “Nah, I’ve gotta keep Zorro company,” Hawk replied, “he can get terribly lonesome.”

 

                With that, Hawk disappeared and the movie began, lowering the camera on a dusty orange planet…

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                After four hours, the ponies had finally finished ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and were taking the time in between movie changes to take care of certain bodily functions, while also using the opportunity to stretch their legs. Twilight was enamored with the films. Sure it was weird at first, watching non-pony actors on screen, but by the time the films had introduced the character of Obi-Wan, she was over it. Of course her favorite character was Yoda, if only for his surprising amount of wisdom.

                It was fascinating how many parallels she could draw between ‘The Force’ and the nature of magic that she herself had seen. For instance, the ‘Dark Side’ was based on anger, fear, and aggression, the exact things that had turned Princess Luna into Nightmare Moon so long ago. Everything the little green creature said about The Force seemed to factor into some aspect of magic, from its use in day to day life and what times to use it against something that might be threatening her.

                Of course the fillies loved it, and were busy pretending to fight with those laser sword things they had. Though the parents were a bit concerned about all the violence and death, they gasped right along with every other pony when Vader revealed the truth about him and Luke. All in all, Twilight couldn’t wait for the conclusion and eagerly waited in her spot on the couch.

                Hawk was busy putting the next film into the player, getting an earful from the fillies about the parts they liked the most. All Hawk could do was smile. Twilight was extremely pleased that everything was going better than she expected, but also a little ashamed that she had judged humans so harshly before. She kept her mentor’s warning in mind of course, that humans were savage compared to Ponies, ‘But maybe,’ thought Twilight, ‘maybe the Princess just got a bad first impression?

                

                Suddenly Zorro’s voiced blared from unseen speakers, “Sorry to interrupt the marathon Hawk, but you need to see something up here.”

 

                Hawk grimaced. Twilight knew that probably meant something bad. Fortunately she didn’t have to ask to come along as Zorro added, “You’d best come up here too Miss Sparkle.” With a concerned look from Tall Leaf, which was mirrored by Morning Dew, Twilight simply nodded and trotted towards the cockpit.

                Once within, she was joined by Hawk, who wore a concerned expression. “Is it bad Z?” he asked.

 

                “Very,” replied Zorro, not looking away from a glowing monitor. “Satellites are picking up a massive pressure drop about fifty miles ahead of us, and the Six Tribes Weather Service has issued a Watch notice.” Zorro looked over his shoulder, “The Super Cell is dropping it down within fifty meters of the tracks, and it is going to be very, very big.”

 

                Twilight spoke up, confused, “Wait, so what is the problem? What’s going on Hawk?” She looked to Hawk, who looked at her in disbelief.

 

                “You can’t seriously tell me you don’t have tornadoes in Equestria.” His tone almost sounded astonished.

 

                “Well, we have twisters, but they aren’t that big of a problem. They’re mostly out in the desert, and don’t get that big.” Twilight felt like she wasn’t completely understanding why the two, allegedly ferocious killers, were giving her such astonished looks.

 

                “Twilight,” said Hawk, his tone harsh, “Tornadoes in the human world, are like the wrath of God ripping and tearing the very Earth apart. The one that could be forming right now could very easily level an entire city.” He looked to Zorro, “Get this tin can in reverse and to a safe distance, and if you spot a cave or something tell me. If that thing comes for us we need shelter that’s a bit more stable than this thing.” He moved to leave the cockpit before adding, “Let’s hope we’re all still alive when that thing dissipates. I’d hate to not finish that marathon.” As he left to inform the Garden Family about the potential disaster, Twilight had a hurt expression on her face, which Zorro immediately addressed while pulling a lever that slowed the train to a crawl. Rain began pattering the windshield.

 

                “You look like someone just broke your heart dear niña.” Zorro chuckled a bit, trying to lighten the mood.

 

                Twilight composed herself, “Is it really as bad as Hawk said? It can’t be that terrible, can it?” She was convinced that something like Hawk had described had to be made up.

 

                Zorro looked for the right words before stating in an all too honest tone, “Hawk is not wrong to be worried. Even if it avoids us and the Magna Rail, the tracks will more than likely be destroyed, unless, by some miracle, they are too well engraved into the earth to move.” He looked at Twilight, a smile breaking his serious face. “Do not worry though, soon we will be far from harm’s way. We’ll just have to trek a thousand or so miles to Yellowstone on foot. No problem.” He returned to the controls and pulled the lever back even further, moving the train into reverse.

 

                “Yeah,” said Twilight, “No problem for a pegasus maybe.” She wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of walking half the way to a place that was already far enough away that no pony would believe her if she told them that she had traversed it in a day. She began trotting back into the lounge, where worried voices were talking. The sky had grown dark.

                ‘How far away had Zorro said it was? Fifty miles? Whatever this thing is it can’t be that big.’ Twilight tried to imagine the human’s measurements, and compared it to a what she imagined a ‘Human Tornado’ would look like. The image she conceived was as big as Canterlot, and was a swirling funnel of dust, like she’d seen that one time she went to Appleloosa. She grew concerned when she imagined Princess Celestia being sucked up and blown away by the enormous cloud.

                Before Twilight could continue thinking, she noticed that the Garden Family had moved into the sleeping area and were being shown the emergency straps hidden under the mattresses that could buckle together to restrain a man, or pony, from flying off of it. Hawk was doing a good job of explaining how to adjust and loosen the straps, and made sure to say, “Just in case,” about three times. Morning Dew was giving him her full attention, and Tall Leaf was busy comforting his daughters who were curled together in their bed, looks of fear staining all their faces.

        The Magna Rail made a sudden stop, making the world inside the vehicle very quiet, so that now the rain hitting the roof of the train was the only audible sound. The pitter-patter of the rain only heightened the atmosphere of tension that had formed. No one spoke, and hardly anyone could be heard breathing. Even Hawk looked wary of the unexpected stop, but eventually resumed his instruction to the passengers. Twilight moved into the sleeping cart and climbed into her alcove, locating the straps that Hawk had been going over. She brought out the straps with little effort thanks to her magic, and then she listened to the sound of the rain.

 

                Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter, Thunk.

 

                ‘Thunk?’ Twilight looked at Hawk. Hawk looked at Twilight. Something heavy had hit the roof of the train. The unicorn looked out the window. It wasn’t yet evening, but it was so dark, she could barely see anything.

Thunk.

 

Everypony was looking at the roof now. What was making that noise? Then, whatever was on the roof fell off and passed by Twilight’s view. It was what appeared to be a cow. It wasn’t moving. She felt a sudden sickness come over her, and rolled down the curtain for her window.

Zorro was making his way towards the sleeping cart. As he entered he pushed a button on the wall that closed the door which made a hissing sound as it closed. They were now sealed in a pressurized space.

 

“Better strap yourselves down. It’s coming for us,” Twilight could see the fear in his face, but he kept his tone confident for the sake of the others present.

 

“Damn that thing is fast! Son of a gun must really want one of us dead,” said Hawk, turning to Zorro, “You didn’t sleep with its daughter did you?” Hawk paused for effect.

 

The lewd comment sent both men into tizzy of giggles and laughs, while Tall Leaf and Morning Dew grew concerned that they were in the care of two men who thought dying might be funny.

Hawk began strapping in the other ponies, while Zorro began locking down luggage and equipment. Twilight herself started going through spells in her head that could protect them if need be, which seemed all the more likely as a noise arose outside that sounded like the very air was screaming. It was a scream that was getting louder by the second.

Hawk and Zorro dove into bunks for themselves after making sure everypony else was secure, and quickly strapped themselves.

 

The screaming was now at an almost deafening level. The fillies began to cry. The parents were trying to shout comforting phrases at them. Twilight clenched her eyes shut unable to stop herself from thinking she’d never see her friends again.

 

“Hey Sprinkles!” called Hawk over the din.

 

Momentarily surprised, Twilight called back. It wasn’t any real word. She was too terrified think of one when she felt the train begin to shudder around her. What came out resembled an, “EH?” only it had more terror in it.

 

“Ever rolled down a hill in a barrel before?”

 

An odd question for a time like this. Her response was as much a question as an answer, “No!?”

 

Hawk began to chuckle, “Well then, this should offer some ‘excitement’ for you!” He began to laugh maniacally. Zorro was whispering something in that language of his.

 

Celestia preserve me.

 

The Magna Rail came free of the rails and was lifted up into the swirling funnel cloud.

 

 

Tornadoes?!

Oh shit!

Next up: Where the Wild things are.

I’ll keep going until I reach the End!

Or until I get waylaid by reality!

Or someone calls me names to make me stop!


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (What’s that? You want more film and book references?)

 

Yellowstone

Part 4:

Where the Wild Things Are

 

 

                Twilight had come to a monumental decision: the next time Princess Celestia asked her to leave her home to go on some quest to parts unknown, she would very politely, and with all due respect, tell her graceful monarch to go sit on her horn and spin for a while.

                Twilight could barely hear herself think over all the screaming going on around her: Tall Leaf and Morning Dew were screaming, Busy Bee and Merry Gold were screaming, the very air was screaming, and last but not least, Twilight was screaming. The only ones not screaming were the humans. They had their teeth clenched and kept their bodies stiff, awaiting for the inevitable time when the Magna Rail would be reacquainted with the ground.

 

                ‘Use your magic!’ Twilight kept repeating in her head. ‘What spell? What Spell!’ Teleportation would do no good. She needed to concentrate on a place she could see or a familiar area for that to work, and right now she didn’t even know which way was up.

 

We’re all gonna die! Oh Celestia I don’t want to die! I haven’t even kissed my first stallion! What about telekinesis? Maybe I could disrupt the tornado’s spin? Size matters not, right? That’s what Yoda said right?

 

Twilight reopened her eyes, and saw nothing but darkness outside. She only heard the sound of the howling winds and the other debris crashing into the section of train, which would no doubt be their tomb if Twilight couldn’t do this. Closing her eyes once more, she focused on the storm and reached out with her magic. She reached out beyond the confines of the walls and felt the storm with an immaterial hand fashioned of pure will.

It was like putting a hoof into a raging river, and her concentration almost wavered from its chaotic movements. Twilight focused, solidifying her thoughts on the task at hand and began to grab hold of the very air.

It wasn’t working, as Twilight should have expected. It was impossible to get a hold of the wind, as Dash would have been first to tell her. Twilight released her telekinetic hand, once again contemplating her friends. Eventually her thoughts turned to her ageless mentor, Celestia, and all she had learned from her. She remembered being taught the workings of magic, and some of the more basic principles of science, like how boats worked and how a Pegasus could fly.

 

 A loud “THWUNK” from a tree denting the wall gave Twilight inspiration.

 

If she couldn’t grab the wind, she would grab onto what the wind was holding. Everything, big or small left a wake in the wind, like how everything leaves a wake in water. So Twilight just needed to make everything else caught in the tornado spin the opposite direction, the resulting air resistance should cancel out the Tornado. Either that or the debris would just get ripped to shreds by the wind, but despite that possibility she had a very good feeling about this plan.

 

Size matters not. Size matters not. Size matters not. Size matters not. Size matters not.

 

With renewed vigor, Twilight once more reached out with her mind. She gripped a tree, then a few dozen more, and then a wide variety of wooden planks and steel rails that were once the track. She found the hardest thing to grab hold of the innumerable specks of dust and dirt that flew at near incalculable speeds, but she eventually held them all the same. Finally she took hold of the Magna Rail, possibly the largest and heaviest thing in this cyclone of death.

Her horn was glowing enough to light even the darkest storm, and the others present opened their eyes to see what could only be described as a pony with a fountain of light on its forehead.

With a scream of desperate defiance to a storm fueled by malice, she forced everything in the storm to spin the way she wanted. The force of exertion nearly knocked her out then and there, but she continued to push against the whirlwind with everything she had, spinning what she took from the cyclone faster and faster.

Within seconds, the tornado was disrupted, and lost much of its previous bluster. The howling winds grew quiet, and Twilight released her hold on all the objects under her power. All except the Magna Rail that is. She gave the train a soft and careful descent towards the now, much calmer, earth below.

After touching down, Twilight gave into exhaustion and passed out.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

From the aching pain in her head, Twilight knew she was alive. She had trouble opening her eyes, but she knew from the cool breeze moving across her face that she was outside. She heard the buzzing of bees around her, and she felt the hard earth and soft grass that she was laying on. She breathed in the smell of wildflowers and dirt. With a slight moan, she opened her eyes to the world around her.

It was a sunny day, the skies were blue as they could be with a dozen or so fluffy clouds over head. Before her was a vista of wide open fields and hills that went far off into the distance, covered in rich golden grass and dotted with the occasional tree. Twilight rested in a comfortable bit of shade under an old maple tree with sprawling limbs and wide leaves atop a hill. She had to remind herself that she wasn’t in Equestria several times.

 

“Good morning sunshine!”

 

Twilight spun around to see Morning Dew sitting next to her, making two circlets out of flowers and grass. The wreckage of the train was downhill, resting peacefully in the midday sun.

 

                Twilight was still groggy, but was able to ask, “How long have I been out?”

 

                “Oh, for about a whole day. We were very worried after that miracle you pulled, but when you started talking in your sleep we knew you’d wake up.” Morning Dew’s smile was like bottled sunshine and filled with the kind of love that the unicorn recognized being on her own mother’s face.

 

                Twilight did not know she talked while she slept, and was curious what was on her subconscious mind. With a slight, curious smile she asked, “Did I say anything interesting at least?”

 

                Morning Dew giggled, “Well most of it was nonsense, but…” She blushed.

 

Uh oh.

 

“…something tells me that this, ‘Big Mac’ fella would love to ‘buck your apple orchard’ anytime.”

 

If dying from embarrassment were possible, Twilight would have keeled over then and there. She looked down at her hooves and tried to think of some sort of explanation, as if she’d done something wrong.

 

“OH! Um…yeah…Big Mac is a…Ummm…brother of a friend and he’s…well…BIG! And you see he…it…I don’t really know him that well and…” Twilight knew she was sputtering, but couldn’t stop.

 

A reassuring nod and smile came from the older mare, “No need to worry Miss Twilight, Mr. Hawk promised not to tell anypony back east about it. Why when he heard it he didn’t so much as grin he was so worried about you. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of besides, why when Tall Leaf and I were young I…”

 

“HAWK KNOWS?!” Twilight liked Hawk, but he was a human, and she heard from a reliable fashion minded unicorn that humans were incorrigible gossips.

 

As if she summoned a vile phantom, “What do I know? Twilight? Is that you?” Hawk and the fillies crested the hill and made their way towards the two.

 

“Miss Twilight!” both fillies shouted as they galloped towards her. “I’m so glad you woke up! Busy Bee was crying she was so worried!” said Merry Gold as she gave Twilight a hug with her neck.

Busy Bee snorted, “I was not! And even if I was, you were the one thinkin we was all dead!”

 

Twilight rolled her eyes for what seemed like the millionth time since yesterday begun. With a small clearing of her throat, Morning Dew caught the two squabbling fillies, and presented them with the floral circlets. The two sisters instantly forgot all about their argument and began to run towards the ruins of the Magna Rail with their new flowery crowns.

 

“Well then,” said Morning Dew, who stood up, “I’d best go help my husband with the salvaging. He’s always puts too much weight on his back.” She trotted down the hill after the fillies, calling to them to stay close.

 

Hawk finally spoke, “That was some stunt you pulled back there Sprinkles.” Twilight looked him over before responding. He had buttoned his over shirt, and now wore a long brown duster coat over it.

 

“Well,” Twilight looked back towards the train, “judge me not by my size Agent Hawk.” They both proceeded to laugh it up for a good few minutes before Zorro exited the wreckage. He now sported a black poncho made from what appeared to be wool, and a black wide brim hat that was much stiffer than Hawk’s. When Zorro saw Twilight awake, his expression brightened considerably.

 

“My dear niña! It is good to see you up and about! I was getting quite jealous of Agent Hawk constantly being by your side!” Twilight blushed slightly.

 

Hawk called out to him, “What’s the damage Z?”

 

“My diagnosis? You have abandonment issues.”

 

Hawk sighed, “To the train Z.”

 

Zorro put a hand to his hip and another to his chin, “The only thing I got working was the GPS. And, my you’ll never guess where we ended up my friend!”

 

“Canada?”

 

Zorro chuckled and replied, “Close amigo! We’re about four miles away from the town of Ten Sleep Wyoming!”

 

Hawk beamed. “Son of a bit…” he glanced at Twilight, “…gun! That tornado took us far! Right kind of it, if not for the whole trying to kill us part, eh Twilight?”

 

She was checking her map for the town of Ten Sleep. When she found it. She couldn’t believe the math. The tornado had moved them nearly a thousand miles in less than ten minutes. She didn’t question it though. She was tired, her head hurt, and a town meant a soft bed to rest on. “Let’s just go Mr. Hawk. We still need to get to Yellowstone after all. And with that Magnet Train out of commission, it’s gonna be a long walk.” They were halfway down the hill before Twilight remembered something. “And Agent Hawk...

 

“Yeah Sprinkles?”

 

“If you tell anypony about what I said while I was asleep, I’ll turn you into a newt.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

They entered to edge of the town of Ten Sleep in the evening, when the sun loomed just above the horizon, and the sky had turned pink and orange. All the ponies took a minute to admire the sunset while the humans seem preoccupied surveying the town with binoculars. Twilight savored the moment of silence, as the last hour or so of walking, Busy Bee had been questioning Agent Hawk unceasingly.

 

Morning Dew gave a sing-song like sigh before saying, “Simply beautiful. Celestia must be watching over us.”

 

                Zorro looked up from what he was doing, “Let us hope so señora, the town of Ten Sleep lies abandoned and it’s overgrown with vegetation,” he got up and walked towards the ponies, “it is likely that newer, and less friendly, residents have moved in.”

 

                “Like cannibals?” inquired Busy Bee.

 

                Hawk stood up, “Let’s hope not. If Zorro tastes half as good as he talks he won’t last the night.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                The town was deathly quiet and there was no sign of life. Rows of houses and other buildings looked dark and empty. There were hardly any cars on the sidewalks or driveways, and the grass in the yards had grown wildly out of control.

 

                “Where is everypony?” asked Tall Leaf.

                

                “Gone,” replied Hawk, “at some point or another, everyone in town either left or died.”

 

                Merry Gold looked nervous, “So it’s a…” she gulped, “…ghost town?” She gazed at the long shadows and empty houses, some of which had their doors wide open, as if inviting them to enter.

 

                Zorro was first to assuage her fears, “Do not worry little one, there aren’t any actual ghosts. We are safe from the dead.”

 

                “That’s reassuring,” said Twilight.

 

                Within minutes, Hawk had found a house he deemed, “Adequate,” and soon after Twilight was experiencing de ja vu. Hawk had gone to the front door and knocked three times. When there was no reply, Hawk turned to the rest of the group, shrugged, and kicked the door in. The entirety of the Garden Family jumped. As Hawk entered the house, his large black duffel bag in tow, Zorro gestured to the ponies to follow.

                

                Tall Leaf hesitated, “Miss Twilight,” he said, “isn’t this illegal?”

 

                “Don’t worry,” replied Twilight straight faced, “he is the law.”

 

                Twilight moved into the door and gave a smile to Zorro as she passed by. He returned it and then looked to Tall Leaf who still stood in the waning light. With a shake of his head, Tall Leaf entered the house mumbling, “This is ridiculous. Simply ridiculous.”

                Night had fallen, and with a final look around, Zorro walked into the house and closed the door as best he could. Hawk had extracted an electric lamp from his bag and laid it on the coffee table in what was once the living room. Soft blue couches sat around the table, slanted towards the T.V. on the wall, and most of the seats were occupied by ponies. Morning Dew was currently humming a song to her children as much as herself and her husband.

Hawk moved an ornate armoire in front of the front door, blocking it and preventing it from opening. He then made a series of odd hand gestures to Zorro, who nodded and began searching the house.

 

After a short time, Zorro returned and declared, “Clear.”

Hawk, smiling wide, opened his duffel bag and said, “Dinner time!” He passed around bottles of water and Zorro passed around the food.

The ponies were given pony meal packs, something the humans had made years ago for the pony on the go. They came in little sectioned off trays and were sealed in plastic. The meals included carrots, small cucumbers, grass, some oats, dandelions, three cubes of sugar, and a box of apple juice. Even though she could taste the lack of freshness, Twilight delighted in the meal. Meanwhile, Hawk and Zorro had  what seemed to be plastic bags that had the letters “M.R.E.” emblazoned on them.

 

“Get anything good Z?” asked Hawk.

 

“Chicken soup, and you?”

 

“Beef stroganoff.”

 

Twilight didn’t want to think about what they did to the poor chickens and cows in order to fit them into those little bags.

 

After dinner and everyone found a spot to settle, Twilight made her own small globe of light which hovered around her horn, much to the amazement of the two fillies. The house was only one floor, and she could see not only the kitchen from where she was sitting, but also the hallway which must have led to the bath and bed rooms. It was remarkable how neat and tidy everything was, and horrifying that everything had just been left behind. The couches, the rug, the table, even the pictures on the walls had not been touched in some time. It was like sitting in a tomb.

                Twilight saw a picture on the wall of the human family who must have lived here previously, and she trotted closer to get a better look. It was a father, mother, and beautiful little girl all smiling on a sunny day under a familiar looking maple tree tree.

 

                ‘They look so happy. I thought humans hated their lives so much and that was why they all were so ready to be ponified. But why would they abandon this? This isn’t so bad.

 

                Twilight entered the kitchen for curiosity’s sake. There was a sliding door to the back yard and moon light illuminated a tire swing which hung from an old, unkempt looking tree. The fridge was immediately next to the entrance, so she looked at the calendar that was magnetized to its side. It was from two years ago. There was only one day circled for the entire month, the day Twilight remembered as the day the camps opened. She flipped through the calendar’s earlier entries, and it was pretty run of the mill: doctor’s appointment, dentist, Tiffany’s birthday party (bring gift!). But after the day the camps opened, there was nothing. No plans at all.

                The lack of future plans really disturbed Twilight, as she continued her tour of the house. Hawk and Zorro were in the living room talking with Tall Leaf and the others. Busy Bee wasn’t taking her eyes off of Hawk. Twilight chuckled at the thought that maybe she wasn’t the only one with a secret crush.

                She passed the bathroom, the master bedroom which was in disarray, and finally arrived at a door with a wooden plaque hanging from a nail. It read, “Julie’s Room.” Twilight had to know whose old life she be spending the night in.

With a push, the door opened revealing a room so pink, Pinkie Pie would have perfect camouflage. There were teddy bears and dolls lining the walls, all neatly put into their place, and on the comfy looking bed was a book. It was the little girl’s diary.

 

Dare I?’ she asked herself as she hesitantly approached the book. Her curiosity could not be contained, she had to know. After checking to make sure no one was around, she magically lifted the book to her and opened it, turning to the last entry. It coincided with the camp’s opening day.

 

Dear Diary,

 

I don’t want to be a pony, but mom and dad say life will be better that way. They said I wouldn’t have to live in a mean world, or pay for other grown ups problems. I like ponies, but I don’t want to be a pony. I like being me and Miss Megan said to be happy with who I was and I am. But mom and dad aren’t so I guess they will be happy if we are ponies. I want them to be happy, so I will be a pony for them. I will miss Tiffany and Miss Megan. I hope they recognize me if I see them again.

 

Goodbye Diary.

 

                Twilight closed the book, and drew it close with her magic. She felt something wrong had happened in this place. She returned to the living room with a dour expression. Zorro was staring out the window, looking for something, and Morning Dew was cuddled up next to Tall Leaf. Both of them had fallen asleep on the couch. Hawk was on the opposite couch entertaining the endless supply of questions the fillies seemed to have.

 

                “And…do humans really have machines that let them fly?” Busy Bee’s voice was strained as she struggled to stay awake.

 

                “Eeyup.”

 

                “I’d like to…to fly…one…zzzzzzzz,” Merry Gold had fallen asleep next to her sister, who in turn curled close to her and followed suit.

“Good night,” she said.

 

                Hawk replied in a tired, but tender voice, “Good night Busy Bee.”

 

                With that, the two fillies fell asleep, and Hawk rolled his head towards Twilight. Quietly he said to her, “They’re just like cats: cute as heck when they’re asleep, but they makes it impossible for you to move or get comfy.”

 

“It is rather precious amigo,” said Zorro from his watch, “I do not think I’ve ever seen you so...” Zorro strained his mind for the right word.

 

“Cuddly?” offered Twilight.

 

Zorro nodded and smiled, “Si, cuddly fits well.”

 

Hawk simply replied, “Whatever,” and looked at the book that Twilight had in her magic’s grasp, “Find something interesting Sprinkles?”

 

                Twilight hung her head a bit before asking, “Hawk, do you know why so many humans got ponified?”

 

                Hawk furrowed his brow, “I can’t speak for all of ‘em, but if I had to guess, I’d say they were thinking that their lives would be better as tiny horses.”

 

                Twilight wasn’t satisfied, “WHY would they think that though? Have you seen this house? It’s absolutely lovely! Us ponies thought that humans lived in misery and squalor, but…” she trailed off looking towards the picture of the family. “…but this family didn’t. So why?”

 

                Hawk gave a sigh through his nose, “I dunno, maybe they were tired of paying taxes, or getting sick, or living in fear that some accident would hurt their loved ones. It’s impossible to say Twilight. They did what humans have always done: take the option that makes their lives easier. So this family abandoned their old lives for a chance at a better one.”               

 

Twilight put the book into her saddlebag, a frown spreading over her face.

 

                ‘You can’t steal something that someone has abandoned.

 

                She laid her head down onto her saddlebags, lost in thought. They were more comfortable than she thought however, as weariness eventually took over and she fell asleep without a sound.

                

*              *              *

 

                It was near midnight when the howling started and awoke Twilight from her deep sleep. She stared up in a half awake state, wondering what all the noise going on outside, but she soon recognized it as the baying of some hungry predators. She looked towards the window and saw Zorro looking out the window, not moving an inch.

 

                “What is it?” Twilight asked the man, concern heavy in her voice.

 

                He didn’t look away from the window, “Feral dogs. Around maybe…twenty? They’ve been circling the block for two hours. I think they finally decided what to do with us.” Zorro chuckled a bit.

 

                Twilight however, was worried. Celestia had mentioned beasts from human lands, and she did not like the word ‘feral’ one bit. “What do you think they are going to do?”

 

                “They are going to attack this little house and eat us up. Please niña, go wake everyone. I’m afraid Hawk may have been right about how delicious I am.” Zorro was absolutely calm as opposed to Twilight who was beginning to panic.

 

                The unicorn decided to wake Hawk up first, as it was officially his job to protect the group. He was asleep on the couch, with two little fillies sleeping soundly, curled up close to him. One of his arms lay over top the both of them, almost like he was protecting them even while asleep. Twilight nudged him with her hoof. He blinked his eyes open, and mumbled something about a donkey before asking, “What’s wrong?”

 

                “Zorro says twenty feral dogs are going to attack us!” Twilight was trying to whisper, but her voice was thick with panic. She had never had to defend herself from wild dogs before, and wolves never left the Everfree Forest.

 

                Hawk rolled off the couch, waking the fillies up who blinked and mumbled, trying to go back to sleep. Even in her panicked state, Twilight let out a small d’aww when Busy Bee gave a small noise and curled tighter as Hawk’s body heat left the couch. Hawk was less enthralled by it, and seemed to show signs of worry. He moved to the window, and replaced Zorro who was currently stirring Morning Dew and Tall Leaf from their slumber.

                There was another round of howling, which quickly sobered the Garden family from their sleep.

 

                “What’s going on? Hawk, what’s makin all that racket?” Tall Leaf was wide awake and stretching his legs out.

 

                “You’re about to find out,” Hawk turned to the group, “Alright, Zorro, you and Twilight cover the back door, me and Tall Leaf will make sure they don’t push through the front. Morning Dew, take the fillies and go into one of the rooms back there and barricade yourself and the others inside.”

 

                Without hesitation Morning Dew took hold of her children, her voice being as calm as possible. “Come on darlings, double time. Hoof it! Come on!” She trotted the two into the hallway and moved them into Julie’s Room.

 

                “Mom? What’s going on? What’s all that noise?” Busy Bee was terrified, and looked back as she walked, “Isn’t daddy coming with us?”

 

                Twilight’s stomach felt like a pit, and fear was starting to eat away at her. Hawk however was sifting through his bag, and with an “Ah-ha!” he extracted a hunting rifle and a bandolier of ammo. Zorro had drawn his sword, a thin blade with a slight curve, and slowly chopped at the air. No doubt warming up for what was to come.

 

                “Alright, Tall Leaf, if one of their heads comes into view, buck it up. Now, you have to hit to kill, alright? If you don’t they’ll just keep coming.” Tall Leaf gave a vacant stare, but blinked out of it and nodded.

 

                “R-right. Hit to…” he gulped, “…kill.” Hawk gave him a pat on his neck and moved into position at the window.

 

                “Well little one,” said Zorro to Twilight, “shall we?” His smile was somewhat comforting, but Twilight was still barely keeping it together.

They entered the kitchen and looked through the sliding doors that separated the house from the back yard. There were seven dogs prowling, looking at them, licking their lips while moonlight reflected off their eyes, making them seem like little, glowing, yellow discs. Three of them were sniffing at the base of the door, and then got on their hind legs and began to scratch on the glass. Twilight heard similar noises from the front of the house.

 

                ‘Think of a spell think of a spell think of a spell.’ Twilight’s mind raced at what to cast. It was difficult to concentrate with all the scratching and howling the dogs were making. Zorro stood next to her. He had slung the front of his poncho over his shoulder revealing his sword arm, “Stay calm, niña. I’ll keep them at bay. You concentrate on scaring them off.” With a nod and sudden feeling of calm, Twilight thought things out.

 

                “You might want to cover your eyes Mr. Zorro.”

 

                Then the attack began. All at once every dog Twilight could see charged the doors, and with a loud BANG, smashed into them. They doors shattered and Twilight enacted her spell. A magnificent blast of light erupted forth from every orifice in the room. Zorro moved his arm over his eyes just in time to avoid being blinded, but the dogs were less successful. Blind and confused, they yelped and whined, running wild in random directions and crashing into just about everything in the kitchen.

 

                “Ha ha! Well done my darling!” Zorro cheered patting Twilight on the back, “Let us show these dogs the way out.”

 

                Several booming sounds came from the front, followed be an equal number of yelps and shouts. “HA! Another one bites the dust!” Hawk’s voice was almost gleeful. Twilight glanced back and saw Tall Leaf bucking a snout that had wedged it’s way between the door. She saw Hawk with the rifle taking aim and firing at the dogs that were assaulting the front. When she faced forward again there was the maw of a feral mastiff rushing towards her, murder glowing in its eyes. Time moved slower, and Twilight opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out.

                A quick flash of steel passed between her and the dog, and after an instant, the creature was on the ground with blood flowing from a wound across its face. The warm red liquid spilled out from it and all over the floor as the dog twitched  to the ground.

 

                Twilight’s scream finally caught up with her.

 

                Hawk looked back, “Twilight?!” He was about to stand up to make sure she was all right when a large rottweiler jumped through the window and attempted to snap is jaws around Hawk’s neck. The hound’s bite missed, but it did knock the man onto the ground, where it continued to go for his throat. Tall Leaf was bracing himself against the door, and looked on in terror as Hawk grappled with the wild dog. Hoping the armoire could hold the pack at bay long enough he rushed over to the dog and bucked him as hard as he could.

                There was a snapping sound and the dog flew a good two feet off of Hawk, landing with a whimper. The man breathed a sigh of relief, stood up, removed his revolver, and shot the dog through the head, causing blood to spray over the carpet. “Thanks,” was all Hawk said before retaking his position and resuming his shooting.

                

Tall Leaf stared at the dead dog for what seemed a long while. Its leg twitched, and Tall Leaf began to feel very sick.

 

                Twilight had stopped screaming and watched as the blood from the dog slowly spread towards her. She meanwhile was backing up to avoid stepping in it. Zorro was slashing at any dog that got close with such speed and grace, Twilight could swear that he was dancing instead of killing.

                The dogs she had blinded lay strewn about the kitchen, cuts and stab wounds across their bodies. She looked outside and saw other dogs prowling, but keeping their distance. Their looks of hunger now shifted to looks of fear. Fear of the human who stood amongst their dead, with no signs of exhaustion or fatigue.

                The dogs hung their heads in defeat and ran off into the darkness. Hawk had stopped firing his rifle, and Zorro gave a small bow to the retreating dogs. They had driven them off.

 

                “Tall Leaf,” said Hawk, “Go to your family, and wait there with them. Don’t come out until me or Zorro come to get you, alright?”

 

                “Right,” he responded in a shaky voice, eyes never leaving the dead dog in the room.

 

                Hawk continued, “Twilight, you can go with him if you want, me and Zorro are going to clean up the bodies so the kids don’t have to see.”

 

                After a moment of thought, Twilight shook her head, “No, it’s alright, I’ll help.” It would go faster with my magic, she thought.

 

                Twilight started in the kitchen, where pools of blood had spread almost everywhere. Putting her mind on the task on hand, she levitated the bodies out the door and into the back yard. When they rose, blood dripped off of them, and Twilight had to avert her eyes, else she might have thrown up.

                Afterwards she went out through the front, past a wet red spot in the middle of the room. The bodies of no less than eight dogs littered the street, all of them had one hole through either their heads, or hearts. Hawk and Zorro were carrying the bodies behind the house, and using her telekinesis, Twilight lifted the remaining ones and followed them.

                Twilight laid the bodies out in rows, and tried not to look at them. Every time she did, she would see something that made her stomach turn inside out. Whether it be a collar with the dog’s name tag on it, or just the dead faces of the poor mutts, she would grow sick.

 

                “What do you want to do with them?” asked Zorro.

 

                Hawk replied in a tired voice, “Well, leaving them here would make a feast for scavengers, but it might take a while for them to show up. We could bury them, I guess, give the worms something to work with.”

 

                “We should bury them,” said Twilight. She didn’t want to have to see the bodies ever again.

 

                “Right,” said Hawk, giving a look of concern towards Twilight, “got a spell for moving earth?”

 

                As a matter of fact, Twilight did. She first used it to help Applejack irrigate her apple orchard. How she wished to be back there right now, away from this scene. A glow emanated from her horn, as the dirt beneath the dogs displaced itself, and buried the corpses.

                Once they were all properly buried, Hawk and Zorro went inside to get the others. Twilight remained in the moonlight, and had a moment of silence. She could only think of the lives she had helped to end, she wanted to say something, but couldn’t manage it, so she thought it instead.

 

 ‘I’m sorry.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                The morning came, and Twilight had barely gotten back to sleep before the sun came out and woke her. Last night seemed like just a nightmare until she left the master bedroom and saw the red stain in the living room. Grimacing, she went through the recently opened front door and took a few deep sighs, trying hard to suppress the memories of last night. Hawk and Zorro’s voices could be heard coming from the garage, and the sound of a car starting broke the silence of dawn. An open roof jeep drove out onto the street followed by a smiling Zorro. Hawk was at the wheel and he parked it in front of the house.

 

                Leaning out the side Hawk smiled at Twilight, “Need a ride little lady?”

 

                Twilight stared at him for time, processing his smile. He wasn’t bothered by what happened last night. He gave no sign of regret or pain for the lives he took. She eventually gave a weak smile back and said, “Yes, thank you Agent Hawk.” Her voice lacked any kind of emotion.

                The Garden family came out of the house, somewhat blurry eyed. The fillies’ eyes revealed that they had been crying last night, and Busy Bee was eerily silent. Zorro and Hawk helped them all into the car, while an awkward silence dominated the air between the humans and the ponies. The back of the car became filled with ponies and Hawk’s duffel bag. Zorro took the front seat and Hawk the driver’s position.

                Zorro looked at Hawk, who looked back at him. Hawk gave a heavy sigh, and then eyed the ponies. The Garden family was huddled together, staying close to Tall Leaf. Twilight was apart from the others and was staring off into the distance, her mind wandering. Hawk faced forward.

 

                “I think we could all go for some breakfast.”

 

                “What do you have in mind?” asked Zorro.

 

                “Chateau Minuit?” Hawk replied, grinning.

 

                Zorro place a hand on the side of his head, “Madre de mierda,” he sighed.

 

                Hawk laughed, “Watch your language young man, or you’ll get no ice cream.”

 

                “Ice cream?” Busy Bee’s sad face had disappeared completely, and Merry Gold’s was following right along. “I love ice cream!” said both in tandem. They then began listing off what flavors were their favorites and which ones they wished for.

Twilight had snapped back to reality, and concluded that eating ice cream was an idea she could get behind. After all, Pinkie Pie had always given her some in the past when she was, as Pinkie described, “a sad Mc-Sad-y face,” and it cheered her up.

 

Hawk smiled at Zorro like he had just won a bet, “Well then, shall we play some music?” Hawk turned on the radio, and adjusted the station. After a moment or two of static, he found what he was searching for as a voice spoke from the radio.

 

…ey hey hey! It’s me Jim Carter, the bringer of all the good music that you love! It’s time for some news and then some tunes. First up is some news about our little pony friends, taken straight from the mouth of the president. Seems that the first family of settlers is moving out to Yellowstone with a full blown US Marshal for an escort, and possibly the slickest train I’ve ever seen. If you all are listening, then good luck to ya. Here’s a little ditty called Day by Day, sung by the one, the only, Dorris Day. Safe travels friends.

 

And with that, melodious tune sprang forth from the radio. They ponies were enamoured with it, and let the lyrics wash over them. Morning Dew in particular was listening intently, always ready to learn a new song.

The car drove away from the house, away from the dead dogs, and Twilight let out a sigh of relief. Every moment they spent getting close to Yellowstone was another moment closer to going home. She drifted off again, this time thinking about transferring back to her old home in Ponyville, back to where things weren’t so violent.

 

Where I won’t have to see dead dogs.

 

Death in a MLP Fiction?

Well it is a western!

Allegedly.

Part Five coming in a Week!

Maybe!

I’m no good with deadlines!


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (Writer’s block is bound to hit any second now)

 

Yellowstone

Part 5:

Den of Vipers

 

“Are we there yet?”

 

The morning was passing quickly, and the knot in Twilight’s stomach had changed from one of guilt to one of hunger. It might have been rude, but she could barely think when she was hungry.

 

“We’ll get there when we get there!” Hawk replied a bit annoyed, but Twilight could tell he didn’t mind her asking. He was as cheerful as anypony she had ever seen for some reason.

 

“So Hawk,” Tall Leaf interjected, hoping to calm everyone’s stomachs with conversation, “what’s this ‘Shat-toe Min-wee’ like?”

 

Zorro answered, “Well my friend, it all depends on when you go. Sometimes it is a paradise within a storm, other times it’s like…”

 

“Getting punched in the jaw and thrown out the door because you made a few too many passes at the owner?” Hawk interrupted, chuckling to himself.

 

Zorro nodded and laughed, “Yes, it can be like that.”

 

Tall Leaf looked to Twilight and his family, giving a slightly defeated sigh. “Great,” he said, “another exciting opportunity to get into trouble.”

 

Twilight’s stomach growled loud enough to gain the attention of Merry Gold, go struggled to contain a giggle. Twilight was less enthused, especially seeing as how the wind was ruining her already unkempt hair. If Rarity was here, she might have had a breakdown about all the dust and messy manes.

 

And the blood.

 

Twilight shook her head. She was having trouble suppressing the memory of the previous night and all of its gruesome details. It worried her to think she might never be able to look at another dog again without the image of it bleeding to death on a floor.

 

“We’re here!” came Hawk’s voice from the front. Twilight and the others all snapped out of their own minds and focused on the big building coming up on the horizon.

 

It was one of the largest wooden buildings Twilight had ever seen. It was an inn if ever there was one, with dark blue paint that had worn with age. As they got closer, Twilight thought she could discern painted stars lining the door and the many windows. The structure looked like a barn with another one stuck in its side. Together they made a massive ‘T’.

The jeep glided to a stop in the vacant parking lot. The front door of the establishment had a large circular window above it that was lined with silver paint. Twilight’s stomach growled again, louder than last time, possibly angry that it had been neglected for so long.

 

“Can we eat something now?” she asked.

 

With a nod, Hawk began to help the passengers out and onto the hot asphalt, which had dry weeds sticking up through the cracks. Busy Bee and Merry Gold ran ahead of the group, mouths watering at the idea of sweet, delicious ice cream. They pushed the double doors open and gazed inside with awe. Busy Bee and Merry Gold looked at each other, and then trotted playfully back to the car.

 

Busy Bee did an anxious little dance in front of Morning Dew, “C’mon Mom, hurry up! I’m starving!”

 

 Hawk and Zorro were still busy unloading the parents from the car. Tall Leaf was having difficulties with his seat belt. Twilight’s stomach groaned loudly, gaining looks from the others.

 

“Go on,” said Morning Dew, “We’ll catch up.”

 

Twilight gave a bashful smile as she pranced over the hot ground and opened the doors with her magic. Her eyes widened at what she saw within.

 

“Oh,” Twilight breathed, “Luna would love this…”

 

Inside was a large open room, with the space between the doors and the bar on the far wall filled with tables. The walls painted with a large mural of happy people dancing and singing at a lantern lit festival while stars twinkled above them. There was a staircase on the leftmost wall that led up to a balcony, which itself had a door leading to a hallway. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, and from it hung glittering tin stars.

                At the bar, a human woman was busily cleaning the counter top with her back facing Twilight. This human was shorter than Hawk, but she was about the same age if Twilight guessed right. She had blond hair tied in a pony tail by a red bow. From what Twilight could tell from where she stood, the woman had a brown leather vest over an orange over shirt, with its sleeves rolled up and front buttoned. Her shirt was tucked into dusty old blue jeans and the legs of the pants disappeared into worn leather cowboy boots.

 

                ‘It’s rude to lurk in doorways dear,’ Rarity’s voice echoed in Twilight’s head. The unicorn decided now was as good as time as any for introductions, “Excuse me miss!”

 

                “Just a second Ma’am, I’m almost finished.” The woman’s voice was strong, but gentle and comforting to hear.

 

                Still, Twilight’s stomach was grumbling quite a lot. “I’d just like to get something to eat. I haven’t eaten anything all morning.”

 

                “Okay, okay. I’ll finish this later I guess.” She moved behind the bar and bent down looking for something. “So, what’ll it be?” the sound of clinking bottles could be heard from behind the bar.

 

                Twilight thought for a moment, deciding to opt for a healthier breakfast than ice cream.

 

                “Daisies if you please,Twilight responded cheerfully. ‘Finally, something good to eat,’ she thought.

 

                The woman behind the bar laughed, “Daisies? What are you some sort of…” she raised her head from behind the bar finally getting a look at her customer, her blue eyes widening, “…pony?”

 

                Twilight did a polite curtsy, and was honestly surprised at the human’s own amazement at seeing her. She had thought that all humans had seen at least one pony by now.

 

                “Wait here,” said the woman, who walked up the staircase and disappeared into a hallway. Outside Twilight could hear Morning Dew giving Tall Leaf advice to get out of his seat belt, while Hawk, Zorro, and the fillies all laughed their tails off. Twilight chuckled to herself as she found a comfortable looking table.

                The human woman emerged from the balcony hallway hefting a heavy looking flower box in her hands. Twilight’s jaw dropped and she couldn’t stop from drooling at what had to be the most beautiful assortment of flowers she had ever seen. The woman placed the box on the table with a thunk, and wiped her hands clean of the soil on her jeans.

 

                “Hope that’s acceptable miss. I don’t think I have any daisies.” She said, unable to contain a smile.

 

                Twilight licked her lips at the bouquet buffet, “My name’s Twilight, and believe me, it’s perfect.”

 

                Finally, the Garden family and the other humans entered the building, Tall Leaf looking quite embarrassed. When the ponies saw what Twilight had at her table, they rushed over and took seats at the Table around her.

 

                “Oh Twilight, you are such a darling buying this feast for everyone!” said Morning Dew biting the petals off a rather lovely looking posy. “Busy Bee, Merry Gold, thank Miss Twilight.”

 

                The fillies removed their heads from a thick patch of tulips, “Thank you Miss Twilight!” they said in tandem before returning to the flowers. Tall Leaf gave a small sigh as he found a flower for himself to chew on.

                

                Fortunately for Twilight, who only gave a small grunt as she devoured a daffodil, there were plenty of flowers and assorted greenery in the box for the entire group to share, though she did worry about the price. A meal like this would run for about forty  or so bits in Equestria, and Twilight only brought fifteen, operating under the assumption that she wouldn’t have to use this much.

                The humans just watched the ponies dig into their meal. The woman had a look that seemed to regard their eating as cute, Hawk looked a bit discontented at the ravenous consumption of the flowers, and Zorro just stared away from the woman.

 

                “So Megan,” said Hawk, breaking his gaze away from the ponies and towards the woman, “how’re things?”

 

                The woman, Megan, looked at him, her face going neutral, “Oh fine. Between you and the tumble weed, this makes you my first customers all month.” She leaned forward, staring at Zorro for a moment before frowning. “I hope that your friend won’t be making a ruckus like last time.”

 

                Zorro coughed, and Twilight, between chews, thought she saw him blush ever so slightly.

 

                Megan then put her hands on her hips, and turned her frown on Hawk, “And why are YOU galavanting around with a family of ponies? I thought that Joseph was sending his best agent to guard them.”

 

                The entire Garden family was looking up from their meal, when Busy Bee, in a somewhat defensive tone, said, “Hawk is the best Ma’am! He’s the biggest, strongest human I know!” Merry Gold followed up with a “Yeah! And he saved our daddy’s life from wild dogs!”

 

                Megan looked at Hawk with a grin, who just shrugged and replied, “Hey, they think Zorro is the handsomest human on the planet.” Upon saying this, all three humans burst into laughter.

 

                Wiping tears from her eyes Megan moved towards the bar, “Alright fine. I guess seeing as how you’re the biggest and strongest you’ve earned some whiskey.” Megan got behind the bar and looked to the ponies, “Are any of you gentle ponies thirsty? I can whip up some tea real quick, and I think I have some soda somewhere.”

 

                Twilight cleared her throat, “I would love some of whatever you have Ms. Megan.” Upon saying the name, Twilight’s mind seemed to explode with thoughts, ‘Miss Megan? From the diary? Could it be the same person? Should I ask?’ Twilight decided that, after weighing the possible implications, she would wait to ask Megan if she once knew a little girl named Julie.

 

                Tall Leaf and Morning Dew decided to share a cup of tea, much to the playful disgust of their children, who instead chose soda. Megan just smiled and got to work, while Hawk and Zorro sat down at the ponies’ table.

 

                “Mr. Hawk?” Busy Bee said, leading into another Q and A session.

 

                Sighing, Hawk replied, “Yes Busy Bee?”

 

                The filly asked in complete seriousness, “What’s wisskey? Can I have some?”

 

                Hawk and Zorro exchanged smiles, and Twilight heard Megan snort out a laugh from behind the bar.

 

                “I dunno,” answered Hawk, “Whiskey is best drunk with friends, so maybe if everyone drinks.”

 

                “Hawk!” Megan called, slightly aghast, but mostly amused.

 

                Twilight gave a confused glance at Zorro, who only gave a wry smile back. Celestia had told Twilight to never pass up an opportunity to experience new things with friends, and she was curious about humanity’s, non-carnivorous, foods.

 

                “I’ll try some!” called Twilight, who glanced at Morning Dew and Tall Leaf, who nodded and spoke, “Us too!” Busy Bee looked at Merry Gold, and gave a small squeal of excitement. Merry Gold also looked excited, and she tapped her front hooves in anticipation.

 

                Megan just shook her head, “Alright.” She fetched eight glasses from behind the bar and Hawk moved adjacent chairs around their table until there were enough for everypony there. Then Megan brought out a bottle with three “X’s” on it and poured its contents into the eight tiny glasses. “Whenever you’re ready,” she said, “we all drink at once.” Twilight looked at Megan’s smile. It was the same smile as a mischievous child, and though wary of such smiles, Twilight lifted the small glass to her lips.

 

                “Hold onto your butts,” said Hawk, mimicking Twilight. Everypony and every human counted to three in their heads, and in one gulp, drank from their glasses.

 

                Every pony fell out of their chairs either, gasping, spitting, feeling their eyes cross, or laughing like there was no tomorrow. Twilight herself, after the initial burning sensation, couldn’t tell if the room was spinning, or if it was just her eyes. The humans’ laughter was undeniably the most earnest laughter she had ever heard from the species.

                After a brief period of being on her back looking at the ceiling spin, Twilight felt her head recover from the shot of whiskey, which was more like one of Applejack’s famous apple-bucks, except Twilight’s face was the tree. Standing up straight, with only one moment of staggering, Twilight saw Zorro leaning over the table, Hawk with a hand on Zorro’s shoulder and the other on his side, and Megan on the floor clutching her sides as if in pain. They were laughing so hard, they were gasping for air. Twilight furrowed her brow at the realization that she had just been pranked.

                Morning Dew was on her side with a hoof rubbing the side of her head, moaning slightly, while Tall Leaf was sitting on his hindquarters, his head swaying. The two fillies were on the floor, out cold. The humans were beginning to quiet down and even started to form words, before a hiccup escaped Twilight’s lips, which sent them into another long bout of giggles and gasps.

                A little embarrassed, Twilight was relieved when the teakettle started to shout, as Megan pulled herself up from the floor and began preparing the tea. Hawk walked over to the unconscious fillies and picked them up. They were so small compared to him that he held both in his arms. It looked rather sweet from Twilight’s viewpoint.

 

                Through the dying chortles and chuckles, Hawk managed to say, “Megan, I’m going to put these two in the room at the end of the hall. Is that okay?”

 

                “Sure,” said Megan, pulling keys from her jeans, chucking them to Zorro, who caught them with no effort. “Go help him out Z.”

 

                The two departed upstairs, exchanging the occasional laugh. The remaining ponies all took their seats around the table, as Megan began serving tea: a cup for Twilight, another for the Garden family parents, one for Megan, and two more for the others on their return.

 

                “Well,” started Morning Dew, “that was an experience. Do you humans actually drink that…stuff?”

