>>146529 within 5 minutes he goes nuts, kills the first animal he sees, eats it semi raw, then proceeds to hide naked in the forest. He ambushes the first pony he sees in an attempt to kill it and decides not to kill it once it speaks. From there he becomes like a pet to whatever pony found him. SO he lives in the forest as some nutjob that they drop food off to and talk to until eventually he works up the strength to go into town then the real adventure starts.
>my head is pounding >I open my eyes and squint at the bright sunlight >sunlight? >last thing I remember I was in the basement of that house I was fumigating >the details are...fuzzy >can't....quite.....remember...... >I reach for a smoke to clear my head >suddenly I sit up >I feel inside all the various pockets of my jumpsuit >cold panic wells up inside me >it's true >they're gone >my smokes are gone >who could have done this? >I look around >I'm definitely outside >I don't recognize the terrain >no sign of the house I was in >whoever knocked me out must have dragged me here >I inhale deeply and survey the surrounding area >I'm stuck in an unknown location without smokes >this is gonna be tough, but I'm trained for this >I wonder who could be responsible? >several parties spring to mind >the government is the most obvious >maybe a little TOO obvious... >whoever it was must have known what I've been looking into >I must be getting close to the truth >I smile and inhale again "You tipped your hand too early, my friend!" >I address the empty meadow before me "You have no idea who you're up against...." "Uh, are you talking to me? >I hear a young-sounding female voice behind me and wheel around in surprise >I don't see anyone >although that doesn't surprise me >anyone who could get the drop on a trained assassin like me would have to be highly skilled indeed.... "Uhhhh........hello?" >I look down >I see what appears to be a tiny white horse standing at my feet, looking up at me >it's the strangest looking horse I've ever seen >the expression on her face is almost....human >plus I'm pretty sure she was talking just now >horses don't usually talk, do they? >I notice a horn protruding out of her forehead, possibly of alien origin >she does not resemble any form of extraterrestrial life that I'm familiar with, but the universe is big >I'm instantly on my guard, but I play it cool "Greetings, small horse creature. On behalf of the planet Earth I bid you welcome." >the small horse raises an eyebrow inquisitively "Uhhhhhhh............hi?" >we stare at each other for several increasingly awkward seconds "Uh, my name's Sweetie Belle. What's yours?" >I stare down at her >she doesn't seem to know who I am, which suggests she may not be involved in this >still, this could all be a trap to get me to lower my guard >I have no proof as of yet that this horse is not a government agent "Shackleford, Rusty." >I don't want to give her any more than that for now >several more awkward seconds pass "Shackleford? That's kind of a weird name." >she trots a small circle around me, looking me up and down >she's probably never seen an Earth creature before >either that or she's looking for a place to implant a microchip >well if she tries it I hope she realizes she's up against a kung fu master with the reflexes of a cat "You don't look like a pony. What are you exactly?" >so she's a pony, eh? >interesting >if I remember correctly, a pony is a subspecies of the equine, known for its diminutive stature >I store this information for later use as it may be significant "Do you live near Ponyville?" >hmmm >never heard of it >wherever this "Ponyville" is, I don't think it's anywhere near Arlen >I nonchalantly attempt to pry more information from her without making her suspicious "Possibly. Where in Texas is Ponyville located, if you don't mind my asking?" "Uh...Texas? I've never heard of it, sorry. Is that in Equestria?" >so....it seems I've been sent to Equestria >the name sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place where I've heard it before >it's probably a long way from home >possibly even as far as Oklahoma >I clear my throat "Never mind. I am on vacation, I may have gotten slightly lost. Do not worry about me, small horse creature." >her face brightens "Oh, that's okay. Would you like me to show you the way to Ponyville? Someone there might know where Texas is." >I give the little pony one more suspicious appraisal, and decide to trust her for now "Yes, small horse creature. Please show me the way to Ponyville." "Uh...Shackleford? You can call me Sweetie Belle if you want." "Very well, I shall call you 'Sweetie Belle'. You may address me as 'Rusty' or 'Mr. Shackleford' if you like." "Um, okay. It's this way, just follow me." >she trots off and I follow her >after walking for a short time I see the outline of buildings in the distance "Excuse me, small...Sweetie Belle?" >she stops "Yes, uh...Mr. Shackleford?" "By any chance do you have any smokes?" "Smokes?" >her face wrinkles in confusion "Uh, never mind that for now. It's just really important that I find some smokes at some point." "Um, okay. Tell you what, let's go back to my clubhouse. My friends might know where to find some." "Alright then." >we continue on our way
Should I continue? I can probably write more tomorrow night after work.
>>146553 >I have now gone almost 60 minutes without a smoke >I'm beginning to have flashbacks and palpitations >fortunately my intense training prevents my new tiny horse companion from realizing my unease >though I appear cool and collected outside, my insides are in turmoil >if I don't get a smoke soon I fear the madness may set in, and then no one will be safe >I try to focus on my surroundings to take my mind off the nicotine cravings >my small horse companion has led me back to what appears to be a treehouse >there are other small horses here as well >apparently this entire town is populated by small horses >they call it "Ponyville" >have the ponies invaded Earth and established a colony? >or have I been transported to some sort of planet of the ponies? >perhaps I've traveled through time, and this is Earth's grim future, where humanity is ruled by pony overlords >I must stay undercover, and learn everything I can about these ponies and their alien world "Uh, Mr. Shackleford? Are you okay?" >one of the ponies is talking >it's the yellow one with the red mane, I think she said her name is Apple Bloom "He's sweating an awful lot." >that voice is from the other one, the orange and purple pony that rode in on a scooter >my friend Hank's son rides a scooter like that I think >or maybe it was my son >I'm having a hard time remembering >I begin to wonder where she got that scooter >I can't help but fear the worst >by God what fate has our government unleashed upon my beloved Arlen? >is this because I learned the truth? "Uh, Mr. Shackleford? Is anything wrong?" >Sweetie Belle >the one who brought me here >she asked me a question I think >my vision is beginning to blur >I can feel the madness coming on >I don't have much time... "Uh..........Mr. Shackleford? Um.....Rusty?" "SMOKES!!!" >that was meant to be a sentence >it came out more like a shriek >the three ponies step back in alarm "Wow, he looks really sick." >the orange and purple pony is speaking again >Scootaloo, I suddenly remember her name is "Yeah....." >Sweetie Belle sounds worried "He's been talking about something called 'smokes' an awful lot. Do either of you know what those are?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo shake their heads >this is bad >they're beginning to sense my weakness >if these ponies are hostile they could pounce at any second >I'm in no condition for a fight right now and I'm at a tactical disadvantage because they know the terrain >I need to maintain my disguise >I put everything I have into composing myself >I stand up to speak, trying to act nonchalant "Shackleford, Rusty. I am on vacation and I got lo--" >I stand up too fast >my coordination is off >also, I forgot that I'm in a treehouse built for ponies >I hit my head on the ceiling and lose my balance >I fall backward into empty space >suddenly I'm rolling down stairs >I see blue sky above me and then wood >blue sky and then wood >occasional glimpses of a treehouse getting further and further away >suddenly my back connects with the ground >my vision blurs >through the fog of confusion I see the heads of three ponies poking out over the edge of the treehouse entrance "Uh, maybe we should get my sister." >I hear Apple Bloom's voice through the fog >the other two ponies are nodding >dimly I wonder who this "sister" could be >perhaps she's the alien queen >have I failed in my mission already? >I reach for my emergency cyanide pill and then remember it was with my smokes >then I remember I don't have an emergency cyanide pill >I tried to order one but they said they were out >that's just my luck, isn't it? >my vision goes black
I'm working a lot these days but I will try to write a little bit of this every night, don't let the thread sink too far if I miss a night or two.
>>146760 That occurred to me, but I figure he explicitly told Sweetie Belle to call him Mr. Shackleford or Rusty and she likely would have passed this on to her friends. However that is a good idea, I think I might make the name confusion a running gag once he gets out and starts meeting more ponies.
>>146737 >gradually I come to >I seem to be lying in a bed of some sort >I look around >seems like I'm indoors >I don't recognize the room but this is definitely a house >there's no one else around >I am still sweating profusely and experiencing mild convulsions >the nicotine fit has not subsided >there is no sign of the three ponies from before >the room I am in appears to be part of an ordinary human dwelling >I'm beginning to wonder if my encounter with the alien ponies was all a nicotine induced hallucination >then suddenly I hear the clip clop of hooves in the hall outside >the door opens and a pony I haven't seen before steps into the room >she's tall and orange-colored, with a yellow mane >this one is larger than the ones from the treehouse, but still much smaller than a normal horse >maybe I can use that to my advantage somehow >I notice she's wearing a cowboy hat >why would a pony need to wear a cowboy hat? >unless.... >dear God they're learning to mimic us >they're trying to replace us >I look around the room again >there's a bed, a table, some chairs >why would a pony have these things in her house? >in fact, why would a pony have a house in the first place? >unless.... >this isn't a pony house >THIS IS A PEOPLE HOUSE >Earth has been invaded by alien ponies "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE?" >that's what I meant to say at least >it came out more like garbled jibberish >somewhere between a cough and a girlish shriek >the pony looks behind her through the doorway "Uh, can he talk? Or does he just make noise like that?" >she sounds like she's from down south somewhere >they're even learning to talk like us >clever girl... "He can talk, sorta." >one of the smaller ponies from before, Apple Bloom, trots into the room behind the larger one "At least I've heard him say 'smokes'. >the larger one screws up her face in confusion "Smokes? Now what in the hay is that?" >the big pony comes up to me and puts her face up close to mine, looking me over "Just what sorta critter are you anyway? You don't look like no kinda pony I've ever seen." >why does it seem like they haven't seen humans before? >damn nicotine fit, I can't even think straight right now >I feel like there's some big piece of this that I'm missing >I try to climb out of bed but my balance is still off "My name is Rusty Shackleford I am on vaca-" >I somehow become entangled in the covers >as I try to free myself I become further entangled >I am now lost inside this blanket >suddenly my head clonks against the hard wooden floor >I seem to have fallen out of bed >an orange hoof pulls back the blanket from over my face >the big pony is looking down at me with what can only be described as confused pity >I try to stand up >I try to speak >but my body does not obey my commands >I can only lie twitching in the floor, my limbs curled up in a fetal position >damn my lack of smokes "Smooookes..." I croak out feebly "Wow, he's really sweatin'. Where did y'all say you found him again?" >Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are now in the room I notice "He was just standing in the meadow a little ways outside of Ponyville." >Sweetie Belle stands with her front hooves on my chest and looks down at me with a worried look "Is he gonna be okay? I think we really need to get him some smokes, whatever those are." >Apple Bloom trots over and looks up at the bigger pony "Have any idea what they are, Applejack?" >the big orange pony, whose name is Applejack I guess, rubs a hoof against her chin and looks lost in thought for a minute "Hmm. Nope, afraid I ain't got no idea. Granny Smith might know, but she and Big Mac are down in Baltimare and won't be back for a week." >suddenly her face lights up and she stomps a hoof down on the floor "Hey, we could ask Twilight for help! If anypony 'round here would know what 'smokes' are it'd be her." >the three smaller ponies look up excitedly "Hey, yeah! That's a great idea! Twilight would know!" >Sweetie Belle's hooves are digging sharply into my sternum >Applejack trots over to the door "I'll go get her. It's probably best if we keep him here for now." >she casts a worried glance over her shoulder "Y'all stay here and keep an eye on....what did you say yer name was again?" "Sha-shackleford. Rusty." >as I croak out the words Sweetie Belle suddenly realizes she's still standing on my chest and quickly steps back "Right. Mr. Rusty. Well, I'll be off then. Don't y'all go nowhere." >the pony called Applejack gallops off down the hall >the door closes behind her >I have no idea how she closed it >or opened it for that matter >my vision is beginning to darken >I'm beginning to lose consciousness again >I'm dimly aware of the three small ponies chattering in hushed voices nearby >they keep glancing at me >God I hope these ponies aren't planning to cut me open and harvest my organs >need......my.......smokes........
>I keep drifting in and out of consciousness >strange visions float before my eyes >images of humans, my friends and family, toiling under their new candy-colored pony overlords >in between bouts of unconsciousness I hear snippets of their voices >deciding my fate as I writhe in agony "...don't know what to do..." "...ain't seen nothin' like it...." "...keeps talking about smokes..." >nothing is clear to me anymore >part of me wishes they would just finish me off and be done with it >but my survival instincts are too strong >damn my martial arts training >I must pull myself out of this >I must learn the fate of humanity and help if I can >the planet Earth might depend on it >I focus my mind on listening to them >maybe if I listen to their conversation I can learn something "...not quite sure what it is specifically, but he's definitely addicted to something." >a voice I don't recognize seems to be speaking >she's saying something that sounds complicated, it probably has something to do with alien pony technology >I'm beginning to lose consciousness again >pieces of her voice are echoing in my brain as my vision fades "...probably isn't from Equestria..." "...needs to be..." "...can't do anything here..." "...cast a spell for now..." >warmth envelops my whole body >suddenly my mind begins to clear >the effects of nicotine withdrawal are fading away >I feel...great, actually >the fog over my brain lifts >slowly I open my eyes "Oh, good, you're awake. Now you can tell me--" "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" >I shriek in confused terror as I open my eyes >a new pony is standing over the bed, looking down at me >she's completely purple, except for a bright pink streak down her mane >a sinister horn protrudes from her forehead >it's glowing with an evil aura >there can be no doubt about what she's going to do next "Get away from me you nasty alien!" >I shriek at her, and she steps back in alarm "Hey! What in the name of Celestia--" "I WON'T LET YOU PROBE ME! NEVER AGAIN! HACHACHA!!!" >I wanted to keep my kung fu skills a secret but she's forced my hand >I spring from the bed with a wild karate chop that should have rendered her horn useless >however she suddenly vanishes and appears three feet to the right >I lose my balance and crash face first into the floor >the full force of my judo chop goes into the wall and my hand suddenly goes numb >I roll over on my back >the purple pony is standing off to the side, looking confused and annoyed >Applejack and the three smaller ones are nearby, looking just as confused >damn my cat like reflexes "By God, teleportation..." I mutter out loud. "Even the government hasn't perfected that yet! Just who are you?!?" "Mr. Rusty, this here's my friend Twilight, she's only tryin' to help--" >Applejack tries to move between me and the purple pony >as she does however I notice the purple one's horn starting to glow again >I feel a tingling in my skin and the hairs on my arm start to stand on end "Not today you bastards!" >I spring to my feet, breaking free of the aura of pink light that was beginning to encircle me >unfortunately though even my secret ninja training is no match for the power of her alien tractor beam >the aura engulfs me, and I feel myself being lifted into the air "Listen, I don't know what's going on, but if you can just hold still for a second--" >my right hand is still numb and useless >however I can move my left one >I reach into the pocket of my jumpsuit, looking for anything I can use >my fingers close around a small, hard piece of metal >it's my Zippo >wingo! >with a burst of strength I pull my arm out of the tractor beam, the Zippo clenched in my fist >I throw it as hard as I can >direct hit to the nose "Ow! What the--" >the aura around the horn disappears suddenly and I drop to the floor "What did you do that for?" >the purple unicorn is rubbing her foreleg against her nose >the other ponies appear too stunned to move >this might be my only chance to escape "YOU'LL NEVER TAKE MY BRAIN!" >I shriek at them and they all take a surprised step back >the three little ones look genuinely frightened "We're just trying to help..." >I make eye contact with Sweetie Belle and for a split second I feel a small pang of regret >but my feet are already moving >with a loud battle cry that comes out like another high-pitched shriek, I spring for the window >glass shatters all around me >I don't think any of it cut me but I have no time to think about it >I land on the edge of a sloping roof, immediately fall head over heels and roll off the edge of the roof >fortunately there's a pile of hay or something at the bottom so the landing isn't too rough "Hey there! Mr. Rusty! Are you crazy? Get back here!" >I hear Applejack's voice from the window above me >I only bought myself a few precious seconds, they'll catch up to me soon >I scramble to my feet and start running >I'm not even paying attention to where I'm going >nothing looks familiar to me anyway >I'm vaguely aware of jumping over a white fence >I see a huge grove of apple trees so I dive inside >within seconds I've lost all sense of direction but I keep moving >keep moving... >must keep moving... >dear God nothing looks familiar... >what have they done with Earth... >alien ponies... >they won't get my brain...