 

                Megan gave a bright smile, her freckles only reminding Twilight more of her friend Applejack, “We sure do, but as Hawk said, only with friends.” She sipped her tea, “Or when you want to knock ponies on their flanks.” Everyone gave a good hearted laugh as they began conversing over tea.

 

*              *              *

 

                Evening seemed to sneak up on Twilight, and the last rays from the sun were painting the sky into another beautiful memory that she would cherish. As flat and dusty as this land was, it was beautiful, and she was glad that she came on this little excursion. The complementary bath didn’t hurt her mood either of course. Twilight even got to learn something about human bathing habits. When she first entered the bathroom, Hawk was in the bathtub, and when he noticed her he went red as a beet and told her to get out and wait her turn.

                

Looking back on it though, Twilight did think it was rather silly. She had no qualms about bathing with other ponies in the room. Maybe humans just like bathing alone?’ Twilight gave a small, refreshed sigh as she moved downstairs. There was still something she needed to take care of before preparing for bed.

 

Twilight had learned much about the human woman during breakfast. Megan had two horses out back which Twilight got to meet, named T.J. and Buttercup. Twilight was amazed by their size, the two horses were far larger than the ones in Equestria. Apparently, as Hawk told it, humans and horses have been inseparable since before recorded history. Twilight took note of it and planned to write a report about how humans and the other animals of the Human Lands co-existed. She also planned on writing many other reports as well, like the similarities of the ancient Knight’s Code and the Elements of Harmony, or an explanation of magic based on the description Yoda and Obi-Wan gave about the Force.

Megan was at the table they all sat at hours ago wiping off the soil from the flower box, which had been moved some time ago. Megan looked up as Twilight approached, “Well hey there sugar cube! Can I help you with something? Finding your room all in order?”

 

Twilight felt a smile grow across her face when Megan said ‘sugar cube.’ It lacked the accent of Applejack, but it still made Twilight feel like she was with her old friend again. “Everything is fine Ms. Megan, I was just wondering what we owe you for all of this hospitality.”

 

“Oh you don’t owe me anything, this is all coming out of your Princess’s piggy bank.”

 

Twilight was relieved, and then mortified. “Ohmygosh! How much did we spend? Was it a lot?” Twilight moved to the table and put her hooves on her temples. ‘That feast must be at least thirty bits, and the tea is about six, and was the whiskey free? Oh no no no no…

 

Megan but a hand on Twilight’s head and said, “All of twenty five dollars: two for the seeds, three for the tea leaves, and twenty for the rooms and baths. In bits however, it’d be about four for the whole thing.”

 

Twilight stared at her in disbelief. “No way.”

 

Megan gave a bemused smile, “Yes way. I’m sure your nation’s economy is safe and sound.” She turned and walked to the bar.

 

A wave of relief washed over Twilight, clearing the air for another question that had been on her mind, “Megan, were you ever a teacher?”

 

Megan looked at her. “For four whole years, before those camps of yours opened up. Why do you ask?”

 

Twilight went to her saddlebags, which still lay on the floor next to the table, and extracted the diary. “This belonged to a girl named Julie.” Twilight levitated it over to Megan, who put her hands over her mouth as her eyes began to water.

 

Megan reached out and grabbed it and opened to first page, and tears started rolling down her face. “Oh Julie-bean,” she said as she went from page to page. After reaching the final entry, Megan had to sit down and close the book. After a few moments of tears, she finally looked back at Twilight, wiping her face of any moisture, “Thank you for showing me this. It’s good to have some closure.”

 

Twilight stepped next to Megan and did her best to comfort her, “I’m sorry if I brought up bad memories.”

 

“Far from it,” replied Megan giving a weak laugh, “Julie was one of the sweetest little girls I’ve ever met.” the woman looked off into the distance, her eyes still wet, “God, she would always wear the cutest little bonnet to class every day, and she was so smart, and funny, and…” Megan buried her face into one of her hands, “When she laughed, I swear to God the world got brighter.”

 

It was a long while before either of them spoke, and several times Twilight wanted to leave Megan alone with her thoughts, but real friends always offer a shoulder to cry on. At least that’s what Applejack told her when Spike and Applebloom accidentally broke Rarity’s prize vase and Rarity went to AJ for support.

 

                Almost without warning Megan gave Twilight a strong hug, and held her tight. “Thank you Twilight,” she said moving back, “I think you should hold onto this.” She held out the diary to Twilight, who began to shake her head but Megan insisted, “I already have memories from my time spent with Julie, and I probably won’t ever see her again. You take this, and if you ever see her again, tell her I said hi, and that I love her.”

 

                Twilight nodded. “I’ll do what I can.” Granted, she couldn’t do much, but Twilight added the task to her mental to-do list none the less.

 

                “How about some wine?” suggested Megan, again wiping any moisture from her face as she stood up.

 

                Wine was something Twilight was familiar with. She  and her friends shared a bottle on all their birthdays. “I would love some,” she replied with a graceful nod.

 

                Twilight hadn’t seen Hawk for at least an hour, but she didn’t mind. She had spent her time with her new friend Megan, who was as good natured as Applejack and seemed to have more stories to tell than Twilight had books in her library. Twilight loved every minute of being with her, and for a while, she even forgot that she was talking with a human. It was just her and her new friend Megan. Laughing at each other’s bad jokes and telling their own stories of the good old days.

                Morning Dew and Tall Leaf were making their way down from the balcony, both of them looking somewhat ruffled. Tall Leaf was nuzzling his wife’s neck as she hummed sweet music into his ear. Twilight and Megan, warm and fuzzy from the wine, exchanged glances, and then smiled. No question what the loving couple just finished doing in a room they have all to themselves, away from any prying ears. Megan and Twilight started snickering before offering the couple a few glasses of wine.

 

                ‘Why do humans need to change? They’re fine the way they are!’ thought Twilight.

A distant memory arose in the back of Twilight’s mind, one from when ponies first met humanity. Twilight,her mentor had said, pain heavy in her voice, “These creatures are so savage. They cause cause such pain to each other and the world around them, they live in misery and fear. We cannot stand by any longer. We have to save them and this planet which they have wounded so grievously, before they destroy everything.

 

                ‘But Princess,’ Twilight remembered asking her, ‘They can’t be all bad!

                

                “I am sure they aren’t my student, but that hardly means they are all good.

 

 

*              *              *

 

A long hour later, another car drove into the parking lot. It sounded like it was filled with a lot of people, and Megan’s face darkened as she got up from the table, “Excuse me a moment.” She moved behind the bar with an urgent quickness to her step.

 

                Six men walked through the door, all of them had a gun. Three of them had bandannas over their faces and long coats over their bodies, each of them carrying a shotgun. The lead man was clean shaven, and wore a hat much like Hawk’s. He wore a black shirt with its top three buttons undone, revealing a necklace that had a snake’s skull as its centerpiece. His face was wrinkled and a wicked scar came down from his ear to his mouth. At his side hung a revolver.

                The man to his left, who was larger, balder, and fatter but not so much that it would be a liability, had no facial hair at all, but instead wore the most vile smile Twilight had ever seen. He had a stained plain blue shirt on that was too small for his girth and suspender pants that only barely reached his ankles. In his hand was an AK-47.

                The third man wore a poncho much like Zorro’s, except it had a diamond design, and a wide brim hat of his own that covered most of his face with shadows. He had boots with spurs on his feet, and a Bowie knife in his hands, which he was fiddling with as he entered.

 

                “Boa, get her,” said the lead man, pointing at Twilight, his voice was soft, but intimidating none the less. The fat one, with a disgusting sort of chuckle, moved towards the young unicorn.

 

                The sound of a gun cocking rang out, “Don’t you touch her you son of a bitch,” Megan called out from behind the bar, now holding a Winchester Repeater that was pointed at the fat man’s head.

 

                Twilight moved back toward Megan, her horn glowing as she readied a spell to bind the strange men. Tall Leaf stood in front of his wife and lowered his head, ready to charge at the possible threat. Morning Dew shrunk behind her husband with a scared look on her face.

 

                The lead man had drawn and fired his revolver at Megan faster than Twilight could blink. One second he was just standing there with a cruel looking smile on his face, the next he had his gun in his hand, its barrel smoking. Megan had fallen down behind the bar, without any sound other than scream and a thump.

The fat one moved again towards Twilight. “Come ‘ere honey!” his voice was guttural, “come to me baby!”

 

                Twilight released her spell and bound his arms and legs together. “What the fu-!?” was all he was able to get out before his face crashed onto the ground.

 

                The lead man sighed and gave the order to the rest of the men. The one in the poncho moved for Tall Leaf, who sent a buck his way, but failed to connect as the man deftly dodged to the side and punched the stallion in the side of the head. Tall Leaf found himself on the floor with a boot on his neck as the man in the poncho lifted Morning Dew into the air by her neck and slammed her onto the table. Within moments he held his bowie knife to her throat, discouraging any squirming she might have attempted..

 

                Twilight panicked as three men in bandanas approached her, each leveling their guns at her.

 

                With a bang, the middle one’s head tuned on its side in a sharp and sudden movement. A spray of red erupting from the wound drew Twilight’s attention. On the balcony stood Hawk, who was fully clothed with his revolver in his hand and an expression on his face that Twilight could only describe as of pure hate.

Hawk pointed his gun at the lead man, “Cottonmouth!”

 

Cottonmouth looked up, smiling, “Hawk! It’s been too long since we last saw each other. Has it really been all of four years?”

 

“Let go of the ponies.” Hawk’s voice was dripping with contempt. “Now.”

 

“Of course last time we saw one another, I was putting a bullet into your back.” Cottonmouth chuckled, “And I’m sorry, but I need that little pony. You see I got big plans for her, but her friends…” he gestured to the man in the poncho, “Well Diamondback isn’t known for his gentle touch. In fact he’s right clumsy with that knife sometimes.” Cottonmouth’s eyes narrowed, “So unless you want that pretty yellow one to see how clumsy he can be, I suggest you drop that gun.”

Twilight began to focus on a blinding spell, like she used on those dogs. She was trying her best to stay calm and not give in to fear, but when two hostile humans were pointing their guns at her, she got anxious. When her horn began to glow, one of the men struck her in the side of the head with the butt of his gun. She wasn’t unconscious, but she was dazed and on the floor.

 

Hawk’s eyes went wide as he immediately shot the man who struck her, giving the attacker’s throat a new hole from which he bled profusely while gasping for air. Cottonmouth, as quick as Hawk shot his gun, shot at Hawk. Fortunately, Hawk was fast, and with a knee-jerk reaction, avoided the bullet.

 

“Not another move Agent Hawk. You fire another round and the pretty yellow one dies.”

 

From Twilight’s position on the ground she saw Megan, a hand was over a deep red spot on her shoulder. She was clenching her teeth, and tears were rolling from her eyes. Megan saw Twilight, and saw the bloody bruise on the unicorn’s head. With her good hand, Megan began reaching for her repeater.

 

Hawk was shaking all over, and after five very long seconds, dropped his revolver. It hit the floor with a clack. “Whatever you’re planning, you won’t get away with it. I will kill you.”

 

Cottonmouth let out a laugh, “That’s where you’re wrong Hawk. You won’t be around to stop me. See this time, I’m gonna shoot you in the heart.” Cottonmouth raised his gun, “Not that you got one…”

Cottonmouth fired his gun.

Hawk fell to the floor.

 

Twilight wanted to scream, but her head was still too blurry to even think. All she could do was to let out a groan, “…Hawk…Megan…”

 

The magic bindings on Boa released themselves. “About God damn time!” he said, his vile grin returning. He walked over to Twilight, who was struggling to focus. “Oooooh…darlin’ you don’t look so good. C’mere baby…come to Boa…” when he picked Twilight up, she felt him slide his hand between her legs. It was only for a moment, but it left a lasting feeling. If not for the blow from earlier, she would have screamed in protest or slung lightning at him, but all she could do was give a weak cry.

 

Cottonmouth holstered his gun, “Grab those two Diamondback, we’ll need them. And Boa…” he turned to his fat subordinate, “Keep your hands to yourself till this is over with. I don’t need you or my little friend here distracted. Understand?”

 

Boa frowned, like a child being denied a cookie, “Even that one?” he asked pointing to Morning Dew, who along with her husband, was being dragged by their throats outside.

 

“Yes. Now put her in the car. You can play with them till they’re dead AFTER I got what I want from ‘em.”

 

Boa’s face made a disgusting smile, “Oh good…that’s good.” He stroked Twilight’s mane.

 

The strangers shoved the ponies into an old army truck that had a canvas covering of the back. Cottonmouth and Diamondback got in back with the ponies, and Boa moved up front to the driver’s position. The last man with the bandana gave a quick look around before moving to leave. Boa started the truck. The bandit walked through the front door.

A loud bang rang out and a small hole exploded in the bandit’s leg. Cottonmouth gave the order to drive off as Megan emerged from the Chateau Minuit and holding the Winchester with her good hand, glaring as she watched the truck drive away faster than she could follow. She looked at the car Hawk had used to get here and saw its tires were slashed. She spat blood out of her mouth and walked over to the downed bandit, who was lying on the ground gripping the new wound in his upper leg.

 

Megan stood over him scowling. He looked up and spit at her, in some weak attempt at defiance. She brought her boot down on his head, causing his vision to go black.

 

 

 

 

 

To Be Continued…

Hawk’s been shot?!

Ponies have been kidnapped?!

Zorro didn’t help?!

Boa does what to ponies?!

All these questions and more may or may not be answered.

It all depends on how my free time looks.


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (Let’s see if I can NOT make this GRIMDARK)

 

Yellowstone

Part 6:

The Hawk and the Serpent

 

                Hawk got up from his bed as he heard a car pull into the parking lot. He had been relaxing with his friend Zorro and the two pony fillies after a nice bath and some wine, and he had been hoping to have an evening of answering any questions Busy Bee and Merry Gold might come up with. Those plans were dashed when he saw the old army truck roll up. Four armed men hopped out of the back, two came out of the front. Hawk recognized the man coming out of the passenger’s seat immediately.

 

                “Zorro, stay here and whatever happens, keep those two safe.”

 

                Zorro stood up from his bed and tried to hide the concern in his voice, “Come to me niñas.” He scooped up the now very confused fillies and placed them on the bed behind him. “Hawk, what is it?”

 

                “Yeah Mr. Hawk,” asked Bee, “what’s going on?” She gave a sudden look of fright and asked another question, “Is it more wild dogs?!”

 

Hawk hastily extracted and donned a kevlar jacket from his black duffel bag. There were a few things in this bag he would have liked to bring, but those took time to prepare, and time was not on his side. He covered the vest with his over shirt and duster. He glanced at his friend, and then to the fillies. They looked terrified. So was he to be honest, but he had people to protect so fear wasn’t an option right now.

Hawk answered Zorro’s question with one word, “Cottonmouth.” Zorro nodded and pulled the fillies in closer.

They all heard Megan’s voice from downstairs, “Don’t you touch her you son of a bitch!”

 

 Drawing his revolver Hawk moved out of the room and down the hallway. There was a gun shot. Moving at a run, Hawk reached the balcony overlooking a scene he had hoped never to see, especially on this trip. Two out of three ponies were hostages, Megan was bleeding behind the bar, and three men were advancing on the last pony. Hawk should have shot at Cottonmouth. He knew he should have shot at Cottonmouth, but he didn’t. Hawk took aim at the lead man advancing on Twilight and fired.

Everything after that happened in a blur that ended up with Cottonmouth shooting him in the chest. A great many thoughts raced through his head at first, mostly berating his choice of targets, but eventually there was one that stuck. Hawk was on the ground and his vision was going black, the only thought was one of anger at his failure. In his head, one angry thought kept repeating: ‘NO! GET UP! GET UP AND KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Zorro came into the hallway when he saw the army truck leave. The gunshots had worried him enough, but the fact that it was the bandits getting away made him fear the worst. He couldnt stop the fillies from following him even if he wanted to, and he truly wish he could if only to spare them from the sights they were about to see.

                What Zorro saw first was the body of his friend Hawk, lying on the balcony, bleeding. Busy Bee let out a scream of terror. Rushing over to Hawk’s body, Zorro examined the wound with intense focus. He looked for a pulse and smiled beyond measure when he found one. It was slow, but there, and that was enough.

 

                “Hawk!” Zorro shouted, trying to stir his friend. Merry Gold stood next to him sobbing, while Busy Bee stood on his other side, crying aloud, “Is he okay? Is he gonna be okay?!” tears making small puddles on the ground.

 

                Megan’s voice came from outside, “Zorro! Are the fillies safe?”

 

                Zorro hefted Hawk’s body over his shoulders, responding “Yes Megan, they are safe, but Hawk needs surgery immediately!” Zorro carried Hawk down the stairs and placed him onto the closest table as gently as he could.

 

                Megan entered, dragging a man in behind her with her good arm and flung him onto the floor. “Is he going to make it Z?”

 

                “Maybe. The bullet only just stopped at his heart, though it went through a rib and the kevlar to get there. He should live. Hawk bears a charmed life after all.”

 

Megan gazed at the fillies who stood on the balcony looking down. Busy Bee and Merry Gold were just staring at the carnage left by the humans. They looked confused and scared, unsure of what was taking place. Merry Gold asked on behalf of Busy Bee, who was far too choked up, “Is Mr. Hawk going to be okay?”

 

Megan gave them a smile, “You bet. It’ll take more than a bullet to down this hawk.” Megan desperately wanted to believe that, but she had seen men die from less. She did her best to not show any signs of distress. Her shoulder began to hurt again.

 

“Megan, I need another hand in here,” said Zorro. Megan leaned forward, wincing in pain, and laid her good hand onto Hawk’s.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

The operation seemed like it took an eternity, but eventually Zorro had patched Hawk up the best he could. Megan only having only one good arm slowed matters down, but to the surprise of both humans, Merry Gold came forward to help. More surprising was that she seemed to have a talent for it, remembering even the slightest details and movements almost instantly. When it came time to treat Megan’s wound, Zorro swore Merry Gold could probably have done it herself.

With bloody hands and hooves, the three took to the many chairs that lay strewn over the floor. Busy Bee and Merry Gold sat by Hawk’s side curled up together, and did not seem ready to leave it anytime soon. Zorro and Megan sat a bit of a way off, sharing a bottle of some kind of booze. The label had long ago worn off, and Megan couldn’t remember what it was previously.

Zorro and Megan regarded the man Megan had captured, who was now tied to a chair next to the bar. Zorro had given him the Sherlock Holmes treatment and tried to get an idea where Cottonmouth’s lair might be based on observation alone. Unfortunately, all Zorro got from the attempt was that where ever it was, it was dusty, and a dusty area in the mid west was rather common.

                

                “…geh…t… up” moaned Hawk.

 

                The fillies’ ears perked up and smiles exploded onto their faces. “Mr. Hawk!” shouted Busy Bee, “Megan, Zorro! Mr. Hawk is waking up!”

 

                Hawk opened his eyes. “Where…?”

 

                Zorro moved over his friend, “Amigo! You’re alive!” Zorro put his hand onto Hawk’s and gave it a squeeze. Megan also stood next to the wounded man, and though she didn’t say anything, her tears and smile spoke volumes.

 

                Hawk continued, his tone void of all emotion, “Cottonmouth. Where is Cottonmouth?”

 

                Zorro gave a small sigh, “We do not know yet, but we have one of his men. I was thinking that with the right persuasion he would talk.”

 

                Hawk began to sit up, “Where is he?”

 

                “Over there, tied up. He’s unconscious,” Megan gave a small laugh, “guess I hit him too hard.”

 

                Hawk got up with a grunt, much to the discouragement of Megan and Zorro. The fillies were awestruck however. After all, Hawk was back. He and Zorro would save their parents from the bad humans. Not even guns could stop him.

 

                Hawk lurched towards the bound man, “Well. I’d say it’s time to rise and shine.” Hawk unsheathed his knife.

It was then Busy Bee really saw his face. Saw it wasn’t the Hawk she knew standing there before them. Sure he looked the same and had the same face, but his eyes were all wrong. They were darker, more menacing, and the air around him lost that comforting aura Busy Bee had come to know. It was instead replaced with something cold. With every second of this realization, the filly’s joy faded and was replaced with a growing unease. Without question, he looked angry.

 

“Busy Bee. Merry Gold. Go to your room with Megan.” Hawk’s voice was cold and sharp, and demanded obedience. The two fillies left without a word, neither of them dared to look back. Megan followed them as fast as she could, and closed the door to the fillies’ room. She sat on the bed with them, trying to think of ways to assuage their fears.

 

“Miss Megan,” started Busy Bee, “What’s wrong with Hawk?”

 

Megan gazed at the small pony, debating whether to tell the truth. “Hawk is very…” she was never any good at lying, “…protective. If someone or something hurts the people he cares about, he gets very angry.” Somehow, the news that Hawk cared about them didn’t comfort the two fillies. Their thoughts had recalled the movies they had watched on the train. They were worried that Hawk was turning towards the Dark Side.

 

Downstairs, Hawk had begun to wake up the unconscious prisoner. Smelling salts proved effective enough, and the prisoner was well awake within a minute or two. The prisoner looked up, and stared at Hawk defiantly. Hawk began his interrogation by pinning the man’s hand to the bar with his knife. The man let loose a scream that chilled everyone to the bone. Everyone save Hawk, who only scowled harder.

 

Hawk drew close to the man, looking him dead in the eye, “You are going to tell me everything about Cottonmouth’s whereabouts, and what his plans are.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

It was dawn when Twilight opened her eyes. Her head still hurt, but at least now she could think somewhat straight. As far as she could tell, she was in an old iron jail cell, in an old wooden building, no doubt in some old human town. Across from her in another cell were Morning Dew and Tall Leaf. Both seemed no worse for wear, though it looked like they both had done an awful lot of crying during the night. Outside the cells, there was a door to her right that led outside, and to her left was a desk beneath a barred window.

Cottonmouth was sitting at the desk, his boots propped up on it. The one called Diamondback stood behind him. Diamondback’s hat had made his face too shadowy to make out, but Twilight could tell he was looking at her, and it was not a kind look.

 

                Cottonmouth spoke, “Finally, she’s conscious.” He stood up and walked in front of Twilight’s cage, Diamondback following close behind.

 

Twilight rose to her hooves, albeit wobbly, if for no other reason than to not show weakness to her captor. “Why have you kidnapped us?” she asked, the words barely audible.

 

“Because,” said Cottonmouth, “I need your help with a little favor.”

 

Twilight was taken a bit off guard with that statement, “Why in the name of all that is good would I help you?”

“Because if you don’t, or if you fail to do what I ask,” his face came level with hers, “I’ll let Boa have his way with that pretty mare over yonder. He’ll do things to her. Vile things that should only exist in nightmares. And I’ll make you watch every second of it. Every wicked, depraved second. She’ll beg to die before it’s over, but it’ll only get worse. That’s why I know you’ll help me, because you ponies can’t stand to see another one of your own suffer.”

 

Twilight looked on the human with horror. What scared her most was that her was absolutely right. She couldn’t let Morning Dew or Tall Leaf suffer even if helping them meant helping Cottonmouth. Twilight lowered her head, “I…I’ll help, just please don’t hurt us. What do you want from me?”

 

                A grin grew across Cottonmouth’s face. His reply was cold, “Listen good: all I need you to do is make some of that ponification potion you all use in those camps, but with a little added condition.” He leaned against the bars, “Leave out that bit that takes away all the bad in a man. If you do this for me, you all go free.”

 

                Twilight was stunned. “That’s it?” she asked surprised, “You kidnapped us, threatened us with torture, and killed other humans for that?!”

 

                “Yes, simple as that. That is if you make it right. Now, we got an understanding?” He locked eyes with Twilight’s, sending a shiver down her spine.

 

                Twilight knew there was something bigger at work in that man’s head, but she dared not show any defiance. Not yet anyway. “I’ll need some ingredients.”

 

                Diamondback threw a notepad and pencil into Twilight’s cell. Cottonmouth stood up straight, saying, “Then you’d best make a shopping list. You have three days before I make good on that, ‘threat’ Miss Twilight. Do not try any of that magic of yours either. If you do, the husband starts losing body parts.”

 

                Cottonmouth left, leaving Diamondback with the ponies, leaning on the desk. Morning Dew began to cry all over again, and Tall Leaf was doing his best to comfort her, but he was tearing up too.

                Twilight began scrawling the names of ingredients she would need, tears from her own eyes dropping onto the paper. She looked out the window above the desk and saw a tree. In the tree was a hawk, and in its beak was a dead snake. Her tears stopped flowing, and a warmth started to fill her.

                

                A tiny fire of hope arose in Twilight, ‘A good omen if ever I saw one.

 

 

*              *              *

 

                It had taken an hour, a couple of threats and Zorro’s good cop routine, but Hawk had managed to extract the location of Cottonmouth’s lair from the prisoner, a Mr. Henry “Copperhead” Sweets. A ghost town from back during the gold rush, named Sweet Water. Hawk also learned that Cottonmouth had seventeen other men, not counting his lieutenants, a private jet hidden somewhere that was fueled and ready to transport him anywhere in the country, sub machine guns and shotguns out the ass and a mountain of ammo. Doing a frontal assault was not the ideal plan.

                

                “Anything else I should know about Cottonmouth, Henry?” Hawk loomed over him, holding his revolver against the prisoner’s head. “Like what he wanted with the unicorn?”

 

                The prisoner stammered, blood loss from his pinned hand taking its toll, “He…he only said he needed…Needed it for the potion they make. The ponification...That’s all I know I swear! Please let me go…please!”

 

                Hawk began to squeeze the trigger. Zorro however, placed his hand on his partner’s shoulder, which gave Hawk pause long enough for him to reconsider. Hawk knocked the prisoner unconscious with a swift punch to the face. His chest gave out another painful stab.

 

                After moving the prisoner into the back room, Zorro treated his wounds, much to Hawk’s displeasure. “Hawk,” said Zorro before he had left the room, “don’t lose focus on me. You coming close to that edge that I’ve seen a lot of men fall off of. I would rather not see you become a murderer.”

                

                Hawk considered the words, but only replied with a grunt. He walked into the main hall, and saw Megan on the balcony, shaking her head. “Did you have to make him bleed all over the bar? I have to clean that you know.” She gave a weak smile in an attempt to lighten the mood, and the sides of Hawk’s mouth did crack into an ever so small grin, if only for a second.

 

                “Megan,” he said, “get three coffins ready. It’s time we reunited Cottonmouth with his boys.”

 

                Megan gave him quite a look, like he had asked her to give him the moon. “You ask for the damndest things Hawk.”

Hawk just walked into the back room, and then through the back door and into the stable where Megan kept her two horses. T.J. and Buttercup stood waiting, and looked at Hawk as he entered. T.J. was an older golden-brown mare with white spots on her flanks and one right between her eyes, whereas Buttercup was a completely black stallion whose youth made him strong. Hopefully strong enough to cart three coffins and a wagon by himself.

                

                Zorro walked in, carrying Hawk’s duffel bag. “So amigo, who are the three coffins for?” he said, picking up a saddle. “Cottonmouth and his two friends I hope.”

 

                Hawk put his hand over his heart, wincing, “Nah. One’s for me.”

 

*              *              *

 

 

                In the time after Cottonmouth had left, Twilight had noticed several things about their guard Diamondback. He never moved, he never blinked, and he never spoke. He just watched. Until Boa entered the room that is.

                Twilight saw Diamondback give a disgusted look as the fatter man approached with three plates of day old cabbage. ‘Edible but hardly appetizing,’ thought Twilight. Tall Leaf and Morning Dew both leaned away from Boa as he passed. Boa blew Morning Dew a kiss which made Twilight want to vomit, a sentiment which Diamondback seemed to share.

 

                “It’s noon sweethearts, that means you get to eat! You’ve got to keep your strength up after all,” he eyed both Twilight and Morning Dew, “don’t want to be weak for all the fun we’ll be having later.” He turned to Diamondback, vile grin dissipating, “Your shift is over, these lovelies are under my watch now.”

 

                In an instant Diamondback had slammed Boa’s head onto the desk and put his knife in the fat man’s face. “I seem to recall,” Diamondback’s voice was scratchy and stern, “Cottonmouth said that you weren’t to come within fifty feet of those things.” He inched the knife close to Boa’s eye, “Gave orders to kill you if you had a problem with that. And you know me Boa,” the knife point danced over Boa’s cheek, “I do so love following orders.”

 

                After quieting a panicked breath with a gulp, Boa finally gave out a few weak chuckles, “O-okay Diamondback, you’ve made your point. I got it. I’ll be patient just like the boss said to be. I’m going now.” Diamondback let him up, and Boa walked out the door looking back nervously, scowling every so often.

 

                When he was gone, Diamondback slid the plates of food through the bars with his foot, and then returned to his position. Morning Dew looked up at him after he resumed his waiting. “Thank you,” she said, again lowering her head to her meal. His face did not move an inch, and his eyes didn’t flicker with the acknowledgement that she had said anything.

                

Twilight began her own meal going over what she had learned so far today. ‘One, Diamondback does not like Boa. Two, lunch comes at noon. Three, Diamondback doesn’t seem to care what happens to us, he just follows orders like a soldier ant or something…’ She looked out the window again, the hawk had left, but there was a feather in the tree that it had left behind, which was enough to keep that little fire of hope alive. ‘…I can work with this, I just have to think. What would a clever pony do? Or hay, what would a deceitful human do?

 

Twilight got an idea, but it involved Morning Dew and she wouldn’t like it. In fact, Twilight was pretty sure that no pony would like it.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Busy Bee was getting impatient, anxious, and a whole lot of other adjectives that meant she wanted to do something other than sit in a room and wait. “Where are they?” she asked, “When are they gonna save mom and dad?”

 

                Merry Gold lay on the bed, “I don’t know, but I hope it’s soon. I miss mom’s songs, and dad’s dumb looks he gives her.”

 

                “Even if they are gross!” said Busy Bee beginning to laugh. Despite herself, Merry Gold joined in with a giggle as sweet as a bird’s song. It was the first real laugh either of them had since last night, and it was well received. It made it seem like everything was going to be fine.

 

                “Now that is a sound I like hearing,” Zorro’s voice came from the door. His face showed equal signs of bemusement and worry.

 

                “Zorro! Are you and Hawk going to get our parents now?” Busy Bee’s hopeful smile was almost more than the swordsman could bear.

 

                “Soon little one,” he crouched down to one knee, “Hawk, Megan, and I are all going to get them back. We have a plan, and your two’s job in it is to help Megan.” He gave a look like he didn’t agree with what he just said, but he said it, and the fillies almost exploded with joy.

 

                Busy Bee was beyond excited to know she would be helping to save her parents. They were bound to succeed now, she thought, nothing could stop her from getting her parents back. Not even getting shot would stop her. She’d be just like Hawk: brave and unstoppable, ignoring bullets like they were nothing.

 

                Hawk, meanwhile,  was barely able to stand. That bullet had done quite a number on him and without something to focus his hate on, his adrenaline rush was wearing off and made the pain in his chest all the more intense. It was past noon and Hawk’s plan was coming together. Zorro would be working his ass off to get those coffins ready, and Megan was busy bringing out an old horse drawn wagon.

                Hawk had busied himself by going over the contents of his duffel bag. When everything was all laid out like this, he tended to question if he was paranoid, or compensating for something. He shook his head, concluding that he was just prepared. Of course having three handguns, two magnums, three rifles, one high powered sniper rifle, a collapsible RPG launcher, a couple pounds of C-4, a fold-up crossbow, a hundred feet of rope with grappling hook, twelve sticks of dynamite, an assault rifle, an auto shotgun, a double barreled sawed-off shotgun, and a enough ammo to keep each weapon well fed for an entire minute of non-stop firing, did seem a little overkill.

                

                “Son of a bitch,” said Megan as Hawk placed a small flame thrower on the ground next to the rest of his armory, “Do I get any of these?”

 

                Hawk turned, trying to block out the pain, “Is the wagon ready?”

 

                Megan gave Hawk a dry look, “Yes, and Buttercup is hitched to the front of it.” Megan began walking around Hawk, “Why are we bringing the little ones Hawk? They don’t need to see this.”

 

                Hawk was silent for a bit before saying, “Because they were going to follow us out there whether we wanted them or not. It’s just how these Equestrian ponies are I guess, especially the kids.” He sat on a large wooden box, “They just have to help. Even if we don’t want them to.”

 

                Megan gave a thoughtful nod. “C’mon,” she said, “Zorro’s earning his keep today. He made lunch.” She left for the bar room, leaving Hawk alone.

 

                ‘First lunch…’ Hawk thought to himself, moving towards the bar, ‘ ...and then, revenge.

 

To be Continued.

Next chapter: Shit goes down

Gunfights, swashbuckling, explosions, and cute little ponies!

Seriously though, next chapter’s delivering the action I promised

If it doesn’t I’m going to be very cross

And let’s see if you guys can figure out the plans

Place your bets!


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (It’s almost over!)

 

Yellowstone

Part 7:

Judgment Day

 

 

                When night fell, two armed men came into the jail where Twilight, Morning Dew, and Tall Leaf were being kept under the watchful eye of Diamondback. Their warden had not moved since morning and had not spoken except when he confronted Boa. If not for the fact that he blinked once every hour or so, Twilight would have believed him to be made out of wax.

 

                A bandit walked over to him and said, “Boss is back sir, and he wants the unicorn in his office.

 

                Without a sound, Diamondback reached around behind himself and withdrew old iron keys as he moved towards Twilight’s cage. With a loud clatter he unlocked the cell door, and in a voice that seemed to be dripping with venom, simply said, “Move.”

 

                Twilight shuffled out with her head lowered, and took a long glance at the parents of the Garden family. Their expressions showcased a certain hopelessness that gave her a sense of unease. Twilight was then escorted outside by the two unnamed bandits, one in front and one behind, while Diamondback went back to his previous position at the desk.

                Outside it was cold and dark, with oil lanterns signifying the few buildings that were inhabited. The buildings themselves reminded Twilight of Appleloosa, except older, and much less friendly. Scanning all she could in her march, she discovered that the layout of this town was remarkably similar to the Equestrian frontier village.

 

                There was a large building with swinging doors and a lot of noise within, ‘That must be the saloon,’ thought Twilight, squinting in the darkness for any other obvious landmarks she could use later. ‘Bell tower, the jail of course...’ The convoy approached a building at the end of the main street which seemed larger than the other buildings, except for the saloon. ‘Mayor’s office perhaps? Why are all these buildings so far apart? It makes my whole plan a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

                

                As the trio approached the front door, it opened to reveal Boa , who stood grinning at Twilight. She experienced a very uncomfortable shiver down her spine, with the simultaneous urge to puke.

“Well howdy doo,” said Boa swaying a pistol about as he spoke, “I’ll take her from here boys.”

 

The guard in back hit Twilight’s flank with the butt of his gun, “Go on. Get moving.”

 

Twilight’s hooves felt like lead. ‘This is it Twilight. Let’s hope Boa is as stupid as he is ugly and wicked.’ She moved forward, her head slightly higher than previously. As she passed Boa, she heard him lick his lips, and used every ounce of her willpower not to cringe.

The interior of what was indeed the mayor’s office and home was lavishly decorated with fine rugs, oil lanterns and Twilight could hear music being played from somewhere in the house. The lobby was large, and had four possible escape routes. The front door, the huge stairway that led to the second floor, and hallways on either side of the lobby.

 

Boa closed the front door and moved behind Twilight, “This way honey pot.” He pointed his gun to the door on the left of the room. He then gestured for Twilight to go first saying, “Go on sweetie, don’t be scared, I’ll be right behind you.”

 

Oh Celestia, I am going to have nightmares over this.’ Twilight gulped down her fear and enacted step one of her plan. “Thank you Mr. Boa. I feel much better in the presence of a Big, Strong, man like you.” Twilight tried to coat every word of that sentence with whatever feminine charm she had picked up from Rarity. ‘Now to see if my guess was right.

 

Boa leaned his head in close to Twilight’s, while placing his free hand on Twilight’s flank. “Well ain’t that the nicest thing I heard all day.” His breath was awful, but the mare was able to give a shaky smile.

 

“Why, Morning Dew thinks that you should be the one giving that Diamondback orders. You’re obviously stronger than him, and she thinks you have so much more…” Twilight gulped down some vomit, “…charisma.”

 

After a small silence, he looked down slightly, mumbling to himself, “…I won’t need to be stronger than him if I put a bullet in him…” The hand on Twilight’s hindquarters gave a slap to her flank, eliciting a surprised noise from the unicorn. “Can’t keep the boss man waiting any longer darlin’. But don’t you fret, we’ll be together real soon.” He pointed at the door again with his gun hand, and Twilight moved towards it with as much swiftness as she could without breaking into a gallop.

 

I am never doing that again.

 

The door opened slowly, revealing a fully equipped chemistry lab with boxes on the far wall. There was even a large cauldron in the center of the room. Cottonmouth was sitting in a comfortable looking chair, where he sat fiddling with the snake skull of his necklace.

 

“Come into my den Miss Twilight. I got you your materials, now you make me my potion. Then you and your friends all get to leave.”

 

He was obviously lying, and Twilight gave a slight grunt as she moved towards the materials these bandits had no doubt killed for. “I still don’t see why you want me to do this for you. It doesn’t make any sense.”

 

Cottonmouth let out a small laugh under his breath, “Tell you what. You get done fast enough, and I might tell you what all this is about.”

 

Not the answer she was hoping for, but it was enough to get her curious. Twilight set her mind to the task at hand. In reality, making the potion wouldn’t take long at all, but Cottonmouth didn’t know that. And every second she could stall this crook would be worth it. She knew Hawk would be coming for her, and he would need the time to prepare.

 

*              *              *

 

                Zorro sat at the front of a wagon steering the stallion, Buttercup. Zorro never knew why Megan named the poor boy that, but despite his name, the horse was fierce and powerful. The three coffins in the back of the wagon weren’t top quality, but they would serve their purpose in Hawk’s plan. Zorro just hoped it worked.

                Megan rode up next to Zorro on T.J. who also carried two saddle bags, with a sleeping filly in each.

 

                “We should be there by sunrise. Hopefully Cottonmouth lets his boys sleep in,” Megan said, eying the coffins with worry.

 

                Zorro smirked at the thought, “And I hope you are a good shot with that new toy Hawk gave you.” Zorro pointed at the sniper rifle holstered on the side of T.J.

 

                Megan returned the comment with a smile, “And I hope you can still use that sword of yours. It might be embarrassing if it turned out you were all talk.”

 

                They both allowed themselves a small laugh in order to quiet their nerves. They were walking into a bad situation and they knew it. The fillies were a great help squashing the fear Zorro and Megan had felt. They had the unwavering belief that everything would be fine, just like in the cartoons, and despite it all, Zorro believed it right along with them.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Twilight had stalled for about four hours. ‘Long enough,’ she thought. “There. Now we let it sit overnight, and it’ll be ready for the enchantment.Then you can let me and my friends go.” The large cauldron next to her bubbled with boiling water and tea leaves. Twilight considered taking a sip of possibly the most delicious brew of Sweet Honey Apple tea she had ever made, but decided against it.

 

                Cottonmouth let out a tired sigh, “Only if it does what I want. And why don’t you just cast the enchantment now?”

 

                Twilight gave a neutral look, “The ritual dictates that the enchantment must be cast when the brew is hit by the first rays of morning.” It didn’t of course, but it should buy enough time for her plan to go through.

 

                Cottonmouth frowned, “But why?”

 

                “It’s magic. That’s just how it works.” Twilight retorted, ‘I don’t have to explain manure, especially to him.

 

                With a scowl Cottonmouth snapped his fingers twice, and Boa entered the room. “Escort the unicorn to her cell.”

 

                “With absolute pleasure sir!” Boa gave a bowed slightly, gesturing for Twilight to come to him while he pointed his gun at her with his other hand. How could she refuse that charm?

 

                When they left the manor, Boa slowed his pace and got behind Twilight. She kept walking, trying to quicken her pace without it being too noticeable. She could only guess at what Boa was doing behind her, but everything she thought of made her sick.

To her great amazement, Twilight was actually relieved when she caught sight of Diamondback, standing on the porch of the jail. At least Boa couldn’t touch her now, but she still needed to proceed to step two of her plan.

 

“Oh Mr. Boa,” Twilight cooed softly, “Would you be so kind to bring breakfast to us early? For the sake of Morning Dew? She’d be so grateful, that I’d bet she’d be liable to do anything to thank you for it.” ‘I hate this plan. I really, really, hate this plan.

 

Boa didn’t respond, but she did hear him give a hum that sounded like he accepted. As they approached, Diamondback stood to the side of the door. Boa was about to give Twilight a spank on her rump, but Diamondback’s glare reminded him of Cottonmouth’s orders. With that, Diamondback led Twilight to her cell across from the couple, who were asleep. Twilight also had to get some rest, so she found a comfy enough place on the floor to lay down.

If everything went according to plan tomorrow morning, Boa and Diamondback would get into a fight, and Twilight would teleport herself and the other two ponies to safety. True she didn’t have a plan to live out on the plains and prairies, but she knew Hawk would be along soon. He was the best after all.

 

                Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day,’ she thought as sleep overtook her.

 

 

*              *              *

 

                It was before sunrise when Twilight was nudged awake by a boot. Her bleary eyes focused on Diamondback’s scowl.

 

                “Move,” he said, his tone as venomous as ever.

 

                As much as Twilight was disgusted to admit, she really wanted Boa to show up right now. ‘Oh no. Oh no, no, no. Show up you monster!’ Twilight dragged her hooves as she walked out of the cage, ‘C’mon! Where are you? Did he see through the lie? Was it not convincing?

 

                Twilight’s slowness earned her a kick to the rump from Diamondback, “Move faster.”

 

                Twilight quickened her pace slightly, gazing at Morning Dew. She and her husband were watching her go, their eyes full of fear and concern. Twilight could only respond with a pained look of her own towards Morning Dew. ‘This is not good. Not good at all.

                The main street was deserted except for a few patrolling guards. Diamondback seemed to be the one escorting her to the mansion today, which bothered Twilight immensely. If he wasn’t in the jail, then Twilight had practically thrown Morning Dew into the lion’s mouth. Her mind raced at possible ways to fix this problem. She was drawing a blank as she and her captor grew nearer to the mansion.

 

                Boa opened the front door, arms gesturing for the pair to enter, “Come on Diamondback. Cottonmouth is getting antsy.” Boa blew a kiss towards Twilight as she passed.

 

Twilight entered the mansion followed by Diamondback. The unicorn breathed a sigh of relief when Boa closed the door and pursued them. At least the fat man would be with her instead of alone with Morning Dew. Twilight was brought into Cottonmouth’s den, where he and three other goons stood waiting. Cottonmouth had a box on his chair that was making tweeting noises.

 

Cottonmouth stepped forward, looking tired and frustrated, “Almost sunrise little one. Better hope you made this elixir right, or you and your friends are gonna suffer like never before.”

 

I won’t let that happen. I can’t let that happen. I just hope Hawk is on his way…’ thought Twilight, her mind focusing onto the present task. She approached the cauldron and regarded it with tired eyes. The water was boiling, and the tea leaves she had put into it had long since sank to the bottom.

The contents didn’t matter of course. The water they handed out at the ponification camps was just water with grape flavoring and a powerful sleeping drug in it. The actual work came from the enchantment that was placed on the water. The reason the subject needed to be asleep was because the transformation process from human to pony was not a painless one.

Twilight’s thoughts drifted to the first day a human was turned into a pony. She was there, in the lab with the human doctors and pony magicians. Even the Princesses were there. The human’s name was Cathy Barnes, or something similar. Twilight heard that she had a condition known among humans as ‘battle fatigue.’

Twilight remembered that Cathy had come to, ‘get rid of the nightmares,’ and to stop the pain. When the test started, and the transformation began, Twilight remembered closing her eyes as Cathy’s body started to rearrange itself. She remembered Cathy’s screams, and the sound of bones snapping to fit the new body. By the end though, Cathy was fine. She was weak from the experience, but she had become happy, and couldn’t stop saying ‘thank you’ to every pony there. No pony was pleased with what had happened, but that was how the spell worked. All they could do was offer a remission from the pain.

 

“Here it comes,” Cottonmouth’s words interrupted Twilight’s trip down memory lane.  

As she prepared to cast the enchantment, she considered throwing in a sleep spell out of habit, but eventually came to the conclusion, ‘Nah.

The tip of her horn glowed with violet light as the sun peeked out from behind distant hills, and its rays cascaded down the main street and in through the windows. Twilight released the spell, and the water sparkled for a few seconds, like fireflies were caught inside the boiling waters, before dissipating completely.

 

Twilight felt that her time had run out, and now would be the moment to get out of town. “There’s your ponification potion, and I hope you’re satisfied. Now can you please release me and my friends?”

 

Cottonmouth regarded the brew, then looked at Twilight and gave a cold glare, “When we know it works. That was the deal. Anaconda, you’re up.One of the goons stepped forward and grabbed a small glass from a cabinet.

 

Anaconda dunked the cup into the cauldron and took a drink. After two seconds of nothing, he dropped the glass onto the floor. It bounced off the wood and rolled towards the door. The man gripped his sides and moaned in agony as one of his legs bent at an odd angle with a snap, sending him to the ground.

Twilight couldn’t look, but all the humans seemed to be watching intently. Cottonmouth even seemed to be smiling. Anaconda was beginning to shrink in size and began to grow gray fur from his skin as his hair color turned into a deep shade of black. His hands balled up into fists, and skin grew over his fingers and knuckles which began cracked and broke into what would soon be hooves.

 

After a minute of screams and crunching noises, Anaconda now stood at Twilight’s height with a gray coat, black mane, and a storm cloud as his cutie-mark. Cottonmouth stepped forward, “Can you move?” he asked. Anaconda took a few practice steps and nodded.

Cottonmouth reached for the box on his chair that had tweeting noises coming from it. He opened it up to reveal three newborn chicks. He dumped them on the floor with a simple instruction to Anaconda, “Kill them.”

 

“What?!” screamed Twilight, “Why? They’re just chicks! Please don’t-!” Tears were already forming in her eyes, but when she looked at Cottonmouth, he just gave her a cruel smile.

 

Twilight shouted something as Anaconda hoofed one into the fire that kept the pot boiling, and proceeded to crush the other two underneath his front hooves. All that was left was a mess of feathers and red.

 

Cottonmouth nodded his approval, “Good work Miss Twilight. It seems your spell has left Anaconda with his love of killing small animals. You’ve kept your end of the bargain, so I guess I should reward you for your hard work while my boys clean up this little…” he glanced at the red and yellow stains, “…mess.” With a few quick gestures he motioned for the pot of tainted ponification water to be moved elsewhere, and for all but Boa and Diamondback to leave.

 

Cottonmouth sat in his chair, looking at Twilight who stood silent, tears running down her cheeks. “You must be thinking, ‘why’?” he said, “Am I right? Why go to such trouble?” His wicked smile returned, “Power, pure and simple. You see it’s hard for an outlaw like myself to make a living in the civilized world, with all these U.S. Marshals and ponies running around. Things are getting to orderly for me to run a business.” He gazed out the window, squinting, “You see I need there to be a certain amount of misery and chaos to operate to sell my fine wares. I was making a killing before you four legged freaks showed up. The cities were teeming with people ready to buy the poison I peddled, but that damn princess of yours showed up and ruined everything.”

He again faced Twilight, looking her in the eye with malice, “So I went out west. Less people. Less police. Less hassle. Less money too. But then I heard about those potions that turned men into abominations like you, and I thought to myself, ‘Would that change anything into a pony?’” Cottonmouth’s gaze turned darker, and his words colder, “So I snuck into one of those camps, and stole some of that potion. I gave it to my dog, and sure enough, he turned into a pony.” He began to laugh to himself while he spoke, “Most retarded one I ever saw too. Damn thing thought it was still a dog. But it gave me an idea.”

Cottonmouth looked at to the two stains on the floor, smiling, “You see, this potion of yours seems to only turn things into one of three things: your normal freaks, like those two I’ve got in the jail right now, horned ones like you, and those winged ones. I figure that anything that isn’t one of those three is vulnerable to this potion. So I would use it to turn that Immortal Sun Goddess of yours into a mere mortal, and fill her veins with so much poison that she’d bleed green.” Twilight reeled at the thought, that one human could be so insane as to want to kill the mare that wanted nothing more than to save humanity from itself.

“Of course I couldn’t get close to her,” Cottonmouth continued, “And if I took the form of one of you things via the potion at one of your camps, I would not want to kill her. So I needed an assassin that was pony in shape, but a killer at heart.” He pointed at Twilight and gave her a big smile, “An assassin you provided. Tomorrow, during the debate between the…” Cottonmouth rolled his eyes, “…Human Liberation Front and your beloved princess, Anaconda will slip her the poisoned drink and turn into a simple pony. Then my very best poison will kill her in front of millions worldwide. When that sister of hers sees her sibling’s corpse fall on that stage, why I suspect she will blame the HLF and cause an inter species incident.” Cottonmouth clapped his hands together, “A war will start in all of its glory, and all of its horror.”

 

Twilight was flabbergasted. “You’re completely insane. What makes you think they won’t find out it was you who did this?”

 

Cottonmouth gave a thoughtful stare at the unicorn, “Because I know that the young princess Luna has some,” he twirled his hand in the air, “Baggage. Baggage that makes her into a monster of vengeance and hate. A monster that will blindly kill hundreds of thousands of humans for what they did to her sister. But thanks to you, in the chaos of this coming war, not only will I not be human. I’ll be a four legged freak like you, but still be able to gget rich from selling arms and drugs to the inevitable human resistance.” He smirked to his lieutenants, “Though I wonder if ponies can get off on cocaine?

But that’s hardly your problem,” he said as he pulled his pistol from its holster and pointing it towards Twilight, “My sources tell me that you are that divine bitch’s star student, so in case things go south you are going to stay with me as my star hostage.”

 

Twilight knew that nothing she could say would help her situation, and talking about the other two might get them killed. Or worse. So Twilight remained silent, and gave Cottonmouth the most hate filled glare she could muster.

 

“Boss!” came a voice from outside, “BOSS!”

 

“Diamondback, go see what that idiot’s up to.” Diamondback left the room without a word, leaving the door open.

 

Twilight was left with nothing but her thoughts, ‘This is insane. Why are they like this? What happened to make them like this? Oh Celestia I couldn’t save Morning Dew or Tall Leaf. I can’t save you.’ Her head lowered as she began to sob, ‘I can’t save myself.

 

“A wagon just showed up. Says he’s an arms dealer that just got some good swag from an abandoned military depot. Says he can get us more, if the money is right. I put him in the barn under guard.” Diamondback looked at Cottonmouth through the door, who nodded. Diamondback then proceeded out to the barn.

 

Cottonmouth chuckled, saying, “Sometimes I think I’m just too lucky. By the way Boa,” he said to the fat man, “We won’t be needing those other two. Go have fun with them.” Boa’s face spread into a devious smile as he nearly skipped out the room towards the jail, leaving Cottonmouth alone with Twilight. She just looked at the two stains on the floor, sobbing every so often. “Might as well get comfy,” said her captor, “Won’t be long now until the world as you know it changes.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

                Boa entered the jail, key in hand to the cell with the two ponies. His excitement was extraordinary, and his patience was thin as is. The two ponies looked up, and Tall Leaf stood above his wife to defend her. He seemed to know what was coming.

 

                “Hey there sweet stuff, I don’t think me an’ you have been acquainted quite yet.” He licked his lips as he fumbled with the lock. As he opened the door, Tall Leaf charged him, but Boa gave him a backhand to the face with enough force to send the stallion down to the floor stunned. Morning Dew screamed as the fat man grabbed her mane and dragged her out of the cell. Boa merely giggled to himself “Yes! That’s it! I like it more when they struggle!”

 

                He shut the cell door, locking Tall Leaf inside and unable to help. Boa brought Morning Dew over to the desk and threw her onto of it, keeping her head pinned so she couldn’t raise it or look away from the wall. His grip prevented her from bucking at him, leaving her with the grim realization that all she could do was scream.

 

                “That’s what I want to hear! Shout it out for that husband of yours to hear!” Boa began to chortle as he began to slide off his overalls, making Morning Dew cry even louder. “Oh darlin’,” moaned Boa, “when I’m through with you, your ass is gonna be red and bloody!”

 

                *click* “So will that wall when I’m through with you.”

 

                Boa turned to see the business end of a double barreled sawed-off shotgun. All he could get out was, “FU-” before Hawk pulled the trigger for both barrels.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Zorro stood behind four of the bandits, his hand on his cleverly concealed sword, waiting for Hawk’s signal. So far the plan was going well enough: Hawk had snuck out of his coffin while Zorro distracted the guards with the dog and pony show that was his introduction as a weapon salesman. The guards were currently browsing the fine selection of ammo and equipment that were held in the other two coffins, and all Zorro had to do was make sure to be behind them when the shots started going off.

                The man known as Diamondback entered the barn and gave Zorro the once over. Zorro did much the same. After a second or two, Diamondback moved through the four goons and began looking at the equipment.

 

                There was a boom from somewhere in the town. ‘And that must be Hawk,’ Thought Zorro. He drew his sword, and cut down three of the five unsuspecting bandits before they even thought to look up. The Fourth looked at Zorro with surprise while reaching for his gun, but Zorro gave him a quick stab through the heart before his hand touched his pistol.

                Diamondback was not as unprepared as Zorro had hoped. Without hesitation, Diamondback rolled away from him, and at some point and from somewhere, drew not only a Bowie knife, but a curved cavalry sword with a snake’s rattle tied to the hilt.

 

                Zorro threw the front of his poncho over his shoulder, taking a defensive stance and cocking an eyebrow. “Huh,” he said, two swords.” Diamondback began to circle, rattling the hilt. “This will be exciting.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Morning Dew was shuttering terribly as she watched little pieces of Boa’s skull slide down the wall in a mix of blood and brains. She was currently experiencing a few emotions, chief among them was relief, shock, and heart pounding terror.

 

                “Dear Celestia! Morning Dew! Morning Dew are you alright?!” Tall Leaf called in a panic. Hawk had crouched over the now headless body of Boa and retrieved the keys. After releasing Tall Leaf from his cell, the colt dashed to his still shaking wife and immediately began comforting her. Hawk moved to the door and threw a brick of some sort of putty out of it.

 

                “Don’t worry darling. Shh, shhhh…” cooed Tall Leaf, avoiding stepping on Boa.

 

                “H-he was going t-to…” stuttered Morning Dew looking at the bits of Boa in her mane.

 

                Hawk extracted a remote from a pocket of his coat and clicked a button. A very loud explosion came from outside accompanied by the several screams. Hawk dashed next to the ponies, “Morning Dew, Tall Leaf, we have a small window of time where I can get you to safety. Your children are waiting for you.”

 

                Morning Dew’s head turned quickly and she locked eyes with Hawk, “My fillies? They’re here? Where?!”

 

                Hawk glanced out the door and pulled out his revolver, “They are with Megan.” A shot rang out from outside and a bandit flew to the ground from a sudden impact to his chest. One of the others called out “SNIPER!”

Hawk turned back to Morning Dew, “They’re safe. Now come away from the wall.” He pulled a small cube of putty out of his coat, placed pins in it, and stuck it to the wall of the jail. The three of them moved away from the wall as Hawk pressed another button, causing the wall to explode. After letting the ringing in their ears go away, Hawk pointed at a far hill, “Run to there and do not stop or turn around!”

 

                Tall Leaf nudged Morning Dew up and they pair ran through the new hole in the wall, and before he left, he gave Hawk a grateful nod. Hawk returned it with a tip of the hat.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Twilight’s ears perked up as she thought she heard thunder.

 

                Cottonmouth’s face flashed with worry, “That sounded like a shotgun. You six!” he yelled at the men in the lobby, “Go to the barn and make sure nobody’s being stupid.”

 

                They all replied with a nod and dashed out the door with rifles and shotguns. Twilight stopped crying as a smile somehow spread over her face. Hawk was here to save them. She knew he would come. Cottonmouth looked out the window, his revolver drawn, and ignoring Twilight.

 

                ‘Now’s my chance!’ Twilight focused on the tree she had seen outside her cell window, the one where she saw the hawk. Magic danced up her horn as she felt the familiar surge of power. With a flash of light, she was outside the jail’s back wall next to the tree. No sooner had she appeared, a giant explosion rocked the earth and made her tumble to the ground.

 

                ‘That must be Hawk.’ She dashed into the alley between the jail and another rundown house, and beheld a small crater as well as three of those six men that were sent out.

 

                The other three were beginning to stand and recuperate their senses. The first one to do so began charging towards the jail, but a loud bang sent him down to the ground. One of the others shouted, “SNIPER!” and took cover inside a nearby building. Twilight spotted Diamondback running into the saloon. More masked bandits were breaking the windows and sticking the barrels of their guns out of them.

 

                Another explosion came from behind her. Curious, Twilight ran back behind the jail and saw Morning Dew and Tall Leaf making a mad dash for a far hill. She decided to investigate the smoking hole they came from, and there stood Hawk, his back turned to her.

 

                Her face beamed with excitement, “HAWK!”

 

                He looked at her with a face of mild surprise which changed to the biggest smile Twilight had ever seen on a human. Before she could say how much she missed him, he already had his arms around her in a solid hug.

 

                “Thank God your safe,” he said burying his head against Twilight’s neck. Twilight was beginning to blush as her eyes watered, but Hawk pulled away, his face serious, “Run to that hill and stay with Megan. Me and Zorro have this under control.”

 

                Shots started to sound out from the saloon, and another couple came from the hill.

 

                Twilight looked Hawk in his eyes, and saw that they weren’t the same as when he had just seen her. They were more menacing. They looked like they were full of hate and fury. But Twilight was not deterred.

 

                “No Hawk,” she put her hoof down, “I have to stop Cottonmouth. He’s planning to kill Princess Celestia and if he succeeds it’ll be my fault. I need to help stop him.”

 

                Hawk made a face. “Fine. Just keep your head down.”

 

                Twilight beamed up at him, and gave a determined grin, “Don’t worry Hawk, you have the Element of Magic by your side!”

 

                Hawk chuckled, and for a moment Twilight saw his eyes go back to the way they were before. “And you have a force of nature by yours.”

 

*              *              *

 

                Diamondback and Zorro were still sizing each other up and circling in the middle of the barn. Diamondback kept rattling the hilt of his sword, and it was making Zorro anxious. It was distracting to say the least, but he assumed that was the point. Zorro took notice of his and his opponent’s positions.

 

                “I hate to point this out, but you have given me an opening,” said Zorro, a grin spreading over his face. Diamondback’s eyebrow twitched. “The front door.” Zorro dashed out into the street towards the saloon as fast as he could.

 

                Zorro could tell just by looking that he couldn’t take Diamondback on in a level playing field, so he would need to get creative. Diamondback threw his bowie knife at the retreating man, and sent it flying straight for Zorro’s back.

                Fortunately an explosion to Zorro’s left shook the earth beneath his feet and caused him to trip, sending the knife flying far above him. Zorro got up quickly and saw the tower of dust rising from the street. “That must be Hawk.” Rattling was coming from behind him, and Zorro didn’t need to look to know who it was, so he continued running into the saloon.

                Bursting through the doors Zorro only had a second to take in his surroundings. It was almost like a set from a movie: there was the bar to his left, an open area filled with tables, a stage to the right, stairs on the far wall that led to a balcony above the bar, and a chandelier above the tables. The sound of breaking glass could be heard from upstairs.

                Wasting no more time as the rattling drew near, Zorro jump-stepped onto one of the tables and turned to face his attacker. Diamondback had picked up his knife and entered the saloon, blood lust in his eyes.

 

                Zorro just gave a wave of his sword, “I have the high ground. Maybe you should surrender?”

 

                Diamondback answered with a slash from his sword towards Zorro’s ankles. Zorro jumped to the next table and readied himself. Diamondback hopped onto the table Zorro just left. Both tables were shaky, making it difficult to get solid footing. Just what Zorro was hoping for.

                Diamondback continued with his offense with a slash from above, which Zorro deflected and countered with a stab to the chest. But Diamondback blocked with his knife and sent Zorro’s attack away at an awkward angle, sending his own sword for Zorro’s neck.

                Zorro wouldn’t have been able to get his sword up in time, so he ducked the swing and jumped to another table, getting a little closer to the stairs. He stood, adjusted his hat, and renewed his defensive stance.

 

                This time it was Diamond back who smiled, shaking his rattle, “Having fun amigo?”

 

Zorro looked at him in the eye, and he saw the wanton lust for murder in them. Zorro smiled anyway and said, “Si.”

 

Diamondback jumped to a closer table and sent a wild swings to Zorro’s left side. More quick deflections from Zorro sent Diamondback’s sword out of his hand. It soared over the bar and landed with a rattle.

 

“Y tú amigo?”

 

Diamondback sneered, and the two swordsmen stood at a standstill. Someone outside called out, “SNIPER!”

 Zorro lunged his sword towards Diamondback’s heart, but a knife smacked the tip away, and Diamondback’s free hand gripped Zorro’s arm and pulled him off of his table. Shots began to ring out from upstairs.

Zorro hit the floor hard with his back, but was able to keep his sword in his hand. Diamondback jumped off his table and landed on the bar. He jumped down and retrieved his rattling cavalry sword. In these precious few seconds, Zorro had rolled to his feet and was making his way to the staircase.

Diamondback leapt over the bar and began to pursue, reaching Zorro just as he got to the stairs. Zorro turned and began to back up the staircase while Diamondback stalked closer, rattling his sword the entire time. Zorro eyed around for anything that could help, something that could help even things up weapon wise. On the wall he spotted something: a coiled leather bull whip hanging from a nail.

 

“This’ll do.” Zorro plucked it from the wall with his free hand, but kept it coiled. It wouldn’t do him much good on the stairs.

 

Diamondback sent two more slashes at Zorro in rapid succession, and were easily blocked by Zorro’s own sword. But every time Zorro sent a stab or slash to counter, Diamondback blocked it with his knife. Diamondback charged up the few stairs between him and his enemy, trying to get in close enough for his knife. Apparently he was getting tired of Zorro blocking all his attacks too.

                Zorro wouldn’t be able to cut him down in time to avoid getting a stab himself, so he leapt over the guard rail, choosing instead to cling to the banister of the stairs. Diamondback ran past him and when he stopped, he looked around in mild confusion before seeing where his opponent had gotten.

 

                With a sick smile, he approached Zorro, “Well, maybe I should use that whip to hang you while we’re up here.” He raised his sword to slash at Zorro’s hands, “Or maybe I should just watch you fall.”

 

                Zorro did some quick measurements, “I think I’ll fall.” Zorro jumped off from the railing and lashed out the whip towards the chandelier. It wrapped around the ceiling ornament beautifully, and Zorro used it to swing onto the balcony above the bar. When he landed, Diamondback looked confused and angry. Zorro just blew him a kiss and ran into a nearby room, where four goons had taken up firing positions.

                When they noticed Zorro, they turned and fired, but Zorro jumped into a roll towards them, and the bullets went high blasting out the wooden door frame. Zorro rolled to his feet and slashed one of them across the chest and another he stabbed in the heart. The other two tried to reposition their shots, but were cut short as their heads gained new holes in their foreheads; a gift from Megan, which Zorro needed to thank her for later. Diamondback soon appeared in the doorway and was bearing down on Zorro fast.

Without missing a beat, Zorro jumped out the window and landed on the roof of the saloon’s porch. Keeping his momentum he ran for the lower building to his right which, thankfully, was close enough to jump to. He leapt the alley between the buildings and made a very ungraceful landing on the slanted roof, causing him to slip and slide down. Before he went over the edge completely, Zorro stuck out his legs and braced himself against the wall of the saloon. He ended up with everything below the shoulders perilously hanging above they alley, while supporting himself with his legs and shoulders.

Diamondback was hot on his heels and landed his jump, keeping his footing. Turning around, once again having a gloating expression cover his face, walked slowly down the incline, once again rattling his sword. Zorro’s heart was pounding as certain death approached, while beneath him lay almost certain death.

 

Maybe we should fall. We’d survive the fall right? Yes, but we might get our legs broken wouldn’t we? Hijo de tu puta madre!’

 

Zorro looked below where his legs were on the saloon wall, seeing a window between his feet. In its reflection was another window. Above him stood Diamondback, who was laughing as he sent a downward slash at him. With a great deal of effort, Zorro raised his sword up and the blocked the attack. Diamondback was playing with him, but Zorro didn’t mind as it meant he wasn’t paying as much attention.

Zorro twisted around onto his stomach and released his feet from the saloon wall. He slid over the edge and gripped onto it firmly with his hands, swinging into the building below him through the window and leaving Diamondback on the roof.

 

“That’ll buy me some time to think of something,” Zorro breathed out, and finally acknowledged the sound of gunfire going off everywhere. “Why did Hawk get to save the ponies? I wanted to save the ponies, not fight Mr. Sword Guy.” He left the bedroom he had recently arrived in and made sure to prop something against the door as he shut it. “I thought I was the only sword guy.”

 

Zorro looked around his current building, and saw that it was in fact, as small church. He currently stood on a balcony overlooking the pews. Plenty of hiding spots.

 

It wasn’t long before Diamondback kicked the door open from the room Zorro had entered through. Both blades stood at the ready, and Diamondback looked around warily. He had never been in this building and wasn’t familiar with the layout or all the little nooks and crannies that came with it.

The orange light of the early morning streamed through the windows giving poor illumination to the dusty hall of the church. A squeak of floorboards came from downstairs, and Diamondback moved swiftly.

He descended the nearby spiraling staircase down to the ground floor, where he stood in front of the double doors of the entrance. There was no sign that anyone had been in this place for years. Diamondback proceeded to walk up the aisle, glancing down each row of pews. There was a creak of wood from behind the large wooden crucifix.

 

“Think God will save you from me?” called Diamondback as he began shaking his rattle. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the only gods around these days are those two sisters…” he drew closer to the cross, which emitted more sounds of creaking floorboards the nearer he got. “…except that soon there’s only going to one of those little freaks flying around. But I wouldn’t to worry about it too much if I were you...” Diamondback arrived at the cross not noticing that the creaking had stopped, “...you’re not going to see anything past today anyway.” He swung his sword around to strike at whatever was behind the crucifix, but hit only air.

 

There was a whistling sound before Diamondback felt something sink into his back and stick out of his chest. Staggering, he turned slowly, dropping his knife and sword, and saw Zorro a dozen feet away. It looked like he had just thrown something. Diamondback’s vision went dark and he fell to the floor with a gasp.

 

Zorro walked over to Diamondback’s body and withdrew his sword from it. Zorro made the sign of the cross saying, “Vaya con dios.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

                Hawk and Twilight stepped out onto the street, Hawk with his revolver drawn and Twilight preparing her magic. The bandits in the upper floor of the saloon began to open fire on them, but Twilight had something ready for them. A magic shield formed a dome around her and Hawk, causing the bullets that hit it to bounce off harmlessly.

                The two bandits on street level peeked from their cover and took shots at her and Hawk, much to the same effect. Before they ducked back into cover however, two loud shots from the hill dropped both of them. Twilight grimaced. She still wasn’t used to seeing such wanton death.

 

                “Twilight, where is Cottonmouth?” asked Hawk as he eyed at the windows of the saloon.

 

                Twilight looked to the mayor’s mansion, “He was in there when I teleported out.” Hawk began running to the doors of the mansion, revolver ready, and Twilight charged alongside him. “When I get my hooves on that man I’m going to...” ‘Do what? Kill him?

 

                They arrived at the doors of the mansion as the shield spell began to fade away. Hawk kicked in the doors. On the other side were two bandits and a gray pony who held a knife in his mouth. The bandits opened fire with sub-machine guns, sending a deadly spray of bullets at Hawk and Twilight. Both unicorn and man ducked out of the doorway and took cover.

 

                “I think I can blind them with a spell!” Twilight shouted over the noise.

 

                Hawk remained silent, listening. After a few moments, the noise stopped and was replaced with tiny clicks. Hawk reentered the doorway and shot both men in the head, sending the contents of their skulls all over the place. Anaconda charged with the knife in his mouth, but Hawk quickly took it from him, spun it around, and stabbed the dark pony in his neck.

 

                “If you wanted to be a killer,” Hawk said into his ear, “You should have stayed a human.” Hawk kicked Anaconda’s body across the floor where he landed in a bloody heap.

 

                Twilight finally entered, surveying the carnage Hawk had left. More gunshots echoed from outside, but the mansion was far too quiet. Twilight pointed to the door that led to Cottonmouth’s den with her hoof, “That way.

 

                Hawk stepped in first, this time with a degree of caution. It was dark inside, and there were no signs of life. Only the two red and yellow stains on the carpet were clearly visible, illuminated by a thin ray of light entering through the heavy curtains. Twilight gagged upon seeing them again as Hawk began looking for a light switch.

                Another bandit came at Hawk from the side with a knife drawn, stabbing Hawk in the side forcing him to drop his revolver. Hawk let go a cry of pain as he grabbed his attacker and threw him into the window, ripping the old curtains and filling the room with daylight. The bandit bounced back slashing at Hawk’s face, but he swung to wide and Hawk gave him a head butt to the face. With no hesitation, Hawk placed his thumbs into the attacker’s eyes and began to squeeze.

                Twilight cast a bolt of force into the attacker’s hand and sent the knife flying to the far side of the room thinking that would be enough to stop the fight, but Hawk continued. She looked on in horror as blood leaked from where the bandit’s eyes used to be.

                

                “Hawk!” screamed Twilight. She didn’t want to see Hawk be this savage. She didn’t want him to be like them. “HAWK!”

 

                Hawk blinked, and registered what he was doing. He placed his hands on the bandit’s chin and the back of his head, giving a sharp twist. The resulting snap of the bandit’s neck and thud of his body hitting the ground made the pit in Twilight’s stomach grow deeper. She would never get used to this, and by Celestia she hoped she never would.

                Hawk put his hand on his side. It was still bleeding profusely. He recovered his revolver and made his way towards Cottonmouth’s chair. His hands were covered with blood and he began coughing. His stride was becoming weaker. For the first time since this entire thing began, Twilight believed Hawk would die.

She hardened her face, ‘Not while I’m here. 

Twilight ran to his side and inspected the wound, “Don’t move, this looks really bad, I’m going to have to fix it up.” Hawk grunted his disapproval, but Twilight would have none of it, “It won’t take long, my friend Rarity taught me how heal wounds with magic, and while I might not be able to sew wounds together like she can, I can at least stop you from dying.”

 

                Either because of blood loss or acceptance, Hawk sat in Cottonmouth’s chair and let Twilight work. Her horn glowed violet, and a thousand tiny pinpricks of light shot out onto the gaping wound. The lights left tiny threads behind them, and as they passed over Hawk’s wound, they started pulling it closed. After a few moments of this, several of them landed over the currently sealed wound and made threads that resembled stitches in a doll.

 

                “There,” said Twilight, “It will still hurt. But it won’t bleed.”

 

                “Good enough,” replied Hawk, standing up with a loud groan. “You weren’t kidding about the whole hurting thing.”

 

                Twilight remained serious, “No time for complaining Hawk. We need to stop Cottonmouth before he gets away with that corrupted ponification potion.”

 

                Hawk gave a nod, “Now if I was a dirty, rotten, snake, I would be…”

 

                “Let me handle this,” interrupted Twilight. She had just the spell for this.

 

                Twilight’s horn glowed as she cast a locate spell, something Spike had told her a thousand times that she needed. Twilight knew it wouldn’t work on living creatures, as it was usually reserved for books or keys and other inanimate objects, but she was looking for the Cottonmouth’s revolver. There was no doubt that he would hold onto that thing like it was gold. The spell went off and Twilight’s irises began to shimmer.

She closed her eyes and saw the world much differently than before. It was black and the objects around her, like the floor and walls and Hawk, were nothing but outlines drawn with thin, glowing, white lines. She looked around this new world, and seeing nothing to the left or right or above, she looked down. Below her, in what could only be a basement, a marvelous rainbow of colors shined in the shape of a gun. It was moving quickly into a tunnel. Twilight concentrated, trying to see what the gun saw, and was rewarded with a vision of the entire escape tunnel.

 

                “Hawk,” Twilight said finally, “He’s moving through an escape tunnel, and it will lead him down to the other end of the main street.” She looked up at him with a wide smile, “We can catch him.”

 

                Hawk returned her smile with one of his own. “Then we had better not keep his judgment waiting.”

 

                The two moved out the door as fast as Hawk could manage and proceeded down the street. As they passed by an old church, the doors swung open and Zorro walked out, a bit surprised to see them. Zorro gave them a grin and looked them over.

 

                “Still standing amigo?” said Zorro, eyeing Hawk’s side.

 

                “Barely,” replied Hawk, “How’d things go on your end?”

 

                Zorro looked back into the church, Twilight noticed a body slumped over inside, “About as well as you could expect.” Zorro turned his gaze to Twilight, “And you niña, are you all right?”

 

                Twilight had to think about it. She was physically fine, but some of the images from the last few days were all blurred together, and a lot of them she would rather forget. Eventually she settled on an answer, “About as fine as one can be after traveling with you two.”

 

                Zorro let out a laugh, but Hawk’s face remained neutral as he stated, “Come on you two. This isn’t over yet.” Hawk began to walk down the street, the sun’s light illuminating his face. Twilight and Zorro both grew serious, and walked on either side of Hawk. The swordsman on his left, and the unicorn on his right. Together, they walked down the street, side by side, approaching an old withered tree.

                A large rock that was laying among the tree’s roots moved, revealing a hole. From the hole crawled Cottonmouth, who carried on his back a metal thermos.

 

                “Cottonmouth,” called Hawk, “stand and face justice.”

 

                Cottonmouth spun on his heels, and glared at Hawk, his eyes burning with hate. He hovered his hand over his revolver, “Why Hawk, you just won’t stay dead. Apparently I should have aimed for the head.”

 

                “There are a lot of things people should do Cottonmouth,” Hawk replied, his hand hovering over his own gun, “You should start praying.” Twilight was getting ready to blast Cottonmouth with a bolt of energy before Hawk spoke again, “Twilight. Zorro. Step away.” Twilight was about to protest, but Zorro gave her a look that seemed to say it had to be this way, like it was some ancient rite. She hesitated, but complied with the request.

 

                The two gunslingers spent a long time staring at each other. The sun beat down, the wind blew, and they waited. They waited for something that Twilight could not detect, like some kind of sign that she just didn’t see. It was unbearable, like the world was just holding its breath. She looked at Hawk, the human who she now saw as one of her dearest friends, standing bloody and barely breathing, about to face off against a human she had come to associate with all that was wrong in the world. The cruelty and malice that Twilight had seen in Nightmare Moon seemed so petty now compared to what Cottonmouth did, as if the Mare of Darkness was just throwing a temper tantrum. Now all Twilight could think of was going home, and getting away from all this death.

The wind stopped and it was over in an instant.

 

                The unicorn jumped in surprise as dirt from the bullet’s impact splashed next to her. Hawk had shot first and struck Cottonmouth in the arm, sending the bandit to the ground and his shot an bit down from its intended target. Cottonmouth grunted in pain and rolled on the ground, reaching for his gun. Hawk placed his boot on top of the hand, making sure the bandit wouldn’t reach his weapon. This act gained him a scornful glare from Cottonmouth’s hate filled eyes. Hawk pointed his gun at the downed man’s head.

 

“You wanna kill me law-man?!” Cottonmouth shouted, “Go ahead! I know how much you like killing! I know that you’re a murdering son of bitch, just like me! I know who are behind that damn name of yours! You have no place in the new society those freaks are building for themselves!” Cottonmouth began to wheeze as Hawk pulled back the hammer on his revolver, “You…you won’t have a purpose in this world after they’re done with it…won’t be no one left…to kill...” Cottonmouth began hacking and coughing as blood entered the back of his throat.

 

“That’s where you’re wrong Cottonmouth,” Hawk said, his voice cold and sharp, “As long as there’s scum like you, my place will be putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger.” Cottonmouth spat at Hawk. Hawk pulled down the trigger. Twilight winced.

 

Bang.

 

Cottonmouth didn’t move anymore, and Hawk holstered his revolver. He turned around and looked at Twilight and Zorro. “I think it’s time we got to Yellowstone. We are really late.” With that, Hawk collapsed onto the ground.

 

*              *              *

 

                Twilight sat next to the coffin that held Hawk’s body as the wagon moved ahead in its steady pace. The coffin’s lid was closed so the sun wouldn’t hit him. Their entire group sat in silence, either not wanting to speak, or just being to tired to be able to talk. Twilight surveyed her traveling companions, looking at each one for a long time.

Zorro was driving the wagon, which was being pulled by Buttercup, the stallion that looked strong enough to move a mountain. T.J. was walking next to the massive stallion, making sure to stay close. Megan was leaning against the back of the driver’s chair. She was dirty, wounded, and looked exhausted, a feeling that Twilight shared all too much.

Tall Leaf was on the left of Hawk’s coffin, resting his head on it, and had Morning Dew wrapped in his hooves. Morning Dew had gotten over the red specks that now dotted her all over, and began singing “Day by Day,” the song she’d only heard once, yet committed to memory. She sang so softly and beautifully that it was like a lullaby, and Twilight wanted nothing more than to rest, but couldn’t bring herself to. The two fillies lay curled against their mother. Megan said that when they saw their parents running from the jail, she had to restrain them they were so excited. Merry Gold was fast asleep, but Busy Bee wasn’t taking her eyes off of Hawk’s coffin.

 

“Miss Twilight?” asked Busy Bee, eyes not leaving the large box.

 

Twilight responded as calmly as she could, “Yes?”

 

“Is Hawk going to be okay?” her tone was quivering slightly.

 

Twilight hesitated and looked at the coffin, “Yes Busy Bee. He’s just…sleeping.”

 

Busy Bee stood up and Morning Dew stopped singing. “May-Maybe we can wake him up with a kiss. Just like in those old mare’s tales.” The filly pushed open the lid of the coffin, and before anyone could protest, gave Hawk a kiss on his lips.

 

Twilight swore her heart stopped, and it took a few more seconds of watching her daughter kissing Hawk before Morning Dew screamed, “Busy Bee! Get away from him!”

 

“But Mom! Hawk has to get up!” Busy Bee cried back.

 

A groan came from the coffin. “Well, service has certainly improved since the last time I rode in this thing,” came Hawk’s groggy voice. “And, do I taste…honey on my lips?”

 

Busy Bee’s face blushed immensely, and proceeded to have a giggle fit. Morning Dew was feeling rather embarrassed at her daughter’s behavior, where as Tall Leaf was mortified.

 

“I’m so sorry for my daughter Mr. Hawk,” said Morning Dew, “She was just very worried and…well she’s very affectionate.”

 

“No need to apologize ma’am. Usually it’s Zorro getting kissed by lovely young girls. I’ll take whatever I can get.” Hawk gave as big a smile as he could. Megan just shook her head, failing to repress a smile of her own. Zorro couldn’t stop laughing. “Hey Sprinkles,” called Hawk.

 

Twilight looked over the edge of the coffin at Hawk, his hat was covering all but his lips. “Yes Casanova?” she said in a bemused way.

 

Hawk’s face grew serious under the brim of his hat, and he shifted his weight around anxiously, “This may seem like a wired request, but… I was wondering if you could do something for me.” Hawk moved his hat and looked at Twilight, scanning her features.

 

Twilight’s cheeks began to blush. ‘Oh my. Does he want me to kiss him? I mean I wouldn’t mind if he asked me to. I mean I like him, but not like that. Or do I? Oh my, oh my, oh my...’ Twilight calmed her mind and cleared her throat, “S-sure Hawk! Ask anything.”

 

Hawk took a big gulp, “Who’s Big Mac, and what did you mean by you want him to ‘buck your apples?’” Hawk’s grin widened and Twilight’s face turned deep red.

 

In a surprise that caught everyone off guard, Twilight didn’t close the coffin lid on Hawk’s face, but instead began, “W-well, Big Mac is the brother of one of my best friends, Applejack. As his name implies, he’s big and, well, he’s also red. He works on his family’s apple farm. As for that second part…” Twilight lowered her head next to Hawk’s ear, and whispered something to him. Morning Dew put her hooves over Busy Bee’s ears. After Twilight was done, she moved her head back and smiled at Hawk. “Satisfied?” she asked.

 

Hawk sat up, and looked at Twilight, “Yes, and by the way you describe it, Big Mac will be too.”

 

Twilight blushed again, but nodded in acceptance of Hawk’s comment. “Good,” she said, “I’m glad I was able to answer your question.”

 

Zorro finally interjected, “All right all right, this isn’t the Love Boat. We’ll reach Yellowstone in an hour, so make sure everyone has everything.”

 

“Finally,” said Tall Leaf, letting out a long kept huff. Busy Bee was already asking Hawk what Twilight whispered to him and if he’d like another kiss. Tall Leaf just shook his head and wished to get to Yellowstone as soon as possible.

 

*              *              *

 

                The cabin was rather nice. It was large for a family of ponies, had a fantastic view of the mountain range, the trees around it were filled with birds that sang lovely songs, and there was a stream just down the hill.

                The inside was sparsely decorated, but that just meant that the family had more places to put old mementos and future memories. There were only two bedrooms with human sized beds, which was frankly more than necessary, and the living room came equipped with a couch, T.V., and DVD player.

The fillies were the first to explore the place, as they rushed in like a spring wind as soon as the door opened. The Garden family fell in love with it instantly, and invited the humans to spend the night as their guests, in an impromptu house warming party. Naturally, being tired, bloody, and yearning for showers, they accepted.

After everyone and everypony was bathed, refreshed, and free of the grime of the past two days, Hawk made a phone call.

 

“Hello, this is Agent Hawk. Is Joseph there?” the reply was mumbled, “Okay I’ll hold.” Hawk looked at the group he had traveled with over the past week while he waited. They were assembling on or around the couch, for tonight they were going to finish the original trilogy of Star Wars. All the ponies were extremely excited. Hawk saw Twilight pull out a note pad and quill from her saddle bags.

 

“This is the President. Hawk? Is that really you?” the phone said.

 

“Who else calls themselves ‘Hawk’ Joey? Anyway, I’ve arrived at Yellowstone, and the ponies are safe.”

 

“You know you’re about five days behind schedule right?”

 

Hawk let out a sigh, “We got delayed by a tornado, wild dogs, and get this: Cottonmouth’s gang of vipers.”

 

The man on the other side of the phone spat out whatever he was drinking, “WHAT? How are you still alive?!”

 

“I’m charmed remember? But anyway, if you could send a transport or something to this location tomorrow, that would be swell.”

 

The phone sighed, “Yeah yeah yeah. Oh, before I forget, you didn’t cuss in front of them did you?”

 

“No sir.”

 

“Good.”

 

“And sir? Make sure that transport can hold two full grown horses please.”

 

Another sigh came from the phone, “Why?”

 

Hawk gave a smug reply, “Doing a favor for a friend. Thanks Joe, have a good night.” Hawk hung up the phone and took a seat on the couch next to Megan and Morning Dew, who was lying on Tall Leaf. Twilight was on the carpet, and was ready with her quill and paper, to take notes for her paper on human-equestrian similarities. Zorro had claimed the recliner in the room, and was not moving for anyone. As soon as Hawk got comfortable, the two fillies just ran in from their bedroom and lept onto the couch. Busy Bee was getting as close to him as possible, while Merry Gold decided to curl up next to Megan.

 

Hawk picked up the remote and pushed “Play.”

 

 

 

 

 

To be wrapped up in the Epilogue!

Holy hell! Could I cram more one liners in there?

Signs point to yes.

But it’s almost over, and soon I’ll be free to do other stuff!

Epilogue soon fellow Bronies!


Conversion Bureau Off-Shoot

Based on Blaze’s original idea

Might not follow his world’s rules, but Meh, it’s just a fan-fic of a fan-fic.

By: Anonsi (Time to wrap this up, the end is near!)

 

Yellowstone

Epilogue

No Place like Home

 

 

                The morning came, and Twilight had to wrestle herself from her bed. She had opted to sleep in the master bedroom with the rest of the Garden family, and the warmth she felt from the others was hard to break away from. She raised her head and looked over her bedmates. Tall Leaf and Morning Dew were as always inseparable, and Merry Gold was nestled among their legs. The only one missing was Busy Bee, but Twilight didn’t have to think too hard about where she might be.

                Hopping off the bed, eyes still mostly shut, Twilight moved into the room next door where the humans slept. Megan and Hawk had taken the beds for themselves, leaving Zorro the couch. The decision making process went along the lines of that they were wounded and Zorro didn’t have a scratch on him, so he got the couch. And there, curled up in the crook of Hawk’s arm, was Busy Bee, snoozing peacefully.

 

                Twilight couldn’t help but let go an “Awww…”

 

                Twilight suddenly smelled something sweet from the kitchen. It smelled like breakfast. Still half dazed, Twilight sauntered into the kitchen to find Zorro in his loose black shirt preparing some pancakes. Zorro noticed her and gave a smile with a tired grunt.

                Twilight gave a grunt back and took a seat at the large wooden table feeling much better than she thought she should. It was surreal to her, that yesterday she had seen such awful killing and death, but today the world seemed just fine and dandy. Almost like it never even happened, but Twilight knew better. She still saw the chicks under Anaconda’s hoof, and heard the crunch as the hoof came down.

                

                “Do you like blueberries in your pancakes niña?” Zorro finally broke the silence.

 

                Twilight gave a small, pleasant, moan, “They’re my favorite.” She rested her head on the table, considering going back to sleep. Before she could, a plate holding a stack of the best looking pancakes she’d ever seen lay in front of her. The succulent smell filling her nostrils, Twilight’s mouth watered immediately as she counted the blue specs that dotted the delicious pastries.

 

                Zorro also slid a small bowl of apple juice across the table to her, “And here is something to wash it down with.” He gave her a smirk and resumed filling out more plates, humming a tune Twilight thought was rather catchy.

 

                Twilight hovered utensils over to her and began to dig in, savoring each bite. After gulping down the first fork full, she let out a ‘Yum’ sound. “These are the best pancakes I’ve ever had,” she said definitively.

 

                Megan entered, fully dressed, but still tying her pony-tail off with her red bow, “They should be. It’s his mother’s recipe, and that lady knew her pancakes.” Megan walked to the fridge and poured herself a glass of apple juice and took a plate Zorro had put to the side of the others. Afterward she sat down and began eating.

 

                After Twilight finished, she walked to the sink and began using her magic to wash them, humming a similar tune to Zorro’s. A question popped into Twilight’s head all of the sudden, and before she knew it, she was already asking it. “Megan, are you and Zorro…together?”

 

                Megan’s response was lightning fast, “No.” Her tone gave Twilight a hint to not proceed down this line of questioning.

 

                Zorro just laughed a bit, “Why do you ask little one? Seeing if I’m free for your own romantic pursuits?”

 

                Twilight blushed, “Oh no! Nothing like that, I was just curious, and…and-” Twilight stumbled looking for some way to get off this subject, and was relieved to see Morning Dew, Tall Leaf, and Merry Gold enter the kitchen. “OH LOOK! It’s the Garden family! Hello Garden Family! Zorro made pancakes!”

 

                Merry Gold’s face lit up from its drowsy state, “I love pancakes!” She galloped over to the chair and hopped onto it, and nearly squealed when Zorro placed a stack of warm pancakes in front of her.

 

                Tall Leaf looked around, and under the table, “Has anypony seen Busy Bee?”

 

                Megan raised her hand and then pointed to her and Hawk’s room. “Last I saw she was sleeping soundly next to Hawk. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

 

                Tall Leaf exchanged glances with his wife, before letting out a sigh. “I think Bee is going to have a tough time saying goodbye darlin’.”  Morning Dew gave a sullen nod and took another bite of the pancakes. Tall Leaf walked off to the human’s room and returned a minute or so later, a very sleepy filly on his back.

 

                A few more minutes passed in silence as the Garden family ate their breakfast, and each one giving satisfied moans after they finished. Hawk stood at the door, fully dressed and holding his black duffel bag. “Zorro, Megan, Twilight, pick up is in an hour. Let’s get ready.” Hawk took a glass of juice and downed it with one gulp.

 

                Zorro and Megan disappeared in to their respective sleeping quarters and began packing. Hawk went outside and began to load the wagon, with some help from Twilight’s magic. Outside, most the Garden family had gathered to say their farewells. Busy Bee however, was missing from the scene, but faint sobs could be heard from the filly’s bedroom.

Merry Gold and Morning Dew both gave Twilight a hug and told her to stay safe. Morning Dew presented Twilight with a small circlet made of flowers and the unicorn placed it on her head with pride. As for Hawk, Morning Dew and Tall Leaf gave their unending gratitude for protecting them and their family. Zorro and Megan exited the cabin and were treated in much the same way. Merry Gold gave Megan a flower circlet, and the human placed it upon her head with glee.

                After the wagon was loaded up, and Buttercup fastened to the front, a small hiccup drew everyone’s attention to the front door. Busy Bee had obviously been crying inside, and she ran to Hawk, nuzzling his legs.

 

                “Do you have to go Mr. Hawk?” Busy Bee leaned against his legs, looking him in the eyes. Her own were big and watery, making it difficult to not bend down and give her a big hug.

 

                Hawk, against his better judgment, did it anyway saying “Yes Busy Bee, I do. Twilight needs to go back to New York, and I still have a job to do,” as he squeezed her close to his heart.

 

                “But what if we get in trouble? Or what if…” she buried her head against his chest, “…what if I miss you?” Busy Bee looked like she was about to start crying all over again.

 

                Hawk put her down in front of him and gave her a small kiss on the forehead. “The Six Tribes’ rangers will keep you safe from now on. And if you miss me…” Hawk reached into a pocket of his coat and extracted a silver disk. It had the image of a hawk on it and what seemed to be a dent from a bullet, “…just hold this close.”

 

                Busy Bee marveled at it and gingerly took it out of Hawk’s hand. She gazed up at him holding back tears and nodded.

 

                Twilight and Megan’s eyes grew watery, but they held their silence.

 

 After all was said and done, the Garden family stood in front of their new home, rays of light streaming in through the trees giving a majestic ambiance beneath the canopy. Twilight swore that, as Hawk had walked to join her and the other humans, she saw a tear roll down his face. She didn’t say anything though, as she thought it was sweet.

 

                “Stay safe now!” cried Morning Dew, “And come back any time!”

 

                “Yeah! Come back anytime!” added Merry Gold, jumping gleefully.

 

                Tall Leaf and Busy Bee just smiled and waved, which Twilight, Hawk, Zorro, and Megan all returned with waves and smiles of their own while they rode away down the forest path. T.J. walked alongside Buttercup at a leisurely pace.

                They rode a long time in silence, until they came to an open clearing. Once there, Twilight heard what sounded like a thumping noise. Eventually a large, dark, tube looking thing descended over the canopy, landing a short distance away. It was much larger than what Twilight had expected, and looked like it could hold two cars instead of two horses. After it landed, and the wind softened enough for the group to approach, a ramp lowered from the back.

 

                From it walked a human woman in a jumpsuit and a pilot’s helmet. “Captain Samantha Barnes reporting for pick-up duty Agent Hawk. Welcome aboard.”

 

                “Thank you captain,” said Hawk dismounting the wagon and unfastening Buttercup.

 

                Cpt. Barnes helped the group load their bags and horses onto the transport helicopter with such efficiency and speed, that Twilight began to consider if Captain Barnes might want a job as a library assistant. Twilight shook the thought from her head, remembering how Spike reacted the last time she hired new help.

After everything was loaded and locked down, the humans all sat on benches that lined the walls of the vehicle, and Twilight lied down next to them. She was tired, and thought of her friends back at the bureau, and all the things she wanted to tell them about.

                The beats of the helicopter blades where hypnotic; Twilight fell asleep within minutes of takeoff. She dreamt of her library in Ponyville and of how much she missed her friends, eventually drifting to Sweet Apple Acres where a big red stallion was bucking trees, waiting for her. In the chopper, Hawk looked at his companions as Twilight started moaning in her sleep.

 

                Hawk put his coat over Twilight like a blanket, saying, “This is getting awkward.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                “…And that’s what it’s like ta’ live in Equestria! Any questions?” Applejack had just finished her fourth orientation speech this week, and she was hoping none of the humans would take her up on her request. It was fun the first time, but they always asked the same questions.

 

                “Do we get to choose what kind of pony we become?” No, it’s random.

 

                “Will we already have cutie marks?” Yes, unless you’re young, then you’ll have to work for it.

 

“How do you do stuff without hands?” Magic, mostly.

 

                “Do you know you’re name is a drink?” Yes.

 

                After about five more minutes of the same questions Applejack had heard before, the orientation ended and the auditorium emptied. She let out a groan as she walked back to her temporary office. It used to be Twilight’s, but she had left Applejack in charge while she was away. On the way there, Applejack heard a loud thrumming noise from somewhere outside, but she was too tired to really care.

                Applejack opened to door to ‘her’ office and beheld the room. It was not the same, immaculately sorted room she had stepped into on the day Twilight had departed. Stacks of unsorted papers and documents lay strewn all over the place, and the waste bin was overflowing with balled up pieces of paper and old candy wrappers. On the desk was a computer that lay dormant.

                Applejack let out a sigh as she walked behind the desk and gazed at the blank screen of the monitor. Two days ago, Applejack had walked in on Rainbow Dash doing something on it, and the next thing the farmer pony knew, Dash had sent a hoof into the power switch with such force that it broke the darn thing. Dash had flown out the window before Applejack could make heads or tails of what just happened, leaving the confused earth pony with a broken computer.

                

                When confronted about it later, the Pegasus only said, “I wasn’t doing anything bad on it! You just surprised me!” while her blue face turned a deep red. Applejack knew when a pony was covering something up, but even a pony without the Element of Honesty could tell what Rainbow Dash was doing was something most considered naughty.

 

                So Applejack, who was just beginning to get the hang of using the keyboard and mouse, now had to sort almost a hundred or more documents by hoof. She let out another big sigh through her nose. “I really wish Twilight would come back already.”

 

                As if she was waiting for that exact phrase, Pinkie Pie bounded into the room, her face beaming brighter than her usual smile. “OHMYGOSH APPLEJACK! Guess What?!”

 

                Applejack grew hopeful that Twilight had finally come back, “What is it sugar-cube? Is Twilight back?” Her voice was expectant, and quite honestly, had a pleading tone to it.

 

                Pinkie Pie rapidly shook her head from side to side, “No silly filly! More humans are here! And they must have made the BEST ENTRANCE EVER!”

 

                Applejack let her head sink back onto the desk. “Oh,she said disheartened.

 

                “Yeah!” continued Pinkie, “They just came outta the sky with a big helicopter and landed out in the parking lot! Oh it was so loud, and I could hear beats on the wind and I felt like I could make a song about it, so I did! Here let me-”

 

                Applejack raised her eyebrow, “A heli-what now?”

 

                Pinkie moved her face in close to Applejack’s, “It’s a human flying machine! Like that thinga-ma-jig I built that one time to follow Rainbow Dash that one time that meanie-pants Gilda was in town!” The pink pony stuck out her arms and began to spin, “WOO! WOO! WOO!” After a few seconds she fell to the floor, dizzy and laughing. Applejack rolled her eyes and got moving to the door. Anything was better than just sitting her looking at the dead monitor.

 

                The two ponies walked calmly to the bureau’s lobby, passing by the dormitories where human heads were poking out of their rooms looking confused. Once there, they saw a tall man in a long leather coat and wide brim hat standing at the reception desk talking to the wall-eyed pony known as Ditzy Doo. The other humans in the lobby were giving him odd looks, and generally avoiding him. One of Ditzy’s eyes landed on Applejack, and the winged mare gave a relieved expression.

 

                “There she is sir! The current head muffin in the oven!” said Ditzy smiling wide.

 

                The human cocked an eyebrow at Ditzy, and then turned to Applejack, taking note of her hat. “Applejack, right?”

 

                Applejack nodded, looking out the front windows at the helicopter with earnest confusion. “Yes I am, but what’s with all this racket?”

 

                “My name is Agent Hawk. Come with me.” With that he moved to the door and held it open for Applejack and Pinkie, who bounced merrily up to the human.

 

                “What’s that thing?” asked Pinkie, looking at Hawk’s revolver.

 

                “A noise maker,” he said bluntly.

                 

                “Oooooh…I love noise makers!” marveled the pink earth pony.

 

                Applejack pushed Pinkie out the door, “Come on sugar cube. Let’s see what this is all about.”

 

                As soon as Applejack and Pinkie went outside, they saw a small violet, and slightly flustered, unicorn descending the loading ramp. Before Twilight knew they were even there, she was dog piled by Applejack and Pinkie Pie resulting in a big group hug.

 

*              *              *

 

                Once inside and resituated in her room, Twilight flopped on her bed. All she needed to do now was to wait for Pinkie’s inevitable party to start, and she could begin to wrap up her day. Considering the state of her office however, she was not in any particular rush to get back to the normal tedium of life in the bureau. She had only glanced over the room for a second or two before deeming it ‘not worth it.’

                The door to her room swung open and a small purple dragon rushed up to her, leapt onto the bed, and landed a great big hug around her neck.

 

                “Twilight!” Spike yelled, not withholding any enthusiasm.

 

                “Spike!” Twilight was thrilled to see her assistant, and she squeezed him close to her. It had been too long since they had seen each other face to face. Or it felt that way at least.

 

                “Oh gosh I’ve missed you! It’s been soooo boring around here without you around. I nearly went insane without you telling me to pick stuff up!” He looked up and stared at Twilight with a serious face, “And before you ask, I had nothing to do with what happened to your computer.”

 

                Twilight’s smile changed to one of concern, “What happened to my computer?”

 

                Before Spike could answer, he belched out a cloud of fire and smoke. The cloud twisted and spun itself into the form of a scroll, which plopped down onto the bed. Twilight wasted no time in unfurling the scroll and reading aloud the immaculate writing of the Princess.

 

“My dear Twilight Sparkle,

 

                It fills me with great joy to hear that you have returned from human lands safely. I was worried beyond measure when the human President told me that your train never arrived at its destination. He reassured me to remain calm however, as he was certain his guardian would never fail in completing a task.

But that is neither here nor there, and we can discuss your adventure when I come by to visit this evening. Expect me around four o’clock.

 

Your loving mentor, and friend,

Celestia

 

P.S. Did you see my debate with the HLF? How do you think I did? I’m pleased to say things went well with them, and their leadership tells me that they have lost much of the animosity they once felt towards us, and that they hope to live in harmony with us from now on. See you soon.”

 

                Twilight looked at the clock on her wall. It read “3:54.” Twilight bounded out of her bed dropping Spike on his rump, she grabbed a comb with her magic and began brushing her mane and tail with such haste, Rainbow Dash’s head would spin. “Spike, go tell everypony that the Princess is on her way here! And go now!”

 

                The baby dragon dashed out of the room and Twilight could hear Rarity gasp as she heard the news, followed by a series of crashes and a “What am I going to wear on such short notice?!” from down the hall.

 

                Within minutes, Twilight and Rarity were standing in the front lobby, both looking nervous. Twilight because her idol and surrogate mother would arrive at any moment, and Rarity because she was couldn’t remember if she had all the accoutrements to her most recent gown. The lobby was filled with ponies and humans who wanted to meet the mythical princess in the flesh.

                Megan and Applejack sat in a corner exchanging stories with each other. Twilight looked at them side by side and thought she saw a resemblance between the two, but her thoughts were interrupted by the blaring of trumpets. Outside landed four white Pegasus guard ponies in golden armor, and after rushing to the entrance and opening the door, four more royal guards flew to the ground, pulling a magnificent chariot behind them. In it sat a divine figure that seemed to glow with all the warmth of spring and summer.

                Princess Celestia stepped down from the chariot and entered the main lobby of the Bureau. All the ponies present bowed and the humans cheered. Twilight stepped forward into view of her mentor. They both smiled widely as Celestia leaned over to nuzzle the side of Twilight’s head, causing the young mare to giggle.

 

                “It’s so good to see you again Princess,” said Twilight, basking in the presence of her teacher.