>>147643 Sorry, I've been working a lot, I was meaning to write a new installment last night then tonight, but wound up playing Civilization instead. I'll try to write some more tomorrow, and I'll probably get some more done over the weekend as well.
Sorry about the lack of updates guys. Here's the next installment.
>>147271 >I am wandering in a dense forest >I have no idea how long I've been here >my ability to navigate by the north star is useless as it is daytime >also I don't remember there being a forest anywhere near Arlen >this could all be a hologram put in my path to confuse me >who knows what these pony aliens are capable of? >I've got to be on my guard >I'm going to need all of my survival training >I stop at a small muddy brook to smear some mud on my face >this is an old Indian camouflage trick I learned from my good friend John Redcorn >by painting my face with mud my skin will resemble tree bark >if a pony passes by I can hold still with my arms in an upright position >pony vision is based on movement >as long as I don't move a muscle the pony should think that I'm a tree and will keep walking >wait, is that ponies or bears? >no, I'm pretty sure it's ponies >I also grab a little sand off the ground and put it in my pockets >I stuff some twigs in the front pockets of my jumpsuit while I'm at it >yes, this disguise is perfect >these alien ponies have no idea who they're up against >I hear a slight rustle in the leaves behind me "Mr. Shacklefoooooord! Ruuuuuuusty! Jeez, where did he go?" >I recognize that voice >it's the little one I met first, Sweetie Belle >damn, despite my best efforts to cover my trail she must have tracked me here >I'm obviously not up against amateurs here >clearly that little pony isn't as harmless as she looks >plus she's got one of those horns like the other one had >she might be planning to probe me >she's small so I could probably incapacitate her easily >she might have her friends with her though >better to use my disguise >I stand perfectly rigid >my arms are held up at right angles like a saguaro cactus >I clench a small twig in my mouth and hold as still as I can >the leaves just ahead of me rustle, and a second later a little white unicorn steps through >she looks right at me >she stares for a second and then rolls her eyes "Jeez, there you are. What are you doing out here?" >she's probably trying to get me to let my guard down >I don't fall for it >I hold perfectly still and don't answer >she trots up and stares at me for several seconds >she rolls her eyes and sighs in irritation again "We don't have time for...whatever this is. You need to come with me right now, it's not safe out here." >heh >like I'll fall for a simple ploy like that >I hold perfectly still "Look, Applejack carried you all the way upstairs and Twilight came from all the way across Ponyville just to help cure you of your smoke disease, or whatever it was, and you hit her in the face with some weird metal thing and then broke Applejack's window. I've never been so embarrassed. You're a really weird guy, Mr. Shackleford. You need to come back with me and apologize." >I hold perfectly still >she grunts in irritation "As in, right now?" >I hold perfectly still >she sighs and rolls her eyes again, and then trots around behind me >I feel her little head pushing against the back of my calves as she tries to nudge me forward >she doesn't seem that strong, for an alien >she makes another annoyed grunt and then I hear her trotting away, muttering to herself >I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I've overestimated her abilities a little >then suddenly I hear the sound of tiny galloping hooves >a second later something collides with the back of my knees >I lose my balance and and fall forward into the dirt >a second later Sweetie Belle is standing on my chest glaring down at me "There. Are you happy? Now get up, we've got to get back." "So, you were able to see through my disguise." >she blinks in annoyed confusion "Disguise? What were you pretending to be?" "A tree." "Yeah, well it wasn't very good. Like, at all. My friends and I once tried to get cutie marks for disguising ourselves as trees and hiding from our sisters. They weren't even fooled for a second, and even we were better than you." >hm >maybe it is bears that trick works on after all >I'm going to have to do some reading on alien ponies when I get back to the comfort of my basement "Perhaps there is much your people can teach my people." >Sweetie Belle rolls her eyes again "You're a really weird guy, Mr. Shackleford. Anyway, get up. We don't have time for this. You can't just wander around in the Everfree Forest by yourself, especially after dark. And the sun's going to go down soon." >she gets off my chest >ha >you fool >you thought it was safe to let your guard down but you didn't know I have one more trick up my sleeve >I reach into my pocket "Alright, I think I remember which way we came in. If we just follow that path back we should make it back before sunset--" "POCKET SAND!!" >I throw a handful and leap to my feet "Hey!" >she blinks in confusion, rubbing her eye with a foreleg and spitting out sand "Hachacha!" >I take off running into the woods "Hey! Get back here! Didn't you hear what I said? Grrrr!" >I hear the sound of tiny hooves galloping after me >damn, this is one tenacious little alien >I have to say she's quite the worthy adversary >a worthy adversary indeed >the shadows in the forest are getting longer >darkness will give me the advantage I need >these aliens have no idea who they're dealing with
>>147867 Also, don't mind the IDs being different, these are all still me. Posted from a hotel the other night.
>I am wandering in darkness >the sky looks different somehow from the night sky over the Arlen I know >it's probably something the aliens did >I'm beginning to regret throwing my lighter away >perhaps that alien tricked me into throwing it at her >these ponies are crafty creatures indeed... >whatever the purple alien did to me is still working >I haven't felt the need to smoke even though it has probably been several hours at this point >still I wish I had my smokes right now >it's hard to think without a cigarette in my hand >I stare up at the sky in concentration "Alright stars, which one of you is the NORTH star...?" >these damn crafty aliens seem to have moved the stars around on me >God only knows what else they're capable of "What are you doing now?" "Yaaargh!" >a voice suddenly penetrates the silence of the dark forest and I jump in surprise >I stumble on a tree root and fall onto my backside >a pony trots into view >it's that little marshmallow colored one again >damn she's persistent >I'm worried that I may have finally met my match this time "So, you managed to track me this far, did you?" >the little pony rolls her eyes "Track you? You've been stomping around talking to yourself for the last hour. The whole forest probably knows you're here." >I sit up and wrap my arms around my knees "Are you here to finish me off? Or are you going to take me back to your spaceship for dissection purposes?" >she stamps her hoof "You're really weird! What are you even talking about?" >the pony stamps her hoof again and grunts in exasperation >she takes a couple steps closer and I scramble backward instinctively "Jeez, I'm not going to hurt you, alright?" >my back connects with a tree and some pine needles drift down into my face >is this where it ends? >I won't go down without a fight "Look, just please don't run away again! I can't keep chasing you all night!" >I'm getting ready to pounce but something in her expression makes me hesitate >she glances around her and trots a little closer "Besides, I don't know where we are. I don't think I could find my way back on my own. Not in the dark, at least." >I stare at her for a few seconds >if I had a smoke I'd be inhaling it pensively as I size her up >she doesn't look that menacing now that I can see her up close >she looks a little scared, actually >it could still be an act though "How do I know you're not going to probe me?" >her nose wrinkles up in confusion "Probe you? What does that mean?" >I briefly explain the procedure to her >her nose wrinkles up again "Eew! Why would I want to do that?" >I point to the horn growing out of her forehead "Your overlord had a horn just like that, and she used it to control me somehow." >Sweetie Belle's eyes cross as she tries to look at her horn "My horn? Wait, my over...over what? What are you talking about? Do you mean Twilight?" "That purple alien made her horn glow somehow, and then suddenly I couldn't move. I can only assume it was some kind of tractor beam." "Wait, what? A tractor?" >she looks confused "Look, I don't know what an alias is, but Twilight's just a regular unicorn. She isn't an overload, or whatever you said. She's one of my sister's friends, she's really nice. She probably won't even be mad that you threw that thing in her face!" >she starts nudging her head into my leg "Come on, get up! We can go back to Sweet Apple Acres, you can apologize to Twilight and Applejack, and maybe we can all get some rest for the night. If you're really nice they might even give us something to eat. I hope they do at least, I'm starving right now!" >suddenly a low, distant howl cuts through the silence around us >Sweetie Belle stops nudging my leg and backs up against me instead >her head darts around, trying in vain to peer into the shadows of the murky forest "W-what was that?" >the howl sounds again >I scratch my chin "Hmmm....it sounds like it could be a wolf. Or possibly a WEREwolf." >Sweetie Belle looks up at me, her eyes wide with alarm "A where wolf? What's that?" "I've dealt with them before in my capacity as a professional exterminator and bounty hunter. They can be a handful sometimes, I'll admit." >I stand up "It might be best if we start moving." >Sweetie Belle looks up eagerly "So you know how to get us back to Ponyville?" "Madam, I am a certified wilderness survival expert. Rest assured that no harm will come to you while you're in my company. However be advised that if you try to dissect me in any way I will not hesitate to defend myself, and you should also be aware that I am a master of multiple forms of kung fu." >Sweetie Belle blinks and then rolls her eyes a little "Uh, okay, fine. I won't try to dissect you. Can we just go please?" >I stare up in concentration at the night sky "Yes, I just need a moment to get my bearings." >I continue to stare at the night sky "Well?" "Yes...I was just wondering. Do you happen to know which one of these stars is the NORTH star?" >Sweetie Belle gives an exasperated groan and stamps her hooves "You have no idea where we are, do you?" >I scratch my chin and continue studying the stars "Not...as such, no. Your people's alien technology seems to have obfuscated the sky somehow." >the little pony grinds her teeth and looks like she's preparing to charge >however, another low howl echoes in the distance, followed by an answering howl from what sounds like the opposite side of the forest >she changes her mind and backs up against my leg instead "C-can we just get going please?" >I scratch my chin as I study the night sky >another howl echoes across the forest >it sounds a little closer this time
>>148293 Nice, thank you for preserving it. Glad everyone is enjoying it :)
>the howls are getting closer and closer together >I am now certain that we are indeed being tracked by werewolves >what relation they are to the aliens is uncertain >the small pony with me does not seem to be in cahoots with them >but I've been fooled by these creatures before "How long have we been walking?" >I stop for a moment and stare up at the skies >if I can ascertain the position of Orion I might be able to tell how far it is until morning "About five hours." >Sweetie Belle rolls her eyes "There's no way it's been that long." >I scratch my chin "Hmmm. Do you happen to know the current position of Orion?" >she makes an irritated noise in the back of her throat "Never mind, let's just keep going." >my small horse companion seems tired and afraid >I am beginning to suspect that she is not actually involved in whatever the aliens have planned for me >perhaps I can sway her to the human side >first we'll need to get out of this forest, though >I'm going to need all my animal cunning "I think the exit to this forest is just through those trees over there." >I point toward a shadowy opening not far ahead "That's what you said the last time, and it just turned out to just be more trees." >she sounds like she's about to start crying "Can we please just get out of here, Mr. Shackleford?" >I scratch my chin and take one last look at the sky >is that Orion over there? >could be the planet Neptune >damn these aliens and their clever sky tricks >we step through the opening and find ourselves in a clearing >there's something in the center >looks like a big pile of sticks >there are two glowing spots in the middle of it >I lift up the sunglass clips over my glasses so I can see it easier >now that I think about it I probably should have done that earlier >it's much easier to see now >the bush in front of me appears to be moving >suddenly the two glowing spots move sharply upward >a long howl emanates from the center of the bush >next to me Sweetie Belle shrieks in alarm "T-timber wolves!" >the pile of sticks moves again >it steps forward into a patch of moonlight and I see that the sticks actually have the shape of a large wolf >I'll admit this is a new one on me... "They're all around us..." >her voice comes out like a pitiful squeak >I look around >sure enough, I count five of the large wooden wolves in a semicircle surrounding us >nothing but thick growth to our backs, they've got us hemmed in >but little do they know they're up against a licensed professional bounty hunter "I eat wolves like you for breakfast. 'Least I would, except I don't want splinters in my teeth. Shishishaw!!" >I drop into my kung fu stance >the wolves tense >Sweetie Belle scrambles around behind me "C-can you handle them all? W-what's your plan?" >I glare at the wolves surrounding us >suddenly I slam my hand into my fist "I got it!" >Sweetie Belle takes a deep, hopeful breath "Timber wolves! It's like they're wolves, but they're made out of timb--YAAAGH!!" >I shriek as something slams into me from the side >I roll head over heels a few times and when I look up one of the timber wolves is staring down in my face >it gnashes its teeth at me, I move my head out of the way just in time and it chomps down on the grass next to me >I see a greenish bluish flash of light out of the corner of my eye and a small stone suddenly hits the wolf in the cheek >it turns its head toward Sweetie Belle standing nearby, her horn glowing with alien power "Get away from him!" >the wolf clenches its teeth and lowers its body to the ground, turning towards her >it looks like it's about to pounce >I grab a handful of sand off the ground beside me and fling it into the wolf's glowing eyes "Shishishaw!" >it howls in frustration and claws at its eyes >another small rock from Sweetie Belle hits it in the shoulder and a few sticks drop off of its body >I aim a kick at one of its legs >the leg breaks off and the wolf collapses to the ground just as I roll out from under it >Sweetie Bell comes running toward me as I pull myself to my feet "Wait, look out!" >another wolf comes barreling at her from the side >she shrieks and rolls to the ground just as it leaps for her >it goes sailing over her head and collides with a tree, its body breaking apart into sticks >I pick up a big rock and fling it at the wolf on the ground as it feebly tries to stand up on three legs with a wounded shoulder >the rock smashes a hole through its chest >it weaves drunkenly to the side for a second and then collapses, its legs cracking apart underneath it >looks like that's two down >I run to where Sweetie Belle is as she scrambles to her hooves >two more are coming at us from either side "What do we do, Mr. Shackleford?" "You got any more alien tricks you can do with that horn?" "N-no, not really..." "Then we should probably RUN!!" >I scoop her up off the ground as I run past >both wolves pounce at the same time >I duck, and they crash into each other >sticks and bramble rain down on my back as I run wildly through a gap in the trees, out of the clearing and back into the woods >I can hear the last wolf sprinting after us >its joints make a weird clicking sound as it runs >the little pony is heavier than she looks, I can't really move that fast while carrying her >turns out I don't really have to though, because suddenly the ground slopes sharply downward >I lose my footing and we go rolling down the side of a steep hill
>we roll faster and faster >twigs and thistles cut through the fabric of my jumpsuit my arms and legs feel like they're being shredded >the pony's high pitched shrieking threatens to break my eardrums >I try to shield her with my body as we roll >somewhere along the way I lose my grip on her and she goes rolling off >suddenly I collide with something soft and wet >my face is buried in mud >everything is darkness >I flail my limbs around >I can feel mud and water splashing around me >struggling for a few seconds, I finally manage to roll over on my back >I wipe the mud from my glasses, and see a clear sky full of stars above me >no tree branches are blocking the view >I still can't see that damn North Star >or Orion >but it looks like we're out of the woods nonetheless >I sit up >looks like we landed in the bank of a little pond at the base of a tall hill >the dark outline of the forest towers above us at the top >I can see two glowing eyes looking down from the spot where we fell >they stare down at me for a second, then the timber wolf gives a long howl of frustration, turns around and darts back into the trees >I look around >I can see the dim lights of what looks like a town off in the distance >a little white blob moving in my direction catches my eye >Sweetie Belle is covered in mud >her legs are shaking, but she doesn't look hurt "Are you okay?" >she nods "I think so." >she plops down in the mud next to me and we sit looking at the sky in silence for a while "Um, can we not tell anyone about the timber wolves? My sister will totally freak out if she finds out what happened." "Okay." >the night is cool and still >the unfamiliar stars twinkle above us peacefully >it's a nice night, even though we're sitting in mud and my body is covered in cuts and bruises "This isn't Texas, is it?" >Sweetie Belle grunts softly and stands up "I've told you a hundred times, we're in Ponyville. I don't know where Texas is." "Alright then." >I struggle to my feet >I'm covered in mud and every part of my body is sore >suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see an ominous pink glow >the darkness parts and the purple alien horse steps into view, her horn glowing with malevolent power >my body tenses up >I'm in no condition for another fight right now "Twilight!" >Sweetie Belle squeaks in delight and runs toward her "Where did the two of you run off to?" >the purple pony called Twilight studies us carefully "You're both filthy. What happened to you?" "We got lost in the Everfree Forest." "Heh. Yeah, we noticed. Y'all were mostly going in circles." >the orange pony from before steps out from behind Twilight, still wearing her cowboy hat >that hat still disturbs me >why would a pony be wearing a people hat? >and for that matter why are the stars wrong, and why are all the werewolves here made out of wood? >nothing about this place makes any sense to me >Sweetie Belle didn't want me to tell them about the wolves, so I keep quiet >maybe these aliens haven't realized yet that their plan to sic killer wooden wolves on me was thwarted by my expert ninja skills >they probably also don't realize that their vassal Sweetie Belle has come over to the human side >probably better to surrender peacefully to them for now >I put my hands up and approach them slowly "I have submitted to capture by your skilled underling. I am ready to come along peacefully." >the two larger ponies give me a puzzled glance "Uh, what's he goin' on about? What happened to y'all in there? How'd you get so dirty?" >Applejack looks down at Sweetie Belle questioningly "Uh, never mind him. I don't know what he's talking about most of the time. What was that you said about us going in circles?" >Applejack looks amused "Heh. Uh yeah, fortunately y'all didn't get very far into that forest. You really shouldn't go wandering around in there after dark, if y'all had gotten much further in you coulda been in a heap of trouble. Don't know why y'all decided to get off the path, but we figured you'd probably end up around here, so we decided to come around and meet up with you. I'm guessin' you're done playin' for the evenin?" >I feel a sharp kick in my shin, and look down to see Sweetie Belle glaring daggers at me "Anyway, I figure it's about time to be gettin' on home. Y'all had better come back to the farm first and wash up, you know how that Rarity hates muddy hooves." "Yeah..." >Sweetie Belle shoots me one last hateful glare and trudges away sulkily after Twilight and Applejack >Applejack glances back over her shoulder at me "Uh, you comin' Mr. Rusty? Or are you sleepin' out here in the woods tonight?" >I glance at the three ponies, then look over my shoulder at the dark, forbidding forest on top of the hill "I'll come peacefully." >for now, at least >I fall in line behind the three ponies >we trudge along through the grass in silence >a low, faint howl echoes from the forest behind us >ahead, the lights of the town called Ponyville rise up to greet us
And that's basically the end of chapter one. story's not over yet though
>>148641 Thank You. however..... >i have been censored..... >ALOT. so, i am done here. you wanna see my art go here. >radical-frenzone.booru & Radical Kendamas/Kendama Korner YT. .........i had fun XD for all those that <3 me >i will always luv u but i play by my own >Rules And i Rule #1 on this Earth. peace /b/ with u. :^) >LULZY-K3KKLES NO MOAR......
"Manitoba." >the pony stares at me in confusion "Manitoba cigarettes." "I'm really sorry, sir. I have no idea what that is. I have plenty of asparagus if you'd like some of that!" >I stare at the pony manning the asparagus stand >she seems uncomfortable "Um...if you don't want any asparagus, could you please move? There is a whole line of ponies behind you." >I stare for a moment or two longer "Alright then, I'll take some asparagus." "Uh, two bits please." >I place two coins onto the table and leave with a few stalks of asparagus >turns out I still had an empty cigarette pack in one of my pockets >I've already sucked out all the tobacco dust, but I hung on to the wrapper >as I walk I begin breaking the asparagus stalks into even sized pieces roughly the length of my finger >ponies are staring at me as I walk by but I've gotten used to that >soon I have about twenty asparagus stalks >I put one in my mouth and put the rest into the empty cigarette pack >then I put the pack in my breast pocket >I chew on the asparagus a little, hold it between two fingers for a couple seconds, then put it back in my mouth >it still doesn't quite feel right but this will have to do for now >at least nicotine fits haven't been an issue >I look up >a pink and white pony is standing in my path, staring at me >I tip my cap to her "Ma'am." >she makes an unintelligible noise and darts away >sometimes I forget that I am in their world, and must appear alien to them >I continue making my way down the streets of this strange town towards the large tree I've been staying in >today is the third day since I arrived here >I am still not sure what happened >I can remember my life in Arlen, but my memory of the 24 hours before I woke up here is fuzzy >my head hurts when I try to remember >it's possible that some kind of mind erasing technique was used on me >I still haven't ruled out involvement by the Federal government >however I suspect these ponies might have the ability as well >I believe that learning the events of the last 24 hours before my abduction occurred will be crucial >for the time being though, I have resolved to find out as much as I can about the alien world I now inhabit >I've learned that this world is called Equestria, and it seems to be inhabited almost entirely by sentient ponies >the ponies with horns growing out of their foreheads are capable of using some form of telekinesis >they call it "magic" but I suspect there's something they're not telling me >the ponies so far do not seem to be hostile >most of them are pretty nice, actually >however I still don't trust them >the purple pony, the one called Twilight Sparkle, has taken me in, I suspect to keep me under observation >her telekinetic powers seem stronger than the other unicorns >although the other ponies do not seem to regard her as anyone special I suspect she may be an agent of this world's government >I've decided to watch her closely and learn all I can about this strange planet of the ponies >I arrive at the treehouse "Oh, hi Mr. Rusty." "Spike." >Twilight's dragon friend is in the main room of the library >I still haven't quite figured out who this guy is exactly >she calls him her friend but he seems more like something between a pet and a slave >perhaps the dragons once ruled this world, until the ponies took over and forced them into a servile role "What did you buy at the market?" "Asparagus. Want some?" >I take the pack out of my front pocket and hold it out to him "Yech, no thanks. I'll stick with gems." >Spike takes another ruby out of the bowl he's holding and pops it in his mouth >he downs a few more in succession >he notices me watching him "You want one?" "I'll try one." >I put the gem he hands me into my mouth >it's hard, I can't really chew on it >I move it around in my mouth >it tastes pretty awful >not quite sure how he eats these things >Nancy would like it, although I think she'd probably wear it instead of eat it >I wonder what she's doing right now >she must be worried that I haven't been home, then again she knows my work is dangerous >good thing my friend John Redcorn is there to keep an eye on her >I take the ruby out of my mouth and drop it into my pocket "I'll eat it later." >Spike shrugs "Suit yourself." >he goes back to eating rubies and wanders out of the room >weird guy >I hear the sound of hooves on the stairs "Oh good, Mr. Rusty, you're home." >Twilight Sparkle is coming down the staircase, levitating some books with her creepy alien powers "I found some more books for you. There's an introductory volume on the History of Equestria that I think you'll like. I also found my old civics text from when I was a school filly, you wanted to know more about Equestrian law and that should give you the broad strokes. Uh, what's that in your mouth?" "Asparagus." >I take the books, warily putting my hand into the glowing pink aura "Thank you. I will peruse these." "Uh...huh." >several awkward seconds of silence pass "Oh! I remember what else I was going to tell you. I talked to Cheerilee at the school, and she says it would be fine for you to join her class for a little while. I think it will be a good way for you to learn about life in Ponyville, and maybe even make a few friends." >she brought this up a couple of times before >why does this alien unicorn want me to make friends so badly? >I'm suspicious, but I also think this could be useful >attending their school could give me some insight into their alien civilization "School, huh?" >I put the stalk back in my mouth and take a long drag >tastes like asparagus "Alright. Tell her I'll be there."
>>149029 >the desks are small and uncomfortable >I'm sitting on a hard wooden bench about the height of a church kneeler in front of a desk that barely comes up to my shins >I roll the asparagus stalk in between my teeth >at least they don't mind me smoking in here >the room is full of small alien ponies >the three from the other day are here I notice >they keep casting curious glances in my direction, except for Sweetie Belle >I tried to get her attention earlier but she seems to be deliberately ignoring me >probably doesn't want her cover blown >that's a good idea, she seems like a smart one "Class, we have a special visitor who is going to be joining us for a few days." >the big crimson pony who appears to be some kind of drill instructor addresses the group "This is...er....I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?" >she's talking to me >I stand up "Shackleford, Rusty. I am on vacation." >I sit back down "Er...right. Class, this is Shackleford Rusty. He...apparently is on vacation. Let's try to make him feel welcome." >a small pony near the front raises her hoof "Um, Miss Cheerilee? What is Shackleford Rusty doing here?" >the drill instructor pony looks a little flustered "Well...er...perhaps Mr. Rusty would like to answer that question himself?" >I stand up again "Do not be afraid. I have come here to study your culture and learn your ways. I am on vacation." >the small pony looks at me curiously "What are you?" >hmmmm >interesting >so far, most of the ponies I've met here don't seem to know what humans are >that seems to poke a hole in my original theory, that their kind has invaded Earth and enslaved the human race >I'm not sure how I got here, but I'm pretty sure now that I'm on their planet instead of vice versa >but for that to happen I would have to have been abducted >I still haven't ruled out the possibility that the purple one might try to probe me at some point >I make a mental note not to leave my anus unguarded at any time while I'm here >in any case whoever's responsible is probably hiding in the shadows, watching my every move >I better not say too much "I am an exterminator." >the pony looks confused but seems to accept that answer >another pony raises her hoof "Do you live in Ponyville?" "No ma'am. I am from..........Oklahoma. Although I am staying in Ponyville." >another pony chimes in "Oklahoma? Where's that? Is it near Cloudsdale?" "Not far." >the pony called Cheerilee clears her throat "Well now, if no one else has any more questions for Shackleford Rusty..." "I have a question." >another pony is raising her hoof "Yes, Diamond Tiara?" >I am instantly on my guard >the pony addressed as Diamond Tiara is pink and purple colored >there appears to be a picture of a diamond tiara emblazoned on her hindquarters >she is also wearing a diamond tiara >I'm sensing a theme >I study the tiara while trying to appear nonchalant >I suspect it may be a transmitter of some sort >she has an unpleasant smile on her face >a grey pony that appears to be her underling is snickering next to her >she's probably a low-level lieutenant, sent to gather information >hopefully I won't have to subdue her just yet "My father's been all over Equestria and he's never told me about any place called Oklahoma. Did you make it up?" >Cheerilee stamps her hoof angrily "Diamond Tiara, that was a very rude question. Of course he didn't make it up. Did you, Shackleford Rusty?" "No ma'am. My homeland is very far away, you probably don't have it on your maps." >Diamond Tiara looks amused and unconvinced "Really. Well, that would explain why you're so weird looking." >the gray underling pony next to her giggles >Diamond Tiara seems encouraged by the reaction and stands up >she trots over to my desk and makes a circle around it "You don't look like anypony I've ever seen. Are you even a pony at all?" "No ma'am. I am not a pony. My people are called...Sooners." >good thing Hank's not here >if he heard me call myself a Sooner I'd never live it down "And are all the Sooners as weird looking as you?" >the little grey pony starts laughing hysterically >I am beginning to suspect that she might be a robot, or at least a cyborg >I will have to investigate her further when I get a chance "No ma'am. My friend Bill is weirder looking than I am." >the class seems to find that funny >their laughter irritates Diamond Tiara, however >she looks like she's about to say something else when Cheerilee starts angrily stomping her hoof again "Diamond Tiara, sit down please!" >the class quiets down, and Diamond Tiara returns to her seat >she shoots an evil grin on her way back >heh, what an amateur >if this is the best agent they had to send then I'm going to bust this alien conspiracy wide open in no time >maybe I'll see what I can get out of that robot of hers later >for now, I'm here to learn "Alright, class, that's enough questions for Shackleford Rusty. Now it's time to get back to our lesson. Yesterday we were talking about..........." >Cheerilee goes off into her lecture >it's mostly gobbledegook to be honest >for a race of sentient ponies that seem to have mastered teleportation and cybernetics, they sure believe a lot of weird stuff >apparently they believe in a geocentric universe and think that destiny is controlled by something called "cutie marks" >still, I'm here to learn about this world, so I keep quiet and listen >several of the ponies keep giving me curious looks >Sweetie Belle glances back at me but quickly turns her head away when I notice >Diamond Tiara and her cyborg companion are whispering and giggling to each other, occasionally they look in my direction >I'm attracting a little more attention than I wanted, but that's probably good >whoever or whatever is at the heart of this conspiracy, I'll smoke it out soon...
>>151200 "Hey, Mr. Shackleford! You can come eat with us if you want!" >the little yellow pony is waving a hoof at me "All right." >I cross the meadow to where Apple Bloom and her two friends are sitting in the shade of a tree >I remember these three from the other day >Sweetie Belle is the first pony I met on this planet >her friends are Apple Bloom and Scootaloo I think >these aliens sure have some weird names >they sound like something from a kids show "You mind if I smoke?" "Uh....I guess not?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo look confused >I reach into my pocket and pull a fresh stalk out of the pack >I'm running low >I'll have to pick up some more on my way back "Asparagus?" >Sweetie Belle is staring at me with an irritated look on her face "That's what smokes are?" >it's the first time she's spoken to me since we got back from the woods the other night "You made all that trouble over some dumb asparagus?" "Not exactly." "Jeez, you could have just said if that was all you needed. Apple Bloom has a whole cupboard full of it." >she plops down in the grass and turns her head away in a huff >Apple Bloom clears her throat "So...you're staying at Twilight's place right? What did she give you for lunch?" >lunch >I knew I forgot something >I reach into my pocket >all I have in there besides my asparagus smokes is the gem from yesterday >I take it out and study it >according to that dragon you can eat these things >wonder if it's ripened up a bit? >I put it in my mouth and bite down on it >nope, still hard >haven't quite figured out how you're supposed to eat these >Scootaloo laughs "Did Spike pack your lunch or something?" >I put the gem back in my pocket "He might have." "Only dragons eat gems, I'm guessing that's probably a little too hard for you." >Apple Bloom rummages through her saddle bag "Here, my sister packed me a couple extra apples, you can have one." "Thanks." >she rolls one apple to me and the other to Scootaloo >her family runs the apple farm I escaped from the other day if I remember correctly >I take a small bite and roll it around in my mouth for a minute just to be sure >doesn't taste like mind control serum, I think it's probably okay >it's pretty good actually >Scootaloo spits out an apple seed "I hope Diamond Tiara didn't bother you too much earlier." "No bother. What's that other one's name?" "You mean Silver Spoon?" >Scootaloo makes a little gagging motion with her hoof and Apple Bloom giggles "She just does whatever Diamond Tiara does, you don't need to worry about her." >hmmm >they don't seem to have realized this "Silver Spoon" is a probable cyborg, possibly even 100% robotic >they probably don't have much experience dealing with replicants >I'm now about 96% sure that Diamond Tiara and her robot friend are the two I'll need to keep an eye on "What do you know about that tiara?" >Apple Bloom looks confused "Her tiara? You mean Diamond Tiara's diamond tiara?" "Yeah. I don't see no one else around here wearing one. What's it do?" "Do?" >Scootaloo rubs her chin with a hoof "Guess I've never really thought about it before, she just wears it all the time." >Apple Bloom swallows another bite of apple "I always just assumed it was because her name is Diamond Tiara. Huh, I wonder where she got that thing anyway?" >interesting >I study their expressions >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo look mildly perplexed, like I've given them something to think about >Sweetie Belle is still ignoring me >whatever's going on in this town, these three don't seem to be involved >that's good >I'm going to need someone I can trust "Why don't you just ask her yourself?" >Sweetie Belle's irritated voice cuts into my thoughts >I look up to see Diamond Tiara and the little grey cyborg pony coming our way "Oh hi there, Shackleford Rusty. I see you've found the losers club." >the cyborg giggles on cue >I examine her closely >she's wearing glasses, probably to hide her bionic eyes >either that or they enhance her abilities somehow >she could have x-ray vision >possibly heat vision >other than that she looks like a normal pony >pretty well done skin job >or fur job >I'll need to be careful how I deal with her >I look over at Diamond Tiara >her diamond tiara glints softly in the sunlight >I wonder if there's a radio tower nearby that she transmits to >it's also possible she uses it to communicate with her cyborg >a plan begins to take root in the back of my mind >it will take some preparation though "You're so weird you'll probably fit right in with these blank flanks!" >the cyborg is speaking >I'm slightly startled by the quality of her speech synthesizer >Diamond Tiara laughs "Yeah, come to think of it, do Sooners even have cutie marks?" >cutie marks >the teacher mentioned those "This one sure doesn't!" >after this last remark from the cyborg, the two of them trot away laughing >Sweetie Belle makes an irritated noise in the back of her throat "Jeez, those two are so annoying!" >Apple Bloom trots around and looks up at me with a worried look on her face "I hope those two don't give you a bad impression of Ponyville, Mr. Shackleford! Most ponies here are a lot nicer." >Scootaloo chimes in "Yeah, don't let them ruin your vacation. Those two are just kind of...special." >I stare off at the two ponies walking back towards the schoolhouse >blank flanks, huh? >I look down at the three ponies around me >I didn't notice it before, but they don't have the same flank markings as most of the others >all the adult ponies and several of the other larval ones have special symbols on their flanks, but these three don't >a large puzzle piece snaps into place >I think I've got this world just about figured out "Listen, you three. I've got something to tell you, and what you hear might shatter your entire perception of reality."