 

                Celestia looked around the room smiling, and then back to Twilight, “And it is good to see you, my most treasured pupil. I have been looking forward to seeing you again actually. My week has been just awful not knowing if you were safe or not.”

 

                Twilight just kept up that dumb smile, “Oh don’t worry Princess, the human agents were more than capable of keeping us safe.”

 

                Celestia beamed at the news, “Well if it’s all right, I’d like to meet them and give them my thanks in person.”

 

                “Right this way!” Twilight was more than happy to let Celestia meet her new friends. She just hoped she didn’t have to get into the messy details of the journey.

 

                Twilight led the group of ponies and humans to the auditorium where Pinkie had set up a wonderful looking party. Rainbow Dash was boasting at Hawk, while Zorro was stabbing apples out of the air with his sword, much to the amusement of Pinkie.

 

                “And then there was the time I won the best young flyers competition by doing a sonic rainboom.” Dash was floating next to Hawk looking very proud of herself. Hawk was sitting with a thousand yard stare nodding his head, saying “That’s nice.”

 

                When Celestia and Twilight entered, the two agents stopped what they were doing and moved to approach the goddess, while the ponies they were talking to trotted close behind them.

 

                Celestia regarded Hawk and Zorro, and gave a small bow of her head, “Thank you for keeping Twilight safe. She means a great deal to me.” Twilight almost fainted when she heard her idol say such kind words, but maintained her composure.

 

                Hawk gave a respectful bow of his own, “No problem your highness. Twilight is a capable young mare, and we wouldn’t have completed out journey without her.”

 

                “I didn’t do that much,” Twilight chimed in, blushing under Hawk’s praise.

 

                Celestia smiled at her student’s modesty, continuing, “And what are your names, so that I may remember you for your service?”

 

                Zorro removed his hat and made a sweeping bow, “Don Zorro De la Vega, but most just call me Zorro, your majesty.”

 

                Hawk glanced at Zorro and shook his head. “I am Agent Hawk, at your service. And over there…” Hawk pointed to Megan, “…is Megan, who must be the best sniper this side of the prime meridian. I don’t think she’s ever told me her last name though.”

 

                Megan walked out of the crowd rolling her eyes in great arcs, and formally greeted the Princess. “Hello your highness.”

 

                “You know,” said Zorro, “She never told me her last name either.” Both Hawk and Zorro shrugged, earning a few chortles from the crowd.

 

                Celestia let a grin cross her face, “Well then, Hawk, Zorro, and Megan, I thank you from the bottom of my being. Now,” she said looking around the crowd, “how about we get this party started, hmm?” This elicited a great cheer as the crowd surged into the auditorium. Celestia looked at Twilight who seemed to be in a blissful haze, “Well then Twilight. Let’s catch up with your new friends, and maybe you can tell me what you’ve learned while in human lands.”

 

                Twilight snapped out of her happy coma and replied, “Oh! Yes of course!” The group found a cozy spot to sit and chat. For the rest of the night Twilight told Celestia and her friends about her to entire trip to Yellowstone and back, Hawk filling in any blanks that she left unfilled. Twilight left out the part with the chicks, for Fluttershy’s sake, and Hawk left out the parts that involved Big Mac for Twilight’s.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                After the party, and subsequent cleanup, Twilight found herself going through her saddlebags, putting things she had taken with her back into their proper place. Then she came to two books she had not originally brought with her. One was a thick tome about knights, the other a pink diary. Regarding both fondly, she placed them both onto her bookshelf.

 

                “Twilight,” came her teacher’s voice, “I’m about to go.” Celestia peeked her head into Twilight’s room, a habit she had developed while Twilight lived with her in the castle.

 

                After a brief moment of reminiscing, Twilight said, “Thank you so much for coming, it felt really good catching up with you.” With that, Twilight gave the Princess another hug and began to escort her to the front entrance.

 

                “You’ve had quite a week my student,” Celestia said after a while, “what do you think of the human’s now that you have been among them in their world?”

 

                Twilight reflected on what she had seen, finally coming up with an answer she thought would suffice. “Humans are harsh creatures, but they have to be because their world is harsh and dangerous. Sometimes in their pursuit to survive, they cross each other, and most times they make friends and can work together, but other times it doesn’t work out and they feel that they have to fight. They are mostly good, I think, but sometimes they just plain old turn bad, like Cottonmouth, and live to cause other humans misery.” Twilight paused, looking to see if the Princess was satisfied.

 

                Celestia nodded, and gave Twilight a smile, “I think that is a good analysis Twilight, if a bit brief. But I am glad you have learned something about this new world.”

 

                They entered the lobby, and the dying rays of sunset streamed in through the doors. Hawk was saluting Captain Barnes. The woman walked outside to her awaiting transport, and shortly thereafter took off and flew away. The pegasi had to move inside not to be blown off their hooves.

 

                “Well I guess it’s my turn,” said Celestia, summoning her guards to her, “Stay well Twilight Sparkle.” She leaned over and gave Twilight a kiss on the forehead. The room exploded with ‘Aaaaaaw’s. Celestia and Twilight didn’t mind though, as they thought it was cute as well. With that, Celestia departed the lobby and mounted her carriage and with a few last looks at her student, took off.

 

Hawk and Zorro were assembling their bags while Megan stood next to Applejack, helping where she could. Megan was going to stay a while, as it turned out. Apparently T.J. was pregnant with Buttercup’s foal and was due in a month or two. Fluttershy was extremely excited about the news, and had already begun assembling an acceptable place for the new foal. Megan would become Fluttershy’s helper in the meantime, and help out Applejack with any of her tasks.

Zorro finally zipped up the last few bags and placed them over his shoulders, and began to walk to the exit.

 

                Twilight looked at Zorro as he moved past her, carrying Hawk’s duffel bag. “So long niña, I hope that our paths will cross again one day.”

 

                “I do too Mr. Zorro. It was an honor having you with us, and I’m glad you came,” replied Twilight. The two exchange bows and Zorro walked out of the door.

 

                Hawk stepped forward next, and the two spent a long time looking at each other. Hawk knelt down, putting him on eye level with Twilight. “Well Sprinkles, it seems this is goodbye. At least for now anyway, so you be sure not to get kidnapped by anything. I don’t think I’d survive another rescue mission.”

                

                Twilight gave out a laugh, replying, “Yeah well, maybe you should retire and settle down somewhere. Maybe a nice cabin out west,” Twilight doused her next words with as much of a childish and mocking tone she could, “maybe out near Busy Bee~.”

 

                Hawk laughed, “That’s a low blow Twilight.”

 

                “I owed you for that stunt you pulled on the wagon,” Twilight leaned in and whispered in his ear, “about the whole Big Mac thing.” Applejack perked her ears thinking she heard something. But Megan quickly caught her attention again with a story about her father’s apple orchard.

 

                “Fair enough,” Hawk coughed, and reached into his pockets again, “I have a going away present for you.” He presented Twilight with the Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set. “Every group of friends need these. And you have a lot of friends who haven’t seen this, if I remember right.”

 

                Twilight lifted the movies with her magic and placed them next to her on the floor. “Thank you Hawk,” she said blushing at the gift, “and now I think I owe you something for rescuing me.” Before Hawk could ask what it was, or say it wasn’t necessary, Twilight gave him a small, quick, peck on the lips. Looking very bashful, Twilight looked down at her hooves. Hawk just chuckled a bit.

 

                Hawk gave Twilight a big, strong, hug and then stood up. “So long Sprinkles. I think it’s about time I hit the dusty trail. See you later.” He turned and walked out the door to where Zorro stood waiting next to two motorcycles he had found. Hawk mounted his, and Zorro followed suit. After a few moments, the two men drove off down the street, and into the sunset.

 

                As he left, memories began to resurface. Memories of empty and desolate streets filled only with wild dogs howling in the dead of night, yearning for blood. Memories of screaming winds that could rip the earth asunder with its rage, and a deep, terrible darkness that made Twilight shudder. Memories of cruel men, with sick pleasures and corrupt minds working against all that Twilight held dear. All of these memories floated in and out of her subconscious. It was almost unbearable to think she might have to live with these images in her head for the rest of her life.

But fortunately, Hawk had given her a way to distract herself from these images; A way for her to escape her memories.

 

                Twilight sighed and looked at Applejack and Megan, who smiled back at her, both of them giggling like fillies on the first day of school. Twilight let her face give a big smile. She picked up the films Hawk had given her and raised them above her head.

 

 

“Who wants to watch a movie?”

 

 

 

*              *              *The End*           *              *


By: Anonsi (!)

Yellowstone

After the Credits Scene:

Out from the Darkness

 

 

                President Joseph McCullough walked into the conference room of the white house. He had called for an emergency meeting between him, his top agents, and Celestia herself. This was all her fault after all.

 

                Agent Dimitri snapped a salute, “Sir!”

 

                “At ease Dimitri” said the president, returning the salute. “Who’s here?”

 

                Dimitri looked at his watch, “So far? Agents Hawk and Zorro have arrived, albeit two hours behind schedule.”

 

                President Joseph nodded his head. “Where’s the horse?”

 

                “On her vay sir.”

 

                Joseph sighed, “Alright, bring in those two.”

 

                Dimitri gave a crisp salute and moved to the double doors, opening them. With a wave, Hawk and Zorro entered the conference room with a swagger.

 

                “Yo Joe,” said Hawk, “What’s going on?”

 

                President Joseph had long ago learned to ignore Hawk’s informal view of things, and motioned for the two to sit down. Joseph was impressed they stopped the assassination attempt by Cottonmouth before it even started, and destroyed the corrupt potion to boot. They were the top two agents for a reason after all. But Joseph feared their next assignment would not go so well.

Joseph picked up a remote from the table. With one button he revealed a large television. With another, he turned it on. On it glowed a satellite map of a storm cell from about a week ago. Hawk and Zorro recognized the coordinates immediately.

 

                “Mr. President?” asked Zorro, slightly concerned.

 

                “Dimitri. Is the Princess here yet?” asked the president.

 

                Dimitri again checked his watch, “Yes sir. She has just arrived.” Without missing a beat, Dimitri opened the double doors again, this time revealing the divine form of Celestia.

 

                Her face beamed when she saw Hawk and Zorro, “Well this is a pleasant surprise, meeting again so soon!” Hawk and Zorro waved at her and she moved to an open space at the table and sat down on her haunches. “Now Mr. President,” said Celestia in her calm tone, “Why have you summoned us here?”

 

                Joseph turned around, his expression grave. “Magic has been leaking out of Equestria Princess, and it is causing a great many problems.”

 

                The Princess gave a stern look, “What do you mean?”

 

                The president continued, “This is the tornado that derailed the Magna Rail during Agent Hawk’s recent escort mission. It appeared almost without warning, and was able to travel at remarkable speeds. Speeds fast enough to catch the Magna Rail in full reverse.” Joseph clicked another button, and a new scene appeared on the screen, this time with a wider view. It showed two similar dark clouds, one where the Magna Rail was picked up, and the other near the town of Ten Sleep.

                “Meanwhile, nearly a thousand miles away, an identical tornado was raging across Wyoming. Look closely at the center of these two storms.” He clicked another button, and magnified the center of both tornadoes. In the center of both of them was half of the Magna Rail.

 

                Hawk rubbed his forehead in disbelief, and Zorro looked confused. Celestia was starting to put some pieces together inside of her head, but she didn’t want to admit anything yet. She had to be sure first.

 

                “You see Princess,” Joseph went on, “That tornado was a vortex, that transported the team more than one thousand miles away in under one minute. I can assure you, this is not a natural occurring phenomenon of the Midwest. Hawk, Zorro, and your student Twilight Sparkle, all traveled through a worm hole. I believe the source of this event stems from this...” He clicked another slide into existence, this time it was a picture of Equestria, but through a lens filter that showed the magical bubble that surrounded it. There seemed to be a gash in its side, and an alarming amount magic seemed to be flowing out of it.

 

                Celestia’s eyes widened. “How did this happen? I didn’t feel the enchantment break! I would have felt a tremor if something this huge had happened to the barrier!”

 

                Hawk raised his hand, “Can we go back through old satellite photos and apply the magic filter? Maybe find out when this thing tore open?”

 

                Joseph replied, clicking the next slide, “We can, and have.” The date was the same day as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Celestia’s expression turned into one of horror as she counted the years.

 

                “That’s the day my sister came back from her banishment. The day Twilight used the Elements of Harmony to save her…”

 

                Joseph nodded, having been briefed on the whole ordeal with the Mare of Darkness, “It is our belief, Princess, that in the time between Nightmare Moon’s release and subsequent defeat, your protective shield was damaged. The probable cause is that you were not there to rebuff its potency, which is what you do every year on the day of your Summer Sun Celebration, if I am not mistaken. It is because you missed that year that this crack formed.” He paused letting it all sink in for those assembled.

“We also believe, that if not for this breach, you ponies would not have needed to leave Equestria. It is probable that this opening flows two ways. The inherent magic of your homeland flows out, while the pollution of our cities flowed in, thus causing you to take action, and leaving us the position we are in today.”

 

Zorro raised his hand, “Other than tornadoes that can cut down on travel time, what possible consequences could come from this?”

 

Joseph took a deep breath, and presented Hawk and Zorro with folders. “In the town of Sleepy Hollow, a scarce one hundred and twenty three miles outside of New York City limits, there are stories of a ‘Headless Horseman’ who rides at night, and is said to kill all he finds on his nightly ride, and take their heads to replace his own.”

 

Hawk looked up, “Sir, with all due respect, that was a myth, and that town doesn’t even exist.”

 

                “Three counts of murder say different Agent Hawk.” Joseph clicked a new slide, it showed a small town and surrounding farmland. The magic filter revealed that the place glowed rich with the magical essence of Equestria. “The town of Sleepy Hollow manifested approximately seven days ago, and with it, so did the horseman. The victims include a ponified married couple who thought it was a tourist attraction, and a lost hiker who was looking for a place to sleep. Their heads could not be located.”

 

                Celestia looked at the president in disbelief, “Are you saying that the magic that is leaking out of my homeland is summoning monsters from story books?”

 

                President Joseph sighed, “Yes, and unfortunately, no.” He clicked to the next slide, “There is evidence to suggest magical infusion of the landscape has been going on for years. Things became more frequent when you ponies arrived on our shores, but at the time we didn’t have the resources to see what was going on.”

                “Egypt, Giza. There have been numerous reports of chanting coming from underneath the pyramids. All personnel sent to investigate have not returned. Currently the police have sealed off the entrances and exits, but the chanting persists.” The filter revealed more magic surrounding the pyramid.

He clicked to another slide, “Athens, Greece. Two weeks ago. The winner of the ‘Miss Athens’ Beauty Pageant started speaking in verse with a voice not her own and predicted every event of your little trip.” He pointed to Hawk, who began to look very closely at the files in his folder.

                “And this,” Joseph clicked to a new slide showing Yellowstone National Park, the filter revealing that the area was saturated with magic. Hawk grew tense. “This is an area you should be familiar with. The day after you left, Six Tribes officials sent me reports of seeing strange creatures in the forest, darting between trees. An account from a small boy in the area said that they were a tribe of sasquatch. If not for everything else, I would have dismissed it.”

 

                “So what do we do?” asked Hawk, sounding concerned.

 

                Celestia cleared her throat. “Well first, the hole in the barrier must be sealed, so no more magic will escape from Equestria and conjure anymore of these nightmares.” She gave a small chuckle, and in an apologetic tone said “It seems we were polluting your world as much as you, ours.”

 

                The President gave her a forgiving look, “Don’t worry about the past Princess. Just get that breach resealed. That will give us a finite amount of problems to deal with.” Celestia nodded, her eyes thanking the president for his forgiveness.

 

                “So where do we come in Joe?” asked Hawk.

 

                Zorro finished reading the folder in front of him, “I can guess amigo.”

 

                President Joseph put his hands behind his back. “The infusion of magic back into our world has caused curses and creatures from the ancient days of myth and legend to resurface. You two are to spearhead the elimination of all hostile paranormal entities, and protect the innocent. I’m giving you whatever support you need for this. And Princess,” Celestia gave him a determined look, “we will need the aid of magic in the defense of the innocent humans and ponies that exist outside of Equestria.”

 

                Celestia stood up, “You have my full cooperation Joseph.”

 

                Zorro stood, “And you have my sword!”

 

                Hawk followed suit, “And my guns!”

 

                Dimitri chimed in, “And my axe!”

 

                The members of the board room looked at Dimitri with queer expressions.

 

                “Vhat? I specialize in close quarters combat vith axes and shotguns.”

 

                Joseph just shook his head, “Then let’s not waste any time. Hawk, Zorro…” he gave Dimitri a look, “…Dimitri. Your first assignment is to deal with the event at Sleepy Hollow. Your helicopter transport leaves in an hour.”

 

                All three agents snapped a salute and rushed off down the hallway, Hawk calling dibs on shotgun. Celestia gave a resolute nod to the President and practically galloped out of a nearby window.

 

                Joseph sighed and looked out into the night sky. “Things are getting exciting again, aren’t they?”

 

 

To be continued?

Why would I want to do that?

Why would I  want to write an episodic series of gothic monster fighting adventures

Involving a cowboy, Zorro, and a Russian guy who uses axes and shotguns

That may have more wackey hijinks with Twilight Sparkle?

That just sounds silly.


Yellowstone:

The Series

By: Anonsi(Bringing you more errors than ever before)

 

Episode: 2

Down the Drain

 

 ____________________________________________________________________________

For ages, Equestria has existed separate from the rest of the world, protected by a magical barrier that prevented it from being seen, touched, or reached by humans and their machines. But five years ago, the ponies of Equestria landed on the shores of human lands claiming to be there to save the earth and humanity from pollution, hate, and greed. To do this, the top human scientists and pony magicians created a potion to turn humans into ponies in places called, Conversion Bureaus. Within two years of its release, more than half the total human populace on Earth has converted. The balance of the world has been forever altered, as the remaining human nations form new governments for those humans that remain.

 

Twilight Sparkle and her companions have just now returned from doing battle with the Headless Horseman. With the help of the human task force under the command of Agent Hawk, the grisly phantom was able to be destroyed. But not all ponies escaped unscarred, as Pinkie Pie witnessed the deaths of many innocent ponies and humans at the hands of the Horseman, and even now grapples with the awful images trapped in her mind...

Having returned to her Conversion Bureau, Twilight was met by not only Princess Celestia herself, but also the human president: Joseph McCullough. Both rulers bore information of the group’s future purpose. After moving to one of the many lounges in the Bureau, the ponies and humans prepare for whatever news the two powerful leaders have to offer…

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

As excited as Twilight was to finally be back in a place not infested with ghostly murderers, as well as to be in the presence of her monarch and mentor, she wanted nothing more than to find a bed and collapse into it. The rather comfy couch on which she, and her five friends, now sat was already lulling the young mare into a sleepy haze. From what she could see with her blurred vision, Hawk and the other humans were all sitting on the couch opposite her friends, with Celestia and the human leader standing between both parties.

Twilight noted everyone looked a bit worse for wear. As far as her friends were concerned, Rarity had tree sap all over her rump, Pinkie looked deflated, Applejack was still pulling twigs out of her mane with help from Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy was just looking tired. But thankfully no pony was hurt. At least no pony she knew.

 

Celestia’s melodious voice wasn’t helping Twilight stay awake either. “As you know my dear little ponies,” came her mentor’s soothing and motherly voice, “the human world is a harsh and dangerous place for us Equestrians.”

 

But not for humans,’ Twilight thought, absent mindedly looking at Agent Hawk. ‘They were doing fine before we got here.

 

“But now, things have escalated. Magic has leaked out from our homeland and has given birth to abominations against life itself.”

 

Twilight rested her head on the arm rest of the couch, still drearily looking at the human in the long brown leather coat and wide brim hat. Well, except for the whole greed and economic depression and pollution thing. But they certainly weren’t in danger from animals, or ghosts.

 

“As such, you all will be helping President Joseph’s team to fend off any threat to the ponies and humans that inhabit these lands until the magical energies that run rampant throughout the world subside.”

 

After all, just look at those hands! They’re like, the best tool in the world!’ Twilight raised her front hooves to her face, ‘Hands certainly would make picking things up easier, especially if I didn’t have my magic.’

 

“What this means Miss Applejack, is that the human agents will be staying here with you at the Bureau, in an effort to breed trust and a feeling of camaraderie. As of now, you are all in the Elite Equestrian Guard.”

 

Twilight’s half awake gaze once again fell on Hawk, who seemed to be looking at her now, ‘What would a pony with hands even look like? Maybe there’s a spell I could use to…

 

“Twilight?”

 

Twilight closed her eyes and tried to imagine what a pony would look like with hands. It was silly enough to elicit a giggle, ‘That looks ridiculous, I might as well just make a spell to turn me human. Oh Celestia, what would I look like as a human?

 

Rarity nudged Twilight in the ribs and whispered into her ear, “Twilight! The Princess is talking to you!”

 

Pain from her ribs snapping her back to reality, Twilight sat straight up. “W-w-Yes Princess! I’m here, and awake, and I’ve been listening!” She gave a wide smile, hoping that it would hide how red her face had turned.

 

Celestia just smiled and continued, “I’m sure you were Twilight, and I know you must be exhausted from last night’s mission, but I’m going to need you to show the human agents to their rooms after the President’s briefing.”

 

Twilight cocked an eyebrow, “Wait…huh?” The sound of Celestia’s words echoed in her mind, “OH right! Humans. Living with us now. Right, got it.” Twilight’s mind focused on a single fact of that statement, ‘Wait...

 

Celestia let out a quiet and dainty laugh that sounded as divine as the goddess looked, “Indeed my faithful student. Now if you would all give your attention to President Joseph…” She unfurled a wing and pointed it at the aged man.

 

“Thank you Princess,” he said stepping forward, “Time for the bad news.” The ponies gulped in unison while the human agents leaned forward, listening intently. “For the past week, dogs, cats, and other forms of city fauna have been disappearing in Greenwich Village at an alarming rate.”

 

Fluttershy put her hooves to her mouth and gasped, “Those poor animals! Don’t they have owners, or somepony to look after them?”

 

The President gave her a flat look, “Some of them did, but most were just strays. At first, city officials believed they were just moving to other parts of the city or, getting stuck in a pipe somewhere…”

 

 “What are we doing here then?!” cried Fluttershy, “We have to find those poor, innocent little animals and give them a home! Poor little things are probably shivering alone in some dirty and dark hole and crying out for somepony to help them!”

 

The President’s face contorted into an expression of guilt. He obviously did not want to tell the sensitive pegasus the next part, but duty dictated he did, “Recent information says otherwise miss.” The President took a zip-lock bag out of his pocket and held it up for everyone to see. Inside of it was a dog collar, and even Twilight’s groggy vision could see it was caked with dried blood.

Twilight’s friends, especially Fluttershy, all put their hooves over their mouths and looked away. “From what we can tell,” the president said as he replaced the bag into his pocket, “all of the missing animals were hunted down and eaten by a foreign predator, and last night we were fortunate enough to get an eye witness with a camera.”

 

The President removed a medium sized orange folder from within his suit jacket and threw it onto the coffee table that sat between the two couches. As it landed, a single photo slid out of it. The creature in the photo was in the process of diving into a manhole, and all that could be seen was two powerful looking legs and a crocodilian tail.

 

                Rainbow Dash cocked her head to the side, “It certainly looks nasty.”

 

                Hawk picked up the photo and examined it closely. “That it does. It’ll look even worse when I put a pound of lead into it.”

 

                Megan put a hand on Hawk’s shoulder and pointed to the red spot on the man’s arm, “You’re not going anywhere near a sewer with a bite wound like that.”

 

                Hawk gave a plaintive look at the woman, “But…”

 

                “No buts,” said Megan, “Doctor’s orders. Dimitri and Zorro can take care of this.”

 

                “Actually,” said Zorro giving a slight cough, “I might have a tiny little cold.”

 

                Megan rolled her eyes, “Ugh, fine. I’ll go with Dimitri and Fluttershy can bandage up Hawk. Applejack, you want to go on an adventure into the Manhattan sewer system with me?”

 

                The orange earth pony removed her hat and scratched her chin, “Well, weighing the prospects of such a venture, Ah’d have to say...” A devious smile crossed her face as she replaced her hat, “Darn tootin’! I’m not gonna let some varmint get away with munchin’ on somepony’s pet dog!”

 

                Dash jumped onto the coffee table with wings fully extended, “Hay yeah! Count me in too! No way am I not going on an adventure!”

 

                “Замечатель! This vill be like game of Dungeon and Dragon!”

 

                Dimitri received an odd look from everyone in the room. President Joseph patted the young man on the back while laughing to himself, “Well then Dimitri, you and the others best get rolling.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

             An hour later, Megan Dimitri, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack were all standing around an open manhole with an old van Megan had commandeered from the parking lot that was full of supplies. Thankfully, the ponies didn’t question where Megan had found it or why she had to hot-wire the vehicle to make it start. Though Megan was more thankful that the ponies didn’t ask her about the ‘Free Candy’ sign they found in the back.

 

                With a brisk huff, Megan walked over to the van and opened the back, “Come on Dimitri, let’s unload the stuff.”

 

                “Vhy is it alvays me?” asked the young man to no one in particular.

 

                “Because ponies don’t have hands!” Megan called back. “Now stop crying and earn your keep.” Dimitri could only reply with a heavy sigh and moved to help unpack the several boxes they had packed before leaving the Bureau.

 

“Hey AJ…” whispered Dash as she stretched out her legs.

 

                Applejack began swinging her lasso in long practice loops with her mouth, causing her reply to be somewhat muffled,, “Yeah Dashie?”

 

                “You think Twilight and that human in the coat have a thing for each other?”

 

                Applejack very nearly swallowed her rope. “W-Where in tarnation did you get a strange idea like that?!”

 

                Dash leaned over to her friend, “Were you not in that briefing? Twilight was totally giving him bedroom eyes the entire time!”

 

                “And what, if’n you don’t mind me askin’, are ‘bedroom eyes’?”

 

                Dash rolled her eyes, “Ugh, it’s the look one pony gives to another when they want to…you know…do it.”

 

                Applejack furrowed her brow, “Oh. And you think Twilight wants ta…An Hawk wants to…Twilight…” The earth pony’s mind swam with implications. The two did spend all last night in that graveyard together. “Ya know, now that ya mention it, I do recall Twilight not peeling her eyes away from ‘im.”

 

                Megan dropped a large box down in between the two ponies, causing them to jump in fright. “What’re ya’ll talking about?” she asked with a smile, “Certain stallions you two might have an eye on perhaps?” Applejack and Dash’s faces grew an intense shade of red.

 

                Dimitri walked into the group and knelt over the box, sighing under his breath, “Может быть они говорили о том, насколько они хотят иметь секс друг с другом?”

 

                Megan gave him a dirty look and a punch in the shoulder, “For that you get to go in first.” Dimitri rubbed the spot where she hit him and gave a sorry look.

 

                “What did he say?” asked Applejack, now more confused than embarrassed.

 

                “Nothing worth repeating,” replied Megan.

 

                “So anyvay…” Dimitri interjected as he dug through the box’s contents with his good arm, “Vhat ve have for today’s adventure is: instant torches, flare gun vith ten shots, three fifty-thousand wolt tasers, vith safeties off,” He turned to the ponies as if answering an unasked question, “So prolonged exposure might just melt your skin off. Next ve have tomahawks and throwing hatchets,” he suddenly reeled back a bit, “and a two pound block of C4?”

 

Megan cocked an eyebrow, “C4? Who put C4 in my box?!”

 

“What in tarnation’s see four?” asked Applejack leaning her head in close enough to sniff the strange block of putty.

 

“Big explosive, wery dangerous, wery loud,” replied Dimitri turning the brick shaped object over in his hands. There was a small pink square of paper on the bottom of the brick, and on it was a message. “Oh look! A sticky note!” Dimitri plucked it off, his face brightening as he read,

 

Just in case. Love Hawk.

 

“Awww, well ain’t that sweet!” said Applejack forcing a smile, making sure to give an ‘oh-my-goodness-you-might-be-right’ glance at Dash. Dash returned it with an ‘I-told-you-so’ grin.

 

Megan placed her hand over her face and sighed, “I am going to kill that man.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                An instant torch dropped down through the manhole and hit the cold stone with a clack. Seconds later, a young man with a large axe on his back climbed down the ladder that led to the street, touching down in the old stonework. Dimitri picked up the torch and held it above his head, illuminating thirty or so feet of darkness. The sewer tunnel had a roof made of old brick, and wide enough to be a road. Old pipes cris-crossed on the ceiling, and occasionally thrummed with activity.

 

                After surveying the immediate area, he called up to those above him, “Clear!”

 

                Megan climbed down next, two tomahawks looped around her belt, and a flare gun holstered at her hip. As she touched down next to the young man, she wiped her hands off on her blue jeans and took in a few breaths of air. “Well, it doesn’t smell bad,” she said at length, “Weird”.

 

                “Megan?” called Applejack from the street, “Ah-Ah’m ready ta’ come down! You ready to catch me?”

 

                Megan looked up at the pony head that hovered above the manhole, “I sure am sugar-cube!” The woman stretched out her arms, preparing to catch the small equine.

 

                Applejack backed away from the hole to get some distance, “Okay! Here Ah go!” She ran towards the opened and jumped into the air, curling into a canon-ball dive, “YEE-HAW!” Falling straight through the manhole and into Megan’s awaiting arms, she gave out a dainty “Oomf!” Feeling the arms of her human friend support her form, the orange pony opened her eyes to see Megan’s smiling face.

 

                “You’re lighter than you look,” said the woman.

 

                “Hey, Ah can be dainty if Ah want ta’ be,” Applejack replied as Megan placed her on solid ground, “Jus’ don’t on account of it not bein’ all that practical.”

 

                “Yeah, that’s what I like about you AJ,” called Rainbow Dash as she jumped down from the opening, flaring out her wings and gliding smoothly to the ground. “You aren’t afraid to have fun and get dirty, unlike Rarity.”

 

                “Vhy vould she vant to pass up a glorious opportunity like this?” Dimitri asked in earnest. “It is not every day one gets to go into dungeon and hunt lizard man. Ад, I vould do this even if I vasn’t part of the Agency.”

 

                Applejack rolled her eyes in wide arcs, “Ah don’t think Rarity would care much fer the decorations, or the murderous lizard creature that might be stalkin’ ‘round down here.”

 

                “Speaking of ol’ scaly,” said Dash looking down both directions of the sewer, seeing only darkness. “Where do we start looking for him anyway?”

 

                “Downstream,” said Megan, “Any animals that had drowned during a storm would flow that way, making for an easy meal, and I got a feeling this thing wouldn’t mind getting wet.”

 

                Wincing at the cold analysis, Applejack asked the next question, “An’ which way is downstream? It all looks a might flat down here to me.” Glancing around the gloomy tunnel the orange pony added, “Then again, Ah can’t see much of anything down here.”

 

                “I can answer this one!” exclaimed Dimitri, removing a bottle of water from his army surplus cargo pants. He bent over and began pouring it out slowly onto the ground making sure it didn’t splash.

 

Sure enough, as the puddle grew a small tendril of water began to trail off down into the darkness. With a swarthy looking smile, Dimitri tossed an instant torch over to Megan. Immediately after catching the long brown stick, she cracked the top off of it, causing the tip to burst into a bright white light.

 

“You lead Mr. Scientist,” said Megan patting the young man on the back, “I’ll bring up the rear. AJ, you and Dash keep an eye out for side passages that look like something might be using them.”

 

As they fell into the marching order Dash asked, “What kind of signs of life does a lizard monster give?”

 

“Oh you known, average stuff,” replied Megan, “Claw marks on the walls and bricks, loose scales on the ground, maybe a footprint in some dirt…”

 

“Bones,” added Dimitri.

 

Megan nodded in agreement, “Definitely bones.”

 

Dash and Applejack exchanged glances, and together they both gulped.

 

 

*              *              *

 

                Meanwhile, at the Bureau, an exhausted Twilight had long since been carried to her bed by her concerned mentor Princess Celestia, who had to depart with President Joseph shortly after. They had to leave in order to prepare a statement to the general populace, they had to tell the people what the bridging of the two worlds had wrought. After the goodbyes, everyone had gone off to do what they thought needed to be done.

                Fluttershy patched up Hawk’s bite wound from the ghastly business of the previous night, and after that the yellow pegasus had gone out to her little animal sanctuary and tended her flock. Rarity went to go take a bath with a trashy novella called, “The Stallion from the South,” and had not been seen since. As for the human Hawk, he and his friend Zorro were busy picking out their rooms and converting one of the lounges into a briefing room/communications headquarters. Zorro had conveniently ceased coughing around the time he selected his room, which occurred before any of the other humans had a chance to pick rooms of their own.

                Pinkie on the other hand, sat alone in the cafeteria. It was just past lunchtime, so all the humans and ponified people had left to go back to their rooms while giving a wide berth to the human agents. Pinkie sighed and closed her eyes, and was instantly bombarded with images of a Headless Horseman, laughing maniacally as he decapitated pony after pony, their dead eyes always looking at Pinkie no matter how they landed.

 

                Shaking her head clear of the images, the pink mare concluded that she would never sleep again. Not if such horrible things were now stuck in her mind. A little voice in her head spoke up, ‘They are gone, and they are never coming back. Their families are going to be so sad to know that you survived instead of their brother, or sister, or son, or daughter...’ She shook her head more hoping to quiet the voice, but it persisted. ‘How are you going to live with yourself knowing that if you had warned them sooner, they might still be alive?

 

                A cup of tea slid into Pinkie’s vision from across the table. “You look terrible,” came a cold, but undeniably feminine voice.

 

                Looking up, Pinkie saw Captain Barnes with a cup of her own. “OH! Hey there Ms. Barnes…wh-w-what are you doing here?”

 

                “Captain,” replied Barnes in a flat tone, her eyes unreadable behind her shaded sunglasses.

 

                “Huh?”

 

                “My rank is captain,” she took a sip of her tea, “and unless my intel was wrong, you are Pinkamena Diane Pie, the element of laughter and joy.”

 

                Pinkie lowered her head, “Yeah…that’s me, but I just go by Pinkie usually Mis…I mean Captain Barnes.” Pinkie started running her hooves through her straight hair, hoping that the human would soon leave.

 

                Barnes leaned forward, “You do not look very happy for the embodiment of joy.”

 

                Pinkie debated whether talking to Barnes was a good idea. In the brief amount of time she had known the woman, Barnes had not once smiled or given any indication of feeling anything. Pinkie watched the swirls of steam rise from her tea cup and decided to go for it. “I keep having nightmares about last night, or maybe I should call them daymares…I don’t know. It’s just that...last night something bad happened to a lot of innocent people for no reason, and I couldn’t help them and now I have to live with the images of people dying and screaming and…” Tears started rolling down Pinkie’s face as the images of dead bodies and screaming heads filled her vision.

 

                Barnes took another sip of her tea, “That’s the world for you, and you had best learn to cope with it. Last night was just another incident in the long history of bad things happening to good people.”

 

                The prospect of having to watch more innocent people die did not set well with Pinkie Pie at all, and she knew that this would never have happened in Equestria. ‘But you’re not in Equestria anymore Pinkie, you are in Human Lands. Here, pointless death and sorrow is the norm. Here, the world hates you.’ The pink mare looked into the dark shading of Barnes’ sunglasses, “How do you cope with it? I mean…I can’t…”

 

                Barnes placed her tea cup down in front of her, her voice changing from her normally steely tone to one that had equal parts concern and tenderness, “You find a friend and you talk about it. Usually over a cup of tea.”.

 

                Pinkie was taken aback from the sudden change in the human’s voice, and looked down at the hot cup of tea in front of her. Its swirling strands of steam looked like they were dancing, as if they were trying to cheer up the pink pony.

 

“Now Pinkie,” Barnes pushed Pinkie Pie’s tea cup closer to the mare and asked in her new soft voice, “do you have anything you want to talk about with me?”

 

                For the first time since last night Pinkie Pie felt a smile cross her face. Making new friends always cheered Pinkie up.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                “What is that?” asked Dash in regards to a large gap in the smooth stone work of the wall.

 

                Dimitri raised his torch in an effort to shine more light into the breach they had discovered, “I think…it is vhat is called a ‘hole in the vall’.” He looked at the rainbow pegasus and shrugged, “But that is just my opinion.”

 

“Tha’ real question is what’s on the other side of it?” added Applejack as she walked up to it.

 

                “Dash,” began Megan, “can you feel if air is going in or out of the hole?”

 

                “Sure thing,” she replied flaring out her wings and her feathers began wobbling as air brushed past them. “There is definitely a breeze coming out of here,” she paused, “A warm breeze.”

 

                “That sounds like our lair!” Dimitri exclaimed. He threw his instant torch into the hole, illuminating the descending tunnel, and readied his large axe.

 

                “Lead on General Harth,” said Megan sarcastically.

 

                Applejack cocked an eyebrow, “Who?”

 

                “Old var hero,” replied Dimitri walking into the hole, followed by Applejack and then Dash.

 

Megan took out a tomahawk and flipped it in her hands a couple times, “Didn’t he punch the first pony he met?” She gave a quick glance around before entering the tunnel after the ponies.

 

Dash exchanged a surprised look with Applejack and hesitantly asked, “Why would he do that?”

 

Dimitri responded in a light hearted way, “From vhat I hear, he did not agree vith concept of pegasus. Something about pony vith vings bothered him, and he did not like it vhen pony flew into his face to say hello. So he punch it in face.”

 

“Sounds like a real …” Applejack paused to search for the right word.

 

Dash jumped on the opportunity, “Ass.” The two humans stopped in their tracks and looked at Rainbow Dash in profound surprise, causing the pegasus some discomfort.  

 

At length, Megan and Dimitri looked at each other and nodded in agreement. “Sounds right to me,” they said in tandem, after which they both erupted into laughter and continued down the passageway.

 

After some time of traveling down the tunnel, they group came upon an opening into a large dark cavern. There was the sound of running water, and a warm breeze blew through the darkness, and it carried with it the smell of rot and death.

 

“Okay, now it smells bad,” quipped Megan as she drew the flare gun from her hip. Pointing it to the ceiling, or what she thought was the ceiling, she fired off her first flare. The flare spread light all throughout the cavern, which in fact turned out to be a half-flooded train terminal. The structure itself resembled an old, weathered, and decrepit version of Grand Central Station. It was large and seemed to be made out of big stone blocks and bricks held together by subterranean molds and moss. The building appeared to have merged with the cavern wall, and as such was suspended above an underground lake, with only an ancient staircase to bridge the entrance of the cavern to the station.  

 

The party all gasped in amazement as they took in the sheer enormity of the expanse. As the first flare began to dim, Applejack thought she saw something duck into the water at the last second. “Megan! Fire up another one of them flares quick!”

 

Megan eagerly complied, loading and firing another bright red flare up towards the ceiling of the cavern. Once again the worn architecture was revealed in all of its forgotten splendor. “Did you see something sugar-cube?” asked Megan, her eyes scanning the surface of the waters. There was nothing, not even a ripple.

 

“Ah thought ah did.”

 

“Let us get into the structure,” suggested Dimitri, “I feel somevhat exposed out here.”

 

“Tell me about it,” said Dash as the flare began to dim again.

 

                Darkness fell around them, leaving only the illumination of Megan’s instant torch as their light source. As Megan was loading another flare, the sound of something emerging from water came from somewhere in the gloom, followed by a low hiss and heavy, squishy sounding footfalls.

 

                “Tell me again why you guys didn’t bring your guns,” Dash asked while her herd instincts kicked in, moving her closer to Applejack. The squishy footsteps were getting louder, and so was the hissing.

 

                Dimitri hefted his axe and faced the approaching sound, “If I fired mine underground, there vould be a good chance of us all going deaf.”

 

                “Mine’s a sniper rifle, not good for close quarters,” added Megan pointing the flare gun at the roof, “And no way am I bringing my daddy’s Winchester into a goddamn sewer.” She fired off the flare and dropped the launcher, pulling a tomahawk from her belt.

 

                On the staircase in front of them, rather unfazed by the flare’s red light, stood a scaled creature that reminded Applejack and Dash of Spike, except taller and far less cute. It was supported by two powerful legs, trailing behind it was a long tail that swept back and forth across the ground silently. At the ends of its muscled arms was a pair of very sharp looking claws, which opened and closed with each step the creature took. Its eyes gleamed with the cold stare only a reptile could give, and at the end of its short snout was a toothy maw which emitted the hissing noise that could curdle milk.

                After recovering from the shock of seeing a Lizard Man, Megan threw a tomahawk at it, striking it squarely in its chest. Unfortunately, this only seemed to anger it. Dimitri charged it, coming at it with a downward swing with his axe, but the Lizard Man was faster than it looked and backhanded the young man in the chest and sent him flying into the water a good ten feet away.

 

                “Сын сука!” was all Dimitri could yell before he hit the water.

 

                Applejack charged the Lizard Man going in low, as Rainbow Dash took flight and circled around behind it coming in high. The pegasus shouted a battle cry as she flew in for the strike, “Take this you overgrown Iguana!”

The Lizard Man quickly turned around sweeping Applejack off her hooves with its tail, as it swatted Dash down to the ground with a claw. It let out a roar of victory as it hovered over the stunned pegasus, extending a claw to pick her up. Before it could however, Megan lept onto the Lizard Man’s back with a live taser. “Taste lightning bog breath!” Megan jammed the active taser into the Lizard Man’s neck, causing the beast to release a terrifying roar that echoed loudly within the cavern.

 

                The Lizard Man summoned the strength to resist the pain of being electrocuted and raised a massive claw imbedding its nails into Megan’s back. Her scream was almost as awful as the Lizard Man’s. Now with a firm grip, the monster flung Megan over its head into the ancient brick staircase, smoke rising from its neck as well as the axe blade stuck in its chest. The beast stepped on Dash on its way to Megan’s prone and bleeding body, sending the air out of the pegasus’ lungs before she could stand up.

 

                The Lizard Man now loomed above Megan, who was trying desperately to reach for another tomahawk. Grabbing the woman by the neck, the creature lifted Megan up to eye level and resumed its hissing noise. It suddenly found a lasso around its neck, and tried to resist being pulled backwards by Applejack. “Don’t you touch her you son of a bitch!” cried the orange pony through gritted teeth. She heaved again against the monstrosity, forcing it to take a step back.

 

                The light of the flare was dimming as Megan finally found a grip on the tomahawk. After another heave from Applejack, Megan swung at the Lizard Man’s neck, burying the axe deep into the creature’s scaly flesh. The monster released its grip on the woman, who rolled across the damp stones in the direction of the station. Rainbow Dash had gotten back up and gripped the rope with Applejack, giving it as strong a pull as she could muster.

                With two ponies pulling on it, and a tomahawk in its neck to boot, the Lizard Man toppled down the stairs. It landed at the bottom of the steps with a satisfying thump and remained motionless. Any thoughts of celebration died as the flare did, surrounding the party in total darkness. There was a splash not long after as the hissing noise disappeared.

 

                Megan lit an instant torch creating a circle of light. The Lizard Man had slipped free of the lasso and the water rippled with recent activity. “Dimitri?!” called Megan, “Get to land as fast as possible!”

 

                “Vorking on it!” replied Dimitri, just now swimming into the small area of light. “That thing has nasty left hook you know.”

 

                Megan winced, feeling burning hot pain from the fresh wounds on her back, “I know what you mean.”

 

                Rainbow Dash took flight and hovered over Dimitri, “Hold on, I got ya!” She somehow gripped onto his shoulders with her front hooves and began dragging the young man through the water towards the stone walkway.

 

                Applejack had recovered her lasso and moved next to Megan, who had taken to sitting down on the old brick stairs. “How’re ya’ holding up there sugar-cube? Ya’ took quite a hit from that…thing.”

 

                Megan sat very still and only glanced at the orange pony, “My back hurts.”

 

Applejack gave a weak smile to her friend, “Well ah reckon it would after hittin’ them stairs like that!” With a soft nuzzle to Megan’s face she began to move behind the woman, “Let me have a look see an maybe ah can massage it or-” She let out a gasp when she saw Megan’s back. Blood was leaking from five dime sized holes and was streaming down the woman’s back, forming a pool on the bricks. “Dear Celestia…”

 

“AJ,” said Megan, “I need you to do something for me.”

 

“Y-yeah?”

 

Megan slowly moved her arm and presented Applejack with the lit instant torch, “Take this and cauterize my wounds.”

 

                “Vait!” called Dimitri while he climbed onto the shore, “Disinfect first, then seal! Do not vant infection!”

 

                “You got alcohol on you?” replied the woman.

 

                Dimitri ran up to her and pulled out a flask from his back pocket, “Law one of living in Russia: Alvays carry Vodka.” He gave her a big smile, which she returned with a weak chuckle. Wasting no time Dimitri opened it and moved behind her pausing only to say, “You might vant to bite down on something.”

 

                Rainbow Dash, who had flown in after Dimitri, grabbed the end of Applejack’s rope and offered it to Megan. The woman took it and gingerly placed it in her mouth, already biting down hard.

 

                “Here ve go,” said Dimitri as he began to pour.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                They had all moved into the station portion of the cavern, only barely noticing the ornate stonework that adorned the front entryway. Megan was resting her head on Applejack, who was all too eager to offer the small service. The orange pony was just glad that Megan was alive, if a bit burned.

                Dimitri and Dash had set up a perimeter of instant torches, shedding light into the large and empty building. It was majestic to say the least, but also had an air of mystery to it. Dash had asked Dimitri about it, but he didn’t know of any train stations that had sunk beneath the earth.

 

                “More than likely, it manifested. Like spooky town of horseman,” he had offered. The words had done little to make the pegasus feel better.

 

                Rainbow Dash had since been pacing back and forth. “I think we need to go,” she said, “Like, back to the surface and-I don’t know-seal off the sewers or something!”

 

                “One problem with that Dashie,” countered Applejack, “This Lizard-thingy will still be down here.”

 

                “And now it knows it can compete vith humans and ponies,” added Dimitri.

 

                “No kidding,” groaned Megan.

 

                Something in the darkness climbed out of the water. The sound of wet footsteps echoed through the cavern, followed by a low hiss. Dimitri grabbed his long axe and moved to the center of the torch ring. “He’s back!” said the young man tensing up.

 

Dash flew in soon after looking somewhat shaken. “Any pony got a plan?” she asked.

                

Applejack gently moved out from under Megan and trotted to the center, her mind abuzz. “Ah got an idea. Me an’ Dash wait on opposite sides of tha’ entrance with them zappy things and jump the varmint when it enters. Then Dimitri hits it with his axe.” She looked at the other two, who looked at each other and nodded.

 

“Sounds like a plan to me!” exclaimed Dash, much of her confidence returning.

 

Dimitri handed the ponies the tasers, giving quick instructions on how they worked, before the ponies ran into positions. The wet footsteps were very close, but they still couldn’t see the creature. Dimitri took an instant torch from the ring and tossed it through the door. The Lizard Man was just now cresting the lip of the staircase. It had removed the tomahawks from its chest and neck at some point during its disappearance and seemed no worse for wear as a result.

 

After what seemed to be an agonizing eternity of its slow, wet, footsteps  getting closer and closer, and its reptilian hiss getting louder and louder, it was finally at the door. “NOW!” screamed Applejack, as she and Dash jumped at its sides, tasers crackling loudly.

 

The Lizard Man let out a pained roar as electricity shot through every vein of its body. Dimitri let out a roar of his own as he charged the monster and brought his axe down into its chest. It staggered backwards a few feet as Dimitri yanked his weapon out of the creature’s chest.

 

“Zap it again!” yelled Dash, as she and Applejack lunged at it again, hoping to Celestia that the beast would just die.

 

But it was faster than it looked. Before they could connect, the Lizard Man fell to all fours and swatted at the ponies with its tail knocking them away. Dimitri came at it with his axe again, but the creature ducked to the side, avoiding the strike. Standing on its legs again, the monster grabbed Dimitri with its two powerful claws and threw him into a nearby support column. The wound in its chest was hemorrhaging blood, the Lizard Man’s hissing was becoming labored and forced. With some effort, it moved towards the prey that was giving it the least trouble.

Megan gripped onto the soft putty-like ball in her hand, and with considerable agony, rose to her feet to face the monster. She took a quick glance around: Dimitri had hit that pillar hard and wasn’t moving, while Applejack and Dash were still pulling themselves together. Then there was the Lizard Man, taking its time lumbering over to Megan with one claw covering its chest and the other preparing for a strike.

 

Her body was only willing to try this once, so she had to make it count. That didn’t stop her from making one last act of bravado however. She raised both her arms out, one had the ball of putty with pins in it, the other a small black box. “If there’s enough of you left after this, I am so making you into a wallet,” she taunted. The Lizard Man moved in closer and raised both arms, with the obvious intent to rip her to shreds.

Megan saw her opening and tackled the abomination with a war cry that put whatever the monster called a roar to shame. She plunged the putty ball into the open wound in the Lizard Man’s chest. The creature roared in agony as Megan made sure the base ball sized portion of C4 she had just armed was good and lodged in the beast’s stomach. Deciding that the C4 was in there well enough, Megan retracted her arm and rolled out of the creatures reach.

 

“APPLEJACK!” called Megan, “GET THAT THING THE BUCK OUT OF HERE!”

 

Applejack, who had been regaining her senses from a hit to the head, heard the command clear as a bell. “Come on Dash! Time ta’ show this critter who’s boss!”

 

“Right behind you AJ!” replied the pegasus.

 

The Lizard Man was too distracted clutching its stomach and chest with its claws to notice the two ponies run in front of it and rear their hind legs. Together, the two ponies bucked the scaly monster in its stomach and sent it flying a good six feet out the entrance. The Lizard Man hit the stairs and rolled down the length of them, leaving a trail of blood in its wake.

 

“Aaaand he’s outta there!” called Rainbow Dash as she trotted to the entrance, “Team Awesome: Two! Monsters: Zero! Suck on that you scaly son of a b-”

 

The Lizard Man exploded.

 

The force from the explosion itself was enough to send Rainbow Dash back a good foot and a half, whereas the noise left a very loud ringing in the ears of all who still had ears. Dash had to shake her head a couple times to stop her eyes from spinning.

 

Megan leaned against a nearby wall, almost collapsing out right, and left a trail of blood as she slid down to the ground.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                “They’re back!” screamed Pinkie Pie bouncing with excitement. “You know what this means Rarity?!”

 

                The white unicorn gazed over her early sketches for team uniforms, “I can guess. Could it possibly be a-”

 

                “That’s right! A PARTY! Oh I’m going to need some balloons and some glitter and some streamers and some cake and a TROMBONE!” The bright pink mare zipped out of the entrance hall of the Bureau, giggling madly.

 

                Rarity just sighed and made herself look presentable, no doubt her friends wouldn’t mind seeing something nice and clean after being down in those awful sewers. Rarity put on an award winning smile, fueled by genuine relief that all four of those that had left had returned. Then she saw that one was not so much walking towards the front door, as much as leaning on the others and bleeding all over the place.

 

Rarity’s smile faded as she turned to the receptionist, “Ditzy! Get Fluttershy to the medical room immediately! She is about to have another patient!” The wall eyed pony slammed a hoof to her forehead and sped off like a bullet towards the animal sanctuary. Rarity meanwhile busied herself by preparing a spell to carry the wounded.

 

Dimitri, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack all rushed into the front room, all in some way supporting the bleeding Megan. “Rarity,” started the orange pony, “Megan’s hurt bad in the back an’ we need to get her to the nursing room fast.”

 

“That’s why I’m here AJ,” replied Rarity with a tone as graceful as ever. Her horn glowed, and the air around Megan followed suit. Soon she became weightless and floated through the air, her back facing up. Without another word, Rarity galloped off towards the nursing room with the floating Megan in tow, the other three following close behind.

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Megan woke up three hours later, counting five dull pains in her back and feeling rather woozy. She was lying on her stomach in what she then decided was the most comfortable bed in the world. Opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was a very concerned looking orange pony. Summoning every ounce of strength, she said, “Hey there sugar-cube.”

                Applejack’s smile was sweet and pure, and made Megan feel better instantly. Not good enough to punch lizard men with high explosive of course, but better than how she had felt a few seconds ago. Applejack nuzzled Megan’s cheek saying, “Hey there yerself! You had us all worried sick.”

 

                “Is Zorro here?” asked Megan weakly.

 

                Applejack nodded, “He’s right here. He, Hawk an’ me haven’t left your side since Rarity brought you in, not even ta’ use the bathroom.”

 

                Zorro’s sultry voice came from the other side of the bed, “How are you doing mi querida muchacha?”

 

Megan shifted her head to look at the man. His normally suave face was blemished with worry. “Zorro,” she whispered.

 

He leaned in closer, “Yes Megan?”

 

“Next time you have a cold…” she gripped the collar of his shirt and pulled him in close, “Do me a favor and suck it up.” She let go of Zorro, the last of her strength spent. Closing her eyes, she turned her head back to face Applejack’s direction.

 

“Hey Megan,” came Hawk’s voice.

 

With great effort, Megan opened her eyes again. “Yeah Hawk?”

 

Hawk stepped into her vision holding something behind his back. “When you came in, you were clutching some lizard skin, so I took the liberty of making this for you while you were out.” He presented Megan with a small coin purse made from Lizard Man skin. “Ta-da!”

 

Megan just rolled her eyes and smiled, falling asleep soon after.

 

 

 

The End

Episode 2 is done

Onto episode 3!

Let’s hope I can keep this up.


Yellowstone:

The Series

By: Anonsi(He cares nothing for consistent updates!)

 

Episode 3

Creepy Crawling

 

______________________________________________________________________________

For ages, Equestria has existed separate from the rest of the world, protected by a magical barrier that prevented it from being seen, touched, or reached by humans and their machines. But five years ago, the ponies of Equestria landed on the shores of human lands claiming to be there to save the earth and humanity from pollution, hate, and greed. To do this, the top human scientists and pony magicians created a potion to turn humans into ponies in places called, Conversion Bureaus. Within two years of its release, more than half the total human populace on Earth has converted. The balance of the world has been forever altered, as the remaining human nations form new governments for those humans that remain.

 

An uneventful two days  have passed at the Conversion Bureau where Twilight and her friends now live with the human task force, and all are able to rest easy knowing that the Lizard Man, a creature which would have began hunting pony and human alike if left unchecked, has been slain. Though suffering from the worst of the wounds sustained, Megan is on the road to a full recovery thanks to both Fluttershy’s medical treatment and Rarity’s healing magic.

                President Joseph McCullough however, has bore a troubled brow since his return to the White House. Every passing day he receives increasingly disturbing reports on the effects of Equestria’s wayward magic from all over the world. So far the only pillar of support he has found is Princess Celestia, who has sworn to remain in human lands until the current crisis ends, and now resides within the walls of White House doing what she can to aid both her people and the humans in these dark days...

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

                It was early morning when President Joseph went outside to water his rose garden. He enjoyed watering his plants this early in the morning, it gave him time to think about how he was going to fix the mountains of problems he always found himself faced with. Later today, he would be addressing what remained of the United Nations, in an effort to get some collaboration from the other countries with little more than theories and good old fashioned sweet talking. Of course, it helped that Celestia was going to back him up.

                Celestia being involved went a great deal in assuaging his fears about the coming speech. What really concerned him was the unrest within his own country. Yesterday, he had received a letter during dinner with the Princess that pleaded for his immediate assistance in a very troubling matter. Apparently, there was a gang war going on in the only city on the west coast with a predominantly pony populace, between the well known HLF, and a new group calling themselves PER.

                

                “Good morning Joseph,” came a voice from behind him, “I didn’t expect to see you up so early.”

 

                The president continued to water his roses, chuckling under his breath, “Well excuse me Princess, but I don’t tend to sleep well when what’s left of my country is on the brink of annihilation.”

 

                Princess Celestia moved to smell the roses of the garden, a serene look crossing her face, “Now Joseph, I hardly think things have gotten that bad. My pupil and her friends have been doing rather well in handling this situation, as have your agents.”

 

                Moving along the garden bed, the President replied, “It hasn’t even been a week since they started, Princess. The two victories our teams have had are two very small drops in a very large bucket.”

 

                Celestia gave the old man a smile that could brighten any day, “Those are still two more drops in the victory bucket than in the failure bucket. That’s a hundred percent success rate so far. Sounds to me like we’re doing rather well for ourselves, wouldn’t you agree?”

 

                Joseph returned her bright smile with a heavy sigh, “I can’t argue with that logic.” He could actually, but simply chose not to. He wasn’t in the mood to talk about the innocent lives being lost to the the reemergence of magic, and instead chose to change the subject. “Anyway Princess, how’s the home front? Everything going well in Ponyland?”

 

                Celestia always giggled when he said that, and this time was no different. Her soft and delicate laughter was exactly what Joseph needed to hear to complete the serenity of his morning. “Everything is fine,” she was able to get out between chortles, “my dear sister has outdone herself with keeping everything in order, and I truly couldn’t be more proud of her.”

 

                Her joy was infectious, and Joseph found himself smiling as he finished watering his garden. “I’m glad to hear that, and I hope the day comes when things are under control enough for you to be with her again.”

 

                “I have no doubt that day will be coming soon Joseph,” she spread her wings and prepared to take off, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go fly off those apples from breakfast. A princess must keep her figure you know.” Flashing the President one last award winning smile she took off into the sky with the speed of a jet plane.

 

                Yawning, the President made his way back towards the White House, deciding that he might get a second helping of pancakes before calling his Agents. “An old fart must keep his figure after all.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                She was standing in a magnificent apple orchard. The sunlight streamed in through the leaves of the trees, and she could smell the sweet nectar of the apple blossoms on the cool breeze that blew in from the east. Suddenly, a large red stallion was standing in front of her, gazing deeply into her eyes.

 

                “Oh Big Mac…” she said as she gazed right back into his calm and gentle eyes, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you…

 

                He leaned in close. “Eeyup?” he asked.

 

                Her heart began pounding, and she could feel her insides grow warm. “I need to tell you something Big Mac. Something dreadfully important.

                He leaned in closer, so close that he could have kissed her if he wanted to. “Eeyup?” he asked again.

 

                “I want you Big Mac! I want you so bad it’s driving me crazy!” She began to swoon, “Take me now you magnificent stallion!” she shouted. She didn’t care if anypony heard her, she was in love!

 

                The large red pony grabbed her and tipped her over, holding the now swooning mare in his front hooves. “Rarity...” he said.

 

                “Oh Big Mac!”

 

                “Rarity!

 

                “Kiss me you foal!” she cried out, puckering her lips in anticipation.

 

                “Rarity i-it’s time to wake up,” he said in Fluttershy’s demure voice.

 

                Time seemed to stop as Rarity realized she was awake. She lifted her eye cover ever so slowly, lips still puckered. There standing next to her bed was her good friend Fluttershy, whose face was already red as a tomato. “How much did you hear?” asked the unicorn with growing concern in her voice.

 

                The yellow pegasus lowered her head meekly and looked at her hooves, “Ummm…u-up until you said you wanted me to…t-to…umm…well that is, you wanted Big Mac to…well…umm…kiss you.” Her cheeks somehow turned even more crimson and she showed no intention of looking away from the floor.

 

                Rarity sighed. This wasn’t the first time her bashful friend had walked in on one of her ‘episodes.’ Fortunately, the unicorn had never gotten to the more…intimate, portion of the dream; a fact that probably saved them both from dying of embarrassment.

                Rolling out of bed, Rarity removed her assorted sleepwear with her magic. “I really must apologize, Fluttershy. I should really start using that alarm clock that came with this place.” Moving to a large vanity mirror that she had picked up from market, she lifted a comb and other accessories that were pivotal in her morning routine towards her with her magic, and began brushing her mane.

 

                “Oh…I-I don’t mind,” replied the pegasus, still staring at her hooves, “It’s really not all that much trouble.” Fluttershy raised her head ever so slightly, “And besides, you threw out your alarm clock.”

                

                Rarity stopped her grooming and tilted her head in confusion, “Why in Equestria would I do that? That doesn’t sound like something I would do.”

 

                “You said it was tacky and clashed with the decor,” whispered the yellow pony in response, her eyes now darting between her friend and her hooves as she spoke.

 

                The unicorn ran Fluttershy’s comment through her brain. She gave a shrug, “Okay that does sound like me. Oh well! I’ll just get a new, less tacky, one when next I go out.” Rarity gave a dainty laugh to her friend and resumed combing her mane. “So darling, what’s on the agenda today?”

 

                Fluttershy trotted next to the glamorous unicorn and smiled at her reflection in the mirror, “Oh, just the usual things. You know, like feeding the animals, singing to the birds, making sure all of those cute little critters have a soft comfy bed to sleep in. Oh! And helping the new-foals learn to fly of course.”

 

                Rarity looked at her friend in the mirror. “And?” she added, raising a perfectly groomed eyebrow.

 

                “And?” whimpered the timid pony, now looking around frantically for an object that might jog her memory.

 

                Rarity turned and faced Fluttershy with a hurt look. “Fluttershy! Our tea party!” she said with a slightly whiny tone, “With the human agents? Remember?”

 

                “Oh my goodness!” replied the pegasus, her cheeks again turning red from embarrassment, “I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I forgot that!”

 

                The unicorn rolled her eyes and smiled, giving her friend a light nuzzle on her cheek, “All is forgiven darling, just make sure you’re there at noon. It wouldn’t be as much fun without you after all.”

 

                Fluttershy’s face beamed up at Rarity, who returned it with an equally bright smile. “I’ll make sure of it Rarity, don’t you worry.” She then trotted out of her friend’s room calling “See you later!” behind her.

 

                Rarity turned back to the mirror as Fluttershy left, giving a content little sigh at her gorgeous reflection. “Simply fabulous,” she said as she blew a kiss at herself and giggled. “Oh Rarity…” she said in a deep voice, eyeing her reflection seductively, “Ah may just be a mere farmer pony with a flank like chiseled granite, and the face of a stallion super model, but could you ever bring yourself to love a simple pony like me?”

She batted her eyelashes and dramatically swooned onto her bed, “Oh Big Mac! If only you were a rich, stuck up, narcissistic, and extremely rude swine like Prince Blueblood! But alas! I must settle for you, a charming, handsome, intelligent, and very well to do stallion who would treat me with the respect and love I deserve! Oh woe is me!”

Moments later she burst into a giggle fit that lasted a good minute. She pulled herself together soon after and dressed herself with her personalized saddlebags. Before she left, she reached out with her magic to pick up a trashy novella entitled “He said He Loved Me!” from between her bed and the wall. Slipping it into her side pouch, she left her room and turned right, ready to start her day.

 

Megan, who was standing not far down the hallway and to the left of the door, rubbed her hand over her chin. “Sheesh...AJ’s brother certainly gets around.

 

 

*              *              *

 

                Twilight sat next to Hawk on one of the couches of the new communications room of the Bureau, reading away the afternoon. The unicorn had some reservations about the alterations the human and his friend had made to the room at first, but with all the various radios and scientific doodads, she had gotten over it.

 

                The incoming message light on one of the various gizmos blinked to life and a beeping noise overrode the soft jazz music that had been playing. “Not even operational a whole day and we already got a call,” grunted Hawk as he got up from his end of the couch.

 

                Twilight, who sat on the other end, lifted her head looking extremely concerned. “Please Hawk, this could be serious.”

 

                Hawk smiled at the unicorn, “Am I not serious enough for you? If you want I could act like Barnes and scowl all the time.” After saying this he scrunched up his face in mock anger and pointed at it, “See? This is my serious face.”

 

 Twilight gave him an unimpressed look and rolled her eyes while Hawk chuckled to himself and activated the Comm-Screen. The human President appeared on it, standing in the oval office looking somewhat disheveled. Next to his desk was the ever glorious Princess Celestia resting on her haunches.

 

Hawk put his hands on his hips and smiled, “Damn Joe. TV makes you look fat.”

 

                President Joseph sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead with his hand. “You’re lucky I can’t suspend you Hawk.”

 

                “I know.”

 

                Twilight jumped off the couch and walked up next to Hawk and waved a hoof at the television screen. “Hello mister President, and good morning Princess!”

 

                The Princess gave a tiny hoof wave back and a serene little smile. Joseph also gave the unicorn a friendly grin as he continued, “Hello Miss Twilight. Anyway, Hawk. A situation has come up in California that requires your team’s immediate attention. As you’ve probably heard from recent news reports, the city of New Foalsome is having problems with...”

 

                Hawk interrupted with a cough, “Sir, California is Six Tribes’ territory. They have rangers that are supposed to handle this.”

 

                Joseph shot him a tired look, “They can’t handle this agent Hawk. The Six Tribes have enough resources to police their cities and towns, but not nearly enough to combat two organized terrorist groups from waging war on each other.”

 

                Hawk cocked an eyebrow, “Two? I thought the HLF was the only radical group we had to deal with.”

 

                It was then that Celestia spoke, “Indeed they were Agent Hawk, but recently…” her face became downcast and her tone worried, “…I’m saddened to say there is now a second hate fueled group named, PER.”

 

                “Excuse me Princess,” said Twilight as she stepped forward, “but what is PER? I’m not up to date on human outlaws.”

 

                The Princess grew visibly upset as she spoke her next words, “PER, or ‘Ponification for Earth’s Rebirth,’ is not made up of humans Twilight. Its ranks are filled with those that have been ponified and seek to eliminate humanity from the face of the planet, by any means necessary.”

 

                Twilight and Hawk both stood dumbfounded. “But Princess!” stammered Twilight, unable to compute what her mentor had just said, “No pony, Equestrian or otherwise would ever want that! They couldn’t! Our magic removes impurities of both body and mind!” Twilight looked at her mentor, hoping this was just one of the goddess’s famous jokes.

 

                “Oh yes they could,” stated Hawk. His eyes were darting back and forth as he sorted through his memory, “If they had a ponification potion that didn’t take all the bad out of them.”

 

                Twilight’s eyes widened in disbelief as she gazed at Hawk, a dark thought dawning in her mind. “The potion I made for Cottonmouth…” Horrible memories she thought she had long since buried away erupted from her subconscious with the force of a tidal wave.

 

                Hawk nodded, “Apparently we missed some of it.” His face began to contort, this time in very genuine anger.

 

                President Joseph cleared his throat and moved to the center of the screen. “Although the how’s and why’s of PER’s genesis need to be answered and dealt with, that is not your mission. It seems that the two gangs have found a certain carrot to chase after, a one Mr. John Norris and his son, Azure Wind.” The odd looks from Twilight and Hawk did not go unnoticed by the President, but he continued on with the briefing. He assumed they would be smart enough to put two and two together.

“It is our belief,” he continued, “that both organizations are after his fortune, which Mr. Norris keeps somewhere in the confines of his home. If either faction gets their hands on that money, they’ll have enough funds to do whatever they want, and I’m sure they aren’t planning in donating to charity. You two have to make sure no harm comes to Mr. Norris or his son, and keep the fortune out of the hands, or hooves, of the malefactors. Clear?”

 

                “Yes,” said Twilight with a nod.

 

“Aye sir,” replied Hawk with a salute, “I’ll inform Barnes to ready the chopper for long dis-”

 

Joseph raised his hand to silence him, “The helicopter is far too slow Agent Hawk. I have authorized the use of the Odin. It should arrive within the hour.”

 

                Hawk’s eyes narrowed, and his voice suddenly had a subtly nervous shake to it, “Ah…the experimental ship. I hope Barnes can fly that one.”

        “Captain Barnes can fly anything Hawk,” the President assured him.

 

                “And I’ll get Rarity and Fluttershy ready,” added Twilight, earning her odd looks from her peers. After clearing her throat, she continued, “I was just thinking that we might be able to attempt a diplomatic resolution, however unlikely. I mean, PER might not be one hundred percent ponified, but maybe they’ll at least listen to a little reason?” The young mare gazed into the face of her divine mentor for approval.

 

                Celestia’s face eventually spread into a sincere smile that beamed at her student. “I think that is worth a try my dear pupil, and I hope for the sakes of everyone that it pays off.”

 

                Bubbles of pure joy welled up within Twilight. She was so glad the Princess liked her idea that she didn’t notice the stupid grin that was now covering her face.

 

                “Well then my faithful student,” said Celestia, giggling somewhat at Twilight’s expression, “I bid you and Agent Hawk farewell.”

 

                Twilight gave the most respectful bow she could, saying “Thank you, your highness.”

 

Hawk simply tipped his hat to the elegant equine.

 

Princess Celestia gave one last shining smile to both of them, and spoke with words that sounded like they were dipped in honey, “Do be sure to watch each other’s flanks out there.” She shot Hawk a quick wink before the screen cut to black.

 

                Twilight looked at the human agent with a raised eyebrow, “What was with that wink?”

 

                “Hell if I know,” Hawk responded as he made his way to the door, “I’m going to go get ready before things start getting awkward.”

 

                Twilight sauntered next to him and asked, “Mind helping me find Fluttershy and Rarity? They’ve probably finished their morning rounds by now, so there’s no telling where they could be.” Her face then became somewhat embarrassed and she quietly added, “That, and I don’t want to tell Rarity her tea party is canceled by myself.”

 

                Hawk looked at the unicorn, whose large, pleading eyes were focused intently on him. He let loose a heavy sigh, “Sure Twilight, but only because you’re cute.”

 

                Her cheeks turned a deep shade of red as she looked away sheepishly, “Thanks.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Rarity had finished her morning conversions and had the rest of today off, and it being almost eleven thirty, she thought now would be an excellent time to see if the elusive Samantha Barnes would be attending her ‘Get-to-know-each-other Tea Party.’ Unfortunately, Barnes was busy doing maintenance on her heli-thingy in a vacant section of the Bureau’s parking lot, and the unicorn so hated to interrupt somepony when they were working. Deciding that busy humans were best left unmolested, she turned back towards the entrance of the Bureau.

 

                “Is there something you want Ms. Rarity?” came the woman’s cold and unfeeling voice.

 

                Turning back to face the human, Rarity saw Barnes looking back at her. Her posture was stiff and rigid, and there were grease and oil stains all over her face and jumpsuit. Swallowing down her urge to give the poor girl a makeover on the spot, Rarity pranced towards the woman and put on her most lovely smile.

 

                “Good morning Ms. Barnes, I wa-”

 

                “Captain.”

 

                Blushing slightly at her faux pas, Rarity continued, “Yes of course darling, my apologies. Well, Captain Barnes, I was just wondering if you had given any thought to attending the tea party that I would be hosting later today? I would so love it if you decided to join us!”

 

                The captain’s face was like stone, and showed no sign of emotion in the slightest. Rarity had no idea what the woman was thinking behind those well shaded aviator sunglasses of hers, a fact that made the unicorn feel oddly uncomfortable. After a few unbearably awkward seconds, Barnes simply said, “No. Busy with maintenance.”

 

                “Well drat,” replied Rarity giving the asphalt a dainty little stomp with a hoof. Though she was secretly overjoyed that the uncomfortable silence had ended, that was not the answer she was hoping for. “Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to save you some tea and croissants. Ta-ta for now darling, I do hope we see more of eachoth-”

 

                There was a sudden boom from above them as an aircraft appeared out of nowhere. It was long, sleek, and even from its distance from her, Rarity could tell it looked very dangerous. The ship hovered there for a time before is started to slowly descend.

 

                “What in the world is that?” asked the unicorn to the woman.

 

                Barnes responded to the pony mechanically, “It is the SR-72, a larger and more up to date version of the SR-71 Blackbird, under the code name ‘Odin.’ It has been retrofitted with Fusion Foil engines which allow for hovering capabilities as well as vertical take-off and descent. It is also equipped with the only Teleportation Matrix in existence, and can travel anywhere in the world instantaneously. Only known drawback is power consumption, limiting the ship’s ability to teleport to twice per every twenty-four hours.”

 

                Rarity stared at the woman, utterly lost in what she had just heard.

                

                Barnes looked at the unicorn and added, “It is also fashionably colored in a deep navy blue.”

 

Finally, after sorting through the parts she could understand, the unicorn said, “So it’s a plane…”

 

                “Correct.”

 

                “…that teleports?”

 

                “Correct.”

 

                Satisfied that she understood the basic concept, Rarity gave a refreshed sigh and smiled brightly at Barnes while giving the woman’s left hand a quick little pat, “Well that is all very interesting darling, but I must be off! I have a tea party to host after all! Are you sure you can’t make it?”

 

                Barnes’ left hand started twitching slightly, yet the woman paid it no mind and replied “Very sure. Duty calls.” Pointing behind the unicorn with her right hand, she added, “As do your friends.”

 

                Spinning around, Rarity saw Twilight, Fluttershy, and Agent Hawk beckoning to her. Judging from Twilight’s apologetic face, the glamorous unicorn could only assume her friends had come to tell her some unfortunate news about the tea party. “Oh horse-feathers.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                “I still don’t see why you’re forcing Fluttershy to go.”

 

                “Rarity, you and I both know that she is a lot braver than a lot of ponies give her credit for,” replied Twilight as she magically lifted a box of ponification potion into the cabin of the Odin.

 

                Rarity walked by Twilight and rolled her eyes as she climbed into one of the four chairs of the cockpit of the sleek human ship. “Yes I know darling, but she is also very sensitive. I’m just worried that these ruffians of...who were they again?”

 

                “PER,” stated Twilight as she placed the box of potion next to Rarity’s seat.

 

                “Right, well I’m just afraid that these PER ponies, or Celestia forbid, those brutes of the HLF get a hold of her.” Rarity looked around her seat for the safety straps that usually came with these kinds of chairs. Unable to find them, she sighed and continued, “I mean honestly Twilight, she could get hurt, or worse.”

 

                Twilight walked next to her friend and gave as comforting a smile as she could, “Believe me Rarity, going on personal experience alone, I can attest that you and Fluttershy will be just fine under the care of the human agents. If anything bad happens, Hawk will be there to save you.”

 

                The white unicorn returned her friends smile with a worried look, “I hope you’re right darling.”

 

                Barnes walked into the cabin carrying a large black duffel bag that clacked and clanked with its no doubt deadly contents. She placed it onto the co-pilot’s seat before taking her position as main pilot. Moments later Hawk entered with Fluttershy in tow, the pegasus’ eyes darting around the interior of the ship. With a nod to Twilight, Hawk took the co-pilot’s seat from the duffel bag and began flipping switches.

 

                Twilight cast an encouraging smile at her friends and said, “Okay girls, looks like it’s time for you two to go! Is everypony clear on what they’re supposed to do?”

 

                “We’re going to help some humans and new-foals learn how to be nice to each other!” chimed Fluttershy as she floated into her seat.

 

                It was a simple analysis of the task, but Twilight accepted it. “Right! Now, Hawk and Barnes will be there to protect you if you get into trouble, so just stick close to them and you’ll both be fine.” Her friends nodded in acknowledgement. “Good, and Hawk…” said the purple unicorn to the man, “Try to come back in one piece.”

 

                “No promises about me,” called Hawk from the front, “but I’ll keep your friends safe.” He turned in his seat and grinned at Twilight, “You have my word.”

 

                Satisfied with his reply, Twilight gave a final nod to her friends and gingerly exited the large dark blue ship. After the purple unicorn was clear, Barnes flipped a switch that made the entrance ramp close and seal the cabin. After she deftly punched in more commands, the woman announced, “Beginning ascension to eight hundred feet, charging up Teleportation Drive.”

 

                “Um…E-excuse me for asking, but...um…aren’t we supposed to be strapped down to something?” squeaked Fluttershy,

 

                “Oh right!” exclaimed Hawk, “Hold on just a second while I find the button…Ah! Here we go!” He pushed a glowing yellow button on his control panel. Straps shot out of the back of each of their chairs, which buckled themselves over the chests of the passengers. The ponies were forced into a sitting position that would have been much more comfortable if they were humans.

 

                “It’s a bit snug,” stated Rarity as she struggled to get even a small bit of comfort.

 

                “I’ll modify the seats for pony use later,” stated Barnes in her usual mechanical fashion. The ship kept rising into the air smoothly, climbing high above the streets and rooftops.

 

The ponies gasped as they looked out the cockpit windows as the entire city of Manhattan stretched out before them. Pegasi could be seen flying playfully around in the afternoon sky, while thousands of ponies made the streets of city into marvelous rivers of rainbow colored dots. It made Rarity yearn to have wings again, but more importantly it gave the unicorn a new idea for a summer gown.

 

 Barnes pressed a button and announced, “Teleport Drive is charged, activating.” The exterior of the ship began to shimmer and glisten with waves of energy. Ripples of bright light danced across the surface of the vessel until the entire aircraft glowed with a wondrous pinkish light that began to expand into a sphere around it. With a brilliant flash, the ship was gone from the city.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

Meanwhile, more than two-thousand miles away, a loud boom echoed throughout the morning sky above the city of New Foalsome. It was nine AM, and John Norris did not like being woken up that early by explosions. Hell he just didn’t like explosions in general. He sat up in his bed and looked around his dark room. Nothing seemed to be on fire, nor where there any alarms blaring. No immediate problems meant he could roll over and go back to sleep, which he did.

 

Or would have if the door to his room hadn’t burst open and a small blue pegasus leapt onto his bed yelling, “Dad! Dad! Did you hear that?” The small colt bounded to the window to the window and poked his head through the heavy curtains, allowing a small stream of sunlight to stream into the room. “Woooow!” said the pegasus, “Dad, you have got to see this! I think it’s a spaceship!”

 

John only curled into a tight ball and hissed, “The light! Turn off the light!”

 

Azure rolled his eyes. “Seriously Dad, it’s an honest to Celestia spaceship!” insisted the young pegasus.

 

The aging man relented and emerged from the warmth of his bed with all the excitement of a bear in winter. “There had better be one hell of a spaceship out there Azure. Just saying.” John slowly opened the curtains where his son was peeking his head through, and had to resist the urge to shout ‘It burns!’ as he was showered with morning daylight. After he was able to stop squinting, he saw what appeared to be a large jet plane hovering off in the distance. “Holy shit. It’s a spaceship.”

 

                His son beamed up at him, “Told you so.”

 

                John cast a quick glance at Azure, “Don’t get so excited kid. It freaks me out.” He rubbed his chin as he gazed on the sleek looking ship that appeared to be coming towards his building. Hoping that whoever was driving the aircraft wasn’t interested in him, he turned away from the window and walked towards the kitchen, “Come on Azure, I’ll cook us up some pancakes.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                 “And just like that, we’re in New Foalsome!” stated Hawk proudly, “Barnes, which building belongs to our friend Mr. Norris?”

 

                She pointed at a large glass building that was a city block or so away from them, “The sky scraper at twelve o’clock. There is no landing pad but it appears that there is substantial enough roof space for us to land on.”

 

                Hawk shrugged, “Take us in captain, and avoid hitting any pegasi while you’re at it.”

 

                “Or birds!” Fluttershy called from her seat.

 

                Barnes flipped a few switches and tightened her grip on the steering yoke, “I will see what I can do.” With her left hand on the steering device, she placed her right hand on the throttle and pushed it forward ever so slightly.

 

The aircraft slowly began moving forward as the rear engines glowed with the sparks of life. Moving at a cautious and almost leisurely pace, the Odin hovered through the air towards the modern day tower. It deviated from its path only to avoid any curious pegasi or flocks of birds that happened to fly too close. Within the minute, the dark ship loomed over the roof of their destination. The ship gingerly descended onto the roof and touched down with a mild thud.

 

                “Alright, let’s go get acquainted with the locals,” said Hawk as he flipped a switch and picked up his black duffel bag. The entrance ramp to the ship lowered and hit the roof of the building with a solid ‘clang!’ The man tipped his hat to Rarity and Fluttershy as he walked out onto the roof, “Come on my wee horses, time’s a-wasting.”

 

                Rarity and Fluttershy nearly jumped at the chance to exit the craft. Once outside, they gazed at the city that lay before them. It was similar to the Manhattan, but it did not have as many tall buildings. It certainly had a great deal more pegasi though.

 

                As Barnes exited the Odin, Fluttershy daintily trotted up to her with a pleasant smile and said, “Thank you for taking the time to not hurt any birds Missus B-”

 

                “Fluttershy darling,” chimed Rarity “she prefers being called Captain!” The unicorn gave her friend a pleasant smile as she turned followed Hawk towards the rooftop entrance of the building.

 

                “O-oh…umm well then, umm…” the pegasus looked into the mirrored shades of Barnes’ sunglasses that eternally covered the woman’s eyes, nervous panic quickly starting to rise inside of her. “W-well, Captain Barnes, thank you f-for not hitting any birds, i-it really means a lot to me…” The timid pony lowered her head and looked away, internally berating herself for being such a bother.

 

                Barnes glanced up and saw that Hawk and Rarity had disappeared into the staircase entrance of the building. She knelt down and put her left hand behind Fluttershy’s ear and smiled warmly at the pegasus. In a calm and motherly tone she soothingly whispered to the winged pony, “It wasn’t any bother Fluttershy, really. If anything, I enjoyed the extra little challenge. Now go on and catch up with the others, I have to run a little maintenance on the ship and it’ll take me a minute or two.”

 

                Fluttershy gave a relieved smile at the woman, “O-Okay! Thank you!” She fluttered away from the woman and into the dark staircase that led into the tall building.

 

                As soon as the yellow pony was gone, Barnes shook her head as her warm expression was replaced with her usual grim one. She brought the hand that had touched Fluttershy up to her face and looked at it. The hand had started to shake and twitch violently. For a brief second, her emotionless face flashed with concern, “Not good.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                John was just about to enter the bathroom when he heard a sound that he absolutely dreaded come from the door to his home.

 

‘Knock-knock!’

 

                “DAD! There’s somepony at the door!” called Azure from his room.

 

                The man rubbed his eyes and called back, “Tell them that no one’s home and to go away!” He already had one foot in the threshold of bathroom and there was no turning back now.

 

                ‘knock-knock-knock-knock!’

 

                Azure appeared at the door to the bathroom and said rather flatly, “I don’t think anypony would ever fall for that Dad, especially when they probably heard you yelling.”

                 

                John spun around, “Then just tell them to go away! And close the door!” John shooed the young blue pegasus out and closed the door himself. He approached the porcelain throne and prepared for sweet relief.

 

                There was a very loud crash from the front door as it was kicked in.

 

John zipped up and dashed out into the living room, where he saw a man in a wide brim hat and duster carrying a black duffel bag, standing in the doorway. He was flanked by two ponies, one was a white unicorn that had an immaculate purple mane, and the other a yellow pegasus with a long pink mane. Apparently both of the ponies were as surprised as John and his son were.

 

                “H-hello!” said the yellow one, “I’m really really sorry about the…um…door…and um…”

 

                Azure galloped behind his father’s legs and the man could feel the small colt shivering against his legs. “Dad…” he whispered, “i-is it the HLF?”

 

                The man in the hat walked over the remains of the door and in a reassuring tone stated, “No my boy, we are not with the HLF, nor are we with PER, an organization your father is no doubt familiar with. The lovely mares behind me are from Princess Celestia’s very own Elite Guard sent here to protect you.”

 

                Azure’s ears perked up at the name of his deity, “C-Celestia?” He peeked out from behind his father’s legs looking somewhat unconvinced, “If you work for Celestia, where’s your fancy armor? The royal guard on the TV wore fancy gold armor.”

 

                The two ponies took positions next to the man. The yellow pegasus smiled at the young colt and spoke gently, “Oh we don’t wear armor. Only the regular royal guards wear armor. We’re the elite guard, which means that…um…” she suddenly looked very worriedly over at the unicorn, “uh…Rarity…w-what does that mean?”

 

                Rarity scanned her mind for an excuse. Celestia never actually told them what benefits being in the Elite Guard offered, and the unicorn was beginning to think that her highness had just made the organization up so they could have a fancy sounding title to throw around. “…uh well, my dear Fluttershy…um…What it means darling is that we are so good at our jobs that we don’t need armor. Yes, that’s what it means.” She rolled her eyes away from the human next to her as she said, “Though I’m still willing to design uniforms for the benefit for our…less fashionable team members.”

 

                The man in the hat’s face gained a flat expression, “No.”

 

                “Oh come on Hawk! You know they’d be absolutely fabulous!” she exclaimed a tad irked, “I was THE top designer of Equestria before moving to human lands, there is nothing to worry about!”

 

                “I think they’d look lovely Rarity,” cooed Fluttershy.

 

                The unicorn smiled at her friend, “Thank you darling. See Hawk? Fluttershy thinks it would be a great idea! Please let me at least design you a better coat? Please? Please please please please?”

 

                Hawk rolled his eyes and faced the glamorous pony, “Okay, tell you what. I’ll ask the rest of my team about it, and you can talk to Twilight. After that we’ll see.”

 

                “Oh thank you thank you thank you! It’s been forever since I’ve done professional work and I have just had so many ideas that I-”

 

                John cleared his throat and gained the attention of everyone in the room. “Okay, you’re obviously not with HLF or PER, but I refuse to believe you guys are agents for that Princess of yours. Now will you all please leave? I have to order a new door. Preferably one made of iron.”

 

                Hawk walked over to the man and presented him with a badge from one of his pockets. “Sorry Mr. Norris, but PER and the HLF are coming after you, and the president has put me and my team in charge of making sure you and your son don’t end up dead.”

 

                John scrutinized the badge, noting that it did look very official. Azure meanwhile, was looking up at the strange human with the hat and coat, taking one tentative step after another towards him. The young colt had seen very few humans in his lifetime, and curiosity was getting the better of him. “Excuse me mister,” asked the blue pegasus, “but how’re you going to protect me and my dad?”

 

                Hawk smiled at the young pony, “Well, if Lady Rarity and Miss Fluttershy’s words don’t keep the bad guys away, then my bullets will.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                The phone rang just as Barnes and Hawk finished replacing the door onto its hinges. Barnes had entered with the box of ponification potion some time after the team’s initial introduction to John and Azure, looking somewhat...uneasy. Fluttershy had inquired if there was something wrong, but Barnes had been distant and cold with her response, and generally avoided speaking to either the pegasus or Rarity. She had instead spent her time with Hawk, mostly doing gun maintenance and working to fix the door to a respectable degree.

                

                John picked up his phone, avoiding the large pile of guns that had been laid out over his floor. “Hello, this is Norris.”

 

                “Hello Mr. Norris, this is Sweetie Pop at reception. I have a man here who says he has a delivery for you.”

 

                “Thank you, uh…Ms. Pop, could you hold on a sec?” John beckoned Hawk over to him, “Agent Hawk! Some human guy downstairs says he has a package for me, but I never ordered anything and Azure’s Wonderbolt pin-ups don’t come for another week.”

 

                Hawk gave him an odd look, “You let your son have pin-ups?”

 

                “He already had a subscription when I got him, so you can blame his dead mother if you want. Now what do I so about this?” he replied, shaking the phone slightly.

 

                The human agent shifted a bit uncomfortably at that last remark but responded, “It might be the HLF setting up a trap.”

 

                “No shit,” stated John flatly.

 

Hawk put his hand to his chin for a moment, pondering something before he asked, “Have you ever actually met the receptionist?”

 

                John glanced away for a brief moment, “No…I don’t really get out much…”

 

                “Good!” exclaimed Hawk, “I’ll go down as you, kill any HLF that try and start anything, and come back here when they’re all dead.” He walked over to the section of carpet where he had laid out his various weapons and selected two sticks of dynamite from the pile. Next, he moved to Azure’s room, where the two mares had been keeping the young colt busy and well away from the deadly contents of Hawk’s duffel bag. Peeking in, the human agent found himself on the threshold of a very odd situation.

 

                Rarity was humming as she brushed the mane of the small blue pegasus, while Fluttershy made pleasant conversation with him. Azure himself seemed quite keen on not looking away from the timid yellow pegasus, though his eyes did not show any interest in what she was saying. He simply stared dreamily at her, lost in one particular feature or another. No one seemed to notice the human agent slip into the room.

 

Fluttershy continued on with whatever story she was telling, “-and then the cute little baby bunnies hopped all over my bed! Oh it was so cute that I almost fainted!”

 

“Uh-huh,” replied Azure blissfully looking at Fluttershy.

 

Rarity interrupted his dream like state with a prod from her hoof, “Azure darling, how would you like your mane styled?”

 

Hawk took this chance to spoil the moment, before things got too awkward for him. “That will have to wait Rarity. You and I are going down to the lobby to pick up a package, so let’s get going.”

 

“But…” started Rarity a brokenhearted tone.

 

                Finally noticing the pinups around Azure’s room were of stallions, Hawk quickly added, “Now Rarity.”

 

                “Fine,” she huffed getting off the colt’s bed, “Is Barnes coming?”

 

                “No,” replied the man as he moved out of the room, “Barnes will remain here and keep Mr. Norris and his son safe.” He walked to the front door with Rarity in tow, and together they slid the door open.

 

                “Good luck,” called John as they left. Turning to Barnes, who had begun placing Hawk’s munitions back into his duffel bag, he asked “So, want something to drink? I got some beers that I’ve been meaning to get through.”

 

                Her reply was cold, yet in some strange way, friendly.  “I prefer tea, but I’ll take whatever you have.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                The elevator door opened up to the expansive lobby. Hawk gave a small whistle at the sheer opulence of main entrance. Polished marble floor, an arched ceiling that was high enough to allow a pegasus some flying room, thick pillars lining the walls that separated the elevators, and even a sizable fountain in the center of the room. The solid marble reception desk was on the wall opposite the entrance, which itself was little more than a massive window with a couple of rotating doors that looked out into the street.

                The room was literally teeming with a multitude of various colored ponies, all of whom wore some sign of wealth. There was human in a delivery outfit at the reception desk who seemed to be in the middle of a heated conversation with the receptionist.

 

                “Oh my stars…” breathed Rarity, “I could get used to living here.”

 

                Hawk rolled his eyes and moved towards the reception desk, “I’m sure you’d fit right in, the ponies who live here tend to be a tad snobbish.” She gave him a look that could kill, to which he responded by shooting the unicorn a friendly smile over his shoulder. Sighing out her frustration at the man, Rarity followed after him. She debated with herself about what Twilight saw in him.

 

The peach colored earth pony with a strawberry colored mane saw Hawk coming towards the desk and waved him over a bit too eagerly. “Mr. Norris?” she inquired with a hopeful expression.

 

                “That I am Ms. Sweetie Pop,” replied Hawk with confidence, “and I’m here for my package.”

 

                The short, pudgy, and almost certainly sleazy looking delivery man tapped Hawk on the shoulder with a clipboard, “About god-damn time you got here. Just sign the dotted line and you can get your shit.” Hawk furrowed his brow and took the clipboard and scanned it for details about where it was sent from. “So,” continued the post-man, “What’s with that get up? You some kind of fucking cowboy enthusiast or some shit like that?” He began backing up towards the fountain.

 

                Hawk looked up from his reading and glared at the man, and was about to say some very stern words about swearing in public. His focus soon shifted to the right as he saw an oncoming van that was accelerating towards the glass wall of the entrance. “Rarity, get behind the desk.”

 

                Rarity, who had been admiring the décor of the lobby, snapped back to reality and shot Hawk a curious stare, “What? I’m sorry darling, but my mind was miles away.”

 

                Hawk dropped the clipboard and drew his revolver, eliciting screams and mad scrambles from the crowd in the room. “Get behind the desk NOW!” he yelled as he rolled over the marble desk and took cover behind it.

 

                Rarity glanced around and saw the van. She quickly joined Hawk and the receptionist behind their piece of cover, shortly joined by three other ponies.

 

                The van smashed through the glass entrance of the lobby sending ponies running every which way in panic, and even managed to hit two unfortunate unicorns. The crowd of ponies crammed themselves into the elevators and out towards the back. Humans in black ski masks and kevlar vests filed out of the back of the van, each one carrying an automatic rifle. The driver leaned out the door and called, “Damnation! Little bastards sure do clear out of a room fast!”

 

                “Newman!” shouted one of the masked men, “Where’s Norris?”

 

                Behind the desk, Hawk put a finger to his lips before removing a long red stick with a fuse from somewhere within his coat. “Anyone got a lighter?” he whispered.

 

                Rarity’s eyes went wide as she silently hissed, “What are you doing with dynamite?! I thought that we were supposed to be using diplomacy!”

 

                The postman stopped cowering behind the fountain and walked up to the man who spoke, “You assholes are nuts you know that? That freak of nature you got in the back of that van is probably all riled up thanks to that stunt!”

 

                The receptionist pony nudged Hawk’s shoulder with her snout and pointed to the hotel’s brand of complementary matches on the desk’s top above. “This is diplomacy,” Hawk replied to the unicorn with a grin, “just a great deal more explosive.”

 

                The masked man pointed his gun at Mr. Newman, “We don’t have time for your bullshit Newman! Now where is he?”

 

                Rarity relented, knowing that diplomacy with the HLF was probably a lost cause anyway. She reached out with her magic and levitated a pack of magic down to Hawk. “I could be having a tea party right now. I just want you to know that.”          

Hawk gave the unicorn an apologetic look while he lit the fuse of the dynamite, “I’ll make it up to you. Promise.”

 

                Newman eyed the gun barrel in his face, sweat forming all over his face, “Behind the desk, I think he’s got a gun though.”

 

                A lit stick of dynamite sailed out from behind the reception desk and landed in front of the HLF’s van. The eyes of the HLF soldiers went wide while Davey Newman ran past the reception desk. The leader tried to yell, “EVERYONE RUN!” but was cut off by a very loud explosion that consumed almost a full quarter of the lobby.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                John was in the middle of watching cartoons with Azure and Fluttershy while Barnes sat a ways off, every so often glancing at her hand. There was a panicked knock at John’s door followed by a familiar voice shouting “OH-MY-GOD-JOHN, THERE-ARE-HLF-IN-THE-LOBBY-LET-US-IN!”

 

                Barnes sprang into action immediately as she drew a glock from her hip’s holster and approached the door. Once in position, she then gestured for John to say something.

 

                The man said the first thing that came to mind, “Who’s there?”

 

                “WHAT-DO-YOU-MEAN-WHO’S-THERE?! IT’S-BREEZY-FIELDS AND-ABOUT-A-DOZEN-PANIKING-PONIES, NOW-OPEN-THE-DAMN-DOOR!”

 

                The man nodded to Barnes to open the door. Responding with a nod of her own, she holstered her gun and slid open the door. A bright green earth pony toppled inside, a look of genuine relief on his face. “Thank-Celestia!” said the earth pony quickly, “I-thought-those-madmen-would-have-killed-me-for-sure!” He gazed up around the room, finally noticing the soft expression of Fluttershy, and the cold glare of Barnes. “Entertaining company John?” he asked at length.

 

                John walked over to the frightened pony, “They’re from the government, now Joseph-”

 

                “Breezy Fields!” shouted the green pony.

 

                “Whatever! You said the HLF is in the lobby right now?”

 

                Breezy Fields nodded, “Yes! Me-and-these-guys-all-ran-up-here-to-get-away-from-them!”

 

                John looked down the hallway that led to his room, seeing a small crowd of ponies all staring at him. The odd thing was that none of them looked even half as panicked as Joseph did. When one of them smiled, John could only say, “Aw horseshit.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Hawk and Rarity peeked over the lip of the desk and surveyed the damage. The van was toppled over and on fire, the fountain was beyond repair and spraying water all over the floor, and there was a great deal of small debris scatted around the once elegant lobby. The bodies of the HLF members were strewn all over the place, some more intact than others.

 

                Rarity ducked back down and put a hoof over her mouth, “I’m going to throw up.”

 

                Hawk put a hand on her shoulders, “It’s alright. The bodies take some getting used to, even for humans.”

        “No, not that,” the unicorn said quickly, “the lobby. It’s such a mess.” The man gave her a rather odd look that was a mix of bemusement and shock.

                There was a clang of metal hitting ground from the direction of the van’s wreckage. Hawk peeked over the desk again, just in time to see a large, hairy…something…skitter behind one of the pillars. Hawk readied his revolver.

 

                “Help…” came the weak voice from the destruction, “…help…me…” From his position, Hawk saw that it was the man who had been driving the van. It was somewhat miraculous that he had lived, or in one piece for that matter.

 

                Rarity’s ears perked up upon hearing the moaning. She peered around the corner and spotted the wounded human. Her face scrunched up at the sight of the man’s wounds, and in an instant she decided she was going to go save him. Before anyone noticed, the glamorous unicorn had already trotted out from behind the desk and was making her way past the small bits of rubble that lay around the floor towards the hapless individual.

 

                The wounded man spotted the unicorn and he began crawling towards her. His face was awash with terror and pain, but his eyes looked at the approaching pony like she was an angel. “Please…help me…”

 

                There was a sudden yank on Rarity’s backside as Hawk pulled her tail all the way back behind the reception desk. “Agent Hawk!” she cried, “What in the name of Celestia are you doing!?”

 

                “Wait,” he replied, not taking his eyes off the walls.

 

                The wounded HLF member reached out with an arm, and seemed to be on the verge of death. “Please…” he said.

 

                She scowled hard at Hawk, “You sick monster! He might be with those jackals of the HLF, but that doesn’t mean we should just watch him die! By Celest-”

 

                Hawk grabbed her head and turned it to face the right hand wall and pointed at a certain pillar, “Look before you leap.” As he said this, the other ponies cowering behind the desk peeked out from behind it.

 

                Sure enough, much to their accumulated horror, there were large and spindly legs slowly stretching out from behind the pillar. Before long, eight grotesquely large eyes crested out from behind the stonework, each one the size of a dinner plate. It moved with a deliberate slowness around the column, as if it were still deciding who to attack first.

 

                “By the Moon and Sun,” breathed Rarity, quite sure she had just entered a nightmare, “What is that…that thing?”

 

                Hawk leveled his revolver at the creature, “Guessing by just the color and markings? I’d say it’s a wolf spider that’s the size of a horse.”

 

         “…Help…” groaned the man, oblivious to the creeping death that was silently making its way down the wall towards him.

 

                “Do something!” cried Sweetie Pop.

 

                “Rarity,” said Hawk, “get ready to pull that man to safety.”

 

                Barely hearing his words past the horrid scene unfolding before her, she nodded. Focusing on a spell that was meant for moving wounded ponies and animals, her body grew tense as she waited for the moment to act.

 

                The abomination reached the floor as silent as a whisper, and raised its forelegs towards the wounded man. Hawk squeezed the trigger of his revolver, sending a bullet directly into one of the oversized spider’s eyes.

The monstrous spider let loose a terrible shriek of pain before it skittered back behind the pillar with unnerving speed. Rarity never knew spiders could shriek, and she could have happily gone through her entire life not knowing that. She released her spell around the badly wounded member of the HLF and gently glided him close to her.

 

                The spider crawled onto the ceiling, allowing Hawk to take two more shots. Both of the bullets connected with the beast’s sternum, but didn’t do any damage. “Aw hell. That thing is bullet proof,” said the agent as he refilled the chambers of his revolver.

 

                “What do you mean, ‘bullet-proof?!’” screamed Rarity as she prepared a healing spell, “You just shot it and it screeched!” She lowered her head and swept it over the broken and bleeding body of the HLF survivor. Small shimmering waves of multicolored light fell over the man like a blanket and eventually wrapped around him like a cocoon. “There,” she said in a panicky sort of huff, “Now you won’t be bleeding all over the place.”

 

                The spider started crawling sideways towards the space above the reception desk. “Apparently its only weak spot are the eyes,” Hawk produced another stick of dynamite from his coat with his free hand, “Either that or I need try something more original.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                A veritable hurricane came from the hallway as the PER ponies cast their spells, throwing everything and everyone in the apartment all over the place. Fluttershy had covered Azure with her body before the gust of wind sent her and the young colt flying into a wall. John, Barnes, and Breezy all had the misfortune of sailing all the way across the room and into the television that hung on the wall, their bodies falling out of sight behind the now upturned couch.

That’s when they all entered. There were seven of them: four unicorns, three pegasi. The lead one was a unicorn, a purple mare with white mane and snowflake marking. Flanking her were two other vicious looking unicorns, both stallions.