>>151775 Thanks. I'm trying to write each post to be its own "episode" so to speak. This is actually my first time writing greentext pony fiction so I'm trying to get a feel for the medium while pulling what is slowly turning into a pretty large story out of my ass. I'm finding it to be a bit like fresco painting, where you have to get it right the first time because once it's posted you're stuck with whatever you wrote. I'm slightly paranoid like Dale about it because usually when I write I end up with continuity errors out the ass, so I'm trying to go a little more slowly and map the story out in advance, while doing my best to keep track of the details from previous installments.
>>151725 "Wait, what?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo exchange a confused look "Your government is lying to you." >I pause to give them a minute to process what I've just said >I take a long, asparagus-flavored drag "What government? What are you talking about?" >Sweetie Belle looks annoyed but her curiosity is clearly getting the better of her "Think about it. Your teacher just told us that the sun and the moon move by magic." "Yeah, Princess Celestia raises the sun and Princess Luna raises the moon. Everypony knows that." >the three of them look at each other and nod >these poor, naive little ponies >I almost feel bad about destroying their innocent view of the world >however it's clear that there's a government conspiracy afoot and I don't have the luxury of gently feeding them breadcrumbs "Do you have any idea how heavy the sun is? It's probably thousands of pounds. Even if you had a tractor beam powerful enough to move it around, you'd probably screw up your planet's orbit. Moving the moon would probably be easier, but I imagine the effect on tides would be pretty bad." >the ponies look at each other like they think I'm nuts "Um, what are you talking about?" >Sweetie Belle points a hoof at the sky "The sun is right up there. I don't know what oribut or tides or whatever you said is, but there it is, just moving across the sky. You know, like it does everyday?" "And you say that this 'Princess Celestia' is moving it?" >Apple Bloom scrunches up her brow in confusion "Well, yeah. How else would it move?" "So Princess Celestia just sits there, all day, just moving the sun around? She never does anything else?" "Um....I don't know. She does other stuff I guess, right?" >Apple Bloom looks helplessly at Scootaloo, who looks deep in thought "I.....never thought about it before....." >Scootaloo scratches her chin with a hoof "And where does the sun go after the Princess lowers it, huh?" "Uh....underneath the ground...I guess?" "And it just sits there for hours, in one place? Until Celestia comes to raise it again? Don't the ponies on the other side of the planet wonder why it's always either high noon or nighttime?" >the three ponies look really confused "There's ponies on the other side of the ground?" "Do they walk upside down or...what?" >Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle exchange a puzzled look again "You have some weird ideas, Mr. Shackleford." >Scootaloo chomps down the last bite of the apple she'd been eating "Next thing you're going to tell us that pegasus ponies don't control the weather." >the three ponies share a laugh "Wait, pegasus ponies can control the weather?" >they stop laughing abruptly when they realize I was asking a serious question "Uh, yeah?" >Sweetie Belle looks at me like I have bugs in my teeth or something "Did you really not know that?" >Apple Bloom stands up with her forelegs on top of my knee and gives me a worried look "I don't mean to be rude, Mr. Shackleford, but if you don't know basic stuff like that you probably shouldn't be in our grade level. You might have some trouble keeping up with the work." >this is an interesting development >I remember noticing some pegasus ponies flying above town yesterday, they looked like they were moving clouds around somehow >I didn't want to say anything at the time because I didn't want to appear suspicious >but it struck me as sinister >I feel the icy cold grip of panic tighten around my heart >if these ponies have mastered weather-control technology they might be planning to terraform the earth >what if they really do have a tractor beam that can move the sun and the moon? >I need to find out who these "princesses" are, fast "Does the weather work different in Oklahoma?" >I look down >Apple Bloom is still looking up at me, talking "I remember hearin' that the weather in the Everfree Forest works that way." >Scootaloo looks up "Wait, is that true? I thought that was just something ponies tell their foals to scare them." "Uh, the weather in Oklahoma can be...a little unpredictable I guess. Lots of unscheduled tornadoes." "Wow, that sounds awful. No wonder you went on vacation." >Scootaloo yawns and plops down on the grass "So.....these princesses. The ones who can move the sun and moon? Where could I find them?" "The princesses?" >Apple Bloom gets down off my knee and sits down next to Scootaloo "Well, Princess Celestia lives in Canterlot Castle. So does Princess Luna, actually. She used to live on the moon, though." >wait, the moon? >the alien ponies have a base on the moon? >suddenly it all makes sense >I stand up abruptly "I have to go now. Excuse me." >I wheel around and break out running back toward Twilight's tree >dear God I hope I'm not too late "Jeez, where are you going now?" >Sweetie Belle's irritated voice calls out as I leave >I hear Apple Bloom's voice call out after her "Wait! School isn't over yet, Mr. Shackleford!" >I regret not being able to attend the rest of the schoolday, but there's no time to lose >that Twilight has some stuff in her treehouse that I can use, if I remember correctly >I'm faintly aware of the sound of small hooves galloping after me, but I'm in too much of a hurry to turn around and see who it is >instead I focus on directing all my energy into my feet, forcing myself to run faster >I hear Apple Bloom's voice call out behind me "Hey! Wait!" >I hear a small voice behind me but I pay it no mind >soon the hooves have faded into the distance >I think I lost her >dimly I'm aware of a burning in my lungs and I can hear myself wheeze >these asparagus smokes are going to be the death of me >the treehouse rises up slowly in the distance, too slowly for my taste >I just hope it isn't too late
>>152157 >I arrive at the Golden Oak library, wheezing and out of breath >there's no sign of whichever of the little ponies ran after me, I think I must have lost her >I feel a little bad about running away but I don't want to put them in any danger >it's better if I do this alone >I go inside the library >I hope Twilight isn't home >I'm in luck, there's no sign of either her or the little dragon >I go upstairs to the top floor >she's got all kinds of sciencey equipment up here >God only knows what kind of horrible experiments she uses all of this for >I see the thing I need lying on the table >yeah, this will work nicely >I grab the small horseshoe-shaped object and slip it into my pocket >I should probably hurry up and get out of here before Twilight and that dragon get back >I hurry down the stairs and out the front door >Sweetie Belle is pacing around the front steps >she looks mad >as soon as she hears the door open she turns and glares at me "There you are! Why did you run off like that? You can't just leave school in the middle of lunch, Miss Cheerilee is going to be mad at us." >damn >I didn't want to get any of the little ponies involved in this >still, since she's here maybe I can use her "Were you followed?" "What? Followed? By who?" >I look her over quickly "You probably wouldn't know it if you were." >I don't see any tracking devices on her, although I still wouldn't rule it out >can't really be helped though "Anyway, did you get whatever it is you came here for?" "Yep." "Then can we go back to class now please?" "You can. I've still got stuff I need to do. Can you tell me where that little grey cyborg pony lives?" "Grey sideboard pony? What are you even talking about?" "The one who hangs around with that other one from earlier. She's got glasses." "Wait, do you mean Silver Spoon?" "Yeah, that's the one." "No, wait, you can't do anything to her! I know she's annoying, they both are, but if you start trouble with her it's just going to make everything worse! Just ignore her!" "Can't. She's a cyborg." >I take an asparagus stalk out of the pack and put it in my mouth >I don't have my lighter anymore, but I hold my empty hand up in front of my face and make a movement with my thumb like I'm lighting a cigarette >I have no idea why I've been doing this >I know perfectly well the asparagus stalks aren't really cigarettes, but for some reason I've found if I pretend they are it feels the same way as actually smoking >I'm worried it might have something to do with whatever that Twilight did to me >if I'm under some sort of mind control hypnosis then it could mean that my judgement is compromised and I'm wrong about all of this >still, I can't start second guessing myself >I have no choice but to proceed "Tell you what, don't worry about it. You head on back to school. I'll find her myself." >I start walking off down the road >Sweetie Belle scrambles after me "Wait! What are you going to do?" "It's better if you don't know." >she gallops around and grinds to a stop in front of me >something in her expression makes me stop walking "Look, just wait, okay?" >she looks like she's still a little out of breath >she must have run pretty hard to catch up with me >she shields her eye with a foreleg and looks up at the sun >it's beginning to sink towards what I assume is the West >although if its movement really is controlled by a tractor beam any sense of time and direction I have can't be relied upon "Look, it's getting late. By the time we get back class will probably be almost over anyway. If you promise not to do anything crazy like the other day, I'll show you the way Silver Spoon walks home." "Crazy?" >I take the asparagus stalk out of my mouth and exhale a cloud of imaginary smoke "Sweetie Belle, if I'm right about this, you and me and maybe those two friends of yours are the only sane people in this town. Uh, ponies in your case." >she rolls her eyes "Whatever, let's just go." >by the time we get back to the school, I'd estimate it's around 2 in the afternoon >not that that means anything in an artificially controlled environment >it could be the middle of the night for all I know >Sweetie Belle leads me to a road around the back of the schoolhouse >there's some bushes nearby that will provide good cover >I crouch behind them "Thanks. This will do nicely. You can go now." >instead of leaving, the little pony follows me behind the bushes >she looks up at me with a penetrating glare "Do you promise you're not going to do anything weird?" "Yep." "You promise?" "Yep. I just want to talk to her." >she glares intently at me for a while longer, and then takes a seat on the grass next to me "I don't trust you." "Suit yourself." >we sit in silence for about five or ten minutes >soon, I hear a couple of voices I recognize chattering not far off, and a moment later two familiar ponies come into view "I'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye!" >Silver Spoon turns down the path and starts walking toward our position >Diamond Tiara walks off in the opposite direction and is soon out of sight >good >I was worried the two of them might be together but if the cyborg's by herself this will be much simpler >I wait until she's just in front of the bush and then suddenly-- "Shishishaw!" >I pounce out from behind the bushes >her software doesn't have time to react >a second later she's on her back, and I'm on top of her, pinning her down "Hey! What the--Shackleford Rusty?" >she blinks in confusion as she stares up at me, trying to process the situation >I reach into my pocket and pull out the magnet I took from Twilight's lab >I hold it up for her to see "That's right, cyborg. It's your old nemesis, a magnetic field." "Wh-what? Side-what? What are you talking about? Let me go!" >I lower it threateningly "Now you listen up. I want some answers."
>>152272 >the little cyborg looks up at me in shocked terror >she doesn't answer me >her mouth just opens and closes like a fish >heh, just as I thought >she's scared to death of magnets >suddenly I hear galloping hooves off to the side >a moment later something sort of jabs at my thigh >I look down >looks like Sweetie Belle charged me full-force with her horn >good thing it's not very sharp and she's not very strong >might leave kind of a bruise though "What are you doing? You said you wouldn't do anything weird!" >she's breathing hard and looks pretty mad "I don't think you understand the severity of the situation, Sweetie Belle." >I turn my attention back to the cyborg "This is your last chance. The magnet should disrupt any transmission you try to send, so don't even think about calling for help." >I lean forward menacingly, dangling the magnet over her head "And now you're gonna answer some questions. And if I don't like what I hear, you can kiss your memory banks goodbye!" >Silver Spoon's eyes fill up with tears "I....I.....I....I don't know what you're....I...what are you..." >wow, whoever built her did a really good job >she's so lifelike I'm almost fooled into pitying her >Sweetie Belle makes an odd grunting noise, like she's straining to lift something >suddenly I feel a familiar tingling sensation, like a mild electric shock >a greenish blue aura surrounds me for a second and I feel myself being pulled upward >the pull isn't strong, but it's enough to throw me off my balance >I fall over onto one side, the magnet falls out of my hand and slides a couple of feet away >the aura's gone >I scramble to my hands and knees and grab the magnet >Sweetie Belle is standing nearby, her legs spread wide apart, head bowed down like she wants to charge again >she's breathing hard, that use of her horn power must have taken a lot out her >Silver Spoon comes to her senses and rolls over onto her hooves >she looks back and forth between us, moving her mouth like she wants to speak but can't find the words "You...you....you....." >tears are welling up in her eyes, her knees are shaking >suddenly she finds a burst of strength and shrieks at us "YOU BLANK FLANKS ARE GONNA PAY FOR THIS!!" >tears stream down her face as she gallops away >I stand up >I pull out another asparagus stalk and "light" it as I watch her disappear over the horizon "Welp, now you've done it. YAAAGH!" >I feel a sharp pain in my shin as Sweetie Belle bucks me as hard as she can with her hind legs >those little hooves pack a surprising punch >instinctively I grab my shin and start hopping around on one leg "I've gone and done it?!?" >she bucks me in my other leg and I fall onto my butt, clutching my shins >the little pony stomps toward me >her little horn glows with a green aura and my cigarette levitates out of my mouth and flies into the bushes >dang, that was my last one "What was that about, anyway? What if somepony had seen you? Jeez, we're probably already in trouble for skipping class. You want to get thrown into jail for assaulting school fillies while you're at it?" >her horn starts glowing again and she glances around like she's looking for something to hit me with >suddenly a familiar voice cuts in from nearby "Um, do we even have a jail in Ponyville?" >we both look over to see Apple Bloom standing nearby >Scootaloo jumps out of the bushes behind her >the two of them must have come looking for us "Yeah, I think Miss Cheerilee said once that nopony has been put in jail in Equestria for like a hundred years." >Sweetie Belle sighs and plops down sulkily, her tail twitching a bit "Yeah, well.....if anypony was going to break that record, it would definitely be this guy." >Apple Bloom trots around and stands between us, looking worriedly from one of us to the other "It was just a prank, right? You weren't really going to hurt Silver Spoon, were you Mr. Shackleford?" >I feel an odd pang in my gut as she stares up at me with her giant alien pony eyes >I almost feel...kind of bad for some reason >hope it's not some kind of pony hypnosis "Naw, this thing wouldn't have hurt her. She's pretty well made." >I hold up the magnet and examine it "Most it would have done is zap her a little. Her cyberbrain is probably shielded." >Apple Bloom turns to Sweetie Belle "See, Sweetie Belle? It was just a joke. Her..." >she glances quizzically at me for a second "Her cider grain is....is whatever he said." >Sweetie Belle grunts and looks away "Yeah, well...it was still a mean thing to do. Even if it was Silver Spoon." >Scootaloo laughs "You have to admit, it was kind of funny. I think that's the first time I've ever seen her speechless like that." >she opens and closes her mouth like a fish, in imitation of Silver Spoon >Apple Bloom laughs and Sweetie Belle smiles and giggles a little >then Apple Bloom looks at me and clears her throat "Anyway, you gotta promise never to do something like that again, Mr. Shackleford. I don't know how you do things in Oklahoma, but here in Ponyville we try to solve our problems with words." >for some reason I feel a little pang in my gut again "All right. I'll try it your way." >Scootaloo glances back at the schoolhouse "Um....anyway, we should probably get going. If Miss Cheerilee is still around she might come by to see what the commotion is." >Apple Bloom follows her gaze "Yeah, you're probably right. Want to head back to the clubhouse?" >the other ponies nod their assent >Apple Bloom turns to me "You can come with us if you want, Mr. Shackleford." >I stand up and stare into the horizon >no sign of the cyborg pony or the other one >I might have tipped my hand a little early, they know I've seen through their disguises >they could come for me at any moment >best to lay low for a while I suppose "All right. Clubhouse it is then."
>>152588 >back at the treehouse, the skies have grown overcast >daylight begins to fade >the smell of rain is in the air ".....and so we meet here every day to try and find our special talents so we can get our cutie marks!" >Apple Bloom concludes her speech >she's standing behind a wooden crate that's been set up as a makeshift podium >it looks like these little ponies take their club pretty seriously >I scratch my chin slowly "So...the mission of your club is to try and get these cutie marks?" "Yeah!" >Scootaloo stands excitedly "Everypony in our class has a cutie mark except for us. So we just keep trying new things until eventually we find what we're good at!" >Apple Bloom leaves the little makeshift podium and walks around to where the rest of us are sitting "Do Sooners in Oklahoma not have cutie marks? Or do you just call them something else over there?" "I don't think it works quite the same for us. Although I do believe that some of us have been marked." >an awkward bit of silence follows this probably rather cryptic remark >I'm not sure how else to answer her though >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo exchange a quick, confused glance >Sweetie Belle has been sulking ever since the business with the cyborg and hasn't really said much >meanwhile Apple Bloom clears her throat "So anyways, Mr. Shackleford, we were wondering..." >she trails off >she and Scootaloo are looking at me as if they expect me to say something >I'm not sure what exactly, though >my mind is starting to get fuzzy >I didn't have a chance to grab more asparagus on the way back here >I'm starting to feel the itch again >I'm going to need smokes here pretty soon >I look around the treehouse >how much time have they spent here, agonizing over getting "cutie marks?" >these poor, naive little ponies >like lambs to the slaughter >I almost hate to shatter their innocence but I have no choice >I can't let this go on "Listen. There's something you three need to know about these 'cutie marks.' You haven't been told the truth." >the ponies are still looking at me expectantly >how do I explain this to them without blowing their little pony minds? "The thing is, these cutie marks....." >I take a deep breath "They're a lie." >the three ponies exchange a confused glance "Uh, what're you talking about, Mr. Shackleford?" >Apple Bloom wrinkles her brow in confusion "Yeah, what do you mean a lie?" >Scootaloo looks at Apple Bloom and back at me "Nearly everypony in Ponyville has a cutie mark. Everypony gets one eventually." "Everypony except us." >Sweetie Belle mutters to herself, and stares sulkily at the floor >Apple Bloom casts a worried glance in her direction then returns her attention to me as I continue "Look, dangerous things are about to start happening around here. I don't have time to explain. That cyborg and her friend are just the beginning, there's big trouble coming, mark my words!" >Sweetie Belle glances up a little at this >the other two just continue to look confused >damn, the nicotine fit is starting again >it's making me babble >I can't stop myself though >they need to know the truth "Listen. All this talk about 'getting your cutie mark' and 'finding your true potential?' It's just a scam. It's a scam cooked up by your government in order to control you!" >the three ponies exchange a confused glance again "What in Equestria are you even talking about?" >Sweetie Belle finally bursts out angrily "Our government? Who's our government?" >she looks at Apple Bloom, who shrugs helplessly "Maybe he means Princess Celestia?" >I knew this wouldn't be easy >I furrow my brow in concentration >dammit, I can't think straight >I need a smoke "Listen. How much do you really know about this 'Princess Celestia' anyway? Have any of you ever even seen her?" "Of course we've seen her." >Sweetie Belle snaps at me "She comes through Ponyville sometimes. What, do you think we're not important enough for her to visit or something?" >Scootaloo pipes up "Twilight Sparkle is her student, she writes her letters all the time. She's even had us write her a few." >she looks at her friends for confirmation and Apple Bloom nods as Sweetie Belle continues to glower >so, Twilight Sparkle is a government agent >I wish I could say I'm surprised >still, to be so brazen as to communicate openly with her master in writing... >I'm guessing this Princess Celestia has this whole planet under her thumb >or hoof >or whatever she has >Ponyville is probably the last place left for her to conquer >these three are the only ponies I've seen that haven't been marked yet >and soon, if I don't do something, they'll be absorbed into the fold >and there will be no one left except me to stand against the Equestrian invasion of Earth "You have to trust me. These cutie marks are bad news. All that stuff about realizing your potential and finding out who you are? That's how they trap you. Then, as soon as they've got you branded......POW!" >I pound a fist against the floor and they all jump a little "They've got you in their clutches. They can control your mind!" >I lean forward >I'm breathing hard now, and sweating >the ponies stare at me in shocked silence >suddenly Sweetie Belle makes a disgusted grunt and without warning gallops out the door "Sweetie Belle..." >Scootaloo hesitates for a moment and then runs after her >Apple Bloom looks from the door to me, then back at the door again >she trots halfway across the room then stops to look back "Uh, I'm sorry Mr. Shackleford, you should probably go. We'll...talk to you at school tomorrow." >she trots a couple more steps, turns to throw me a last worried, confused glance, and then disappears out the door after her friends >I hear the low rumble of thunder off in the distance >a second later a light patter begins as rain beats against the roof of the treehouse >well, Gribble? >what now?
>>153214 >the light drizzle of rain has become a torrent >I'm completely soaked to the bone >the dirt road has turned into a river of mud, making progress slow >the asparagus stand is closed along with all the other shops by the time I reach it >I wasn't expecting it to be open honestly >the nicotine craving is setting in bad now >I briefly consider breaking into the stand just to grab myself a few stalks to tide me over until tomorrow, but decide against it >after everything that happened today I'm probably being watched even more closely now >I'm sure they're just waiting for some pretense they can use to lock me up and do experiments on me >Twilight explained the way her spell works this morning before I left for the school >it's supposed to keep my addiction under control by transferring it from cigarettes to something else >since I started treating asparagus stalks like cigarettes they now work the same as cigarettes >that means if I stop chewing asparagus I'll go into withdrawal again >of course I now know that Twilight has been a government agent all along >I'm sure all of this was part of her plan >that makes me wonder if she has some asparagus lying around >fortunately the tree library isn't too far from the shopping district >plus I can't really go anywhere else until this rain lets up >this storm was probably cooked up deliberately by those pegasus ponies to hamper my investigation >I arrive at the Golden Oak library >I'm soaking wet when I step inside, but fortunately there's a fire going >still don't see anyone here >it's a little weird for her and the dragon to both still be gone >especially with a storm raging outside >I wonder where they went? >I sit down in front of the fire and try to dry off a little >my clothes are still damp when I stand up again but I can't make myself sit still >I need to find some asparagus before I do anything else >towards the back of the main room is a little alcove with a staircase >I follow it down to the little root cellar where Twilight keeps her food >it's almost pitch dark down here, but I lift up my sunglass clips and give my eyes a second to adjust >after rummaging around a bit I find what I'm looking for >I grab a few stalks and start breaking them up into cigarette sized pieces >as I'm doing this I suddenly hear a noise >some instinct causes me to immediately stop what I'm doing and crouch down behind a barrel of cider >the cellar is a single small room, packed wall to wall with food and barrels and other assorted junk >the walls and floor are made of hard-packed earth, however in the far corner part of one of the tree's huge roots cuts through >there's a narrow door cut into this, locked the last time I tried it >however now it is slowly creaking open >an eerie green-blue glow is emanating from behind it >I try to raise myself up a little so I can peer over the barrel >unfortunately I overestimate how heavy it is and I almost pull it down on top of me >I keep it from toppling over, but I made just enough noise to alert whatever was coming through the door >the door stops creaking >I hear a quick buzzing noise, and the glow suddenly cuts out >I sit in pitch black silence, waiting >a second later the door starts slowly creaking open again "Hello? Is there anypony down here?" >the voice is Twilight's >there's something in her tone that I don't like >I hear the soft clip clop of hooves against the packed earth floor >a faint pinkish glow lights up the room as an aura surrounds her horn >I quickly duck down behind the barrel again and try to curl up into the shadows >clip clop >clip clop >the unicorn's hooves echo softly in the confined space >the glow from the horn bobs up and down as she pokes her head around the cellar "I know you're down here...." >the voice continues "You can come on out. I'm not going to hurt you." >in my experience that sentence never precedes anything nice happening >I reach into my pocket >good >I've still got plenty left >I wrap my fingers around it >the soft clip-clopping is getting closer >closer >the tip of a horn rises above the barrel, a soft pink orb hovering just over the tip >slowly a pink halo rises over the rim like a sunrise >the shadows that conceal me are slowly pushed back >I look up >a pair of dark purple eyes are staring directly into mine "Oh, hello there." >the voice is Twilight's >the face is Twilight's >the tone is friendly >something's wrong though >I can't tell what exactly, but I can feel it >my body tenses >the purple unicorn steps around the barrel and confronts me >standing directly between me and the stairs I notice >I could probably make a break for the other door, the one she came out of >something tells me that might be a bad idea, though "What are you doing down here? You know you're not supposed to be down here, right?" >she actually never told me I couldn't be down here >in fact she sent me down here to fetch something for her yesterday, that's how I know about it >I feel like that probably doesn't matter much at this point, though >she smiles, and I don't much like the look of it >her horn glows brighter, and she takes a step towards me >it's now or never >I unleash my secret attack "Pocket sand!" >my arm rockets forward and flings a handful of sand into the pony's eyes >unfortunately my jumpsuit is still pretty wet so what I throw at her is more like a big wet clump of mud >however it does the trick pretty well >there's a soft splat as the mud hits her directly in the eyes >she makes an awful noise, somewhere between a neigh and a hiss, and rears up on her hind legs >that's the opening I need >I duck under her and bolt up the stairs >I'm in the main room of the library again >I can hear hissing and the sound of hooves scrambling around on the floor from the cellar behind me >this place isn't safe >I throw open the front door and bolt out into the rainy evening, not stopping to look behind me
>>153788 sorry about the downtime guys, I'm back now just out of curiosity how many people are still reading this?
>I groan and open my eyes >my entire body is sore from sleeping outside >I crawl out from under the crude shelter I built last night >the canopy of branches and leaves sadly did little to keep me dry through the storm >it's not raining anymore, though >the warm sun shines down, it will probably be a nice day today >hopefully my clothes will dry quickly >it would be a shame if I escaped the alien's clutches only to die of pneumonia >I hear the voices of young ponies and duck back down >I chose this spot to camp specifically for this reason >a patch of forested area just down the road from the school >there's a little ditch that I covered with branches and leaves >I peer up over the edge >sure enough, three little ponies are trotting down the road, chatting with each other "Psssst!" >I hiss as they walk by, and they stop "Did either of you hear something?" >Apple Bloom looks at the other two "I think it came from those bushes over there." >Scootaloo nods her head toward where I'm hiding >the three of them exchange a look, then trot cautiously over >I tentatively poke my head over the ditch "Were you three followed?" "Uh...followed?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo look at each other in confusion >Sweetie Belle grinds her teeth >she looks like she's about to yell at me again, but she takes a deep breath and and says nothing >Apple Bloom gives her an approving look, then turns her attention to me "Mr. Shackleford? Did you sleep out here last night?" >she looks concerned "Yeah, you don't look so good." >Scootaloo inspects my hastily-assembled shelter "If you're going to camp outside, you should at least have a tent or something." >I peel a wet leaf off the back of my neck >I'm probably a mess right now >I haven't bathed since I left Arlen >Twilight's place has a bathtub I think >I sure can't go back there though "Listen, girls..." >before I can say anything, Apple Bloom cuts in "Hey, Mr. Shackleford, Sweetie Belle wanted to tell you something." >she nudges Sweetie Belle next to her, who paws at the ground with a hoof and snorts >she hesitates a moment before speaking "I'm sorry I got mad and yelled at you yesterday. And I'm sorry I just ran off without saying anything. That was rude." >she's sulky and muttering, but she looks sincere >she looks up "But you really need to stop doing weird things all the time! You can't just go around attacking ponies like you did yesterday. And I didn't like what you said about cutie marks!" >Apple Bloom cuts in quickly "We know you're not from Ponyville, Mr. Shackleford. I'm sure things are probably a lot different where you're from." >Scootaloo cuts in "We'd like to hear all about where you're from, it sounds really interesting! And we can show you around Ponyville too!" >Apple Bloom nods approvingly "Yeah. Anyway, we wanted to ask you something." >she nudges Sweetie Belle, who steps forward somewhat reluctantly "Uh, the three of us talked it over. It doesn't sound like Sooners get cutie marks, since you don't really know what they are, but that still doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find out what your special talents are." >Scootaloo cuts in "We still haven't gotten our cutie marks yet, but we've had lots of fun trying new things together." >Sweetie Belle nods in agreement, and her face brightens "Yeah. Anyway, we talked it over, and we were wondering if you wanted to officially join the Cutie Mark Crusaders?" >cutie marks >with everything that happened yesterday the cutie mark stuff had completely slipped my mind >but whatever I said must have really upset these three if they spent that much time talking about it >I remember I hadn't really been thinking clearly because of the nicotine fit >instinctively I pull out an asparagus stalk and pantomime-light it >glad I was able to fill my pack before I had to flee Twilight's place >the three little ponies are looking up at me expectantly >seeing the innocent smiles on their faces makes me a little sad >they completely buy into the lies their government has fed them >of course they do >as far as I can tell they're just children >I can't just drop the truth on them, I see that now >they have to see it for themselves >I have to help them see it, before it's too late >this isn't just about Arlen or saving the human race anymore >whatever else happens, I have to protect these three >I nod slowly "Alright." >the looks on their faces brighten visibly >suddenly a bell starts ringing and we all look in the direction of the schoolhouse "Um, anyway, we should probably be getting to school now..." >I'd forgotten about school, too "I can't go to school today." >Scootaloo looks me over "Yeah, you probably shouldn't. Miss Cheerilee might not even let you in if you look like that. Just meet us at the clubhouse after school." >Sweetie Belle chimes in, sounding annoyed "If you go to Twilight's and take a bath you could make it back by lunch." "I can't do that either. Listen, I don't have time to go into detail, but this is very important. Do you three trust me?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo exchange a confused glance, then nod >Sweetie Belle hesitates, then nods too "Good. Just go to school normally for today. Don't say anything about me. Pretend I don't exist. If anyone-anypony asks, say you haven't seen me. Can you do that?" >they hesitate, looking confused, then nod again "Good. And one more thing: keep an eye out for anything weird happening. And be on your guard." >they agree, then head off to school >Sweetie Belle turns around "Uh, Mr. Shackleford? Is everything alright? We're your friends, you can tell us." >I exhale a wreath of imaginary smoke "It'll be fine. Have fun at school." >I watch them go >It'll be fine >I sure hope so
>>155040 >I stand at the edge of the road until I see the three fillies disappear into the school building >I'm concerned for their safety but I'll just have to hope they won't be assimilated in the next few hours >there's nothing more I can do for them at the moment >meanwhile there's something I have to take care of, and it's better if I do it alone >it's too risky to make my way back through town >I have to assume every pony I don't know and trust to be hostile >instead of following the road, I make my way through the trees until I come across railroad tracks >I recall hearing what sounded like a train whistle more than once since I've been here >curious how their technology mimics ours >there's some connection here that I'm not seeing yet >meanwhile I need to focus >the track appears to skirt around the western edge of the town >it should pass near the back of Twilight's tree library at some point >I make my way methodically down the track, puffing an asparagus stalk as I go >I think I've got this place just about figured out >apparently this 'Princess Celestia' is some kind of mad ruler bent on intergalactic domination >she's subjugated this entire planet of talking ponies to her will using mind control >ponies are unwittingly indoctrinated into her nefarious scheme from an early age >they are taught to worship Celestia as an all-powerful god >when they reach a certain age and their minds are ripe, they have devices implanted at the base of their spines so Celestia can control their thoughts and actions >their 'cutie marks' are emblazoned on their hindquarters by Celestia as a brand >it marks them as her slaves, based on whatever nefarious bidding she intends them to do >the poor foals are taught that they need to discover their 'special talents' in order to receive a mark >they grow up believing that receiving a mark is some rite of passage into adulthood >it's the most fiendish alien plan I've ever encountered >I still don't know how or why she brought me here >my guess is it was to get me out of the way >I'm probably the last obstacle standing between her and the conquest of Earth >but she made the fatal mistake of underestimating me >ponies like Twilight Sparkle, and that Diamond Tiara with her little cyborg companion, are probably the secret agents she throws in with the population to police the ranks from within >my smoking them out seems to have forced her hand, and now she's moving against me prematurely >that will be the opening I need >unfortunately it means I don't have the advantage of maintaining a cover the way I would have liked to >I will need to remain vigilant at all times >the train tracks round a curve and I can make out the silhouette of the tree library across an open field >I get down on my chest and begin to crawl across >the tall grass should provide adequate cover >I'm about halfway across the field when the grass ends abruptly and my hands are touching cloth instead of earth >the ground underneath me appears to be covered with a blanket >I look up to see two confused looking ponies staring at me >there's a basket nearby >plates and food are strewn around >I appear to have stumbled into a picnic "Uh, what are you doing?" >one of the ponies, a sea green unicorn, is eyeing me curiously, holding a teacup with her tractor beam >her friend, a yellowish colored pony with a pink and blue mane steps out from behind her, also watching me >I study them for a moment >they appear to be civilians >in any case they don't seem to have orders to apprehend me >I exhale a wreath of imaginary smoke "You didn't see me." >I recede back into the grass >that was close >I can hear them whispering to each other about me as I slowly make an arc around them and resume my course towards the tree >this isn't good >I don't know the extent of Celestia's hold over her subjects, but if she can use her minions' vision as her own eyes on the ground I may have lost the element of surprise >I think about the arsenal I've got sitting useless at my house in Arlen and curse the fact that I didn't think to arm myself before... >before..... >before.......... >before what? >a fragment of memory bubbles to the surface of my brain for a second and sinks back down >what was that? >what did I just almost remember? >while I'm momentarily lost in thought I suddenly realize that I almost collided with something standing right in front of me again >I'm still crawling on my chest, but the tall grass has thinned out and disappeared >all around me is the short, well-manicured lawn that surrounds the gigantic oak tree >a pair of clawed purple feet are directly in front of me >I look up >it's Twilight Sparkle's dragon friend, Spike >that little weirdo that eats gems "Oh. Hi there Mr. Rusty." >there's something in his tone that I don't like >the look on his face too >he's smiling in a friendly way but there's something unpleasant behind it >like he's mocking me >it reminds me a little of the way Twilight was behaving last night >instantly I pull myself back into a defensive crouch "Spike." "What are you doing back here? Weren't you going to school today?" "Didn't feel like it." "Well, anyway, it's good that you're here. Twilight has something she wants to talk to you about." >my eyes narrow "Does she now?" >Spike grins unpleasantly "Yeah. She's down in the cellar. I think you're really gonna like what she has to show you." >I reach into my pocket >damn, out of pocket sand >I hear a rustling in the grass behind me and glance over my shoulder >the two ponies from the picnic earlier step out, standing just behind me and flanking me on either side >damn >I'm outnumbered >how could I let this happen? >it was a mistake to come back here >of course it's what they would expect me to do >the little dragon's not much >but the unicorn and her friend could be trouble >I can feel the two of them moving closer on either side of me >the malice in the air is palpable >so what happens next?