 

                The purple one put on a smug grin as she talked, “John Norris, it certainly is a pleasure to meet you. I’ve really been looking forward to it,” she started walking to the upturned couch with a confidence in her step, “I’ve always wondered what it felt like to look down on an inferior species.” Rounding the couch with her two goons, her pompous smile widened when she saw the unconscious forms of John and Breezy, “And now I know.”

 

                The unicorn goon to her right did some hasty math in his head, “Hey boss, weren’t there thr-”

 

                The lead unicorn cut him off with a swish from her tail, “Not now Black Root, mommy is talking.”

 

                Fluttershy was on the ground not far away, and began to come to as the other four ponies swept into the room. She had taken most of the impact from the wall, and as a result was still a bit dazed. “Azure?” she whimpered looking at the small blue pegasus entwined in her legs, “are you okay?”

 

                The colt looked up and shook his head, clearing him of his dazed state. After a moment he had righted himself and scrunched up his face in anger. “DAD!” he shouted as he squirmed out of Fluttershy’s grasp, “GET AWAY FROM MY DADDY!”

 

                “Azure no!”Fluttershy yelped after him, but the small blue pegasus was already dashing across the floor to his father’s side.

 

                The purple unicorn looked down curiously, “Ah, and what have we here?” A cruel grin appeared on her face, “Why you must be little Azure!” The horn of her left hoof goon glowed to life, raising Azure into the air. “Just who I wanted to see next!”

 

                “GET AWAY FROM HIM!” screamed the small blue pegasus in the purple mare’s face.

 

                “Not one for conversation I take it?” she sneered at the colt. Turning to the unicorn on her right she gave another smug smile, “Black Root, go find a pillow case or something to throw him in while we wait for Norris to wake up.”

 

The black and gold unicorn nodded and trotted off with the still screaming Azure, “WHEN I GET MY HOOVES ON YOU, YOU’RE GONNA BE SORRY!” His screams trailed off as Black Root carried him off into a bedroom, where much hollering could be heard before becoming muffled. The stallion emerged with a writhing sack suspended by a magic grip.

 

                “Now about you,” said the purple mare as she trotted over the still recovering Fluttershy, “Who might you be?”

 

                Fluttershy took a quick look around the room, ‘Where was Barnes?! Where did she go?’ Seeing no sign of the human agent anywhere in the apartment, she knew she would have to stand up to these bullies herself.

With considerable effort, she stood up straight and gazed harshly into the eyes of the unicorn mare, “My name is Fluttershy of Ponyville, and how dare you do such awful things to these people! I heard that we would meet bad ponies on this trip, but this is far beyond ‘bad!’ T-this is just plain mean! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!”

 

                The seven ponies of PER all stood dumbfounded for a few moments before bursting into riotous laughter. The purple mare was able to stop long enough to move her head in close to Fluttershy’s, a calm smile crossing her lips. “Well isn’t this wonderful! An honest to God Equestrian in our midst! I, Bitter Frost, am honored to meet you.”

 

                Fluttershy glanced about unsure of what to do. She had just used her stern voice, but it didn’t seem to convince them. Maybe asking nicely would work? The timid pegasus lowered her head and gave Bitter Frost the most caring stare she could give, “It’s just that…um, well you see the potion you drank to become ponies was made wrong, so you aren’t really a hundred percent ponified.” Raising her head ever so slightly she added, “But me and my friends brought the right potions that you all can drink! All you have to do is drink up and you won’t have to hurt anypony anymore!”

 

                Frost stepped back a few paces and gave a thoughtful look at Fluttershy. A wicked smile crossed her lips, “Is that so? Well then, it seems that before we leave, we will have to give Mr. John Norris the divine gift of ponification!” She turned to her henchponies, “Come on lads, tie them up and wake up the human! We have bits to take and a blessing to bestow!”

 

The horns of the four unicorns of PER glowed to life as the unicorns themselves cackled madly. Magic ropes formed around Fluttershy, John, and Breezy and wound around all three tightly. The sudden constriction of the ropes tripped the pegasus and she fell flat onto her side. She frantically looked around, hoping desperately to see somepony, anypony that could do something.

 

That’s when she saw Barnes standing at the entrance of the apartment, completely unnoticed by the guffawing members of PER as she leveled her gun.

 

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Sweetie Pop’s constant screaming was very distracting, and it was causing Rarity some difficultly healing the rather extensive wounds of the HLF member. Of course she couldn’t blame Sweetie Pop. There had just been a van full of armed madmen roll through the front window, gunshots, and explosions. Oh and a giant spider abomination was trying to kill them too.

 

                “I could have been doing fashion shows in Canterlot right now, or eating sweets at one of Pinkie’s parties!” shouted the unicorn as she worked hard and fast to heal the wounds of HLF member. She felt like her energy was spent, but all she had to do was cast one more spell before the wounded man would be healed enough to live.

 

                Hawk fired three shots at the abomination, each one connecting with thick chitin and dinging off harmlessly. “Come on ugly!” shouted the agent as he reloaded, “Get close to me! I dare you!”

 

What in Equestria does Twilight see in him?’ Rarity thought as she prepared the last spell she would likely be able to cast for some time. She squeezed her eyes shut and focused. Soon her horn glowed with magic, and crimson sparkles shot out from her horn’s tip. The sparkling little lights drifted down onto the wounded HLF member’s chest and sank into it, leaving behind faintly glowing spots where they entered. After the spots faded completely, Rarity looked at Hawk and in an exhausted voice said, “Alright, I finished healing him! Let’s get out of here befo-”

 

                The spider crawled along the roof of the lobby, darting left and right as Hawk shot two more rounds at it with his revolver before quickly reloading. It suddenly leapt down at the man, its midsection slamming onto the marble desk and it lunged out at him with its two enormous front legs, pinning the Hawk’s shoulders to the wall. If Sweetie Pop’s screaming was loud before, now it could shatter glass.

                Hawk responded to the arachnid’s pin by angling his pinned gun arm at the monster’s large mirrored eyes and unloading every shot he had left in the gun. The six bullets struck the giant spider in its two forward most eyes, and sent the abominable creature reeling in agony. Unfortunately the beast did not release the pressure on Hawk, and the man still found himself unable to move.

 

                “A little help please?!” called Hawk as he tried to squirm out from under the spider’s legs. His eyes went wide as the huge fangs of the giant spider clicked and clacked in front of him, literally dripping with either drool or horribly deadly venom.

 

Rarity hopped up onto the desk and gave the beast a swift buck to the side, “Take that you horrible monster!”

 

The spider didn’t even register the little white unicorn. It continued to press its two forward most forelegs onto Hawk’s shoulders while its other six legs began easing it closer to its meal. The man redoubled his efforts of trying to break free as the dripping fangs of death came closer.

 

                The unicorn continued to strike at the monster with her rear hooves, but still was having no effect whatsoever. Rarity decided that, seeing as how her kicks were doing no good, she would take some time to catch her breath. She stepped away from the monstrosity and rethought her plan of attack.

 

                “Rarity!” called Hawk, “I wouldn’t mind if you, I dunno, shot it with a magic arrow or something!”

 

The spider lunged forward with its fangs going straight for the man’s rib cage.

 

Rarity’s heart skipped a beat. A single thought flashed through her mind, ‘No! If he dies, then poor Twilight will be single forever!

 

 Through either sheer luck or phenomenal skill, Hawk freed his shoulders from the pin and raised his hands while dropping his gun and the dynamite in the process. He grabbed the giant fangs before they could stab into his chest, and holding back the dripping fangs with all of his might, he could only grunt, “Any time now!”

 

                “I don’t have any magic like that!” Rarity responded in a distraught tone. She was still recovering from almost seeing her friend’s alleged human lover die.

 

                “Then stab it!”

 

                “With what?! It’s not like I carry knives!”

 

                The spider bore down harder on Hawk, and the pressure from it trying to get its fangs into the human was pushing the agent up the wall. “Use your horn!” shouted Hawk, his feet swinging an inch or two off the ground.

 

                “B-but…” Rarity was going to argue her mane getting ruined or icky, but a quick look from Hawk stifled the urge. There wasn’t space on the desk to get a good charge going, so Rarity tried for one last spell. It was something Twilight had told her about back in their time in Ponyville, a spell that would increase one’s physical abilities for a very short time. Rarity lowered her head and concentrated, her horn giving the faintest of lights.

 

                Hawk gave the spider a swift kick to its belly as a sign of defiance, “RARITY!”

 

                The spell went off and Rarity could feel her muscles growing as adrenaline pumped through her veins. She opened her eyes and looked over her now large and muscular body. “By Celestia, this must be what Macintosh feel like!” Her eyes narrowed on the large horrible creature that sat squirming on the desk, “Now foul beast, you shall feel the mighty wrath of Rarity the unicorn!” She lowered her head and charged at the monstrous arachnid.

 

                Her now ridiculously powerful legs shattered the marble desk as they kicked off and instead of simply running at the creature, Rarity was propelled through the air by the sheer force of her steps. Like a magnificent white arrow, the glorious unicorn sailed into the side of the giant spider horn first, piecing the chitin shell and sending both pony and creature hurtling off the desk and into the far wall.

 

                The spider screeched and flailed it horrendously long legs about wildly as sickly green ichor poured from its side. Hawk, now free of imminent death, took up the stick of dynamite and lit it. Vaulting over the ruined desk, he spotted a curly purple tail amidst the scrambling mass of legs and green slime. With the fuse of the dynamite burning, Hawk ran towards the pony-impaled spider and yanked on the purple tail while simultaneously throwing the little red stick into the open wound. Scooping up the somewhat dazed unicorn, he then ran as fast as he could back behind the reception desk, where the other few ponies looked on in awe and horror.

 

                The explosion sent spider bits and greenish goop everywhere.

 

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Fluttershy shut her eyes tight as the PER ponies’ laughter was suddenly interrupted by several loud bangs. A warm liquid splashed over her face, and the laughter was replaced by shouting and yelling and more gun shots. The timid pegasus just kept her eyes closed and thought of her home in Ponyville.

 

                “No! Please don’t kill me! PLEASE!” she heard the voice of Black Root plead, “Look! I surrender okay?”

 

                “Drop the colt,” replied the cold voice of Barnes.

 

                There was a thud and small “oomf!” as the sack hit the floor. The magic ropes that bound her faded and the yellow pegasus began to open her eyes, barely seeing a purple mound in front of her before Barnes called, “Keep your eyes closed Fluttershy.” The pegasus immediately complied. The woman called out again, “Azure Wind, are you alright?”

 

                “Y-yes,” replied the sack.

 

                “See? The little guy is fine! You can arrest me now!” spoke Black Root, his words filled with terror.

 

                Barnes approached the unicorn, and Fluttershy heard a sudden crack followed by a dull thud. The pegasus began crying, as she heard the woman’s footsteps approach her. A soft hand touched her cheek and a soothing voice met her ears, “Fluttershy? Are you hurt?”

 

                “N-no…” responded the pegasus between sniffles.

 

                The hand rubbed the side of Fluttershy’s neck. “Thank goodness,” Barnes sighed in relief. “Oh my, you’ve got some of Bitter Frost all over you. Let me clean you up a bit, just keep your eyes closed okay?”

 

“Okay,” She replied meekly. The calmness of how the woman said that last line made Fluttershy feel incredibly uncomfortable.

 

Barnes left for a bit and after some sounds from the kitchen she soon returned. The mare felt a warm wash cloth being wiped across her face as Barnes hummed a rather chipper tune. After a few moments of this Barnes gave another sigh and said, “There, all cleaned up.”

 

Fluttershy began to open her eyes ever so slightly, “C-can I open my eyes now?”

 

“And can I please get out of this sack?” added Azure.

 

Barnes quickly put her hand over the mare’s eyes, “Not yet. The apartment is an absolute mess and…” The hand covering Fluttershy’s eyes began twitching and shaking, “…J-just keep your eyes closed until I tell you to open them.”

 

Fluttershy once again shut her eyes tight and waited, trying to ignore the sounds of heavy things being dragged around the room.

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                “I am never ever doing that again. Ever.”

 

                “I don’t know,” said Hawk as he peeled a piece of dried spider goo off Rarity’s neck, “I think it was totally cool how you went all buff and stuff.”

 

                Rarity shot him an exhausted glare, “Oh yes. Because having the physique of a stallion bodybuilder is very befitting of a lady of leisure such as myself.”

 

                Hawk shrugged as he peeled off more crispy goo, “You know, if the whole ‘I’m covered with spider guts’ thing really bugs you so much, I’m pretty sure there’s a bath in Mr. Norris’s apartment.”

 

                “Oh no, I am not going into somepony’s home dragging…” She gestured to her new lime green coating which covered her from horn to tail, “…this in behind me.”

 

                To their right came a small cough from the receptionist Sweetie Pop, “Excuse me, Mister…Hawk was it?”

 

                “Yes ma’am, what can I do for you?” replied the man, plucking a big piece of the dried ichor from the unicorn’s mane.

 

                “Listen, I’m really grateful and everything, and so are these two,” she gestured to the two other ponies beside her, “but…well I’m kinda wondering who’s going to pay for all these damages?”

 

                Hawk and Rarity glanced at each other and then raised their heads above what was left of the reception desk. The front large windowed entrance was completely shattered, the magnificent fountain at the center of the room was broken and spraying water all over the floor, there was a large and heavily damaged van tipped over on its side not far from the fountain, not far from the van was a small crater, there were bits of spider coating just about everything, and the reception desk was nothing but rubble. Not to mention the various bodies of the HLF strewn about the room.

 

                Bringing their heads back down with faces of mild shock, Rarity turned to look at Hawk with disbelief. “You absolutely wreaked the entire lobby…How could you wreak the entire lobby?”

 

                The human simply shrugged, “You get into all sorts of mischief with explosives.” He then cocked an eyebrow and added, “And you’re taking these dead bodies lying around way better than I thought you would.”

 

                “Please Agent Hawk, I am a part time medical mare. Do give me some credit.”

 

                “Ahem,” Sweetie Pop interrupted again, “Sorry to interrupt again, but my job might hinge on who’s paying for this, so…?”

Hawk turned to Sweetie Pop and said in a calm and confident manner, “We work for Princess Celestia, so send her the bill.”

 

                “Hawk!” Rarity chided, “We can’t bill the Princess! It’s so…rude!”

 

                “Do you want to pay for it, oh generous one?” responded the man.

 

                Thinking hard for a brief moment, Rarity came to a conclusion. She gave Sweetie Pop a gentle smile and said, “Well with all the new bits coming from the new-foals, the Princess can probably afford it.” Looking at Hawk she added, “Besides, I’m sure we can make it up to the Princess with a nice party with lots of fabulous gifts.”

 

                Hawk patted the unicorn on the back and gave her a big smile as he rose to his feet, “That’s my kind of thinking Miss Lady Rarity. Now let’s get back to the apartment so we can get you washed up.”

 

                “Let us indeed!” replied Rarity as she shakily stood as well. She was exhausted from using so much magic, and a bath was just what she needed most. “Onwards to the elevator!”

 

                Hawk and Rarity gingerly stalked through the ruined lobby, avoiding the somewhat smoking bodies of the HLF, towards the nearest elevator. Hawk pushed the ‘up’ button and the elevator doors dinged open. Stepping inside, Hawk gave the three ponies that had remained in the lobby a tip of his hat while Rarity delivered them a very graceful bow. The elevator dinged again and the two of them disappeared behind the sliding doors.

 

                As Sweetie Pop watched the doors close, she came to a realization. The HLF member was still lying unconscious on the floor next to her. “Wait! What do I do with this guy?!” she called out after them, but she knew they couldn’t hear her. She returned to the spot she usually stood during her shift and sat on her haunches sighing heavily, “This day sucks.”

 

 

*              *              *

 

 

                Barnes was waiting for them outside the apartment’s door as stiff and unyielding as a statue. Upon seeing Hawk and Rarity approaching, she quickly called out, “Agent Hawk, you and Mr. Norris’s presence has been requested by the New Foalsome Police Department in regards to today’s attacks.”

 

                “Ah great,” lamented Hawk, “paper work.”

 

                “Indeed,” replied Barnes as she opened the door and entered. A few moments later, a very groggy John Norris walked out, partially supported by a painfully green earth pony. They both seemed rather beat up, and John in particular looked like he had a swell bump on his head.

 

                “You assholes owe me a new TV,” stated John as he attempted to point at Hawk, “and new carpets.”

 

                “No need to be so crass Mr. Norris,” Rarity soothingly spoke to him, “Every financial detail will be taken care of, don’t you fret.” She leaned her head a bit closer, “However, if you need somepony to redecorate, I am always available.”

 

                John was about to say something before Barnes reemerged, leading a black unicorn stallion with a yellow mane, out of the apartment. “This is an agent of PER. I have left him alive for questioning by the police.”

 

                “I’ll keep my eye on him then,” said Hawk as he drew his revolver and pointed it at the black unicorn. “Come on then Mr. Norris, let’s not keep the police waiting,” said Hawk as he rolled his eyes, “Just like Six-Tribes to show up after I kill the giant spider.”

 

                “Giant spider?!” yelled both John and his pony support. Hawk just shrugged and walked on down the hallway, followed closely by the other man and the green earth pony.

 

                Once they were out of earshot, Barnes turned to Rarity and asked in her usual emotionless tone, “Rarity, would you like to join Ms. Fluttershy and Azure Wind on the roof with me? We have a table set up and waiting for you.”

 

                “What?” asked the unicorn more tired than confused.

 

                “It is currently quarter till noon, and I believe you are owed a tea party,” replied the woman, with only the faintest of smiles on the corners of her mouth.

 

                Rarity looked herself over, “But I’m just so…well filthy, and I…”

 

                Barnes placed her left hand onto the unicorn’s head. “Rarity,” she said in a voice as warm as daylight, “Fluttershy is having a tough time dealing with what happened during the PER attack, and I think she needs a friend right now more than she needs tea.”

 

                Rarity looked into the reflective shades of the woman’s aviator sunglasses and saw herself. Her mane was in worse shape than she thought, and most of her coat was still caked with the spider’s ichor. Sighing, she smiled at Barnes and said, “Well then I guess I’ll just take a bath afterwards. Nothing like a nice herbal spa treatment after a good cup of tea I always say!” She trotted down the hallway, noticing that Barnes hesitated to follow her. Turning she called, “Coming Captain Barnes?”

 

                “I’m still waiting for the tea,” she replied warmly with her hands behind her back, “You go on, I’ll be there in no time.”

 

                Rarity gave another prize winning smile, “Suit yourself darling. I shall eagerly await your arrival.” She continued to trot down the hallway and out of sight.

 

                Barnes looked at her left arm as it twitched and spasmed, her expression grim. Black veins could be seen beneath the skin. “You shouldn’t be touching them Barnes,” she whispered to herself in her cold voice, “It’s not good for our health.”

 

 

 

The End of Episode 3

About

God

Damn

Time

I mean really,

holy shit

Anyway, Episode 4 coming…

…well I don’t know yet because I’m really bad with dates

 

 


Yellowstone:

The Series

By: Anonsi (It’s like he doesn’t know how to write!)

Episode: 4

Dead Beat

____________________________________________________________________________

For ages, Equestria has existed separate from the rest of the world, protected by a magical barrier that prevented it from being seen, touched, or reached by humans and their machines. But five years ago, the ponies of Equestria landed on the shores of human lands claiming to be there to save the earth and humanity from pollution, hate, and greed. To do this, the top human scientists and pony magicians created a potion to turn humans into ponies in places called, Conversion Bureaus. Within two years of its release, more than half the total human populace on Earth has converted. The balance of the world has been forever altered, as the remaining human nations form new governments for those humans that remain.

        After foiling the attempts of both the HLF and PER in New Foalsome, the human agents under the command of Agent Hawk and the Elements of Harmony led by Twilight Sparkle are recuperating at the Manhattan Conversion Bureau. With the addition of the ‘Odin,’ a powerful aircraft that is mysteriously capable of teleportation, the two teams are now capable of battling the various monstrosities born of wild magic all over the world.

____________________________________________________________________________

        “DJ Pon-3?” asked the delivery pegasus as he stuck his head into the sound room.

        The white unicorn with spiky blue hair did not turn to face her new visitor. “Offstage you can just call me Vinyl Scratch bro, how can I help?” she replied, her head moving in rhythm with the music playing from her soundboard

        The pegasus presented a large tan folder and a clipboard to the DJ, “This came in the mail for you, and I need your signature.”

        The unicorn looked up from her soundboard and smiled, “Aw jamming! Must be some music for my world tour.” She levitated a pen from a nearby coffee mug and scribbled the letters “VS” on the delivery pony’s clipboard, “There’s your autograph hot stuff.”

        The pony smiled weakly and handed the unicorn her package before making a quick exit. The folder definitely had a record in it, though it felt heavier than the unicorn was used to. Ignoring the issue, she surveyed the package and found no return address or any clue as to where the thing came from. Only a single line of instruction across the front, “Play at midnight.

        Vinyl cocked an eyebrow, “Weird. Must be from a fan.” Shaking her head, she magically removed the contents of the tan folder. It was an oddest looking record she’d ever seen. There were five gold lines criss-crossing over the disc forming star with no label at its center, and around the edges were weird looking runes. Shrugging, she hovered the record onto a nearby turntable and lifted a pair of earphones to her head, “Well let’s give it a spin.” The record began to play, and after a short time the unicorn smiled while bobbing her head to the beat. “Slammin’.”

*        *        *

        Twilight was feeling rather well this evening. Not only had she gotten a good night’s sleep the previous night, but the news of her friends safe return put a little extra spring in her step. She was currently enjoying the rather comfortable couches of the communication lounge with her friends. She and the others were taking in Rarity’s, rather dramatic, retelling of the events that had occurred during the last mission.

“A giant spider?” asked Applejack from her spot on the carpet, “Gosh that sounds right awful.”

        “Oh believe me Applejack, it was,” responded Rarity, who sat next to the orange pony, “But not nearly as awful as what I had to do to get all of its...innards...out of my mane.”

        Rainbow Dash tried to stifle a laugh as she rolled over onto her back, but failed to do so in a subtle fashion. Through her snickering, she was able to say, “I’m sorry Rarity, but the thought of you covered in spider guts is pretty funny.” Soon the pegasus broke out into open laughter at the mental image of the dainty unicorn covered in a sticky ichor. The laughter proved contagious as it spread to each of six ponies.

        The white unicorn stared daggers at the pegasus. “I assure you Rainbow Dash, that there is nothing ‘funny’ about my mane getting completely ruined!”

“I don’t know, I thought it was kinda funny,” came Hawk’s voice from the doorway. The ponies all turned to face the human and offered quick greetings as the man strode into the center of them.

“To what do we owe the pleasure of your presence Agent Hawk?” inquired Rarity, glad that the human had interrupted her friends’ laughter.

Dash flew to his eye level and excitedly asked, “Do we have another mission? ‘Cause I am ready as ever to get back out there and kick some flank!”

“Are we having a party?!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie as she placed her forelegs on the man’s waist.

Hawk put up his hands and backed up from the onslaught of ponies, “Whoa there! Slow down a bit and let me talk.” The ponies each took a seat in front of the human and exchanged small chortles and giggles as they waited for him to speak. “Thank you ladies. Anyway, no we don’t have a mission yet. What I came to tell you is that me and the rest of my team have gotten together and we think we have found a way to streamline things as far as who goes on missions.”

Twilight gave the man a hurt look, “You organized stuff without me?”

“Not my fault,” Hawk shot back quickly, “You were so deep into your research you didn’t even register me telling you about the meeting earlier.”

Twilight cocked an eyebrow and thought back to earlier that day. Three hours prior she had been reading a book about Fairies and Elves when someone had entered and spoke to her. Her memory was a bit foggy, but what she did remember was that whoever it was left her a daffodil sandwich and a cup of juice. ‘Hawk brought me a snack! How sweet,’ she thought as her cheeks began to blush ever so slightly. Her face went pale however, as a new thought crossed her mind, ‘And you just ignored him and ate his food without so much as saying thank you.

“Twi? You okay?” asked Applejack, eyeing the unicorn who seemed to be losing a great deal of color from her face.

“Wha-?” started Twilight as she snapped back to reality.

“Yeah Twilight! You’re starting to look like Rarity!” added Pinkie Pie snorting on a laugh. “Oh could you imagine two Rarity’s? They could make dresses for each other and use each other as models and-”

“And one of us could go back to my boutique in Ponyville,” stated Rarity as she gave a small, wistful sigh.

        There was a silence following the fashionista’s statement that hung in the air uncomfortably for a few seconds. Finally, Hawk clapped his hands together and said, “Well okey dokey, back to why I’m here. Me and the rest of my team have agreed that it would be best if one of us agents were assigned to each of you ponies, sort of like partners.”

        “We each get a human?!” shouted Pinkie excitedly, “Ohboyohboyohboy!” The pink earth pony leapt onto the back of the couch and began singing, “My little human, my little human, la la la LAAAAA!” Twilight quickly summoned a muzzle over Pinkie’s mouth, reducing the eccentric pink pony’s song to nothing but a series of hums.

        Giving a thankful smile to Twilight, Hawk went on, “Anyway, all that’s left before we make this list official is your yays or neighs.”

        “Well get on with it!” called Dash, “I want to know who I’m teamed up with!”

        Clearing his throat, Hawk began to read, “Right, so first we have Zorro and Rarity...”

        Rarity allowed a smile to cross her face. “Thank Celestia, I get the one who knows how to treat a lady and behave in public! Not to mention groom himself...”

        He ignored the offhand jab aimed at him and continued, “...Megan with Applejack and Rainbow Dash...”

        Dash and Applejack exchanged pleased expressions before a competitive smile crossed their faces.

        “...Dimitri with Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy...”

        Pinkie made muffled shouts of joy as she bounded around the room, while Fluttershy gave a quiet little, “Whoo hoo.”

        “...and finally, myself and Twilight as team leaders.”

        Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash all exchanged subtle and knowing nods. Twilight however, furrowed her brow as she stated, “Wait a second Agent Hawk, I think you left someone off your list. What about Captain Barnes?”

        The man gave her a flat look, “She said that she did not think any of you would want to be her partner, and promptly left the meeting to go do maintenance on the Odin.”

        “Well that doesn’t make a single iota of sense,” said Rarity, “Any of us would simply love to be partnered with her.”

        “Yeah!” exclaimed Fluttershy as she jumped to her hooves. When she noticed her outburst gained the attention of everyone in the room, she quickly lowered her head and quietly continued, “I-I mean...I wouldn’t mind being her partner. I know that I can be a bit of a hoof-full sometimes, and I don’t want to over burden Dimitri with both Pinkie and myself. I wouldn’t mind being partnered with Captain Barnes. If that’s alright with you I mean. ”

        Hawk cocked a rather suspicious eyebrow, “I’ll ask her about it.”

As the man turned to leave, the incoming transmission alarm began to blare from the large television screen that covered the wall of the lounge. Swearing under his breath, Hawk rushed over to it and pressed a few buttons. He moved to stand in the center of the screen’s view, quickly joined by Twilight and the other ponies. The screen came to life with the glorious form of Princess Celestia standing in the center of the White House’s oval office.

“Hello my dear little ponies,” began Celestia as she gave a radiant smile, “and a fine hello to you as well Agent Hawk.”

Twilight and her friends all bowed their heads while Hawk simply tipped his hat. “G’morning Princess, might I ask where Joe is?”

The alicorn looked to the side a bit as she continued, “President Joseph is in the other room and will be along shortly.” A mischievous smirk crossed her divine features, “Of course I wanted to learn how to use this machine, so I decided to call you all and have a little chat before he gets here.” The goddess’s gentle eyes looked at each of their faces, “So my little ones, how have you all been fairing? With Spike serving my sister instead of Twilight, I fear that I have been unable to keep up with you all as much as I’d like.”

Twilight lept at the chance to speak first, “We’re all doing fine my Princess, Hawk and the other humans are keeping us all safe and sound. We’re all becoming really close.”

Celestia beamed at the news. “That is good to hear my student. I am glad you and your friends are getting along so well with your guardians. To be completely honest, I was becoming worried that you all would be uncomfortable living with human soldiers.” A quiet voice came from somewhere off screen to Celestia’s left that drew her gaze. Pouting slightly, she returned her soft eyes to Twilight and her friends. “Well I suppose we’ll have to talk later. President Joseph is ready to give you your assignment.”

The aged face of President Joseph moved into view of the screen. Hawk pulled himself away from the couch and stood, offering a salute to the commander and chief. Returning the salute lazily, the President said, “Hello there agents, I have some good news for those of you going on the mission today.”

Dash nudged Applejack, “Hear that? Now we’re ‘Agents!’ How cool is that?” The orange pony just rolled her eyes and gazed up at the human on the screen.

“What’s the news Joe?” asked Hawk putting his hands on his hips.

        The President pressed a button from somewhere off screen that showed the overhead map of some city. “This is Paris, France. The site of your next mission.”

        Rarity’s eyes grew wide as saucers.

        “We detected a spike of magical energy in the city three hours ago, the odd thing was that the readings disappeared almost immediately. Princess Celestia believes these are signs of a recently awakened artifact.”

        “Recently awakened?” inquired Twilight.

        The President glanced at the Princess, who nodded for the President to continue. Sighing, Joseph said, “Celestia believes that someone tried to activate the artifact’s magic, but whoever it was didn’t meet the special requirements these things apparently have from time to time. As such, the artifact has ‘awoken’ and is now absorbing any ambient magic it can in order to feed itself until its requirements are met.

 All we know right now is that the energy spike came from the night club ‘L'Insomnie,’ which also happens to be hosting an all night party. A party being DJ’d by one Vinyl Scratch, otherwise known as DJ PON-3.” A picture of a large and trendy night club with many neon lights adorning its entrance appeared on the screen, accompanied by a photograph of a white unicorn with spiky blue hair and very large sunglasses.

        “EE noo er!” mumbled Pinkie Pie through her muzzle.

        “Oh my goodness, Pinkie’s still muzzled!” Twilight flushed from embarrassment as she quickly undid her spell. “Sorry Pinkie.”

        “Not a problem Twilight!” responded the pink pony pleasantly, “Wany-hoo, all I said was that we know Vinyl! She comes from Ponyville, just like us!”

        “Then I guess getting into the club won’t be a problem,” continued Joseph, “because whatever this artifact is, it needs to be quarantined immediately. There’s no telling what mischief it could cause. As such, seeing as how we want the least amount of collateral damage,” he added with a stern glance to Hawk, “I am sending agents Megan and Zorro on this mission.”

        Hawk placed his hands on his hips and grinned widely, “About time Zorro got off his duff.”

        Joseph moved behind his desk in the oval office and glared daggers at the human agent, “And I do not want to hear from Megan or Zorro that you smuggled any high explosives into their supplies Agent Hawk.”

        Hawk responded with a frown, “Well that’s just no fun at all Joe.” Upon seeing the President’s intensifying glare, the man rolled his eyes and huffed, “Aye aye sir. No high explosives.”

        “Good luck Agents,” said the President as Celestia gave a quick wave of her hoof to Twilight. The screen blinked off and the six ponies instantly began talking amongst themselves.

        Rarity was smiling from ear to ear and kept repeating, “I’m going to Paris!” as she galloped out of the room and down into the hallway. “I’M GOING TO PARIS!”

By the time the alabaster unicorn had gotten to the end of the hallway, Twilight, Hawk, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie had filtered out of the lounge and moved towards the lobby, while Applejack and Rainbow Dash were in the middle of a discussion.

“Ah’m tellin’ ya Rainbow, ah can’t go! Ah gotta help Fluttershy take care of her animals,” stated the farm pony with a sigh.

        “Ugh, but Rarity will probably try and get us all to go shopping or something. I won’t have anypony to talk to!”

        The orange pony placed a hoof on Dash’s shoulder and gave a comforting look, “Ya’ll have Megan won’t ‘cha? She’s a right fine person ta talk to. ‘Sides, you’ll be at a party! It’ll be full of fun stuff to do!”

        “I do like fun stuff,” replied the blue pegasus as a confident smile spread across her face.

        “There’s the Rainbow Dash ah know, now go on and show those ponies over there how us Equestrian fillies dance!” shouted Applejack.

“HELL YEAH!” Dash and Applejack bumped their front hooves together, and with an air of confidence the pegasus flew out the open window in a blur.

        

*        *        *

        The streets of Paris gave a collective shout of surprise as a large boom echoed throughout the night sky. The Odin’s engines roared as the ship soared over the city in search of a place to land. Finding a suitable spot in the very large and exquisite garden outside the Louvre, the mighty ship touched down and its occupants disembarked.

        Rarity was the first one out and her eyes went wide at the sight of the glimmering city. The sparkling lights of the buildings that danced over the surface of the river, the beautiful architecture of the ancient buildings, and the magnificent spire in the distance that rose above the streets and illuminated the sky caused the unicorn to become absolutely giddy.

        Her heart was beating faster every passing second as her excitement built up more and more, “Oh Celestia, it’s more wonderful than I imagined it’d be! The brochures don’t do it justice at all!”

        Zorro descended the platform after the unicorn, sporting his usual loose black shirt, black fencing gloves, form fitting black pants with stylish black boots, and an elegant sword at his hip. Following him was Megan, who had a large briefcase in one hand and an old Winchester repeater in the other. Next to the blond woman walked Rainbow Dash who stared around at the scenery with a bored expression.

        “It doesn’t look so great to me,” said the pegasus flatly.

        Zorro flashed Dash a quick smile, “Do not be so quick to judge pequeña, The City of Lights holds many exciting little nooks and crannies. You just need to know where to look.”

        “Don’t you dare take them to one of your hangouts Z,” Megan chided as she strapped her Winchester into a holster on her back.

“One of the few times I am in Paris I am denied a little bit of romance. Truly you have a cruel heart,” the man pouted. Megan replied by gently punching him in the ribs as she walked over to Dash, who was yawning out her boredom.

“Hey there Rainbow,” said the woman kneeling down to match Dash’s eye level, “You ready for this?”

The pegasus’s expression brightened considerably, “Are you kiddin’? I was born ready! Just tell me what to do and The Dash will get it done in a flash!”

The humans and Rarity began snickering slightly, much to Dash’s confusion. “‘The Dash will get it done in a flash,’ huh?” quoted the woman.

Rainbow Dash sat on her haunches and glared at her companions, “Yeah, what about it? I thought if I was going to be a superhero, I might as well make up a catchphrase or something. I mean at least it’s original.”

“Sure thing sugar cube,” said Megan patting Dash on the head, “Well if ‘The Dash’ could do us the honor of getting to the club and letting them know we’re coming, maybe we can take out this artifact before it hurts anyone.”

“Right! I’ll be there in ten seconds flat!” shouted the pegasus as she leapt into the air and shot off like a bullet.

Rarity trotted over to the humans, “Not that I doubt Rainbow Dash’s speed or ability or anything, but does she even know where the club is?”

*        *        *

A roofless jeep carrying two humans and a white unicorn rolled down the street and parked outside the lively dance club. Ponies of every sort and color were lined up outside and awaiting entry to the trendy hot spot of night life. As the three exited the vehicle, they noticed a certain rainbow colored pegasus arguing with a the bouncer pony.

        

        Rarity rolled her eyes and summoned a compact mirror with her horn. “Well it seems Dash is still a savant at making new friends,” she said dryly. Making some final adjustments to her main she dispelled the mirror and began walking towards the bouncer, “Come on darlings, let’s go introduce ourselves before Rainbow challenges the poor boy to a race.”

        Megan and Zorro exchanged bemused glances as they followed the mare up to where Rainbow Dash and the bouncer were arguing. As they grew closer they could make out their yelling through the heavy beats of the music that came from within the club.

        “-at are you even saying?! You’re a pony! Can’t you speak Equestrian?! Listen, I AM RAINBOW DASH. I am part of the ELITE EQUESTRIAN GUARD!” screamed the blue pegasus.

        “Vous n'êtes pas sur la liste que vous stupide, sortir d'ici!” replied the bouncer.

        She was rapidly losing her cool, “Did you just call me stupid?! OH IT IS ON! How about a race you piece of-”

        “Rainbow Dash!” shouted Rarity.

        The pegasus spun her head to face her friend, looking extremely frustrated. “Thank Celestia you’re here Rarity. This guy is talking smack and I don’t think I can hold back from giving him a buck to his face for much longer!”

        Rarity sighed and shook her head, “My dear girl, gaining entry to a party that you weren’t invited to takes gentle persuasion, not brute force.” She gave a mischievous smirk to Dash as she passed her. Turning to the bouncer, the sultry unicorn gave the large brown stallion her best pout. “Please excuse my friend sir, I’m afraid she has terrible manners. I am Lady Rarity, and my companions and I really need to get into this fine establishment. I would just be ever so grateful if you let us pass.”

        The bouncer blushed at the the elegant unicorn’s pleading eyes and sorrowfully pouting lip. He stepped aside and bowed his head, “Soyez mon invité madame.”

        Rarity gave a dainty bow of her head to the bouncer and entered the building, followed closely by Rainbow Dash, who made sure to stick her tongue out at him as she passed.

        As Megan and Zorro moved to enter, the bouncer blocked their path with a hoof saying, “Excusez-moi Monsieur et Mademoiselle, mais vous n'êtes pas autorisé à apporter des armes ici. Ou n'importe où je pense.” He glanced between the two of them, worry beginning to enter his features.

        “Nous sommes sur une mission de sécurité nationale. Restez en dehors de notre chemin,” replied Megan as she moved past the bouncer.

Zorro followed behind her and offered a shrug to the guard, “She certainly has a way with words doesn’t she?”

*        *        *

        The interior of the the club was beyond loud. The pounding techno beats reverberated in the bodies of everyone present, and the bright neon lights and assorted glow sticks of the party goers were a stark contrast to the otherwise dark atmosphere. The dancing forms of ponies in various rave attire covered the dance floor and surrounded the DJ booth, which sat at the center of the multicolored mob. It was not unlike a gazebo adorned with long glowing rods, and inside the metallic structure sat a white unicorn with large purple glasses and a frizzled blue mane. Rarity, Zorro, Rainbow Dash, and Megan all stood on the balcony overlooking the dance floor, the weapons of the humans acting as an effective deterrent for curious ponies and giving the group the space they needed to think.

        Dash nudged Megan’s leg with a wing and shouted over the music, “What do we do now? That artifact could be anything in here right?”

        “Yup,” replied the woman.

        “So how the hay do we find it?!”

        Megan calmly looked at the pegasus and replied “I have no idea sugar cube.”

        Dash gave a frustrated groan as she turned to the other human, “How about you sword guy, you got any ideas?”

        Zorro broke his eyes away from the dancing mass beneath him and regarded her with a thoughtful look before saying, “Unless Lady Rarity can detect other sources of magic, then no I do not.”

Their eyes looked at the unicorn who gazed right back at them slightly annoyed, “Don’t look at me! I only know spells that help with finding gems, sewing, and healing. I am sure that the last thing we need right now is for me to whip up a new gown, or change the color of your manes! Twilight is the one for whatever stunning, ‘save the day,’ spell you want.”

Megan’s face flashed with inspiration. “Actually Rarity, a change in hair color may be just what we need.”

Rarity gave a confused look, “Oh darling why? You mane color is beautiful as it is.”

The woman plucked four blond hairs from her head and held them out to Rarity, “Do you think you could make these glow?”

“Well,” the unicorn glanced at the woman’s eager face and the four hairs she was holding and took a gulp, “given the lighting...yes I suppose I could darling, but I still don’t see where you’re going with this.”

Closing her eyes, Rarity scrunched up her face in concentration as her horn glowed with a small dazzling spark. Four small rays of light shot out from the tip of her horn and began moving along the hairs in the woman’s hand, the strands changing from blond to a luminescent white as the rays moved along their length. The spell ended as the rays reached the end of the hairs, causing Rarity to gasp as if she had been holding her breath.

“There you are darling, four lovely white hairs that glow. Now if you don’t mind me asking, why did you have me perform this little service?”

“You’re about to find out,” said Megan as she held one strand of the enchanted hair over the edge of the balcony. A wide smile spread across her face as the far end of the hair was pulled on by some invisible force towards some spot in the churning crowd.

“Okay, why is it doing that?” asked Dash bluntly.

Megan gave a hair to each of her companions, “This artifact absorbs faint or weak magical energy so I thought that if we put a small enchantment on something lighter than a feather, the pull on the magic from the artifact would tug on the hairs...”

and give us a compass that points towards what we are looking for,” finished Zorro as his own smile began to mirror Megan’s, “You clever girl.”

Dash pumped a hoof into the air “Aw yeah! Now we’re in business!”

        The music suddenly stopped and the room went unnaturally quite as a smooth voice blared through the speakers, “THIS IS DJ PON-3 WITH YOU AS WE CONTINUE OUR EUROBEAT TOUR’S COUNTDOWN TO MIDNIGHT RIGHT HERE IN PARIS! ONLY TEN MINUTES UNTIL THE HOUR AND THE MOMENT WHERE I HIT YA’LL WITH THE BRAND NEW JAM THAT’S GUARANTEED TO KNOCK YOU DEAD!” The crowd cheered, stomped, and began dancing all the harder at the news.

        Zorro sighed, “Why is it there is always a time limit to these sort of things?”

        “Time limit, shlime limit!” said Rainbow pounding a hoof to her chest, “I’ll find that crummy old artifact before you know it, and then we can all go party!”

        “Sounds like a plan to me sugar cube!” added Megan as she moved towards the stairs. “Okay ladies, let’s start at the outside and work our way in, let’s go!”

        Zorro took a long look at the enchanted and shimmering hair in his hand before Rarity poked his leg with her hoof and looked at him with a smirk. “Is that the hair of your fair damsel Mr. Zorro?” she asked coyly while also giving a slight flutter of her eyelashes.

        The man clenched his hand into a fist around the hair and smiled back down at the unicorn, “No time for sad stories niña, there is a party to crash.”

*        *        *

“Come on, where are you?” grumbled Rainbow Dash as she hovered above the crowd.

It was hard enough getting a reading with all the other pegasi asking her to dance and ‘accidentally’ bumping into her, but the fact that she had to scan the crowd slowly was making this an agonizing process. Any sudden movements would cause the hair to shake and wobble, and it would take a few seconds before it would right itself. That and she had to avoid standing to close to an air conditioning vent or else the breeze would ruin everything.

She gave a frustrated huff and looked around for the others hoping to get some bearing on what she should do. The humans were easy enough to spot, as they towered over the only pony crowd. No doubt their search was going better than Dash’s, probably because the party goers were giving them plenty of space to do their thing. Rarity wasn’t that hard to find either, she was the mare that was surrounded by all the drooling stallions. Dash rolled her eyes and flew towards the DJ’s booth at the center of the dance floor, forgoing the search for a small break and to catch up with a familiar face.

As she was making her way there, Vinyl Scratch leaned over to the microphone and declared, “ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT! HOLD ONTO YOUR FLANKS BRONIES ‘CAUSE THINGS ARE GONNA GET WILD!”

The pegasus had to shake her head for a second or two to stop the ringing in her ears, “Note to self: don’t hover next to speakers during a rave.” Recomposing herself, she flew down next to Vinyl in the surprisingly large DJ booth. The unicorn DJ apparently didn’t notice her touch down, so Dash decided it would be polite to get her attention, “Hey Vinyl! What’s up?”

Vinyl Scratch jumped at the sudden greeting and spun on her heels to face her surprise visitor. “WHOA WHOA WHOA! Personal boundaries there lady! This here is a private box, ex-nay on the ans f-ay, and that means you gotta boogie on outta here pronto!”

Dash gave Vinyl a flat look as she replied, “Vinyl, it’s me. Rainbow Dash? We knew each other back in Ponyville?”

The unicorn stayed silent for a moment as the pieces clicked into place. “Oh snap! I thought you looked familiar! I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you dude, it’s been a while since we last hung out. Anyway, how’re things jammin’ my radically rainbow friend?”

“Well,” said the pegasus as she leaned in close to Vinyl, casting quick glances around the room while a boastful smile spread over her face, “I’m on a mission from Princess Celestia herself!”

Scratch gasped in shock, “What? How did you end up working for the Princess? Last I heard about ‘The Best Flier in Equestria,’ was that she was teaching new-foals how to fly and pushing pencils.”

“Nah, that was just a cover,” Dash lied, “Me and my friends have been doing stuff for the Princess since we got to human lands.”

“Really?” asked Vinyl excitedly, “What kind of stuff?”

Dash soaked up the attention like a sponge, “Oh you know, secret agent spy stuff. Totally classified. I’d have to wipe your memory if you ever found out.”

The DJ just smiled and began nodding, “Slammin.” There was a deep boom from the speakers which caused both mares to jump. “Aw hay bales! Is it midnight already? Just a sec Dash, I gotta do this.” Vinyl levitated an odd looking record out from a nearby egg crate and proceeded to place it on her record player. She then hovered her microphone over to her mouth and called, “ALL RIGHT COLTS AND FILLIES, THIS IS DJ PON-3 SAYIN’ THAT IT. IS. MIDNIGHT!”

The crowd erupted into cheers and stomped their hooves in anticipation for what they knew was coming.

“YEAH LET ME HEAR IT BRONIES! I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN WAITING ALL NIGHT TO HEAR THIS, AND LET ME TELL YA GUYS, IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT!” The crowd’s cheering grew louder than before, and the building shook from their applause.

Dash felt a slight tug from the enchanted hair. Her brow furrowed as she saw it was pointing towards Vinyl.

“NOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADIUE, I GIVE YOU THE RECORD WITH NO NAME!”

She double checked. It wasn’t pointing at Vinyl, but instead at her side. At the record. Dash looked up in terror as the vinyl disc began to spin unable to say anything other than, “Aw shit.”

*        *        *

        The record began spinning faster and faster, and with each passing second seemed to give off an ever intensifying green glow while a chilled breeze blew out from it. Megan, Zorro, and Rarity each converged on the DJ booth to see Rainbow Dash pushing Vinyl out of it with her head. The mob looked on in awe as the glow from the record became brighter and more vibrant, and some even began to cheer at the new spectacle.

        “Dash!” called Megan as she ran up to the pegasus, “Are you okay?!”

        Rainbow Dash looked at the woman’s worried face and was able to give her a smile as she said, “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.” She looked back to the DJ’s booth with a serious expression, “I’d be worrying about that.”

        Green arcs of lightning began crackling through the air from the artifact and down into the earth. The crowd of party goers began screaming as bolts of the unnatural lightning began shooting into the mass of ponies. The panicked mob began making for every exit they saw in every way they could, nearly trampling several ponies in the process. Arcs of magical lightning continued to spring out of the artifact and showed no sign of stopping as the cold wind grew stronger.

The dance floor was now more akin to a storm than what it used to be. Miraculously, it appeared all the party goers had been able to escape to the upper levels unharmed, a small handful even remaining on the balcony to watch the events that were unfolding before them with awe.

        “Now what?” asked Rarity as she braced herself against the increasing buffets of wind.

        “The record is the artifact!” Dash called over the howling air, “Maybe if we blow it up, things will go back to normal!” The pegasus looked at the humans expectantly, and upon seeing exchange worried glances asked, “Well?”

        “‘Well’ what?” replied Megan.

        Dash rolled her eyes, “What do you think I meant when I said blow it up? Didn’t you bring any bombs or anything?”

        Megan  shrugged and gave the pegasus an apologetic look, “Sorry, but Joe said no high explosives, and I don’t think Hawk smuggled any C4 into our supplies this time!”

        “Not true!” called Zorro producing a small cube of the explosive putty. “It is not much, but it should get the job done!”

        Megan looked at the small piece of C4 with a stunned expression, which was quickly replaced with a bemused smile. “He is going to get into soooo much trouble when we get home.”

        Zorro gave a hearty laugh and replied, “Not if Joe doesn’t find out!” With one fluid motion he placed a detonation pin into the putty and gripped it tightly.

        Dash pumped a hoof into the air and shouted, “That’s what I’m talking about! Now let’s get tha-OH HORSE APPLES!” The pegasus found herself being lifted off the floor by the strong gusts of wind. “HELP!” she cried out as she began flailing with her legs.

        “I got ya!” Megan jumped for the blue pegasus and wrapped her arms around Dash as they both sailed a few feet through the air and tumbled to the ground. Cradling the flustered pony in her arms, Megan made sure they were both on the ground before calling out, “Zorro, Rarity! Blow that booth sky high while I get the DJ to a safe distance!”

        Zorro nodded as he began to carefully trudge through the screaming winds towards the DJ’s booth, Rarity following close next to him. “I really wish this wind would stop! The windswept look is out of style this month!” Rarity cried over the screaming storm.

 The hurricane that was the dance floor suddenly and abruptly stopped as the last arc of magical lightning sank into the dance floor. Vinyl Scratch, who had been clinging to the hand-rails of the DJ booth’s steps for dear life, adjusted her large purple glasses as she gazed around the vacant dance floor. “Do your wishes get answered often?”

The glamorous unicorn smiled at the DJ as she approached her, “If they did, I’d be in my boutique with a handsome red stallion keeping me company.”

Vinyl let go of the hand rail and began let go a chortle, “Sounds better than hanging around here, and if it’s all the same to you peeps, I’m going to bounce out of here before that thing starts shooting lightning everywhere again.”

Megan released her hold on Rainbow Dash and gestured towards the balcony and the small crowd of onlookers, “Could you take them with you?”

The DJ gave a resolute nod and galloped towards the stairs shouting, “Hey all you ponies up there, time to book it!”

Soon, both the DJ and the crowd of ponies had left the building, as the human agents and remaining two ponies gathered around the DJ’s booth. “Is that it then?” asked Zorro as he produced the small cube of C4, “Just a lot of lightning?”

The earth started to shake.

“You just had to say something,” Megan said flatly.

Giving an apologetic grin to the woman and rushed to the the stairs of the DJ’s booth, but tripped as a skeletal hand exploded from the ground and gripped his ankle, sending  the cube of C4 tumbling a short distance away. All over the dance floor, more bony hands burst through the glass floor.

“What the hay is going on?!” shouted Dash as bony claws erupted from the ground near her. Instinctively she flew into the air and over to where Rarity was cowering from the dirty hands that grasped at her.