>>155040 Rarely come here anymore let alone post, but this is a worthwhile thread. Its the last of a dying breed: a new idea. >>155410 >so what happens next? First time in a while I find myslef woundering the same thing. Keep it up.
>>155410 >I see a greenish aura forming around my skin >the unicorn must be trying to use her tractor beam on me >it feels weird though >kind of weak >maybe her horn doesn't have the same kind of power as Twilight and the others >I don't have much time to think about it, though >I can feel the two ponies behind me closing in >the little dragon takes a step forward >I still have my hand in my pocket >it closes around something hard >it's that gem >the one Spike gave me >he loves these things, he can't resist them >I've got an idea >I pull the gem out and hold it up so he can see it "Hey, Spike. Fetch!" >I throw the gem as hard as I can over Spike's head >I forgot that I tend to throw like a girl >it doesn't go very far, but at least it makes it past where he's standing >he watches it go sailing overhead with a confused look on his face >it plops into the grass a few feet away >he doesn't go after it >is he not hungry? >he's always hungry >this doesn't make any sense >he looks back at me and takes another step forward "All right, I think it's time you came with us now. Don't want to keep Twilight waiting." >he takes another step, holding out his claws menacingly >wait a minute >this is dumb >this dragon is only like two and a half feet tall >why am I afraid of him? >the sea-green aura of the tractor beam is still humming around me but its not having any effect at all >I can move just fine, it doesn't even slow me down >I hold perfectly still to make them think the beam has trapped me >Spike takes another step forward >I tense up, ready to strike >he takes one more step, then... "Shishishaw!" >I spring forward out of the aura, catching all three of them off guard >as I run past Spike I reach down and grab him by the tail >he's surprisingly heavy, but my forward momentum is enough to lift him off the ground >he makes a weird hiss-yelp noise that sounds oddly familiar >still holding Spike I spin around, throwing all my weight into the turn >I let go and he goes sailing through the air toward the two bewildered ponies >it was a surprisingly good throw, I wish Hank could have been here to see it >he always makes fun of me for not being able to throw things >Spike should have collided with the yellow pony, but he doesn't >he just sort of vanishes in a weird flash >a second later I see the tall grass rustling as if something were running away >the two ponies are still just staring at me >the green unicorn's horn is still projecting an aura of light about as tall as me in the spot where I was just standing >she appears to notice it and it cuts off abruptly >something doesn't feel right about all this >they look at each other as if they're trying to decide what they should do next "Just what in the hay is goin' on here?" >all three of us wheel around in surprise in the direction of the new voice >an orange pony steps into view >it's that one I ran into my first day here, the one with the hat who lives on the farm >I think one of the crusaders is her sister >Applejack, I think her name is >the green unicorn and the yellow pony look at each other again, glance back at me, then wordlessly turn and gallop off into the grass >Applejack watches them go with a confused expression on her face, then shrugs and turns to me "Mr. Rusty, was it? Just what in the hay was all that?" >she takes a step towards me and I take a wary step back >I don't know much about horses, especially not pastel-colored miniature horses from an alien world, but I can tell this one is strong just from looking at her >she doesn't look like she wants a fight though "How much did you see?" "Uh, well, I came in right around when Lyra tried to grab you with her magic, then you picked up poor little Spike and threw him at her. Care to tell me just what's goin' on?" >I study her face >her eyes don't have the same malicious look as the others >still, she's friends with Twilight >this could still be a trap "I don't know myself what's going on." >I decide to trust her for now, but I don't want to give her too much information "I was on my way back to the tree library when the three of them ambushed me." "Ambushed you?" >she looks genuinely perplexed now "That don't sound like something Spike would do. Come to think of it, that don't sound something like Lyra and Bon-Bon would do neither." >I light an asparagus cig "Have you noticed anything strange going on around here lately?" "Strange? Well, can't say as I have, but on the other hand I ain't really been around town much. Big Mac and Granny Smith are still away, so it's just me and Apple Bloom down at the farm. I've got a lot of work to do there. I only stopped by here because I remember Twilight borrowed one of my plow harnesses and I need to get it back." >suddenly another familiar voice cuts into the silence "Oh, hi Applejack." >I turn to see Twilight emerging from around the front of the tree library >I start a little >Spike is walking calmly alongside her >I look off in the direction that the thing running through the grass had gone >I didn't see him go past, he would have had to double around >how did he get back to the tree so quickly? >we make eye contact but he just smiles and waves at me like nothing happened "Oh, hey there Twilight." >Applejack looks about as surprised as I am to see Spike standing there "Say, have you noticed anything...weird going on around Ponyville?" >Twilight looks at me and gives me an unpleasant smile "Weird? Nope, can't say I have. It's just been an ordinary day around here." >she trots around so she's standing between me and Applejack "Anyway, you said you came for your plow harness? I've got it in the cellar, why don't you come down with me and I'll get it for you?"
>>157086 "Hey, wait!" >I yell, and they all turn and look at me >if I let this weird hat-wearing horse go down there she's going to get assimilated >I need a reason to keep her from going down to that cellar >think, Dale, think >crap, I've got nothing >suddenly I notice something gleaming in the grass >it's that gem I threw >hmm >I've got a theory I want to test "Spike, don't you want to eat that gem over there?" >I point >Spike's gaze follows my finger >he looks back at me blankly "Eat...the gem?" >I narrow my eyes "Yeah, you like gems, right? Come on, don't you want to? It's just laying on the ground there." >Spike glances at Applejack and then at Twilight >he hesitantly approaches the ruby lying on the ground >he taps on it with a claw as if testing how hard it is >I smile "Come on, Spike, it's all right. No need to be embarrassed, just chow down!" >I glance over at Twilight >she's glaring at me >she's trying to look calm, but I can tell she's mad >that's got to be the angriest expression I've ever seen on one of these pastel ponies >meanwhile Spike has picked up the gem and is looking it over like it's a cockroach someone just dared him to eat >he swallows nervously, holds the gem up to his mouth, then lowers it again >he repeats this a couple of times, then glances over at Twilight "Well? Are you going to eat it or not?" >she snaps at him >that came out sounding much nastier than she probably meant it to >Applejack clearly notices, and Twilight recovers quickly "I mean--are you feeling okay, Spike?" >Spike looks at her again and takes the cue "Oh...uh....no, actually I'm not really hungry. My tummy kind of hurts, actually." >he makes a pathetic attempt at looking sick >Twilight glances at Applejack's perplexed expression and hurriedly steps forward "Well, it looks like I had probably better put a certain baby dragon to bed then. So, Applejack, if you just want to come on down to the cellar, we can get you that plow harness and then I can hurry and get Spike into a nice warm bed!" >she flashes a big toothy smile that even gives me the creeps >I look down to see Spike glaring murderously at me >Applejack takes a couple of steps back >she's clearly not sure what's going on but I think she can at least sense that something's not right here "Uh...you know what, Twilight? You just go ahead and take care of Spike for now. I'll get my plow harness another time." >she turns and begins nudging me back towards the road "Mr. Rusty? Did you still want to come help out at the farm?" "The farm? Oh yeah, the farm. Yeah, let's go." >I follow her lead and begin angling towards the road >Twilight calls after us "Uh, wait! Mr. Rusty......I forgot, I also have that.....book.....you wanted......" >she trails off helplessly >heh >let me guess, is it in the cellar? >for a government agent she's a terrible liar >I'm guessing these ponies are a little easier to fool than a Gribble >you shouldn't have underestimated me, Twilight Sparkle >if that's even your real name "That's okay!" >I wave at them as I walk cooly away "I'll get it later. You just take care of Spike. Bye Spike! Hope you feel better." >Applejack nudges me again and we walk away as quickly as we can without looking conspicuous >when we reach the road I take a quick look over my shoulder >the two of them are still standing by the tree library, watching us go >Spike is seething with hatred >Twilight's expression can only be described as pure malice >I only look for a second and she's pretty far away so I'm not sure if it's a trick of the light, but it looks like her eyes are a different color than they were >we turn down a couple of streets and then take the bridge over the river that marks the southwest edge of Ponyville >as soon as we're across and the trees start closing in around us Applejack confronts me "Just what in the hay was all that about, anyway?" >I look around to see if anyone is watching us "You saw it, didn't you?" >AJ notices me looking around and scans the trees, although she doesn't seem to know what she's supposed to be looking for "I don't know what I saw. All I know is the two of them were actin' downright peculiar. And somethin' about the way Twilight kept askin' me to come down to the cellar just plain gave me the creeps. It was almost like...like she wasn't herself." >heh >noticing something amiss >that's always the first step down the rabbit hole >I have such sights to show you... "I'll explain everything in due time. For right now all you need to know is that your friend Twilight isn't who she says she is." >Applejack gives me a puzzled look, then shrugs in acceptance >we start walking again "Well, I don't know just what's goin' on, but whatever it is I'd sure like to get to the bottom of it." "Come on, we need to get back to your sister's clubhouse. School should be out by now, and I told them I'd meet up with them there." "Wait a minute, how's Apple Bloom mixed up in all of this?" >she studies my face as we walk "You know, I heard a rumor in town, somethin' about you jumpin' one of them school fillies and askin' her a bunch of weird questions about cider boards or somethin'. I still don't know what all this is about, but Granny Smith once told me a story about a pony that did somethin' weird to a filly. Don't know quite what it was, but from what Granny Smith told me they had a way of dealin' with ponies like that back then, and let's just say it ain't been a problem around here since. I'd sure like to keep it that way." "Heh." >I put a stalk of asparagus in my mouth and light it "You don't trust me. That's good, shows good instinct. You shouldn't trust anyone. I mean, anypony." >Applejack chuckles a little "Heh. You know, I'm startin' to like you, Mr. Rusty." "I like you too. You remind me of my wife, Nancy. If she were a horse, I mean." >we both laugh and continue towards the treehouse
>>157587 >when we finally arrive the treehouse is empty >the sun is about three quarters of the way across the sky >by the Earth clock I'd judge it to be about 4 pm >an anxious knot begins to form in my stomach >school should have gotten out by now >Applejack looks a little nervous too >in a couple of minutes though we hear voices and hooves clattering on the ramp up to the treehouse >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo trot in through the door "Hi, Mr. Shackleford. Oh, hi sis." >Apple Bloom looks a little surprised to see Applejack in here with me >I only count two fillies, though "Where's the other one?" >Apple Bloom looks at Scootaloo and then back at me "Oh, right. Sweetie Belle had to leave school early." >Scootaloo nods in confirmation "Yeah. Rarity came and picked her up. Said something about a 'fashion emergency.'" >I look over at Applejack >she shrugs helplessly "Well, that does sound like somethin' Rarity would say..." >I don't like it >something feels off >I haven't met this 'Rarity' yet, but I've gathered she's Sweetie Belle's older sister and a friend of Twilight and Applejack "Did Rarity say or do anything that seemed weird to you?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo exchange a look "Uh, not really..." >Apple Bloom glances up at AJ and notices her grave expression "Is everything okay? She should be all right if she's with her sister." >the two fillies exchange another glance, looking alarmed now "Listen, did you notice any of the other ponies acting weird today? Any kind of strange behavior, no matter how small. What about your teacher, has she said or done anything that didn't feel right to you?" "Uh, well..." >Scootaloo rubs her chin with a foreleg, concentrating "Miss Cheerilee did say that we were having a field trip tomorrow instead of regular class." >Apple Bloom nods in confirmation "Yeah. That was kinda weird. She usually lets us know a few days ahead of time about field trips, so we can get permission." >Applejack cuts in "Where's she takin' y'all?" >Apple Bloom and Scootaloo glance at each other again "That was the weird part." >Scootaloo looks puzzled "She said we're going to the Golden Oak Library. Like, we've all been there before. What is there to see?" >I glance over at Applejack >we seem to be thinking the same thing "I don't like this." "Me neither." >Applejack turns to her sister "Y'all stay here. Me an' Mr. Rusty need to go check somethin' out." >Apple Bloom nods wordlessly >her and Scootaloo both look pretty scared >Applejack stops at the door "If anypony besides me or Mr. Rusty comes by here, you don't let them up. Even if it's somepony you know." >a thought occurs to me "That's not enough. We should probably set a password." >I turn to the two fillies "Listen. Keep this door shut. If someone knocks, even if it's one of us, you ask 'who's there?' If they say anything but 'Lee Harvey Oswald,' you keep the door closed and don't let them in." "Uh, yeah. Good idea. Y'all keep this door closed, and don't open it for anypony but Lee Harvey Oswald. Whoever that is. Understand?" >the little ponies look frightened, but they both nod, and we head out the door >we hear a small bolt click behind us >as soon as we hit the ground we break into a run "Rarity lives over at the Carousel Boutique, it's on the opposite side of Ponyville from Twilight's." >Applejack trots alongside me "It's probably gonna take us a while to get over there." "I highly doubt that's where they were going." "Yeah, me too. Let's go." >running the whole way, we make pretty good time back to Twilight's tree >I'm wheezing up a storm by the time we get there >good thing there's plenty of tar in my lungs to hold them together, otherwise I might really be in trouble >Twilight is standing at the open door of the library >I see Sweetie Belle standing next to a tall white unicorn I don't recognize >she has a long purple mane and tail, styled kind of fancy >that's probably Rarity >it looks like she and Twilight are trying to get Sweetie Belle to go inside >looks like she's hesitating, seems like she had enough sense to figure out that something was wrong >Twilight looks up and her expression darkens when she sees us approaching >as we approach, Spike suddenly steps out and blocks our path "Oh, hey you two. Back so soon?" >I have several witty retorts I'd like to lob at him but unfortunately I'm busy wheezing my lungs out >luckily Applejack steps in for me "Looks like you're feelin' a sight better, eh Spike?" >Spike grins malevolently "Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better. Thanks for asking." "Mr. Shackleford? Applejack? What are you guys doing here?" >Sweetie Belle starts walking towards us, but Rarity quickly maneuvers around and blocks her path "Never mind them Sweetie Belle. Now please, you must go inside. Twilight has prepared this nice surprise for you, you mustn't be rude." >Sweetie Belle glances suspiciously up at her sister "S-sw-sweeeeeh...huuuh....huuuh..." >I try to speak but I can barely breathe >I'm beginning to get dizzy >I go down on one knee to steady myself "Mr. Shackleford? Are you okay?" >Sweetie Belle looks past her sister's legs "Heh. You don't look so good, buddy." >Spike takes a step closer and taps my forehead with his claw >Applejack tries to walk around Rarity "Alright now Sweetie Belle, why don't you--" >her voice cuts off suddenly when her path is suddenly blocked by... >...Spike >there's two of him now "What in the--" >Applejack is stunned silent >I can barely breathe >little white dots are forming in the corner of my vision >dimly I look up to see Twilight, smiling unpleasantly by the door "Never mind them, Sweetie Belle. Now why don't you do what your sister says and come on inside? I think you'll like what I have to show you."