Megan ran through the field of emerging skeletal hands and arms towards the DJ booth calling, “If I had to guess I would say the artifact animated a helluva lot of skeletons!” Once the woman arrived at the side of the booth, she wrenched one of the over-sized glow sticks that were strapped to its side. “Zorro, you might want to switch from something slashy to something a tad more smashy!” she called as she held the glow stick above her head.

The man kicked the hand that gripped his leg and easily shattered the brittle and aged bone. “Tenía que ser esqueletos!” he shouted as he got to his feet and ran for the cube of C4, “Ladies now would be a good time to get close to us! Things are about to get very interesting around here soon!”

“Interesting?!” screamed Rarity as she charged through the small field of grasping hands, arriving next to Megan with not a single hair out of place. Her expression was a mix of anger and panic as she looked over to Zorro and shouted, “Are you sure you don’t mean horrifying? I know how you humans tend to confuse dying with fun so I just want to make sure!”

Dash landed next to the glamorous unicorn and gave her friend a small pat on the back with her wing, “Come on Rarity, we’re about to fight skeletons in a rave party with glow sticks! How can this not be fun?”

The unicorn harrumphed as she magically tore a glow stick of her own off the booth, “I can think of a dozen ways darling, and half of them involve my mane being ruined.”

More of the skeletal bodies were emerging from the ground as the undead monstrosities pulled themselves out of their long buried graves.

Zorro moved next to Dash with the cube of C4 in one hand and a long glow stick in the other. “Dash,” he said outstretching a hand to the pegasus, “ if you could please place this on the artifact?”

“Right!” replied the pegasus eagerly as she took the small putty cube in her mouth. She lifted off and hovered into the DJ booth where the artifact now lay dormant.

Most of the skeletons had fully emerged from the depths and glared at the only living things in the room with sinister green flames where their eyes should have been. The hoard of  undead completely surrounded the team and now were advancing on them menacingly.

“Oh and one other thing,” called the man to the pegasus, “while you’re up there, could you put on a beat we could dance to?”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she replied, squishing the small cube onto the demonic looking record. Dash looked over the sound board and found the ‘Play’ button. “Aha! Here it is!” she said to herself as she pushed it. The small LED screen sparked to life and displayed, ‘NACP - HydraPulse - 2:56. PLAY >’

Heavy beats accompanied by synthesized tunes began playing in the speakers.The skeletons stopped in their tracks and looked at each other, most of them eventually shrugging and deciding now was as good as any to charge with a bone chilling scream.

*        *        *

        The skeletons’ initial charge broke extremely quickly.

        Megan was the first to answer their charge with one of her own and was able to cleave through six of the undead horrors with one swing of her impromptu club, turning those she struck into dust and bits of ancient bone. Moving quickly, she then gripped one of the bony adversaries by its ribcage and hurled it at a thick portion of the army of the dead and sent them all tumbling to the ground. She spun on her heels and brought her glowing weapon down onto the skull of another enemy, bisecting the skeleton and reducing it to a pile of dust.

        Rarity and Zorro looked on in shock and awe respectively.  “Me encanta esa mujer,” said the man wistfully before a skeletal fist socked him in his jaw.

Zorro recovered quickly and brought his own glowing weapon to the side of the attacking skeleton’s head, shattering the skull completely and dropping the animated corpse instantly. Two more undead charged towards him with raised fists, obviously intent on beating him to death. The man smirked as he jabbed the glow stick into the rightmost skeleton’s ribcage. With some effort, he flung that skeleton into the other and sent them both into a tangled mess of bones and dust.

        

        “HEY!” called Rainbow Dash from the booth, “I set the thing! What do I do now?”

        “Get to the balcony!” Megan called back as she pulled a skull from its owner’s neck, “It’s the minimum safe distance!” Behind the woman, a skeleton had picked up a glow stick of its own and struck Megan in the side of the head.

“Ow,” uttered the woman as the glowing rod bounced off of her head harmlessly. She turned to face the skeletal attacker, who glanced between the angered human and the glow stick it held.

Megan could have sworn that it let out a disappointed sigh as she smashed it to pieces.

        Near the DJ booth, Rarity smacked away a skeleton’s grasping arm before lowering and hovered her glow stick in front of her in a standing position. “I’ll make a path!” she shouted as the stick began to spin, “stay close behind me!” The unicorn charged the throng of undead with an impromptu glowing lawnmower.

The shattered bones and dust of those skeletons that could not get out of the way were sent flying everywhere. After bashing their way through more of the undead, the human agents quickly moved into the wake she left behind, smashing any skeletons that tried to block their path.

Dash had already flown up to the balcony, and was bucking any of the undead that tried to ascend the staircase. Several skeletons on the steps noted the bones of one of their fellow undead tumbling over the side of the balcony, and after a brief glance to one another, nodded their agreement. leaping off the staircase and to the side, two of them meshed their hands together and gestured for the other to go. The third skeleton ran at the other two placing a foot into their hands and was instantly spring boarded up and over the balcony’s rails. The skeletons doing the spring board nodded to each other and began gesturing for other skeletons to be launched.        

        The skeleton that had been vaulted moved quickly towards Rainbow Dash, who was doing all she could to stop the other undead from climbing the steps, and punted her away from the staircase. The pegasus hit the floor with a soft thud, the carpet doing little to soften the impact. Soon the balcony was flooded with the skeletal remains, who all stared at the pegasus like wolves would stare at a wounded lamb.

Dash rose to her feet and flared out her wings, glaring at the fiend that had kicked her. “You did not just punt the Dash!” she bellowed at the crowd of shambling bones, “NOPONY PUNTS THE DASH!” Giving a hearty war cry, the young mare closed her eyes and charged forward into the throng of skeletons.

She was surprised when, instead of running into a mass of bone, she collided with something soft. She opened her eyes to the smiling face of Megan as the woman’s arms wrapped around her and into a soft, warm, hug. “How ya doing sugar cube?”

The pegasus’s wings began to extend involuntarily as her face grew a few shades more red. “You smell like Applejack,” Dash blurted out.

“What?” asked Megan as she reeled her head back, her smile vanishing almost completely.

Dash just stared dumbly into the woman’s blue eyes for a brief moment before her mind caught up with her. She shook her head madly and attempted to change subjects, “I-I mean...uhh...Hey Megan! How’re things, with the skeletons and the surviving?” Looking around, the pegasus saw the remains of her attackers scattered around the floor and gazed at the woman in amazement, “Did you take out all these bone brains?”

With one last an amused look towards the pegasus, Megan stood up and glanced around at the dusty bones that now carpeted the balcony before replying, “Yeah. Turns out being buried for hundreds of years makes these things really fragile. I was a bit worried a first, but these guys are total push overs.”

“Where are Rarity and Zorro?” Dash asked as she surveyed the carnage, “Shouldn’t they be with you?”

The woman responded by pointing over her shoulder, “Oh they’re keeping busy.”

Looking beyond the woman, Dash saw Rarity batting away any skeletons that were attempting to climb the staircase while Zorro destroyed any that were being vaulted over the balcony’s guard rail. Together, they both seemed to have the situation well under control with Rarity showing only small signs of exhaustion.

The man Zorro on the other hand, was not even breaking a sweat as he swatted away arms, skulls, legs, and even entire skeletons as they flew over the balcony. As he decapitated another undead attacker with a wide swing, he called out to the hoard, “Come now amigos, surely you can do better! I am getting bored!”

Megan rolled her eyes, “Zorro, push the button!”

“But Megan, I’ve not even begun to have fun yet!” replied the man with a pout.

“JUST PUSH THE DAMN BUTTON ALREADY!” screamed Rarity, eying the man with a glare that could kill if it wanted to.

Zorro shrunk back and produced the trigger for the explosive from his pocket and pressed it with a satisfying ‘click.’

The resulting boom rang in the ears of everyone who still had ears, and bits of shrapnel and bone flew about the once lively dance floor. A shock wave of green energy erupted from the shattered artifact which washed over the entire club and beyond. As the wave of energy passed over the undead, whatever magic was holding the army of skeletons together left them and they all fell to inanimate pieces.

        

        As the dust settled, the four agents surveyed the damage. Rarity looked at the others and smiled, “Well now that we have gotten that out of the way, and seeing as how we are in Paris, how about a little shopping? Maybe a trip to the local spa? I’m sure there will be one open, even at this hour!”

        Dash immediately responded, “I’m out!” and flew out the front door and into the flashing lights of the police.

        “ATTENTION AMERICANS, DO NOT MOVE! YOU ARE UNDER ARREST UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! COME WITH US QUIETLY TO THE STATION WHERE YOU WILL BE PROCESSED!”

        Megan and Zorro ran out followed closely by Rarity, who squinted into the bright police lights. The woman gave a quick look over the all pony police force and sighed, “Looks like we’ll have to take a rain check on that shopping Rarity. Sorry.”

        The unicorn glared up at the woman, “You can bet you flank on it. As soon as this is cleared up, Zorro is going to take me on a grand tour of Paris.”

        Megan cast an odd look at the swordsman. He shrugged, saying, “You know me Megan, I cannot resist a lady who asks my help in having a, pleasurable time.”

        The woman put her hand to her face and groaned loudly.

The End of Episode 4

Took forever and probably sucks.

This must be what it feels like to work in video games.

Heeeeyooo!

But seriously, I really hope the next one is better

Episode 5 here we come!


Yellowstone the Series

“Minisodes”

A My Little Pony Fanfiction based off a fanfiction of another fanfiction of Blaze’s original Fanfiction: The Conversion Bureau.

What a mouthful.

By Anonsi (Another spin-off riding the coat-tails of Yellowstone? Why not!)

Staying Tuned

        “Busy Bee! You turn off that television and come to dinner!” Morning Dew called from the kitchen.

        The yellow filly didn’t get up, but instead moaned back, “But mom! The news is about to start!” She returned her attention to the screen, brushing her unkempt mane out of her eyes.

        Morning Dew’s sigh was audible, even from the kitchen. “Ten minutes Busy Bee. Then you join the rest of your family at the table!”

        “Okay! Sheesh...”

        Whatever program was on previously ended, and was soon replaced by an official white and black earth pony wearing a red tie sitting at a desk with dramatic music playing in the background. Busy Bee let loose a tiny squee of excitement as she nuzzled the silver disk that hung by a red ribbon around her neck before returning her gaze to the screen.

        “This is Print’ n Press with your West Coast News! Tonight’s top story, Chaos in Newfoalsome!” Busy Bee gasped at the picture that appeared on the screen. It was of some fancy hotel lobby that had been completely wrecked. “This morning, at approximately eleven o’clock, members of the criminal organization known as the HLF, or Human Liberation Front, launched an attack on the home of self made multi-billionaire, John Norris...” They showed a picture of a disheveled and irritable man who had definitely not seen enough sunlight.

She narrowed her eyes, “Oh, ew. He looks gross.”

...and his son, Azure Wind.” A picture of a small, timid looking blue pegasus appeared next to the man’s photo.

A ‘meep’ from behind Busy Bee alerted her to the presence of her younger sister, Merry Gold. Turning to smile at her sister, Busy Bee waved to the small white and gold filly. “Come on Merry!”

Her sister quickly nestled close to her and watched the continuing news, nervously smiling at the photo of the small blue pegasus. “...ut what is most shocking is that the attack was stopped by a man who allegedly works for the the mysterious human organization known only as the ‘Agency,’ and a powerful unicorn that is a member of the ‘Elite Equestrian Guard,’ which has never been reported to even exist until today...

Merry Gold and Busy Bee exchanged excited looks. Merry Gold prodded her sister’s side and asked, “Do you think it’s Miss Twilight and...”

“Shh!”

Unfortunately, as is the case with such incidents, the President of the United States and Celestia herself have forbid revealing any names or pictures of the individuals in order to protect the identities of the heroic pair. However, an eyewitness account adds to the grisly scene as Sweetie Pop, the receptionist during the attack, recounts the events that took place...

The screen cut to a peach colored mare with strawberry mane sitting behind the ruins of what must have been a beautiful desk before it was destroyed. “So first, there was this extremely rude postman that said he had a package for Mr. Norris, and then a guy in one of those leather, Indiana Jones kinda hats and a coat shows up saying he’s Mr. Norris.” Busy Bee’s cheeks began to flush and her heartbeats quickened. “Then a freakin’ van drives through the front window and all these HLF goons jump out and start shooting up the place, and I’m here behind the desk praying to Celestia to not die, and this cowboy guy and unicorn mare he’s with are...like...I dunno,  exchanging playful banter or something, when the cowboy guy throws some dynamite at them!

The mare waved her hooves around as she spoke, acting out the minor actions that were occurring in her story, much to the amusement of the fillies. “And then the HLF are all dead, except for this one guy the unicorn tries to save for some reason.” The mare’s face suddenly looked off into the distance as she recalled what happened next, “And then the spider came. Celestia preserve me. That thing was as big as a horse, like one of them Shire horses you look up on the internet when you...ya’know. Anyway, big spider, cowboy shoots it a lot, unicorn casts some spell that makes her into some big beefy stallion and she stabs the thing with her horn, and then the cowboy throws another stick of dynamite into the spider’s guts and then...BOOOOM!

Busy Bee and Merry Gold cheered in excitement, but quickly silenced themselves as the news reported started to speak again, “Truly fantastic stuff. In a related story, the HLF member that was spared in the attack has revealed the locations of several key stockpiles in the Mid-Western territories. Six-Tribes rangers moved qui-

“What?!” cried the fillies as the TV suddenly went dead. Looking behind them they saw the stern visage of their mother, TV remote under hoof.

“Come on girls, that was your ten minutes. I won’t have you two becoming coach potatoes, because then I’d have ta’ eat ya’.”

Merry Gold gasped as she quickly hopped over to Morning Dew and nuzzled her mother’s legs. “You wouldn’t really eat us if we turned into potatoes would you?” she asked, completely serious.

Morning Dew nuzzled her daughter’s neck and affectionately cooed, “No my little flower, I don’t think I would. Even as potatoes you’d both be too cute to eat. Now hurry along to dinner, your father ain’t the kind to not eat food if no pony’s there to claim it.” Morning Dew and Merry Gold trotted off to the kitchen merrily, giggling about jut how cute Merry Gold would be as a  potato.

Busy Bee lingered behind them for a bit, and once they were out of sight, she looked at the silver medallion that hung from her neck. She lovingly eyed the image of a hawk that was carved into it.

“Anytime now Bee!” called her mother.

She gave the disk a quick kiss and pressed it against her chest, before sighing and joining her family.


Yellowstone the Series

“Minisodes”

A My Little Pony Fanfiction based off a fanfiction of another fanfiction of Blaze’s original Fanfiction: The Conversion Bureau.

We need to go deeper! BWAAAA.

By: Anonsi (Forced Inception reference? Check)

Snake Charmer

        Thunder rumbled across the plains. Storms were becoming more frequent out in the wilds of the mid-west as of late, and Dark Star didn’t like getting caught out in the rain. What really irked him was that because of the storm, there wouldn’t get any help from his pegasus brothers for this little excursion. Except for the only one he knew who did not fear such storms of course. Another rumble of thunder encouraged him to find shelter soon.

        “Damn Black Root for spilling his guts to the feds. He’s a disgrace to his race for making us have to relocate in this mess.” Dark Star turned to the band of earth ponies under his command, regarding them with mild disdain as they pulled carts of supplies across the darkened flat-land. “Move faster brothers! We must find a new place to set up our operations before that storm hits!”

 Being a unicorn in PER came with the advantage of having a higher authority over those unfortunate to not have become a unicorn upon receiving the gift of ponification. Dark Star piously thanked Celetia and Luna for being one of the chosen elite of the race, and not some grunt earth pony or brutish foot soldier pegasus. Movement from above drew Dark Star’s attention skyward. Descending from the storm clouds was probably the only pony from the lesser breeds he respected. A pegasus with a purple coat and a black mane landed in front of him, his menacing red eyes shifted their gaze between the unicorn and small convoy of followers.

“Greetings brother Storm Charger, did you see anything useful during your flight?” inquired Dark Star as he began to walk after his minions.

Storm Charger walked beside him and in a crisp and official tone began, “Not far from here is an old ghost town. Looks like it’s from the eighteen hundreds so electricity is unlikely, though it should keep the supplies safe from the storm.”

Dark Star nodded his approval, “Good work brother. Inform the others of the new course, and see to it that they do not get lost.” As Storm Charger bowed and prepared to take flight, Dark Star added, “And Storm Charger?”

“Yes brother?”

Dark Star placed a hoof on the pegasus’s shoulder, “My condolences about your sister Bitter Frost. Our new order lost a good unicorn that day.”

Storm Charger shot a quick glance down at Dark Star’s hoof before returning his gaze to the unicorn, “We lost some good pegasi too, brother Dark Star.”

 “If all pegasi were like you Storm Charger, then that might actually mean something,” replied Dark Star as he removed his hoof from Storm Charger’s shoulder. The pegasus flew off to the head of the line without hesitation as Dark Star resumed overseeing the progress of the earth ponies and sighed. If he had been commanding the squad that went after Norris, then he and PER would be a great deal richer, instead of making their way to some shoddy ghost town.

The unicorn continued to walk along the length of his meager squad until he saw a sign post. The crude writing on the aged piece of wood read, “Sweet Water. 1 mile.”

*        *        *

        The town was indeed deserted as Storm Charger had said, but Dark Star quickly found evidence that proved that it had not been so recently. There were bones lining the main street, all the way to the large building at the end which could only be the mayor’s office. There were signs of battle in the saloon as well, and the back wall to the jail house was completely gone. Dark Star assumed the humans that died here were drastically out gunned judging by the small crater he found in the middle of the street. That being said, the town was far enough from any major roads and inhabited towns that they could operate undetected.

        Dark Star had ordered his team to set up in the mayor’s building and told Storm Charger to scour the ruins for anything useful. He was in the middle of congratulating himself on finding this new hideout when he was rudely interrupted by a loud boom of thunder. The sky had grown darker but still refused to rain, a fact Dark Star gave some thanks. He hated mud.

        “Sir!” called Storm Charger from the door of an old church, “We have a problem.”

        Dark Star didn’t like problems, especially problems that were the result of the incompetence of his subordinates. “What is it brother? Found a snake’s nest?” mocked Dark Star.

        Storm Charger scowled at the unicorn and continued, “I do not believe this town is as abandoned as we thought.” He stepped to the side and gestured for Dark Star to look for himself.

        The unicorn casually trotted up to the doorway inside, and his eyes suddenly went wide in shock. The floor was littered with bones. Simply covered with the bleached remains of humans, ponies, and an unknowable amount of animals. The meat was picked clean from every inch of every bone, and slithering amongst the remains were dozens of snakes, each one bearing a rattle at the end of its tail.

        Dark Star and Storm Charger stepped away from the darkened church as the pegasus continued,  “It’s more than a snake pit sir. Snakes don’t hoard bodies like this. This is a lair of something far worse than a couple rattlers. I suggest we leave now before whatever lives here returns.”

        Dark Star weighed his options and thought of something he considered quite brilliant. “Storm Charger, my brother, this is an excellent opportunity! If those fools at the HLF were able to get their incompetent hands on a giant spider, then we should be able to ensnare whatever lurks here! We can use this obviously deadly monster in our efforts to purge the unenlightened!”

        Storm Charger glanced between Dark Star and the church. “What are we going to use for bait?”

        Dark Star grinned, “What else?”

*        *        *

        Dark Star was surprised at how short he had to wait before his new weapon showed itself. The earth pony grunt he had stationed outside the church was soon replaced with a large red stain and a bloody trail leading into the building. The unicorn was impressed to say the least. None of his other subordinates had heard or seen anything, not even Storm Charger, who swore he only looked away for a few seconds. All of that was irrelevant of course, as Dark Star now had the whatever it was right where he wanted it.

        There was only one problem of course: Not dying.

        Dark Star summoned a small globe of light and sent it hovering into the dark expanse of the desecrated church. Its light barely illuminated anything, but was enough to scatter the snakes. “You four,” he commanded to four earth ponies, “Get in there and try not to get bit by anything.”

        His four minions did as they told and entered the poorly illuminated aisle, one of them tripping over the ribcage of something large enough to be a buffalo. Storm Charger moved in after them eyeing the second floor of the building incredulously. There were a lot of nooks and crannies in this place where someone could hide, and the shadowy atmosphere wasn’t helping matters. Dark Star entered next and was flanked by two more earth ponies, who looked absolutely terrified to be here. Dark Star simply looked confused. The blood trail ended a few feet after the doorway, and something large enough to drag the body of an earth pony couldn’t just disappear without a trace.

        “Fan out brothers!” called the unicorn, “Find our new weapon and restrain it!” Something did not sit right with Dark Star about this. Aside from the assorted hissing coming from the snakes, it was too quiet. As if to answer him, there was a boom of thunder from outside that startled the two ponies to his sides. He rolled his eyes, “You morons. It’s a wonder you even know how to walk you-”

        He was interrupted as the double doors slammed shut and reduced the light within the church to the measly sphere he had conjured. As if on cue, all the serpents that were slithering around began to shake their rattles in tandem. Dark Star and his ponies gathered around the center of the room where his light hovered weakly.

        “This ain’t natural!” said one of the earth ponies, “L-let’s get outta here!”

        “You shall stay your ground coward!” barked Dark Star, “We are not leaving until we have tamed this creature for the glory of our brotherhood!”

        The rattling continued to intensify.

        “Sir,” whispered Storm Charger, “Perhaps we should wait for a more opportune time?”

        Dark Star glared at the pegasus, “There is no more opportune time than this!”

        The snakes stopped rattling suddenly, and were replaced with what sounded like footsteps that were accompanied by a small ‘tink’ sound. Whatever it was, it was walking towards them.

        Dark Star stepped forward and bellowed at the shadows, “Hear me creature! I am Dark Star, a member of PER! You shall serve us in order to wipe out humanity from the face of this world!”

        The footsteps stopped. With only a faint grunt, the missing earth pony’s corpse flew out from the dark and collided with Dark Star. The unicorn buckled under the weight of the body and fell to the ground, suddenly finding himself surrounded by bones and snakes. A sinister voice echoed out from the inky blackness, “I don’t care much for you freaks.”

        Dark Star clambered up and out of the bones screaming, “SUBDUE HIM! GET HIM!” The earth ponies charged over the piles of bones and snakes at the source of the voice. Storm Charger lifted off and flew to the upper floor of the church.

        A single rattling sound came from the darkness as the ponies charged in. All six of them began screaming as they confronted whoever was in the shadows, only to be suddenly silenced soon after. The rattling continued.

        Dark Star’s horn glowed bright red as he launched a bright sphere of energy down the aisle. The sudden illumination forced him to close his eyes, but he didn’t need to see for this spell. The sphere hit the doors to the church and exploded with enough force to shake the foundations of the building. The rattling had stopped.

        The unicorn looked up and marveled at the results of his spell. The entire front wall was now a big smoldering hole, allowing dim light to flood into the aged building. “How unfortunate, he mused, “I seem to have accidentally incinerated him. Such a pity.”

        The unicorn heard rattling behind him, and upon turning around was only able to see the glimmer of a large blade coming at him before his world went black.

*        *        *

        In the dim light, the pegasus could only see the man wore a poncho with a snake motif, a wide brim hat that obscured his face in shadows, and wielded a curved sword and large knife in his hands. “Impressive,” said Storm Charger from above the grisly scene. “I don’t think I’ve seen a human as deadly as you before.”

        The human looked up at the pegasus and scowled, the many snakes of the room began rattling their tails as he did so.

        “No need for hostilities,” said Storm Charger in an authoritative tone, “I have no wish to fight you myself, and I can see your skills are more than a match for anypony.” Storm Charger began to walk along the balcony, “I have a job opportunity for you. An assassination. It pays well and you can get out of this charming little...” the pegasus looked for the right word, “...shithole.”

        The snakes stopped their rattling.

        Storm Charger smiled, “I’m glad you’re interested.” The pegasus flew down into the aisle of bones and bodies and looked up at the human, “My name is Storm Charger. Serve me faithfully, and I shall do what I can to get you whatever you desire.”

        After a moment of complete silence, the man sheathed his blades and loomed over the pegasus. “I am Diamondback, and all I want is revenge.”


Yellowstone the Series

“Minisodes”

A My Little Pony Fanfiction based off a fanfiction of another fanfiction of Blaze’s original Fanfiction: The Conversion Bureau.

So many Fanfics

By Anonsi (Should be dead, but strangely is not)

Last Bell

        The school bell clanged loudly as it sounded the beginning of class. Today more than any other, young Julie did not want to go to school. Tomorrow was the day when the places where people became ponies opened. Her parents were both so happy when the announcement was made.

But Julie was not. She was trying to be happy like they were, but she just couldn’t bring herself to share in their excitement. The more her parents talked about the Conversion Bureaus, the more the young girl avoided them and buried herself into her diary. To the young girl, it was like they weren’t even her parents anymore. Before the announcement, Julie and her mother and her father would stay up late and watch old movies, or read stories to each other, or just talk about anything and everything that came to mind. But now all they did was watch the news about ponies, or read the articles in the paper about ponies, and talk about nothing except ponies.

        Julie adjusted her favorite, and only, bonnet and entered the school. Her classroom was on the first left after the entrance and in addition to being marked with, “Ms. Megan’s Class,” it also was plastered with the various pieces of arts and crafts she and her friends had done over the years. The girl sighed, the thought that this might be the last time she ever read the familiar words weighed on her like a ton of bricks. Taking a deep breath, Julie opened the door.

        The woman that looked up from her desk as the door opened and beamed a loving smile at Julie was probably the nicest person the young girl had ever met. Ms. Megan wore her golden hair in a pony tail tied up with a big red bow like she always did, and had on a gorgeous white and yellow sundress. “Good morning Julie,” she said cheerfully, “Come in and take your seat, we’re about to begin.”

        Julie forced a smile as she nodded and took her seat next to her very best friend Tiffany. “Hey Tiff,” she said quietly and lacking any emotion.

        Her friend responded in the same chipper tone she always did, “Mornin’ Julie!”

        Ms. Megan got up from her desk and began writing the day’s lesson on the blackboard in her beautiful handwriting. “Alright my dear students, today’s lesson is going to be about a topic that I’m sure many of your parents are talking about.” She finished writing and stepped to the side, allowing the students to read the word “Ponification.”

        Julie grumbled under her breath at the all too familiar word.

        Ms. Megan sat on the front of her desk and asked the class, “Okay kids, as most of you probably know, tomorrow the ponies will open Conversion Bureaus all along the East Coast. According to the news these Bureaus will be turning humans, like you and me, into ponies. So I thought it would be a good thing to ask all of you what you think about it.” Fourteen out of her fifteen students raised their hands immediately, some of them stretching their arms as far as they could go in the hope of being picked first. After scanning the crowd, Ms. Megan pointed at a boy in the seat next to Julie, “Jason, how about you start us off.”

        The boy Jason stood up and excitedly said, “I want to be a pegasus so I can fly, and not get sick or anything!” He sat back down as the rest of the class gave an assortment of giggles at his enthusiasm.

        “Well I guess that means you are in favor of ponification then Jason,” said Ms. Megan chuckling. “All right, who wants to talk next?”

        Julie kept her hand down again as the others raised theirs, and instead buried her head in her arms. Her mind began to drift off as her friends answered her teacher one after the other. She thought of the day her parents and her had a picnic under a big tree on top of a hill. She remembered the picture of that day that hung on the wall, and how she was the only one who still looked at it.

        “Julie?” asked Ms. Megan.

        The young girl raised her head quickly and sat at attention, “Yes Miss Megan?” It was somewhat difficult to ignore the slew of laughter from the other children, but Julie managed to not blush from embarrassment.

        Her teacher gave her a warm smile and said, “It’s your turn to tell us what you think of the ponies and these Conversion Bureaus.”

        Julie failed to hide her displeasure, “Can I do math problems instead?”

        The other students and Ms. Megan all laughed, but the teacher didn’t relent, “Sorry sugar cube, but I’m afraid not.”

        Sighing, Julie stood up and looked around the class, “My mom and dad are really excited about it, and they really really want to do it.” She sat back down and waited patiently for the topic to change.

        Ms. Megan cocked an eyebrow however, “Okay Julie, but what do you think about it?”

        Julie looked around the classroom, at all the eager and confused faces of her classmates. A sudden fear gripped her throat and she could only say a few small words, “I...I don’t know.”

        Ms. Megan’s eyes told the young girl that her teacher wasn’t going to let her off that easy. Before the woman could speak, the bell for recess rang and all the other kids practically galloped out the door. Only Julie and Ms. Megan stayed behind. Her teacher walked over to Julie and put a comforting hand on the young girl’s shoulder as she knelt down and looked into her eyes. “Is there something wrong Julie-bean?”

        The girl gave her teacher a forlorn look and asked, “Can I ask you a question?”

        “Anything,” she replied.

        “Do you like the ponies?”

        Ms. Megan thought for a moment before responding, “I can’t really decide that until I meet one in person, but from what I’ve seen of them on the TV, I would say that they’re decent enough folk.”

        Julie took off her bonnet and began wringing it in her hands, “Would you like me if I was a pony?”

        Her teacher did not hesitate to respond, “Of course I would. As long as you act like the smart little girl I’ve had the joy of teaching for three wonderful years, then I will always love you no matter what.”

        “Really? You wouldn’t think I’m weird?”

        “As long as you’re happy with who you are, I’ll be happy.”

        Smiling in earnest for the first time today, Julie leaned her head against Ms. Megan’s chest and let her teacher wrap her up in a big warm hug.

*        *        *

        “...and that concludes today’s lesson class.” Ms. Megan sat on the front of her desk as the kids began to pack up their belongings, eagerly chatting amongst themselves. After they packed up, she clapped her hands to get their attention for some final announcements, “Now, it’s Mark’s birthday tomorrow so that means no homework...” The class gave a short cheer before letting Ms. Megan continue, “...and what else?”

        All as one they shouted, “A PARTY!” There was a great deal of cheering as the children got up from their seats and ran out the door. Once again Julie was the last one to get up, but unlike before, she was giving the sweetest smile she could. Walking towards the door, the young girl adjusted her backpack and bonnet before saying, “Goodbye Ms. Megan!”

        “Before you go Julie-bean, there’s something I want to give you,” said the woman as she dug through her desk. Finding a small note card, she scribbled something down and handed it to the young girl.

        “What’s this?” asked Julie.

        “It’s my cellphone number. If you ever need to talk or need help with anything at all, just call and I’ll be there for you.”

        Julie looked at the note card like it was made of gold and then back to her teacher with an expression of pure joy, “Thank you Ms. Megan!” Julie gave her teacher a quick hug before turning and leaving. “I’ll see you tomorrow!”

        Ms. Megan grinned from ear to ear as she watched the girl skip down the hallway, and by the time the bell that tolled the end of school rang, she had already decided what she would bake for tomorrow’s party.

*        *        *

        The scent of homemade chocolate chip cookies filled Megan’s nostrils, the woman allowing herself a content sigh as she rolled her car up into the school’s parking lot. As soon as she did, she saw that there was something terribly wrong. The lot was vacant. Completely and utterly empty of every car but her own. As she stepped out of her car and saw that the front door to the school was hanging wide open, a deep pit grew in her stomach. There was no noise other than her footsteps on the gravel as she approached the school’s entrance.

        She walked through the open doors and towards her classroom. The once loud and rambunctious classrooms were eerily silent. As she arrived at her door, she found that it was ajar. She quickly opened it for any sign of anyone, but was only rewarded by an empty classroom. The sight made the pit in her gut grow even deeper.

        

Megan sat down at her desk and placed the plate of cookies on her desk. She eyed the clock above the door, and read aloud, “7:45.” It was early in the morning, but someone should have been here.

Her thoughts immediately turned to her students. She took out her cellphone and opened it up. No missed calls, no voice mails, not even a text message. She began calling the homes of every one of her students, only to get the answering machine each time.

Sorry, we’re not here right now. Leave a message after the beep and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

If you called and no one picked up, it’s because we’ve left to get ponified!

This is the Monroe residence, please leave a message after th-BEEP!”

No one is here right now, please leave your name and number and we’ll call you.

        

        “If you’ve called for Mark, Janet, or Julie Edens, then I’m sorry but we’ve left town permanently. Have a nice day!

        Tears rolled down Megan’s cheeks as the reality of what was happening set in. The children, her children, were gone. She placed the phone on the desk and stared at it, hoping to God that it would ring just once. As she waited for the call that would never come, she rested her head in her arms and began to sob. They were all gone, and they weren’t coming back.

        They had abandoned her.


Yellowstone the Series

“Minisodes”

A My Little Pony Fanfiction based off a fanfiction of another fanfiction of Blaze’s original Fanfiction: The Conversion Bureau.

So much pony

By Anonsi (But is it enough?)

From the Other Side

        “All right class, it’s Wednesday!” Cheerilee called cheerfully. Her class’s only response was a communal groan that lingered for a good few seconds. “Oh come on my little ponies, Human Studies isn’t that bad,” the teacher continued undeterred, “our new neighbors are really fascinating creatures! I’m looking forward to hearing all of your reports on them. Maybe by reading them, we can find out what makes them special! Who wants to go first?”

        Despite her efforts to motivate the students by being as positive as she could be, Cheerilee was hard pressed to find an excited face amongst them. ‘Okay then,’ she thought to her self, ‘looks like I’m going to have to use drastic measures!’ Steeling herself, the mare trotted to her desk and retrieved a bag of sweets she had ordered from Sugar Cube Corner and placed it on top of her desk. The attention of all of her students suddenly focused on the sweets, and the teacher found that she now had the undivided attention of the entire class. ‘Works every time,’ she mused as she once again stood front and center.

        “Alright class! Because it seems that you are all lack the initiative to give your presentations on your own, whoever presents gets a cupcake!” Every hoof in the house shot up into the air, some of the students were barely keeping themselves contained in their chairs. Quietly giggling to herself, Cheerilee decided to pick one of the young colts that sat in the front row, “Archer, how about we start with you!”

        The blue colt with a bow and arrow as his cutie mark stood, looking around the class room nervously before beginning. “Humans and Equestrians, a report by Archer. Humans live in a very dangerous place outside the barrier. Princess Celestia and Luna were sad that they were living like they were, so they made a potion to turn them into ponies like us. A lot of humans have turned into ponies and they are happier. What I like about humans is that they have things that let them fly.”

        After the colt sat down, Cheerilee placed a cupcake on his desk saying, “Well said Archer, now let’s hear what Twist has to say next.”

        The young filly with a tan coat and curly red mane stood up and cleared her throat. Straightening her glasses, she began, “Humanths and Equethstrianths, a report by Twithst. Humanths live outhside the barrier that surroundths Equethstria. They don’t have magic or wingths to fly, so they have to uthse roboths and other stuff to help them live. What I like about them iths that they althso have candy!” The filly gave her teacher a bright smile as she finished her report.

        “Very good Twist! That was an excellent report!” Cheerilee told the young pony while she presented her with a cupcake. “Now who to pick next?” She scanned the second row for somepony who looked as though they weren’t paying as much attention, or looked as if they didn’t seem involved enough. Within moments she spotted the usual suspect for such behavior, “Ah, Diamond Tiara, how about you present next? You usually have very...interesting...view on things to say the least.”

The pink filly stood up quickly and began to speak in a pompous tone, “Humans and Equestrians, a report by the fabulous Diamond Tiara. Humans are smelly and gross, and kill each other all the time. They’re dumb and don’t know how to do anything that even foals know how to do, and some of them won’t get ponified because they are stupid. The only thing I like about humans is that they can’t get into Equestria.” Putting her report on her desk the young filly sat back down and stated, “I’d like my cupcake now.”

        Cheerilee eyed the young pony slightly disgusted. “Diamond Tiara, I think you and me need to have a little talk after class about cultural sensitivity.”

        The filly cocked an eyebrow, “Does that mean I don’t get a cupcake?”

        Cheerilee rolled her eyes and put the tasty treat on the pink filly’s desk. “Now who would like to go next...” Given the last report, the teacher wanted to hear something a bit more well intentioned. “Apple Bloom! How about you go?”

        Apple Bloom nearly jumped out of her chair and hastily cleared her throat. “Humans an’ Equestrians, by Apple Bloom! Mah sister Applejack has been livin’ in human lands for awhile now workin’ in a Conversion Bureau with her friends! She’s been sendin’ me letters an’ postcards an’ tellin’ me what she’s been up to! Recently, mah sis says she’s made a new friend who’s a human named Megan!”

        “Only your sister could find a way to get even lamer,” quipped Diamond Tiara.

        Apple Bloom glared at the pink filly and growled, “What’d you say ‘bout mah sister you no good-”

        “Apple Bloom!” interrupted Cheerilee, her face had changed from her usual smile to one that was quite serious, “We’ll have no fighting in this classroom.”

        “But Tiara-”

        “I’ll be speaking with her after class, and if she interrupts again, I’ll also be having a talk with her parents.” Diamond Tiara suddenly gulped and shrunk into her desk. Satisfied, Cheerilee gestured towards Apple Bloom, “Now, if you’d continue please?”

        Clearing her throat again, the young filly continued, “Mah sis says that Megan an’ her have a lot in common! They are both tough, they both like apples, and Applejack says that she wears a bow in her mane like ah do! Applejack says that Megan fights monsters with the help of all her friends an’ a bunch o’ other humans who are all really strong like her! Why, in the last letter mah sis sent, she said that she an’ Megan had jus’ finished beatin’ up a big lizard thingy! Mah favorite thing ‘bout humans is that they’re keepin’ mah sister safe until she can come back home!”

        Cheerilee gave her a bright smile as the filly finished her report, “That was a wonderful presentation Apple Bloom! Your sister’s friend sounds very interesting!”

        “Uh-huh! Ah bet you’d like her too Ms. Cheerilee!”

        “Oh? And why is that dear?”

        “Applejack says that Megan used to be a teacher like you, but fer some reason she ain’t anymore.”

        The teacher smiled even wider at the news, “My goodness! This friend of yours is definitely growing on me!” Placing a cupcake on Apple Bloom’s desk with a bright smile thrown in for free, Cheerilee continued to pick out fillies and colts in the class until everyone of her students had been called.

*        *        *

        The enchanted bell of the school sounded the end of the day’s lesson, prompting Cheerilee into another cheerful smile, “That concludes today’s lesson class! Read up on your math problems for tomorrow!” As the students rose from their chairs, Cheerilee made sure to add, “Except you Diamond Tiara! We still need to talk.”

        The pink pony sat back down in her chair with a harrumph and rested her cheek on a hoof. Her disposition didn’t improve when Apple Bloom stuck out her tongue towards her as she left. Returning the gesture in kind, Diamond Tiara sat at her desk in exaggerated agony ad boredom.

        The other students galloped out of the building like it was on fire, leaving Cheerilee alone in the schoolhouse with the troublesome young filly. “Now Diamond Tiara,” began the teacher, “Your report today was very mean spirited, and I’m sure you don’t actually believe any of what you said. But do you want to tell me why you would say such awful things?”

        Tiara just looked out the window with a bored expression and replied, “I dunno.”

        Cheerilee knitted her brow. ‘I dunno,’ was her least favorite response to any question. “Tiara, I will not take that as an answer. Now tell me why you would write such horrible things about a people you obviously know nothing about!”

        The filly rolled her eyes, “Ugh, what’s there to know? They’re, like, a bunch of savages that go around killing each other!”

        At this, Cheerilee very nearly lost her temper. Fortunately she had been teaching for a while, and was used to keeping her cool when dealing with troubled students. “Well if you insist on this line of thought without ever meeting a human, then maybe a talk with your mother and father will sort you out.”

The small filly looked at the teacher with sudden fear with the thought of her parents getting involved, and her eyes quickly began to water and form big wet tears. “No please! Don’t tell my parents! I’m sorry I was so mean, I was just going off rumors and stuff!”

The teacher regarded Diamond Tiara with a stern look, “Rumors? From who?”

“Uhh...” The filly’s mind raced as she tried to find a name she could incriminate, “...Scootaloo! That’s it! Scootaloo told me all sorts of nasty rumors about humans! She said that they just fly around in those big flying things of theirs and blow stuff up!”

“Apple Bloom’s friend Scootaloo?”

“Yeah! I’m telling the truth! Honest!”

Cheerilee didn’t believe a word Tiara was saying, but she was sure that the filly was indeed sorry. “Alright, I won’t call you’re parents, but I don’t want to here anymore bogus reports from you. I’m afraid I’ll have to give you an X on this assignment. Don’t make me give you another one.”

“Sure thing Ms. Cheerilee! Can I, like, go now?”

“Yes, and you had better behave next time I see you.”

“I will, I promise!” shouted the filly as she bolted from her chair. Within moments she was already out of sight of the school and well beyond Cheerilee’s earshot.

The teacher simply shook her head and proceeded to pack up her things while mumbling to herself, “What am I going to do with that one?”

“Excuse me!” came a colt’s voice from behind her, “Is this the school?”

Spinning around quickly, the teacher saw two ponies she had not ever met before in Ponyville. One was a blue unicorn colt with a navy blue mane, and a orange mare with a bright yellow mane. The two mysterious ponies just stared at her with looks of joyous anticipation, like they were waiting to be told they had just won something.

“Yes it is...who are you?” Cheerilee asked as she walked over to them.

        The colt was the first to reply, “Oh my goodness, you must excuse me! We’re Mark, and Janet Edens!”

        “Hello!” said Janet waving a hoof.

        Cheerilee looked over the pair of odd ponies for a moment until her mind clicked, “You’re new-foals?”

        “Yep!” said Mark, “It took us three and a half years, but me and my wife have finally saved up the bits to move to Equestria, and so far we couldn’t be happier!”

        Janet leaned against her husband and added, “All we need now are good pony names!”

        The two of them had a brief fit of laughter before Mark continued, “Anyway, me and the Mrs. were just thinking about enrolling a kid...I mean...foal of our own here.”

        At the news of a potential student with some insight into being human, Cheerilee became visibly more interested in the conversation. “A new foal? Well let me see if I have room in one of my morning classes, maybe I could squeeze them in...” She removed a day planner from her saddle bag and placed it on a nearby desk to scan its contents, “Aha! Here’s a spot. I can have him start Monday if that’s alright. What’s the name of the little darling?”

        “Oh we don’t have one yet, but we are working on it!” responded Mark with a grin.

        Cheerilee raised a brow and asked, “Then...you don’t have a foal to enroll here?”

        “Not yet!” they replied in unison, “Just checking out the scenery!” They burst into a bout of friendly laughter that rang loudly in the schoolteacher’s ears.

        Shaking the ringing out of her ears, Cheerilee packed up her planner and moved to the door. “Well when you do have a new foal for me to enroll, let me know. Oh, and don’t be strangers around town!”

        “Oh we will!” said Mark.

        “And we won’t!” added Janet.

        With a final bout of laughter, the two ponies waved their goodbyes and departed. Cheerilee stood in the school’s doorway feeling exhausted and slightly confused. “They seem nice enough,” she concluded, “maybe they’d be willing to help out in my next Human Studies lecture?” Resolving to find them again and ask them at some point, she smiled to herself and began her hike home. Having a real human perspective on things could be very educational.


What was down the road...?

Conversion Bureau:

A Mare’s Tail

By HiddenBrony

Original Concept by Blaze

Violet exhaled long and slow, feeling her nerves melt away. She liked Rose well enough, and almost felt sad that she was stuck back there, holding onto the last vestiges of man. Chuckling despite herself, the human drummed the steering wheel a bit as she reflected that not more than a day had passed since she, too, was the same way.

Or rather, maybe not. Her eyes focused ahead. She never really cared about it much when it started. A movement, that’s all she took it for. Meant different faces in the crowds. She smiled as she remembered them. The crowds. All the people, shining eyes bright upon the world’s stage, buying into the stories, the theater. Violet shook her head. It had been over a year since then. A year... How had it felt so long? Sniffing the night breeze, a loud clang caught her attention as she turned her head. There, in front of her, was a rather wild eyed pony struggling against his bonds. But it wasn’t him what caught her attention. It was a metal monstrosity of a semi-truck that was on a collision course with her that did.

“The shit...?” Without a second thought her foot slammed down on the gas, lurching the car forward as the engine roared in a ferocious din. Catching a glance in her mirrors, the truck behind her was still catching up quickly, it having the time it needed to build up the speed available to it. The sound of metal on metal rang as the semi clashed against the back of the truck, lifting up the back tires. The truck dangerously swerved at the loss of weight and wheel. In the window she saw a darkened face, one of anger and what seemed to be... “Dickhead!” Violet screamed, slamming her palm into the 4x4 button. The back wheels roared to life as they spun mercilessly in the air, the semi’s attempt to spin the truck sideways thwarted by the wheels as they touched concrete. Spinning the wheel in a frenzy, the girl attempted with all her might to keep focused. Her instructor’s words a faint echo in her mind, their words indecipherable about how to keep traction.

-----

Rusty spun himself slightly, his neck and face finding different points in the truck for leverage. He took note that he never thought himself capable of such a position, using his chin to push himself every which way. As he spun, he looked at the groaning face of Twinkle, the poor unicorn mare that was so unaware of the present dangers. The red colt’s eyes narrowed. She only wanted to help. She was an Equestrian pony; she never deserved something like this happen and have no say in the matter.

He missed the irony of the situation when he deemed the idea inhuman. Struggling against his bonds, his sprained limb searing with pain, hot tears of pain beading on his eyes. Rusty felt something snap, at first believing it to be his own leg, but on further inspection he found that the twine used to tie himself up had become caught on a screw that had not been completely drilled in. Against his movement, coupled with the giant swerves and strain the semi was jostling in to the mix, the head of the screw had helped shear the twine clean in two, and the colt found his good forehoof freed. Quickly sliding the twine off his muzzle, the freed space of the twine started to come apart at the seams, much to his pleasure.

        A crack against the frame of the truck robbed that pleasure from him as he slammed against the bed of the car, his body cushioning Twinkle as she collided with him. Groaning slightly, he didn’t let the idea of being skewered by her horn last in his mind lest he be so unlucky if he was to be rammed against again. “Violet!” He yelled, looking forward at the driver. The human seemed busy with keeping the truck safe, the front wheels alone not enough to speed the truck away from the male driver of the semi. Turning around, the wind whipped his hair around merciless, the tiny strands like miniature whips along the sides of his face. Richard looked down at him, a sick look on his face. Looking about the cabin, Rusty saw the girl too, Rose, arguing and yelling at her brother for Celestia knows what reason. He hoped it had something to do with his current active attempt at triple homicide.

        Spinning about, the Earth Pony rushed forward, taking great care not to use his hurt hoof. He failed spectacularly, falling three times with the swaying of the truck in the two feet he had to cover. Sticking his head through the window Twinkle had been dislodged from, he took stock of the situation in the cabin. “Violet! You’re doing fine!”

        “The hell you get free back there?!” She screamed, a look of fear and desperation plastered on the girl’s face.

        “Priorities, girl!” Rusty shouted over the din of both engines, the truck swerving dangerously to the side. Violet spun the wheel accordingly, the back wheels barely touching the ground and fighting against the semi’s powerful force. “We’ve got to go faster!”

        “You bloody well think?!” Violet’s foot pressed harder on the petal already stuck on the floor, the wheels dangerously swerving out in front. “The road’s getting bad, Rusty! It’s not safe for even us to be on it much anymore, not to mention fucktard Magee over there in a fucking Semi! I can’t get loose!” Slamming her fist into the wheel, a short, ill-tempered horn blasted from the truck’s hood.

        Rusty looked back. The arguing in the cabin of the semi seemed to be getting more intense by the second, as Rose was visibly grabbing Richard’s arm now. Something was wrong in more ways than one. Realizing that dwelling on it did him nothing, he looked at the grill of the semi. A good buck... “Try and keep her even!”

        “What?!”

        “Keep her even! I’m gonna try to buck the semi and free us!” Rusty cried, the truck swerving despite his instruction otherwise. “Shoot! Violet, please!”

        “It’s not fucking me! I barely know how to drive, let alone with two wheels and a semi actively trying to kill us.” She was crying now, her tears were streaming down her face, the fear so plainly on her face. “I can’t do this! I can’t!”

        “What do you mean? You’re doing a great job! Just keep it up, 20 more seconds!” Rusty shouted, shooting a hoof forward as he attempted to calm her. “I’ll give that Dick a good buck and we’ll free ourselves, then it’s clear sailing. No way he can keep up with us!”

        There was no chance of it. A pony might be strong, but to dislodge a semi from hooking metal on metal on a truck? Violet thought he was crazy. But she nodded her head, obeying the pony. Rusty breathed deeply. He just wanted to help someone. He was a good pe- pony. “Just be careful!” The words hit his ears only slightly, but the colt gave a smirk and a nod. Violet was being strong, so what did he care if his leg hurt like nothing else? You didn’t buck with your forehooves.

        -----

        “The fuck you doin’!?” Rose shouted, giving her brother a look. Turning around, Richard pointed at the hastily disappearing truck. They had just let Violet go, and Rose had mentioned that Violet wanted them to take care of the Tower if she didn’t come back.

        “The fuck yoo ‘dink? She played us, Rose. Bitch runnin’ off to be a horse!” Ripping open the door, the older sibling jumped in. A quick run around the semi and he found himself with a copilot as the large truck roared to life, the driver taking it forward as he played with the gears. “Eighteen fookin’ gears, da fuck dey thinkin’.” He groaned as the truck began to move forward. “I ain’t lettin’ her git ‘way. No sir.”

        “You don’t know that, bro!” Rose muttered, shaking her head. Violet had seemed a bit.. off toward the end. Not so cold hearted as she initially seemed. Rose had written it off as how she dealt with strangers, but people... people were a limited resource nowadays. “She could be just... seein’ what there is ta see.”

        “I dun’t buy it, nought fer a sec’nd.” The properly named dick slammed on the gas as the machine lurched forward. Rose was adequately surprised the machine didn’t shut off immediately from the misuse of the gearbox, but they picked up speed quickly, the speck the truck had been quickly growing larger. “Ah’ll git ‘er now.”

        Rose shook her head. “Careful now, Rich.” She muttered.

        “Oh, iz Rich now iz ‘et?” He scoffed, dismissing her wiles.

        

        “Really bro, careful! The road ain’t what it used ta be.”

        “Dun’t tink I dun’t know dat? I fuckin’ set them charges. Keepin’ folks from leavin’. Shoulda been defennen’ our city.” He seethed, his eyes darkening.