>>157714 >I close my eyes, focus on taking slow, deep breaths >slowly I begin to regain control >I'm dimly aware of the disembodied voices of the others shouting >something hard and slightly sharp pokes me >I open my eyes >the dizziness has passed, I can breathe again >one of the Spikes is still poking my forehead and making some dumb joke >I ignore him >ahead of me Rarity seems to be trying to push Sweetie Belle back towards the tree >she looks frightened now, she knows something is wrong but can't figure out what >meanwhile a third Spike has appeared and now two of them are blocking Applejack, who's shouting something at Sweetie Belle >there's too many Spikes around here for my taste >remembering my trick from earlier, I suddenly lunge forward and grab the Spike in front of me by the tail "Shishishaw!" >I yell, hefting the surprised Spike up into the air >I whirl around in a counterclockwise spiral and launch him at the two blocking Applejack >unlike last time none of the Spikes have a chance to react >Spike 1 collides with Spikes 2 and 3 >they scatter like bowling pins >AJ jumps over them as they scatter and charges towards Rarity and Sweetie Belle >suddenly another pony seems to appear out of thin air directly in front of her >she grinds to a halt >the pony in front of her is...Applejack? "What in the--" >meanwhile, Sweetie Belle takes advantage of the confusion and ducks between Rarity's legs >she begins to gallop towards me, but suddenly she's scooped into the air by a pair of human arms >Rarity is gone >standing directly in front of me, clutching a wriggling Sweetie Belle to his chest is...me >I stare for a moment into my own eyes >or at least I would if they weren't obscured by my functional yet stylish clip on sunglasses >Sweetie Belle looks back and forth between us and shrieks wordlessly >she continues to struggle but the doppelgänger has a tight grip on her >I light an asparagus cigarette >the imaginary smoke calms what's left of my wheezing "Heh. That's a neat trick." >I continue to stare at me >the sunlight reflects off my sunglasses "But a cheap copy's no substitute for the real McCoy." "McCoy? I don't know any McCoy. My name is Mr. Rusty." >heh >as I suspected >he doesn't know anything about me >not my real name >not even my real fake name >it's just a cheap trick >all he can do is look like me and try to mimic my behavior based on information he's overheard >I take a menacing step forward "I think you should let her go now." >the other me holds his ground "Why should I do that?" >I take another step forward "Because that's my little pony." sorry for that line but I couldn't resist >with a sudden wild yell that catches me off guard, I charge, raising my hand in a karate chop aimed at my face >the doppelgänger flinches >reflexively he holds up Sweetie Belle in defense >I accidentally bonk her on the nose "Hey!" >an aura forms around her horn and I feel a slight force repelling my hand >the doppelgänger is still using her as a shield >she takes advantage of the moment and bucks him directly in the face >he makes a familiar weird hissing noise that only partly sounds like my voice >Sweetie Belle drops to the ground and scrambles behind me >meanwhile the creature in front of me has changed form again >some sort of weird black monster that looks like a cross between a pony and an insect is now hovering in front of me, buzzing on dragonfly wings >could this be the alien's true form? >the creature is rubbing its face with a foreleg that seems to be covered with holes >it notices me looking at it and it quickly shifts through several different forms >first Spike, then Twilight, then Rarity, then Applejack, then Spike again >Twilight, who has been standing at the entrance to her treehouse this entire time, makes a bizarre shrieking noise >she sounds angrier than I've ever heard >this is getting too weird >I wheel around and scoop Sweetie Belle off the ground "RUN!!" >I howl the word at nobody in particular >as I turn I see a grand total of 5 different Applejacks whirling around in circles and bucking at each other >I begin sprinting off down the road, back the way we came >in my haste I almost suck the asparagus stalk down my throat >I spit it out as I run >almost immediately my lungs start burning again but I push through it >this is life or death, every man for himself >the roar of several sets of galloping hooves thunders behind me >I look to my right and see an Applejack running alongside me >I have no idea if it's the real one or not >or even if there ever was a real one >I glance behind me and see six Applejacks charging behind us >my lungs are on fire >Sweetie Belle can't weigh more than 40 pounds but it feels like I'm carrying a sack of rocks >I push onward, fueled by nothing but adrenaline at this point >the sun is just beginning to sink below the hills on the horizon >the sky is taking on an ominous blood red tone >shadows and trees close in around us as we cross the bridge and enter the wooded road to Applejack's farm >the hooves of our pursuers are further away but they're still behind us >I can't bring myself to look around to see how far >I focus on putting one foot ahead of the other >after what feels like eternity we clatter up a wooden ramp and stop at a solid wooden door >I drop Sweetie Belle to the floor and pound on it "W-who's there?" >a small, frightened voice with an accent like Applejacks interrogates us from the other side >I'm about to answer when I turn and look at Applejack >she stares back for a second and then seems to comprehend why I'm looking at her >she turns to the door "Uh, it's, uh...." >she looks like she's drawing a blank "Lee Harvey Oswald!" >the door opens and we stumble inside >Applejack bucks it shut and I slam the bolt in place >outside, the thunder of hooves is drawing nearer >then suddenly, silence >then a slow deliberate stomping >one set of hooves is coming up the ramp
>>158144 >there's a soft knock at the door "Hey guys!" >Twilight's voice >she sounds so cheery it gives me the willies "I'm sure that all this has just been a huge misunderstanding. If you guys could just open this door up, I'd love it if we could all sit down and talk about it!" >Apple Bloom glances anxiously at her sister and starts moving to the door >Applejack motions her back with a hoof "I ain't openin' this door until you tell me just what in the hay is goin' on, Twi." >the voice on the other side is still as chipper as ever "Going on? What do you mean, Applejack?" "You know dang well what I mean! What's with all those weird copies of me and Spike, and why were they attacking us?" "Oh that? That was just...a new spell I've been working on. Come on, open up this door, I can explain the whole thing!" >the door rattles as whoever is on the other side seems to test the strength of the bolt >this place is actually pretty solidly built for a child's treehouse >the door is solid and I suspect the bolt would hold against brute force >unless magic or technology was used of course >I notice Apple Bloom and Scootaloo had closed and shuttered the windows while we were gone, that was pretty smart of them >we're probably more or less safe in here for now >suddenly Rarity's voice comes through the door "Sweetie Belle! You come out here this instant! I won't have you embarrassing me in front of Twilight!" >Sweetie Belle looks frightened "H-how do I know it's even you?" >she yells at the door "Who else would it be but your sister, darling? All of you, come out here this instant! This childish game has gone on long enough!" >the door rattles again, harder this time >Applejack looks at me >even she's looking pretty scared at this point >doesn't look like this sort of thing happens around here too often "You know, you can't stay up here forever!" >Twilight's voice again >there's a menacing and rather gravelly undertone to it now >a set of hooves bucks at the door, hard >the ponies all jump as it rattles in its frame >heh >I think I know what's going on here "Why don't you break the door down with your magic, Twilight?" >I yell through the door at her "You're powerful enough to do that, right?" >there's an angry cry on the other side of the door >something bucks it again and it rattles, but it doesn't seem in danger of breaking "Very well then. You'll join us soon enough! Your town is already under our control, you have nowhere to go! Mwahahahaha!!" >a voice I've never heard before >it sounds creepy and otherworldly >the door rattles one last time as whatever is outside gives it a final kick >then silence >we all sit there staring at the door for several minutes >it's eerily quiet >finally Applejack works up the courage to go and poke her head out one of the windows "Looks like they all went back." >nobody else says anything >finally Sweetie Belle trots tentatively over to look for herself "Yeah, I don't see them..." >she turns to me "What were they? That one looked like my sister, but it wasn't my sister." "I have an idea. There's a lot I still don't know, but it definitely involves beings from another world. I am not sure to what extent your country's government may be involved." >Applejack exchanges a look with her younger sister "Uh, Mr. Rusty, maybe you better explain whatever it is you know about all this." >I fake light an asparagus stalk "All right. But I'm going to warn you, this is full disclosure. I take no responsibility if your vision of the world you live in shatters into a hundred thousand tiny pieces." "Just tell us already." >Sweetie Belle taps her hoof impatiently "Alright, if that's what you want. Sit back, my little ponies, and hear my tale. A tale that begins in a little place I like to call Roswell, New Mexico..." >I lay it on them >all of it >every piece of knowledge I've acquired over the years >they sit in stunned silence and absorb everything >by the time I finish the moon is high in the sky >one of the fillies at some point lit a lantern that they keep up here for sleep overs >the glow of the lanternlight and the sound of the crickets outside lends an eerie atmosphere to the little clubhouse "....and that's the real reason the FDA doesn't want you buying cigarettes." >I look over my captive audience >the ponies are staring wide-eyed at me "Now, do any of you have any questions so far?" >several seconds of silence follows >then Apple Bloom slowly raises a hoof "Um, who was John F. Kennedy?" >Scootaloo also raises a hoof "Yeah, and how come the CIA wanted him dead? Also, what's the CIA again?" "These are all very good questions." >I grind out the stump of my asparagus and light another one >suddenly Sweetie Belle stomps an impatient hoof against the floor and everyone turns to her "Rrrrrgh! What does any of this have to do with what's going on in Ponyville? What happened to Twilight and my sister?" >Applejack glances down at Sweetie Belle then back at me "Uh yeah, all this is real interestin' Mr. Rusty, but if you don't mind, could you get to the part that actually helps us? Just what were those things back there and what have they done with our friends?" "I'm not sure. My first thought was that they're cyborg replicants like that Silver Spoon I interrogated earlier. Now that I know they can shapeshift at will, I'm less certain. For a second there one of them dropped its guard and showed its true form to me. My current working theory is that we're dealing with an extraterrestrial being working on replacing your town's population with its own." >the ponies all exchange a worried look "So what are we supposed to do?" >Sweetie Belle trots over to the window and casts a worried glance outside "First thing's first." >I inhale a puff of asparagus "We need to find out just what's in that basement."
>>161435 Oh shit it's been two literal weeks since I wrote an update to this. Sorry, I just started a new job and I haven't been spending as much time here. I will try to get something written tonight.
>>158977 "...and you're sure this will be safe?" >Apple Bloom looks from me to her sister hesitantly >the other two are quiet but have the same worried expression "Now don't y'all worry. I'm sure if Mr. Rusty says it's okay it'll be okay. Uh, ain't that right, Mr. Rusty?" >Applejack looks at me >she doesn't look like she believes it herself >I turn to the three younger ponies "Everything will be just fine. I am a licensed professional bounty hunter and have dealt with aliens before." >they don't look particularly reassured either >I'm not sure I can rely on them >looks like it's all up to me >the journey back toward Ponyville is tense >everyone is on edge, including me >I scan the surrounding woods for enemies but everything is quiet >too quiet >the three fillies follow nervously behind me, saying nothing >Applejack brings up the rear >we reach the place where I was hiding yesterday, not far from the school >everything looks surprisingly normal >the school fillies are all heading into the building >Applejack steps up next to me and follows my gaze "Alright, well, here we are. You still think this is a good idea Mr. Rusty?" >I light an asparagus stalk "Yep. It'll be what they least expect." >I glance down at the three fillies >they look a little nervous "I can go by myself if it's too much for you three." >Apple Bloom looks up and shakes her head "No, we should go too. It'll look weird if only you show up." >Sweetie Belle chimes in "Yeah. Plus if we leave you alone you'll probably do something weird again." >Scootaloo flutters her wings like a hummingbird and pulls herself off the ground about an inch before returning to the ground "Don't worry about us, Mr. Rusty, we can handle it." >I turn to Applejack "You head back to Twilight's place and wait. They won't be expecting a front on assault so I suspect their guard will be down." "Uh, alright then. I'll see y'all when you get there." >she takes a couple of steps back toward the woods, then turns around "Uh, y'all be careful, alright?" >I nod >she turns and gallops away >I grind out the stump of my asparagus under my boot "Alright, let's do this." >we head for the school >inside the classroom, everything looks basically normal >the school ponies are chattering with each other while the teacher is writing on the chalkboard with her mouth >Silver Spoon is staring at me as I walk in >as soon as I make eye contact she quickly turns her head away >Diamond Tiara glares daggers at me, then turns to her cyborg friend and they begin whispering >Cheerilee puts down her chalk "Alright class, as you know, today we will be going to-" >she cuts off as she turns to see the four of us entering the room >she looks surprised to see us here >heh >as I suspected, she's one of them >except for Diamond Tiara and the robot though I don't think any of the foals have been replaced yet >hence the charade of the field trip >I calmly take a seat at a nearby empty desk >the three Crusaders do the same >as before the desk is tiny and uncomfortable >Cheerilee stares at me with open hostility for a second but says nothing "...Um, yes. Today we will be taking our field trip to the Golden Oak library." >Diamond Tiara's hoof shoots up "Miss Cheerilee? How come Rusty Shackleford is coming with us? Doesn't he live at the Golden Oak library?" >Cheerilee glances towards me again "Ah, yes. I'm sorry, Mr. Rusty. You missed class yesterday, so you probably don't know that today isn't a normal school day. You don't need to come with us if you don't want to." >I smile pleasantly at her "No, that's okay. I'll come along." >she glares at me and her eyes flash a different color for a split second "If that's what you want." >she turns her attention to the rest of the class "Well, if you all want to get your things together, we can get started..." >about an hour later the class is standing in front of the tree library >I glance around for Applejack but I don't see her anywhere >it's probably good that she's staying out of sight >the door opens and Twilight Sparkle steps outside >her reaction is similar to Cheerilee's when she notices me standing with the foals >she clears her throat "Uh...hello, everypony. I'm glad you all could make it. If you want to follow me inside, I will show you one of Ponyville's most fascinating places!" >she stands next to the open door and gestures toward it with a hoof >a fake plastic grin is spread across her face >it gives me the creeps >I glance at the rest of the foals >most of them seem bored or confused "What's so special about the Golden Oak library anyway?" >one filly is whispering to her friend, who shrugs and looks equally perplexed >something presses up against my leg >I glance down to see Sweetie Belle looking up at me "This is really weird." >she whispers "Even Twilight wouldn't get this excited about the dumb old library." >I look around for the other two >Apple Bloom is a few feet away, Scootaloo is talking to another filly >I motion for them to come closer when they notice me "You three stick close and stay together. Don't go off alone with Twilight or Cheerilee once we're inside. I need to get into the basement so I'll need you to create a diversion." >the three of them nod somberly >one by one the foals are walking cluelessly into the open maw of the beast >we fall in line along with them >Scootaloo steps inside >Apple Bloom follows her >Sweetie Belle turns and gives me one last look >I nod reassuringly at her and she follows her friends inside >I turn to Twilight as I approach >she's watching us intently >that creepy plastic grin is still on her face >her eyes stare piercingly into mine as I step up to the door >I tug on the brim of my hat as I walk past "Twilight." "Oh, hi, Mr. Rusty. Welcome back." >the menace in her tone is unmistakeable >well, this is it >I step into the library
Writefag here. Since it's been a while since the last update, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still working on this and I promise it will be finished eventually one way or the other. Updates are probably going to be infrequent for a while but I will try not to let the thread fall off the board. As I told >>161435 I started a new job recently and I've been busy with that. I'm also starting a side project with a friend that is probably going to consume a lot of my free time as well.
I'm hoping to wrap up this current arc soon, and after that I've got another arc planned that will go more into how Dale wound up in Equestria in the first place and why he's there. There may be a break in between arcs but again I will try to watch the thread and keep it on the board. If it drops off I will start another thread.
Also, to the anon who was archiving the story in the Google drive, if you're still around: I copied the rest of the story from the point you have it up until today's update and pasted it in. I just copied and pasted the text from the file that I'm keeping as a record of it, some of which is just copied directly from the post box before I post it so it still has all the [ p ] tags and whatnot. It may require some editing but if I did it correctly the story should be current, you just have to approve the suggestion I think.