        Rose looked visibly upset, slamming a hard fist into her brother’s shoulder. “Don’t lie about that, Richard! Mum an’ Dad we’re-” A hard slap along the side of her face was more than unexpected, the girl reeling back as she held her hand on her face.

        “Dhey were weak, Rose. Dey ran from ‘et. Ran from us.” Slamming his fist on the register, Richard’s eyes were furrowed, dark, and uncompromising, the lightest tears betraying his face. “Dhey shouldn’t ah... shouldn’t ah ran.”

        “Fucker!” Rose screamed, but found herself again smacked away, this time a closed fist alongside her eye. Her head slammed against the closed window, her vision blurred and fogged. “Ya killed...”

        “Ah did what it took. Strong’st survive. You ‘n me, sis, we’re strong.” He breathed, his voice level. “Fred was too. Made sure none of his residents left ta become ponies. Damn sure. Fuckin’ Violet woulda known. Woulda said. Fuck her.” The truck was between the headlights now. Rose tried to keep her mind conscious. The roar of the semi, the breathing, the heavy breathing of her brother, anything to keep her in the game. “Fuck her.” He was repeating himself now. “Shoulda jus’ shot ‘em. Fuckin’ ponies. Fuckin’ Violet.”

        “Richard... God... why would you...?” Rose muttered weakly. There was a jolt, a crash. She didn’t know what, but she didn’t like it. A victorious smirk developed upon her brother’s face. It wasn’t good. “What’re you...?”

        “Bitch knows how ta drive.” He snarled. Rose never heard him snarl like that before. It seemed... animistic. As if he was on a hunt. “Can’t git’ ‘er sideways. Fuck, I’da liked dat truck.” He chuckled. Rose didn’t like that either. Running her hand off the side of her head, she soon found specks of glass in her hair. Looking alongside her, the passenger window was awash with cracks, impacted in a delicate spiderweb from where her head collided. Red specks ran through them, digging deep into the spaces between the breaks.

        “Bleedin’...” Rose muttered. No wonder it was so hard to keep focused. Screaming. Something was screaming. Looking forward, she saw the red pony muscling around on the truck bed before her. They had crashed into the truck. He was trying to run her over, or off the road. There was something she was saying before. “The bombs...”

        “Charges, sis.” Richard corrected, yanking the wheel again, watching the red pony collide with the side of the truck before being sandwiched by the unicorn. “Know da damn dif’rence.”

        “Road.” She mused, holding the back of her head. It was warm and sticky. Cuts from the class filled her hair and she could barely see out her left eye, it all hurt. She didn’t notice how much it hurt a moment ago. Probably a good sign. “The road, Rich.”

        “Fuck da road, it cin handl‘et!” He screamed. Or it sounded like screaming. Everything felt so loud to Rose. The engine, her brother, breathing, wind... even the seat felt loud. “Ah cin handl’et!” Rose winced, unsure of what to do. For all his social weakness, he was a violent man. But he was never violent with her. Never to family... well, so she thought. The bastard had caused... it was her parents whom were part of the cares that came through her, leaving the city. They didn’t like the ponies much either, but... they were just settling someplace else. They didn’t need to.... He killed them.

        “Bastard...” She mumbled. Her eyes narrowed. She needed to do something. Her parents were dead. No one else needed to die anymore.

        “Peh, hum’ns kill hum’ns all da time, rem’ber?” It hit her like another punch. The tinge of regret, the idea that even when she said it, it might have held some truth. “I’m savin’ ‘er.” A cold tinge of fear ran down Rose’s spine. It crawled it’s way to her heart, gripping it and squeezing. “‘Fore she kills ‘erself.”

        “Can’t be....” Rose focused her mind. “Tha’ can’t be what you think.”

        Richard laughed. It was deep and dark, a laugh of a man who had nothing. Why didn’t he have anything? He had his sister. This didn’t seem right, not her brother. “It is, sis.” Not her brother... “Dey’re killin’ themselves. Whut comes out ain’t what gaws in.” His fist hit the register again. “Monsters. All of ‘em.”

        “N-no!” Rose cried. She was coming to again. She could feel it, the road was becoming clear. The red pony was on his feet. He was making his way toward the back. That look of desperation. “They aren’t-”

        “THEY ARE.” He shouted. Rose spun, Richard was looking at her. Really looking at her, eyes blazing. She could see it in him. She could see what wasn’t there. Her brother, he wasn’t there anymore. She saw madness. She saw loss, and pain. “THEY’RE ALL MONSTERS.” Rose could feel the realization creeping in. Loss. Richard was part of a gang. Back in the day. Real small, only encompassed a neighborhood, and some friends from around town. Just protection, almost noble in a way. Cops, clean and crooked, often ended up there one way or another, but a community protected it’s own. But they moved from that place.

        They moved because of the ponies. Rose hadn’t thought of it much. They all lost friends to transition. But they had made new ones. But Richard had a girlfriend in the gang. She was one of the first to go through with it. There were rumors of a pregnancy. “Richard, please, they aren’t Dawna.” A loud steely sound emanated from the front. The pony was bucking, trying to remove the semi from the Ford. “Let them go!”

        “Fuck you.” Shifted into another gear. There was a loud sound. This one wasn’t from the trucks. It was louder. Rumbling. Falling. “What’re dey doin’?” He seethed. “Ponies ain’t that strong!”

        Rose looked about wildly, the pain in her head ignored. Fear was gripping at her. “It ain’t the pony! It’s the road!” She screamed, pointing toward the mirrors. The concrete was crumbling, the effects of the battle and the charges from before had finally started what was due to happen months ago. The roadway was collapsing. “Richard!”

        “Shut da fuck up!” He screamed, struggling against the gearbox. There was a crash as the semi suddenly dropped speed. The cabin rumbled, the steel roared and groaned under increased pressure. “Da hell’s goin’ on!?” Rose quickly undid her seatbelt, struggling to open the door. Richard peered over, his eyes alight with insanity. “Da hell you think that’ll do?” The truck shrank suddenly, lifting up. The front wheels lost their traction as the Ford broke free of the front with a final crunch of metal and steel.

Rose screamed.

        -----

        “That did it!” Rusty shouted, his hooves bruised and bleeding from bucking against the grill of the semi. “I got it!”

        “No fucking way!” Violet cheered, spinning her head to look. The truck was far behind them now. Almost as if it had stopped. Or rather... as if it was still fighting to go forward. “Rusty! What’s going on!”

        The red colt paused, feeling the truck slow down. Looking forward, he noticed Violet struggling to get a look at the semi, and he spun about to see for himself. “It’s...” The colt gasped slightly. “The Roadway, Violet! It’s collapsing under them!” He shouted, moving forward. His forehoof screamed in pain as his legs gave out from under him, causing the pony to unceremoniously fall unto his side. “They’re going down!”

        Violet screeched to a halt, pushing Rusty up against the glass of the back window. Twinkle came to rest beside him. Shooting out his good hoof, he checked the mare for any damage. She seemed fine - bruises, a scrape or two from the loose screw. Minor cuts, but unharmed. “Thank Celestia. Violet! Why have we stoppe-” The car spun around, approaching the teetering semi. “Violet! What are you doing!?”

        To be honest, the girl didn’t know herself. But the roadway had stopped collapsing, at least for the most part, but the semi was hanging in space, some piece of metal still caught on to a strong stone edge. Violet stopped short of the semi, ripping herself from the wheel and going out on foot. “Stay here, Rusty!”

        The stallion rolled his eyes. “Oh sure, because I’m going places.” Turning back to the light pink mare before him, he sighed. “At least the view ain’t bad.”

        -----

        Rose opened the door, feeling her breath stolen away as she looked out. The angle she was at kept her at a strange position, but below her was nothing but gravel and empty cars. Looking about, she could see pegasi flying about, nowhere near them to assist properly. Probably those who could weren’t too happy with what their vehicle was doing not moment ago. “Rose!” She heard her name. She heard it twice. She felt something grab her leg as she searched for the second voice, turning to see her brother grabbing at her. “Fuckin’ seatbelt’s stuck again!” Kicking her leg, she sought to free herself.

        “Rose!” Her name again, coming from a female voice. No way. “Rose can you hear me in there?!”

        “Violet!” She shouted. How that girl had the capacity to turn back after all that and - The semi lurched. Backwards. “Oh God...” She muttered, catching a look from Richard. His eyes weren’t filled with fear. It wasn’t even filled with normal human emotion. It was devoid of that, but his arm held firm. “Help me, please!” Kicking out, she struck her brother’s face, but his hand wouldn’t move.

        Violet looked around. She didn’t know why she would care, but here she was trying to help someone who for all she knew wished her dead not a minute before. “I can’t- What can I do!?” She yelled. The semi lurched again. The concrete started to give away.

        Rose heard a click. The seatbelt had come undone. Looking back, her brother now latched on to her other foot with his free hand. “Yer comin’ with me, sis. We’re gonna be free. I’ll save ya.”

        “Get offa me you... monster!” She kicked her feet in vain, feeling the semi start to topple, the concrete giving away. Richard smiled peculiarly as he released her. Taking her moment, Rose did all she could do, fighting against gravity. She heard her name shouted again. “Violet!” She responded, scrambling over her seat as she truck spun to it’s side and off the expressway. As she pushed off the seat, clearing the door in a jump, Rose could see her. Violet, standing on the edge of the collapsed concrete. Her arm outstretched. She knew. Rose knew she had nothing below her. She reached out, in hope. Fools hope.

        But hope is hope. A hand clasped around her. A scream - the pony in truck. He screamed for Violet. She smirked. Guess Violet was a pony-lover. Her weight started to come down, she had no momentum. Rose was going to fall. Violet bent at the knees, her shoes catching a crack in the stone as Rose’s weight began to fall on her arm. To say the blonde was surprised that the girl could hold her without tumbling off herself would be an understatement.

        But then it was tested two-fold. A weight collapsed on her, in both body and spirit. Violet fell forward, her chest slamming against the pavement above as she was forced down. Another body. Rose looked down, her fears affirmed. “Richard!”

        The man struggled a smile, his free arm reaching into his pocket. “Dis ain’t salvation, Rose.” His hand pulled out a small metal object. A knife. Switchblade, to be more precise. “Fall, Rose! Bring yer friend, too!”

        Looking between the two, Rose looked up with pleasing eyes. “Violet! I-I’m sorry! I didn’t know he’d... I tried to...”

        Violet didn’t know what to think. She didn’t care. She wasn’t going to let people die if she could help it. “Save it!” Her arm was stretched thin, wondering if it was possible for it to come apart. Dislocating, sure, but maybe even ripping clean off. She tried to banish the idea, but it was fairly prevalent. “I can’t- pull you up! The hell is wrong with Dick?”

        Rose felt streaming tears on her chin. She hadn’t noticed them before. “He’s... I don’t know! He’s not the same!” She looked down. Rose didn’t like what she saw. “I don’t think... he’s been the same for awhile now.” She unlocked her eyes, looking at a fluid motion. His arm in an arc, she found out too late what he planned to do with his knife. Cutting into her ankle, the blade slide across her bone as she screamed out in pain. Violet looked on in horror as the man tried to use the incision to pull himself up, merely accomplishing to gash her foot as the blade came loose, a torrent of blood falling freshly unto his face.

        “Hold on, Rose! Please, hold on!”

        “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucking Bastard!” Rose shouted, her feet going into overdrive as she kicked at him with her free foot. She couldn’t see him as her brother now. He was a murderer. He killed her family. He killed her mom, her dad... her brother. Whatever the man who hung from her now was, he killed her brother. “Let go of meeee!” She screamed.

        “Violet!” A shout rang out. Another female voice. Unfamiliar to Rose, but Violet seemed relieved, even if her face was red from the effort. There was a sound of trotting as another body joined the midst, the pink mare. “Are you okay?”

        “No I’m not okay, Twinkle! Help me!” Violet yelled. Peering over the edge, Rose caught sight of the light pink pony. She struggled a smile, but it was insincere - she was bleeding out of the foot. Swinging her leg, it barely saved her another puncture as Richard swung and missed, his body jolting her. She felt a slip. Not her, not Richard, but Violet. “Shit!”

        “Violet - I don’t - I mean - I can’t.” Twinkle mumbled. Violet let out a frustrated groan. Twinkle gave a pained face as she nipped at Violet’s belt, pulling back with all her might. The frail pony didn’t give much, but she gave enough as Violet felt the pressure come off her abdomen, her face starting to fade from the red color it was starting to take.

        “Rose! Get him off of you!”

        The blonde looked about, trying to figure something out. Her free arm fell along her side. It fell along something metal. Gripping it in her hand, she felt her hand grasp the trigger. “I-I have a gun!”

        Violet looked serious. “Shoot him!”

        Rose gave a panicked look down. Richard didn’t look pleased, but he had some smile. Some maniacal smile that contrasted his hard eyes. Dark eyes. Another jolt, her vision blurred as she shrunk down closer to the ground. Violet yelped as her chest hit the pavement hard again. “You can’t!” The voice from above called. “That’s-”

        “He fucking stabbed her foot, she’s bleeding! He just tried to kill us during your little nap!” Violet screamed. “I’m plenty sure it’s justified, Twinkle!” There was some hesitation from the other side, but eventually Rose could feel herself lifted up another inch.

        “MONSTER!” The shout came from below. Richard was looking about violently, causing Rose to catch a look about. The pegasi she had seen - some of them had started to draw near. Richard was flailing now. Something had snapped deep within him when he was on the truck. Maybe even before. Rose was feeling her grip weaken, whether from fatigue or blood loss she could be sure. She needed to act. Bringing the weapon to her eyes, she opened the safety against her teeth and let her arm hang limply from her side. Violet spun somewhat, grasping Rose’s arm with her free hand, now that Twinkle held firm on her belt.

        “Do it, Rose. I can’t pull you both up.” Violet murmured, closing her eyes.

        Rose looked from both sides. Her brother, or what was left of him, wildly screaming and flailing. Above her, Violet. A girl she just met. A pony-loving liar. Holding her arm. Trying to save her. Putting her life on the line. She felt the gun’s weight. “I... haven’t killed anyone before.” She choked.

        “Neither have I. But... well, humans kill humans, right?” Violet, tried, shaking her head.

        Rose laughed. She laughed despite herself. Despite the pain, the blood, the possible mild concussion. The black eye. “Heh. No wonder you want to go pony.” She smirked, fresh tears running down her face. She peered down at her brother. In blood only. Pointing the barrel, she sighed. A tear rolled down her cheek and hung on her chin as she looked at her brother. “Richard!” She called gently.

        The tear fell. The man looked up, expecting anything. His eyes feral. “This is for my brother.” She whispered.

        The sound of thunder. He released. Blood streamed freely from his forehead. Raining down below, his body fell limply, the wind playing with the fabric as he fell. Like a doll falling from a girl’s arms, Richard hit the ground with a sickening crack. The setting sun disappeared behind the horizon.

        Rose’s tear landed between his eyes, trailing down his face, crying for him.


Where did we come from?

Conversion Bureau:

A Mare’s Tail

By HiddenBrony

Original Concept by Blaze

        “Shitshitshitshitshit...” Her head was in a daze, quickly looking over the scene before her. HLF insignia’s adorned everything, from the side of a semi to a number of tattered flags that lazily flapped in the wind. It never occurred to her that the HLF had merchandising, but it made sense - they had to pull more and more money back in the day. The almighty dollar was pittance compared to the Equestria bit. And here she was - with two ponies. In front of who knows what disposition of man. Something told her they wouldn’t exactly be ecstatic to see them.

        Turning to her comrades, she saw that Twinkle had completely passed out. Be it shock or exhaustion, her magical abilities would be useless now that she wasn’t an active participant. Rusty, on the otherhand, was up and rummaging through what he could in what the saddest excuse of a back seat Violet had ever seen in a truck. “What are you doing? You can’t expect to-” She cut herself off as she lost what she was trying to say. What wild theory could the colt provide with human tools against humans? Realizing that she was not clever enough to make a quip in the scenario, she quickly looked ahead to see if any humans had appeared. “Ruuuusty, please tell me you have a plan with whatever you’re doing...!”

        A grunt of satisfaction issued from the stallion as the red pony poked his head into the front, in his mouth a ball of what looked to be thread. “Rowph!”

        “....Twine?” Violet breathed raising an eyebrow. “What, you want me to run around whoever is gonna come out from behind that blockade and hope they stand still long enough to wrap them up?” She muttered sarcastically, her face back to scanning the walls of metal. They had made a lot of noise... Maybe there wasn’t any humans on the other side? Maybe they just blocked it all off for... whatever reason? They had such a ways to go, the prospect of walking didn’t much- the ball of twine hit her in the head, interrupting her thoughts. Bouncing down, the twine rested at her feet next to the gas pedal. Whipping about, her thoughts turned to rage as she glared at the colt. “What the hell did you do that for!?”

        “Tie me up, you lout!” Rusty yelled, struggling with the handle of the truck. “Tie me up, throw me in the back - hurry!” He cried, the door opening as he looked at her. His face turned from desperation to fear as he realized he had been leaning on the door, and the pony ungracefully fell out of the cab.

        “Rusty! I- what!?” The human quickly undid her seatbelt and kicked open her door, momentarily catching a glimpse of the red colt who had so unceremoniously tumbled out of the truck. Sweeping up the twine in her hand, Violet dashed toward Rusty, surveying the colt quickly. “Are you alright? You aren’t hurt, are you?” Sliding to a halt, the stallion fidgeted slightly at her words.

        Rusty kicked out his free leg instinctively and bumped the tire of the truck. “Fell on my flank - kinda hurt. Think I’m fine-” Checking his other hooves, the colt winced as he tested his forehoof. “Damn it!” He seethed, his hoof retracting close to his chest.

        “You’re hurt!” Violet cursed, whipping her head around. She could hear it now. Movement, voices. People on the other side of the barricade were coming to investigate. “Ooooohhhhhh fuckme.” Slamming her fist against the truck, she closed her eyes tightly, her mouth repeating the last phrase continuously.

        “Violet! Shut up! Tie me up, I’m fine, it’s just a sprain, I’m sure!” Rusty whispered quickly, kicking her knee with his good hoof. “If you can tie me and Twinkle up, it’ll look like you’re taking us out of the city or something!”

        Shaking her head, Violet couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Out of the city? The city was overrun with ponies - she couldn’t exactly get this far without being overtaken by pegasi. “What the hell for!?”

        “I don’t know! Think of something. Lie, I don’t know, but we’re gonna be in huge trouble-” Violet’s hands started on automatic, ripping the ball of twine apart and starting to unravel and tie the pony up as she went, taking no heed to the sprained hoof. “-Yikes, watch it, Violet!”

        “Shut up, pony. You’re my prisoner now.” Violet screamed, her eyes shut hard. She was operating only on touch, her hands running up and down the colt’s legs as she tried to tie him up believably. The colt had a strange expression on his face, but he quieted, intent on seeing what she was up to. “Trying to break into my building, huh? Bet you never saw the frying pan coming. I’m sure you’re, uh... mate didn’t either, got it nasty in the head. Shame I didn’t crack her horn...!” She wasn’t very believable yet, but she was trying to talk hard. He could hear the other humans now, adjusting and moving the metal that barred them access to the girl.

        “That’s it, now around my mouth. There’s some tools in the back to help you cut the string so you can get Twinnng-” The line led from his back hoof to his mouth as Violet kept tears of fear from streaming out of her eyes. Put in a uncomfortable position, the colt was starting to feel a bit silly for the idea, instead realizing that with Twinkle out of it, he could of simply acted like he was unconscious as well - the twine was a bit much, really.

        “That’ll teach you...!” Standing up, Violet opened her eyes, trying to steel herself for the coming humans. Rusty looked up to see the trembling visage of the girl before him, her vision clouded and foggy as she hugged herself tightly. “Stupid pony. Almost got yourself killed.” Her mind was moving a mile a minute, piecing together a story she could act out. Spinning around, Violet could see fiery red hair move out from a gap created from a moving semi truck. Wiping her tears, Violet struggled to put on a brave face, straighting herself up as the man approached.

        “Oi, Who’ you?” He called, his accent unidentifiable. “Ain’t no one I seen before.” His head looked her up and down, pausing briefly at her long, dyed hair that just so happened to rest on her chest. Snorting, the man rubbed his nose along his arm as he tried to make an opinion of her. Tilting his head back, he gave a slight nod. “‘Ey! Rose! Git out here, we gotta a human with a fukkin’ pony captive!”

        “S’at so?” Another voice called, prompting Violet to jerk slightly. People. She was seeing people. Not person, not pony or ponies. People. “An’ what she doin’ out here?”

        “‘EY!” The fire headed man shouted at Violet, as if not taking into account she was so close to him. “What you doin’ here, bitch? Playin’ some sick S ‘n M with yer pony friends? Arright, I can dig it.”

        “Shut the hell up, asshole.” Violet’s mouth exploded, her words seething out, her eyes turning into hard glare. The man stepped back, putting his hands up to defend himself from her words. A light mist floated past as a blonde female showed up from behind the gap of the semi - she was obviously the driver who moved it for the red-headed man. His overalls and cheap cologne stung her nose slightly as his dirty demeanor fed her desperate persona. “While you’ve been up her shacking it up with this dumb bitch of yours-”

        “Yo, she my sistah!”

        “Fuck if I care what you’re into, dickhead. What the hell is up with this fucking metal wall?” Violet stepped forward, pushing the man back another foot. “I’m trying to get this damn ponies out of Freddie’s tower.” Pointing toward the city, she picked out the tall tower that could be seen even from the freeway. “Fuckers thought ‘cause he was dead that suddenly allowed them to stink it up with their shit. Entitled pricks.” Turning slightly, Violet spat in Rusty’s direction, the colt doing his part to look angry as he flopped along the ground.

        “Oi, Freddie’s dead?” The woman, Rose, came striding up. “I didn’t think the old bastard’s hate would let him die. Somethin’ about spitin’ the rest of us.” She laughed, obviously unfazed by Violet’s abusive speech. “That mean you’re in control of it now, girly?”

        “Fuck, I’m the only one left. Rest of ‘em went and became these sacks of shit.” Gesturing with her thumb, Violet moved from one to the other, the knocked out Twinkle shuddering slightly, but staying still. “Name’s Violet, by the way. You’re Rose, I know already from dickhead here.”

        “Richard.” The man said, indignant.

        Violet sneered slightly, “Oh hey, you really are a Dick!” This caused a bit of merriment between the two girls, the only human male in question turning a deep shade of red as his own uncomfortable featured become more pronounced. “Oi, lookit that!” Mimicking his accent, Violet bent forward with an expectant look. “His ‘ol head is gettin’ a stiffy!” Poking his chest, the girl turned to the other female with the flower name. “So is it just you two out here?” She asked, her hard demeanor fading slightly.

        “Aw, no, not really. We’re just holdin’ down the fort while everyone’s partyin’. They shut down those sins against nature today.” Violet nodded slowly at Rose’s words, turning toward the city. If she strained her ears, some gunshots could be heard. Celebratory, sure, but something felt as if some of the men down there were aiming their skyward shots. Their rolling thunder shook Violet some, but she kept herself from over thinking it. Rusty, on the other hand, started flailing a bit harder, as if he was actively trying to free himself. “Hey, what’s with the pony, anyway? Why you bringin’ him all the way out here?”

        Violet shrugged and pointed in some obscure direction. “Neither of ‘em are pegasi, so I though a little reward for trying to sneak in the high rise would be a nice little nap and a bit of a rodeo.” Smirking, she turned from the two and let her face drop, her panicked expression written all over. “I, uh, there’s a second one in the bed. Unicorn. Took her out with a frying pan, if you’d believe it. Shame I missed the horn. Heh.” Coughing, she closed her eyes. She wasn’t able to see the city anymore - the mist had become too thick around them. “So I’m bringing them out into the country, S’far as half a tank goes. See if they’ll enjoy the company of some feral dogs or something - see if that one can really put some of that magical shit to good use.” Her laugh was hollow, but the brother and sister seemed to accept it well enough. Striding over to the truck bed, the exhausted and unconscious Twinkle lay, her head slightly in the back window.

        “‘Ey, what’s the red one doing outta your car, anyway?” The man spoke.

        “Saw ‘em trying to climb out on the highway. Fool thought he could escape going sixty.” Giving him a swift kick to the abdomen, Violet halted her foot just barely before making contact. Rusty, for his part, did an admirable job faking taking the hit, and doubled over slightly. “Hit the breaks and he fell out. Stupid fucker. ‘Ere, help me with him, would you, Dick?”

        “Richard, Vio.” In the next instant, the dickhead found himself reeling back, a red mark clear on his face. Violet was in a huff, breathing erratically. “Shite, stupid bitch! Whaddafuk was dat for?”

        “Only my friends call me Vio, dickhead. Remember that.” She threatened, causing an amused chuckle to emanate from Richard’s sister. “You were dick before you were Richard.” It still seemed fairly hypocritical, but fearing a matching pair of red marks, the man dropped it. Turning slightly to Rose, Violet smirked. “You may call be Vio, or V, if you want.”

        “Will do, V, will do. Hey, Richy the Dick, pick up that pony and move him back into the bed. Rough as you like.” Rose ordered. Richard looked defiant, but a moment longer and he caved under his sister’s gaze. The wind picked up slightly, clearing the area for Violet to see. The city found itself visible around them, the afternoon sun gleaming over the skyscrapers that dotted the city, their glares illuminating the city streets below in pale yellow light. In it, Violet felt a small connection to how it was before. Back when the city had the life of humans. Cars and construction... However, her thoughts were pulled away as the pony grunted and groaned under Richard’s attempts to pick him up.

        “Hey, Dicky, careful with his arm - leg - thing. It’s sprained or something.” She said, not giving the action much thought on the outside.

        Rose’s smile flickered. “Now how you go and know that, V?” She asked, raising an eyebrow. “All his little hoofsies are tied up...” Trailing, she looked over the job. “Haphazardly, too.” She smirked, walking past the other humans and bending over.

Violet froze, unsure of what to think. Unsure of what to do. Her breathing slowed as she stared out into the city. But the fog was returning, coming in thick as ever as she hastily scrambled for anything that made sense. “‘F-Fore you got here. Was looking him over. Had to straighten up some of his bonds, and he seemed sore about me touchin’ that hoof.” Turning over to Rose, she put a quick smile on her face that she hoped meant trouble. “‘Course, the screamin’ helped too.” Violet flashed a wicked smile.

“Boy, you’re one cold-hearted bitch, V.” Rose chided, shaking her head, a small smirk on her features. Leaning down, she looked the stallion in the eye a moment before shrugging. “Don’t know what makes a man give up his life like that.”

        Violet paused, giving a shrug. “Family, curiosity, who knows, really. Fuck if I care, though.” She muttered, crossing her arms. “All I know is that Freddie wouldn’t want them in his place, and I swear I don’t want them in this city. It’s my city.” Turning back to the truck, she started moving around it slowly, intent on getting off the freeway while she could. “Sooner or later we’re gonna have to start the City Liberation Front.”

        “Lame joke, V, very lame. But still... I have to agree.” Rose sighed wistfully, turning to look upon the cloudless day. “I remember you’d have to be a freak and a half to walk along this freeway. Too many cars. The smell of exhaust and the shrieks of car horns.” She murmured as the truck jolted slightly as Richard finally succeeded in putting Rusty in the back. Violet studied Rose’s features, trying to understand where the other girl’s life had gone to make her so proud of what was so very little now. Perhaps it made it easier, in a way. Was that way of life so good to remember it so fondly?

        “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck me, he’s heavy.” Richard complained, wiping his brow. Violet turned to the red-headed man and shot him a sour look. “Whoda thunk a three foot horse could weigh dat much.” Continuing, he was making it clear he didn’t want to just be in the sidelines of the conversation.

        “Stop complainin’, I put the two back there myself, Dick.” Revving the engine slightly, Violet gave Rose a small wink. “Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but I gotta-” Suddenly the radio started again as she turned the truck on again, causing an embarrassed Violet to immediately switch it off with a small smile.

        “Been a long time since I heard somethin’ like that. Who is it?” Rose hung in to the open window, her arm laying lazily along the inside of the cabin. Violet shrugged and turned away, trying to look aloof as she felt her cover slipping slightly.

        “Dunno, just was in the truck. Jacked it from the Bureau a while back. Beats trying to find a fill station that still worked in my area.” Coughing, Violet didn’t even notice her pattern of speech had changed to something much softer. Rose raised an eyebrow, but decided to drop it. “So, uh, why have you guys been operating here instead of at the exits? And uh... Freddie never said, before he went - Loudly I might add -” This elicited a chuckle from Rose, who pointed for her brother to return to the semi. Richard paused, giving the unicorn a look, none to pleased to see her unbound. Violet caught his reaction through the tinted window and did the best eye roll she could muster. “She’s out like a light, Dick.” The red-haired man shot her a look, but crumbled under the stare Rose gave him in return.

        “Fuck! You girls don’ know eachudder fahve minutes an’ you’re ‘gainst me.” He mumbled under his breath, taking off for the barricade, finding solace in the cabin of the semi.

        Rose watched him go a moment before sighing and shaking her head. The red pony in the back slammed a bit against the sides for effect, distracting the HLF member and cutting off whatever train of thought she was working on. “Stay still, you, or you’ll find you and your girlfriend there off this lady’s shoulders and off this expressway.” Gesturing the guarding wall alongside the road, she leapt one hand over it to signify dumping the ponies right off the road and down several stories to their deaths. Violet’s stomach visibly dropped, and she couldn’t hide her expression from Rose this time. “Oi, V, what’s the matter wit’ you?”

        Shaking her head, her eyes were closed tight. “N-nothing. I just... well, they used to be human, you know?” Violet realized her head wasn’t thing only thing shaking, as her knuckles were white, holding unto the wheel with all her might to stop them. “I mean... it’s sick what they’ve done to themselves.” She covered, bolstering her long bluff. “But... I can’t kill them.”

        “Shoot girl, didn’t know you were a bleedin’ heart for these ponies. I don’t know if you knew this, but humans went and killed humans, too.” Rose smirked, drumming her knuckles against the hard plastic on the inside of the truck. Catching Violet’s disturbed look, she dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “Joke, V. Yeesh, lighten up a little. Although I’m surprised...” There was a slight twinkle in her eye as she turned to the two pastel ponies in the back. Rusty stared defiantly at the girl. “Considering what you’ve done to them already.”

        “Defending my home.” Violet’s mouth was on automatic again, much to her reprieve. She couldn’t keep this up mentally, that hatred that crawled under the skin. Every word exchanged hinted toward a malicious intent, keeping her mind in this distant place so she could accurately portray herself in the way they wanted. “And keeping with a stupid old man’s wish.” Releasing her hands from the wheel, she shook her head slightly. Rose misread it as a look of regret, of grievance of the old HLF staff member. “So, uh.” She coughed, shifting gears. “Can’t idle for long, you know. Never know when this one is gonna wake, you know?” Violet shrugged a shoulder toward Twinkle, who’s mouth moved slightly in whatever dreamlike state magic exhaustion gave.

        “Eh, smack her again if you can.” Rose waved it off, but released her grip on the truck door. The black beast rumbled slightly in response as Violet tested the gas a moment. “So when can we expect you back this way? You gotta use this route anyway, seeing as the entrance..” Rose paused, gesturing to the partnering concrete structure alongside the stone divider, “to Albuquerque has fallen apart. It’s not safe - could give away any moment.”

        Violet nodded very slowly. Could such disrepair even happen in just over a year? Then again, it hadn’t seen much work before the Bureau’s, so maybe it was a timing issue. Considering the fact that if her story was true, then Violet the HLF member would of died a rather karmic death. Rubbing the mental image from her mind, she glued her eyes forward. “Thanks. And... hey Rose?”

        “Yeah, V? What’s up?” The blonde haired human asked, crossing her arms.

        Violet paused, trying to find the right words. “If I hit some goddamned dear going 90, and I’m not back in four hours, take care of the tower for m-....For Freddie. You’re human, for whatever it’s worth nowadays.”

        Rose paused, nodding her head slightly. “Well arright. But I don’t see how anything could take this beast and hurt you at all.” She smirked, patting the machine on it’s side.

        “A tree then.” Violet rebutted, catching Rose off-guard. “I’ve never really traveled all that far from here, and I might do a little sight-seeing, what’s left of what there is to see, anyway.” Violet kept still, her eyes moving up slightly as the road in front of her cleared itself. Clicking the audio system on again, she rolled the volume down slightly as she sighed. The next song on the CD hummed to life as she looked over to Rose. The girl looked like she was starting to piece things together. “Tell me... why didn’t any of the HLF outside of Fred come to the Tower? I hadn’t seen more than five humans the last three months.”

        Rose gave a hesitant look as she peered over to her brother, far off into the barricade. “The Tower... well, it...” Clearing her throat, she shrugged. “It’s too far in. You have to go by so much of pony-occupied territory... I’m surprised you could even go outside.”

        “I didn’t... much. It’s dangerous business, going out your front door.” Violet gave a smirk, alluding to the music that played for them now. Rose shook her head incredulously, in a ‘you-did-not-just-make-that-joke’ fashion. The song droned on a bit, before Violet gave a bit of a shrug, dismissing the topic. “It’s not bad though. Nothing you don’t get anywhere else now.” Trailing, Violet moved the truck from it’s current position into drive, sighing slightly. “The sunsets are beautiful, you can see them beyond the city skyline from up there.” A tear dropped unexpectedly from her eye, but she ignored it - Rose, on the other hand, couldn’t help but draw her attention to it. Her expression changed, although it was unreadable as far as Violet was concerned.

        “Violet... are you... You’re not coming back, are you?” She breathed, as if she was talking to someone who was admitting that they were going to commit suicide.

        “Oh, I’m sure I will. Heh.” A pained laugh, a new tear fell slid across her face and hung on her cheek. “In some form or another.” Shrugging, she released the break and moved forward, leaving the bewildered Rose to connect the dots. Violet hoped the other flower child would take a little while, as there was no telling what her reaction would be. Acknowledgement? Rage? There was something behind that girl’s front, Violet had connected with it, if only briefly. They were similar in some aspects, and Violet was certain had they have met years ago, they’d have been friends in some way. Dismissing her facade, the human felt a weight lift from her shoulders as she smirked. She hadn’t the chance to act in years, and even though she wasn’t trained in improv, she was relatively pleased with the result.

        Rolling past Richard, Violet gave him a smile and a wink, catching a completely bemused expression on his face before putting her foot down and accelerating past the HLF barricade. Catching sight of the sides, the girl checked to see how her pony passengers were doing. Rusty seemed lost in thought, trying to make the best of the strange position he was in, and Twinkle remained with her head stuck in the cabin, her hoof supporting her head on the threshold. Violet couldn’t go too fast with both ponies in her care having no way of bracing themselves, and that gave her time to view the area in front of her.

        The concrete was cracked in some places, and in others the rails had completely fallen apart. There was no way this was a weathered occurrence, Violet assumed, sticking her head out the window to get a better look. There were tell tale signs of explosive powders and brown splotches of color every couple of feet, as if... Violet couldn’t guess what. Keeping her eyes on the road, the human navigated the cracked and weakened road, catching sight of small encampments that were starting to light up in the afternoon sun. It was going to be dark soon, and that meant any surprises along the road were going to be met in only the lights of her truck.

        She wanted to know what happened here. What kind of life did the HLF lead that there would be blood stains and explosives on a road? The idea of sects, different units within the group, may have been in unrest with how the group was heading. Humans always did have a knack for fighting each other in even the most grim of moments. The dark cracks of the road warned her of weakness, a testament of human history. Blood-soaked, crumbled, with the only guiding light going out, and leaving her to deal with only what could be seen in the short term.

        She was so lost in her revelry she didn’t even notice the eighteen wheeler approaching from behind, the sounds of a distressed Earth Pony muffled over her own engine.

Further down the road...


Where did we come from?

Conversion Bureau:

A Mare’s Tail

Part II

By HiddenBrony

Original Concept by Blaze

        The lights were dim inside the Conversion Bureau, and not a soul could be seen inside, pony or otherwise. Violet’s head against the glass, she hit it with a dull thud as she weepishly looked on inside as she stood there. Woebegone, Violet felt her knees buckle under her as she slammed against the ground, her face betraying no pain as the impact bloodied her knee. “Too late...” She breathed. Casting another forlorn glance toward the Bureau, she felt a hot anger consume her, but it fluttered out in the very second it had appeared, replacing it with feelings of helplessness. Tears flowed freely, but she made no whimper. She felt nothing.

        Weighted down, Violet spun around, her head glaring down at the sidewalk around her. She wanted it to be an angry stare, but all she could muster was the intensity - none of the feelings. Passersby, Earth pony and unicorn, gazed gazes of dull surprise toward the human girl, the tears on her face staining her cheeks with a salty residue. The wind blew briskly around her, the tides of Autumn chilling her slightly, but provoked no movement, a dense fog enveloping her, holding her still.

        Violet didn’t know how long she sat there, how many ponies past her saddened shape. She didn’t care. Everyone was gone, anyway. Soon she would be to, she guessed. There was no reason to return to her home, if she could even call it that. It was more of a place where she ate, slept, and whittled away the day before repeating the process ad infinitum. She had hoped that moving to where the last vestiges of man would remove her from the creeping grip of loneliness she had succumbed to prior.

        Nothing flowed for her. The only remnants of her long forgotten life had left long ago, the feeling of connection with other people... A stallion walked by, casting a strange look to the female before him. Pausing, the pony stopped. “Um... ‘Scuze me miss, but uh... Aren’t you going to... party like the rest of them?” He asked, every word he said a squeeze on both himself and his listener.

        Snapping up, she eyed the red pony intensely, causing him to take a few steps away. “Look, I don’t want any trouble from your organization, I was just asking-”

        “Organization?” She echoed accusingly, before catching herself. The colt was about to bolt, that much was obvious, but his eyes scanned her face. She didn’t let herself see it much with Alfred, but ponies had gigantic eyes. Large, imposing... caring eyes. “I-I’m sorry.” She choked, her head leaning back. She was never like this. Never so much of... well, a bitch. Maybe to her friends when she wanted to elicit a laugh for an overreaction, but to yell with such- malice. “I’m so sorry...” New feelings of shame reigned inside. Who was she, anyway? What right did she have to be angry? The entire reason she was here was her fault - never choosing to become a pony like her friends. Her family. Her entire race. What was she?

        The colt shook his head a moment, taking the picture before him in. “Whoa, whoa, hold on lil’ girl, it’s alright,he cooed, walking alongside the human. “Calm down - I’m sorry to have assumed you were in league with them.” He started.

        “With who?!” Violet’s voice cracked, holding on to the end of her rope. “I-I...” she paused. The last month, Alfred was her only human friend. Before that, she had been the only human remaining in her apartment complex. So she had moved somewhere more posh; more high class for humans. Humans. She kept coming to that distinction. The stallion in front of her probably wasn’t a pony for more than a year - she was sure of it, with a human hacksaw adorned on his flank. Human... Violet choked for a moment, holding a hand to her mouth. She hadn’t seen a single human in all of Albuquerque in more than three months outside of her new complex. It’s why she had left her old one. “I’m the only one...” She breathed, a panic in her voice.

        “You’re not... the only one,the colt sighed, drumming his hooves on the ground. “I’m sorry, I thought you were with some of the HLF. They’ve been having a big party on the other side of town, I don’t know much - no reason to be in that area. The Conversion Bureau closed because the last couple of humans that came through mentioned that they were the only ones they knew left, really. Well, one with funny hair seemed sad - he said there might be one more-”

        “Alfred...” Violet breathed. She wasn’t stupid - it wasn’t hard to come to terms with the idea that he had wanted her to follow. Reaching into her pocket, her hand ripped out a small note that the now-pegasus had wrote her. “What all did you write...?” The colt beside her leaned over, but Violet didn’t mind. The action reminded her of the way things used to be with her friends.

        -----

        Dear Violet,

        Heh. Dear. I sound so... Shakespearean. Or something. Thouest Violeth, I am betrothed... um... thee Hamlet, forsooth! Crazy how things change over time. Although I guess that’s why I’ve come to this place I am. I got a letter in the mail today - the pegasus who dropped it off said she had almost given up looking for me, seeing as she couldn’t get in to my mailbox - Ol’ Fred never left anyone the keys. Probably took ‘em to the grave, the old bastard.

Anyway, um, so - ponies. It’s why I’m writing this. I got a letter from a friend of mine today that he was finally going through with it, and wanted to let me know my parents went in for it earlier today. Apparently their old dog died and they felt like nothing was holding them back. Don’t know why I didn’t get a letter from them myself but - oh geez I’m rambling. It took me three hours to find a goddamn pen that still works and I’m wasting it by whining and complaining.

Look, Violet, I’m going to go become a pony. Maybe today, maybe in a week, I don’t know. I’m playing this by ear. I want you to know this has nothing to do with you. Or everything. I mean... Oh, I would scratch that out but I’ve got nothing to lose. I don’t want to go alone, so by the time you read this I’ll probably be waiting, or in there already. Please, come with me. I know I’m boisterous and loud, but I’m really quite a coward when it comes to these things, but I’ve really come to like you, V, and I kinda want to be a pony alongside you. I guess that might be creepy, seeing as we’ve talked maybe three weeks, but as the last vestiges of man and woman left here in I’ll Be Quirky that’s not part of the HLF... I dunno, I thought we might have grown close.

So I’m going to go now. Oh shoot, the ink is running out. Um, if you don’t come I’ll be sad?

-Love,

Alfred.

-----

Violet smirked, a tear rolling down her cheek. He could have said as much at her apartment. The hastily scrawled note dropped from her hand and unto her midriff. Even on the blank side of the page, she could see an indent of Alfred’s name as he tried desperately for more ink to sign his name in by pressing hard on the paper. Her cheeks felt hot, and her stomach felt... disastrously weak, but really, she was glad to start feeling again.

“Owowow...” She complained suddenly, her hands shooting out to her knees where she had fallen on them before. By this point they had mostly clotted, her joints try and aching from the force of her earlier fall. It didn’t make them any less painful, though.

“You okay then, Violet?” The colt asked, having read part of the note, and gathering her name from it. A couple more ponies that had been passing had stopped to see the human girl conversing in what looked to be a friendly chat with a pony. “I kinda read a little bit of the note and-”

“No, I’m not.” She laughed, wiping away tears. “But maybe I could be.” She sniffed, experimenting her movement by bending her knees. They smarted, but they were functional, as expected. “Do you know where the ponies at the clinic went?”

A pastel pink unicorn, the single one from the bunch of ponies whom had gathered, moved a hoof step forward, craning her neck slightly to look at Violet better. “Why... you want to be a pony?” She asked carefully.

Violet hesitated. It’s why she was here. It’s why she left her apartment. It’s why she had been crying... right? She could feel herself slipping somewhat, so she did the only thing she felt she could do in response, and nodded her head violently. “More than anything.” She blurted out, a strained smile on her features.

Looking at the other ponies, she lifted a hoof, as if asking them to leave. Some did so, glad to have avoided a confrontation with a rogue HLF member too far from the others. “Well, my name is Twinkle. I’m a unicorn from Equestria and... well, up until this morning I was in charge of this Bureau.” She admitted, looking toward the colt next to Violet. “Do you two know each other?”

The colt shook his head, “No, I just saw her sitting here outside. She’s not from the HLF - she’s just human.” He explained, removing the last of any doubt from the pink unicorn’s face.

“For whatever that’s worth.” Violet chuckled despite herself. The girl looked both ways, not entirely wishing to lock eyes with a pony again - their eyes were too happy, too full of life, she didn’t feel like she could take much more of it so soon. She had felt devoid of it for so long. It was like taking a bit drink of water after thirsting for so long - too fast and it was painful all the way down.

Violet leaned back, her eyes closed. The city was quiet. A light fog rolled from the hills down toward her position. There was life - wonderful, moving life, but there was no familiar sound. Construction, vehicles, the angry horns and wailing sirens... there wasn’t any of it. How could such a thing be real - that these ponies lived like they needed each other. It was beyond them - the base human instinct.

        “Please...” She heard herself say. “If there is any way...”

        Twinkle looked about, her single highlight bouncing as she did. The other ponies that had gathered and not heeded her gesture to leave peered at her with pleading eyes. Save the girl. She wanted to, Twinkle really did, but she had no means, not anymore. The sedative, the magic she wasn’t capable of...

        “I know a way.” The colt mentioned, standing up from his haunches. A rushed whisper grew from the other ponies as he stood. “I may have been one of the firsts here, but I remember what it’s like to be human.” The unnamed pony started to walk around the corner, before flicking his head. “Come on, Violet, you can drive, right?”

        Looking up, the girl nodded, galvanizing into action. Twinkle followed suit, intent on finding out what this red pony meant, the fog which threatened to roll down had dissipated as just as fast as it had appeared.

        -----

        “I’ve never actually been in one of these before.” Twinkle called from the bed of the pick-up truck as it cruised down the city streets at a lazy pace. The streets were clean but cracked, the air whipping by, playing with the hair of all those present. Violet relished in the idea of one last road trip, going off into lands unknown. She had never ventured far from the city limits, instead choosing to grow up and live her life in her city to her last breath.

But she had since given up the keys up to that dream. She had a new one, and her eye sharpened as her mind pulled away from the fog that had rolled into town when the Conversion Bureau’s did. The road was clear in front of them - free of traffic, people, crashes - the few ponies that were walking along the roads gladly headed to the side, the loud engine of the pick-up giving more than enough forewarning.

        

        Violet chuckled to herself as she caught Twinkle admiring the vehicle. It was clear that despite the multitudes of humans she had seen through her branch, she never much got out to look at the large metal machines. “It’s a relic of a bygone age, Twink. The 2011 Ford F-150. 6.2 L engine, Four-hundred horsepower, over four hundred pounds of torque.” The beast shifted gears as Violet let the engine roar a moment, Twink looking a bit frightened as she stuck her head in from the back window. “What that means...” Violet paused, a gratifying smirk on her face. “Is power!” Violet laughed as she added an English accent to the last sentence, a detail that seemed lost on Twink, but the red colt next to her seemed to chuckle a bit. Sure there had been better cars - the American musclecars, the European Supercars... but Violet had a soft spot for the ol’ red-blooded pick-up truck, her grandfather owning a ford out in the countryside of New Mexico. Memories of off-roading left Violet with a twinge of longing for her grandfather - a welcome change to the nothingness.

        “I’m Rusty, by the way.” The stallion called from the side seat, putting his head in from the window. The colt’s amiable smile caught on to Violet, who stuck out a free hand to his hoof. Soft skin met with harried hoof as Violet took note of how strange a pony’s hoof felt, and made a note to check how it felt after she had one of her own.

        “Pleased to meet ya, Rusty. You can call me Violet as you have, but my friend’s call me ‘V’.” Keeping an eye on the road, Violet’s eyes caught sight of an exit towards the east. “Where we actually goin’? I don’t know where other Bureau’s are.” She said, a faint glint in her eye.

        “Well,” Twink started, looking between Violet and Rusty. “I’m sure my report will hold another Bureau open for at least a little while longer. Closest one is in...” She paused, tilting her head. “Colorado Springs, I think.

        “Colorado Springs! Hey, my cousin just went in yesterday, finally.” Rusty interrupted, catching sight of Violet’s expression as Twinkle was talking. “Apparently a lot of folks flow to that one rather ‘n local ones for the scenic trip to take before turnin’ into ponies. My cuz said that he was the third one that day. Sounded pretty excited on the phone.” There was a pause as the red stallion looked out the window. “Didn’t know that was the closest open Bureau around out here. This is gonna be a long trip.”

        

        Violet’s expression molded into something between bliss and apprehension, her mind wallowing in the details of being with... sentients of like mind. Checking her fuel guage, Violet spun unto the entrance toward Colorado Springs. Looking back, she raised an eyebrow toward Twinkle. “So, is this alright? You know, for you to just up and road trip like this?” Violet asked, shrugging her shoulder a bit.

        “Oh, yes, like I said, my report explained everything.” Twink said, a smile on her face.

        “But... shouldn’t you have waited, for you know, permission? You said you helped run the Albuquerque Bureau. Aren’t you... important?”

        Twinkle shook her head, her hair sparkling in the sun. Violet had made mental note to ignore too much about the pony, but was finding the empty road on the old expressway to be lacking. The slight bubblegum smell, the shimmering mane... did all ponies really look so beautiful? Why had she waited? Wh-

        “Eyes on the road, V.” Rusty called. “I’m excited to ride in my truck again for the first time in a long while, but I’d rather you keep it intact until Colorado Springs.” He stated calmly, staring out the window.

        “Can do, Red.” Violet smirked, deciding on her pet name for the red horse. Rusty bleated in displeasure at the simplicity, but said no more.

        For a good while Violet and her assorted ponies merely enjoyed the view of Albuquerque go by, Rusty enjoying the sight of the thousands of pegasi which littered the skies, stretching their wings, many learning how to do tricks and really stretch their limits.

Twinkle, on the other hand, had retreated to the back of the truck bed, enjoying the wind in her mane. She absolutely adored the sights of the human city, even if it belonged to the ponies now. “Such architecture!” She breathed, the howling winds around her stealing her sounds. While she had lived here for the past year, Twinkle was never one to get out much. Cruising down the expressway at a cool and dangerous eighty miles per hour, she picked herself up, her horn glowing slightly as she approached the cabin. Sticking her head through the back window, she looked between the two a moment before smiling. “So, what kind of pony do you want to be, Violet?”

The human in question put a relaxed hand on her chin as she gave the idea mild thought. “I don’t really care, although a pegasi would be neat. To fly all day...” She breathed in deep, but shook her head. “I’d be fine with being a bare bones pony though, like Red here.” She teased, causing the pony to smirk.

“Bare bones, eh? This bare bones pony could buck you to next week and back!” He challenged, which only got a laugh from Violet.

“Not in this car, you won’t, unless you want to go careening out of control.” She warned. Looking about the cabin, Violet had decided the next boredom killer on her to do list was the magic of snooping. However, all she could find from a few casual glances was general repair work - some tools, rope, twine... it reminded her of her grandpa’s old set of wheels