>>163177 Mr. Rusty better know what he is doing; famous last words and all that. But he has survived so far on his wit and intuition so I have hope. If anything happens to those fillies I will make it my life ambition to eradicate the world of Asparagus so Rusty will feel my wrath.
>>163186 Take your time this story is well worth waiting for.
>>163177 >the inside of the library looks about the same as the last time I was here >the horse children are just sort of milling around >most of them look like they're wondering what they're supposed to do here >I hear the door shut behind us and the ominous sound of a bolt being drawn through the lock "Alright, everypony. Now that we're all here, let's have a look at Ponyville's historic Golden Oak library!" >Twilight stands in front of the door, still wearing that creepy grin >she clears her throat and starts moving about the library, awkwardly showing off shelves of books and other things that don't really need to be explained >the foals mostly look bored or confused >a few of them start talking amongst themselves, ignoring Twilight, but she doesn't seem offended >I scan the room >so far it looks like Twilight and Cheerilee are the only adult ponies around >no sign of Spike or any of the others I've seen >those things can change shape though so who knows what they've got hiding in the shadows >I start edging my way towards the little alcove that leads to the cellar >Cheerilee is standing nearby, almost as if she's guarding it >she notices me looking at her and narrows her eyes menacingly >I need to get down there >I glance across the room to where the three fillies are standing, looking nervous and uncomfortable >Sweetie Belle notices my gaze and makes eye contact >I give her a slight nod >she whispers something to her two friends >Scootaloo sort of rams her shoulder against a wooden column holding up some kind of wooden statue >it wobbles for a second and then comes crashing down next to Sweetie Belle "Ow! You did that on purpose!" >Sweetie Belle yells, probably a bit louder than necessary >several foals turn and look "No I didn't!" >Scootaloo yells back just as loud, shoving Sweetie Belle into Apple Bloom "Hey! Cut it out!" >Apple Bloom yells and shoves Sweetie Belle back at Scootaloo >most of the class has turned towards them >a small crowd gathers around as the three fillies yell and shove each other back and forth >Cheerilee looks annoyed but seems to realize she's expected to intervene here >she glances quickly at me for a second, narrows her eyes again, and stalks towards the scuffle "Girls! Stop fighting this instant!" >now's my chance >I slide along the back wall of the library to the little alcove and duck down the stairs >heh >just like a ninja >the cellar looks about the same >boxes and barrels of junk all over the place >I head straight for the door at the far end >an ominous green glow is faintly visible through the crack at the bottom >I try the handle >it's unlocked >I push it open and step into yet another narrow stairway >that eerie green glow seems to be coming from whatever's at the bottom >this is it >I'm just seconds away from blowing this extraterrestrial conspiracy wide open >I reach the bottom of the stairs >even my experience as a professional soldier of fortune did not prepare me for this >I step into a large subterranean chamber full of alien pods >the translucent sacs are filled with some kind of gelatinous green ooze that glows softly in the darkness >inside of each is one of the townsponies >there's easily a couple hundred of them >most of them are ponies I don't know, but I see a few that I recognize immediately >there's Twilight, Spike, Rarity, Cheerilee, and... >no >this can't be right... "Heh. Now just what in the hay are you doin' down here, Mr. Rusty?" >I turn turn slowly around to face her "Applejack. Or should I say...alien doppelganger!" >she smiles, and suddenly Applejack transforms into a tall half-bug-half-horse creature >it looks similar to what I saw before, but this one is much bigger >more intelligent looking "So you're the alien queen." >I slide an asparagus stalk out of my pack and pop it into my mouth "That was a clever ruse, I'll give you that much. My money was on Twilight being you." >the alien bug-horse smiles "Oh, who's to say I wasn't? I can be whoever the moment calls for. And I was far more clever than you think." >I hear hoofsteps on the stairs, and the alien queen smiles and steps aside >slowly a line of terrified looking foals begin to file one by one into the chamber, flanked on either side by hovering bug-pony guards >Sweetie Belle and her friends are pushed in by a couple of guards >their eyes widen with terror when they notice the pods >the alien queen cackles madly "Do you see now? Your efforts to stop us were futile from the start. Once I seal off these foals, my minions will control this entire town! We can remain here disguised as these ponies, feeding for years upon years, and not even Celestia will ever be any the wiser!" >she cackles again and transforms back into Applejack "And thanks to your foolish trust in your friend, your pathetic plan to stop me is completely ruined!" >she changes back "You forgot one thing." >I reach into my pocket as my body tenses for combat "I exterminate bugs for a living. Pocket sa--" >I hurl a handful into her eyes, but her weird, twisted horn flares up and a wind-like force blows the sand into my face instead "Did you think I'd fall for such a foolish trick again?" >damn >hoisted by my own petard >I sputter and cough >the sand in my eyes temporarily blinds me >somehow I spin around and lose my balance >I'm on my knees >I spit out a last mouthful of sand as I grope around on the floor, looking for something I can use as a weapon >dimly I'm aware of one of the fillies calling out my name in alarm >the alien queen is cackling behind me >I feel that weird tingling on my skin that I've come to associate with unicorn magic since I arrived here >it feels like something's being sucked out of me >something like a cocoon starts wrapping around my ankles >no >it can't end this way >think, Gribble, think >I've got nothing
>>169760 I'm sorry, I genuinely do intend to get back to this soon. I actually meant to write it a week or so ago but I've since gotten diverted by a large side project. I promise I haven't abandoned thread though.
>>166842 I am very sorry about the length of time it's taken me to get back to this. you can literally blame Nigel
>I look up >there's a pod in front of me >if I stretch my arm I might be able to reach it >I can't see who it is in there >but it's my only hope >I pull forward >the stuff that's wrapping around my ankles pulls back, but I can reach the pod >I punch the pod as hard as I can >the membrane breaks easily "Noooo!" >the alien creature behind me howls in frustration >heh >looks like ET had no idea who she was dealing with >I feel myself being pulled back but I'm able to grab the membrane of the pod >it tears as I slide down >whoever's inside the pod begins to stir as soon as the green ooze starts leaking out >I struggle forward once more >I can see a purple leg >all right, looks like I got Twilight >she has freaky alien powers >maybe she can turn the tables here >I plunge my hand back into the ooze and grab the purple limb >I pull hard as the thing that has my leg starts tugging me down again >something long and purple begins to emerge from inside the ooze >I tug harder, and slowly I manage to pull out........ >........Spike >crap >what I thought was Twilight's leg turned out to be Spike's tail "W...wha...what's going on?" >the little dragon is confused and disoriented >behind me I can hear the alien queen laughing >wait, maybe I can make this work >it worked before, kind of >summoning all my strength, I pull myself back up onto my hands and knees >I grab Spike's tail again "Wha...wait a minute! Wha--" >I fling him as hard as I possibly can "WAAAAAAAAAAH!" >direct hit >he smacks the alien queen directly in the face before she has time to react >it knocks her off balance and she and Spike go tumbling backward >they roll to where the smaller alien bugs have herded the foals >tiny horses go scrambling in every direction as the queen hits the guards >they crash like bowling pins >yes >take that you aliens >I reach down and pull at the silky membrane she managed to wrap around my ankles >it tears off easily >I toss it to the side and scramble to my feet >I run to the nearest pod, punch through the membrane and tear >Applejack is inside "W...what in the hay...?" "Your planet needs you!" >I don't know if she comprehends but I don't have time to walk her through it >I run to the next pod and tear it open "Don't just stand there! Help him!" >I hear Sweetie Belle's voice somewhere behind me >she runs to the nearest pod and pierces it with her horn, and struggles to pull it apart with front her legs >the rest of the foals hesitate for a second, watching her >then they all start running to the pods and opening them >meanwhile the pony inside the one I just opened is coughing and sputtering >it's Twilight "Twilight!" >she looks up at me "M-Mr. Rusty? What in Equestria is going on?" "You were captured by the alien queen. There's no time to explain. Hurry up and get out here." >she extends her hoof to me and I pull her out of the ooze >all around us is chaos >the queen has recovered and is on her feet, howling and cursing and firing blue lasers out of her horn >there's about five of the guards buzzing this way and that trying to round up foals >the foals meanwhile keep opening pods >more and more ponies are emerging from the ooze, blinking and disoriented >most of them figure out the situation quickly enough and help the foals open pods >a few make a run for the door >I see the teacher, Cheerilee, being helped out by Apple Bloom and that little cyborg >Rarity and a few others I recognize are also free "Spike!" >Twilight's voice makes me turn my head sharply >the little dragon has been cornered by one of the bug creatures >Twilight fires a laser blast from that weird horn of hers and it knocks the bug out of the air >it falls limply to the floor and rolls around, stunned "Can you do that to the rest of them?" >she turns to me "I think so, if I can manage to hit them all." "Do it. I'll get everyone out of here." >she nods, and turns her attention to the bugs >I look around at the pods >there's only a couple of them that haven't been opened yet >Sweetie Belle goes running past my legs >I stop her "I'll take care of the last ones, get all your friends out of here and back upstairs." >she nods "Everypony! Back upstairs!" >foals and ponies start scrambling towards the stairs "Noooo! Stop them!" >the alien queen howls in frustration >she takes aim at the doorway >suddenly a burst of green flame explodes in her face, throwing off her aim >the laser fires over the ponies' heads into the wall on the other side >heh >looks like Spike is good for something besides being a projectile after all >I turn my attention to the last two pods >I don't recognize the ponies inside, but I tear them open and help them out >they run for the door "Mr. Rusty! Hurry!" >I hear Twilight's voice >the bug guards are all lying on the floor, groaning and buzzing helplessly >all the ponies are out >I make a run for the door "Oh no you don't!" >the queen lunges out of nowhere and blocks my path "No you don't!" >a pair of powerful hind legs buck her from the side and she goes tumbling head over hooves until she collides with the wall "Uh, you comin' Mr. Rusty?" >Applejack stands by the door >I run for the door >the queen is beginning to recover as I cross the basement floor >I dive through the entrance just as she makes it to her feet >a hot searing blast of laser just barely misses me as I dive through the opening >I scramble up the stairs after Applejack >almost there >the alien queen is hot on my heels, I can feel her breath on my back "Hurry!" >Twilight is standing in the entrance at the top >I barrel past her, trip over my own feet and somersault into the library >I'm lying on my back, staring up at the ceiling >I hear the door slam and the muffled sounds of the alien queen cursing
>>171905 >I lie on my back for a few moments, panting >God, I need a smoke >a real one >not an option though >I settle for the next best thing >I slide an asparagus stalk out of my pack and pop it into my mouth >crap, I've only got a few of them left >oh well >I think the danger is basically over for now >I can probably get more later "Uh, Mr. Shackleford? Are you okay?" >I turn my head to see Sweetie Belle and her friends crouched next to me "I'm fine." >I sit up and look around >the alien queen is still pounding against the door, but Twilight's sealed it with some kind of magic >the other ponies are milling around the library, looking confused and disoriented >missing time is always the hardest part to get over >I remember that from my own alien abduction "Are you three okay?" >the three fillies nod "Alright then." >I stand up "Um, Mr. Rusty?" >I turn around to see Diamond Tiara and her little cyborg friend standing there >they both look a little reluctant and the cyborg is avoiding eye contact >Diamond Tiara clears her throat and looks up at me "Um, we just wanted to say thank you for saving us." >she nudges her friend "Yeah, thank you." >Silver Spoon still doesn't quite want to make eye contact but they both seem sincere enough >I still don't trust them, but I suspect fighting against a common foe has neutralized our conflict >I nod "No problem. So long as we have an understanding that there will be no more transmission of sensitive information about me to your overlords." >I pat the magnet that I'm still carrying in my pocket >the threat could not be clearer >they give each other a long, nervous, very confused look "Uh....sure Mr. Rusty." "Yeah...anyway, thanks." >they trot quickly away >ponies are beginning to disperse >I follow Twilight and the others outside >the town is still overrun with clones that are going to need to be rooted out >but once the queen is contained its only a matter of time before the colony falls >I learned that from fire ants >I'm about to approach Twilight to discuss our next move when suddenly a pony I've never seen before swoops down out of the sky >this one is enormous, more like a horse than a pony >she's bright white, and has wings and a unicorn horn >her mane is translucent and is doing some kind of weird sparkly flowing thing that is clearly the work of technology beyond human comprehension >I know who she is even before Twilight says her name "Princess Celestia!" >the ponies around all perk up at the sound of the name >all of them, including Twilight, kneel down in a gesture of submission to their overlord >so this is the Empress of the alien horse world "Twilight, my student. What has happened here?" >Twilight explains the situation briefly >Princess Celestia listens with concern on her face "And who is this newcomer?" >she turns to me >Twilight interjects quickly "Princess, this is Shackleford Rusty. He's from...Okrahoma...? We couldn't have won without his help." >the Princess looks me up and down >she doesn't look surprised to see me >she knows something >finally she gives me a graceful bow "We owe you our thanks. If there is anything we can do for you in return, please let us know." >all the ponies are looking at me expectantly >this alien horse is clearly more powerful than the others >better to heel and be submissive for now >I throw myself prostrate on the grass "Your Majesty! I thank you for your generosity. I ask only that you spare my home planet from the wrath of your mighty Galactic Empire, and allow us to live in peace!" "Er......very well. I shall..............do that." >she gives me a long, confused look and then turns her attention to Twilight "Twilight, if you would please come with me. There is still much work to do." >Twilight nods soberly and the two of them wander off >crap >I should have asked her how to get home >a few hours later, I'm sitting on top of a hill near the school >behind me, in the town, Twilight and the Princess are still rooting out the last of the alien doppelgangers >the queen is still trapped in the basement as far as I know >I'm not sure what they plan on doing with her >if this 'Princess Celestia' is anything like the last alien ruler I dealt with, I'm guessing she'll extract information from her via mind control and then grind her body into a nutrient-rich paste >the paste will then be consumed by her subjects in a ritualistic feast >I don't really want to be around for that part >too many bad memories >I sit watching the sun slowly set behind the hills >the natural beauty of this world just makes me remember how far away I am from my own >I take an asparagus stalk out of my pack and put it in my mouth >the vegetable tar goes down smooth >there's nothing quite like having a nice long smoke after foiling an alien scheme "Um, can I try one of those?" >I turn my head to see Sweetie Belle, standing timidly off to the side "They'll stunt your growth." >she shrugs and trots over to where I'm sitting >I pull the last one out of the pack and she grabs it with her mouth >I make a lighting motion with my thumb and light it for her "How is it?" "Um....it tastes like asparagus." "Real smokes are better." "Maybe I could try one some time." "Yeah, maybe." >we sit quietly for a bit "Um, Mr. Shackleford? Are you going to keep living in Ponyville?" >I turn my head to her again >she's looking at me a little anxiously "I thought I might stick around for a bit." >her face brightens, then she looks quickly away >she looks like she's about to say something, then changes her mind >we sit in silence >slowly the sun dips down behind the hills in the distance >the sky of the planet Equestria darkens from orange to red to purple >I puff on my asparagus stalk >it's not quite the same thing as a real smoke, but it's close enough "Yep." >Sweetie Belle chews and swallows hers "Yep."
I had a good time. Id like to see mr rusty tackle the tau-tier job structure. Now that youve made me think about it, it does feel very wagecage. Children are indoctrinated into the workforce, they even lust for the moment their whole lives are chosen out for them. Happily working for the elite because "its destiny", and passively shunning those who dont have cutie marks through self consciousness. Magical destiny? Hah! Whos running this branding ministry? I want answers! You cant hide the truth from free thinkers REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Hi all, I'm back. Going to tripfag from now on since my ID changes throughout the thread. Thank you all for being patient, I know I haven't updated this story in a long ass time. Hopefully people are still interested and I haven't lost my mojo.
>it's been three months since I first came to the strange planet known as Equestria >while I am still no closer to discovering the truth about why they've brought me here, the sentient ponies of this world seem to have accepted me as one of their own >I still don't trust their leader, a large flying horse with mysterious powers known only as "Princess Celestia" >I've only met her once, but I know that "Twilight Sparkle", a fake name if ever I've heard one, regularly sends her messages >she uses that dragon of hers as some kind of transmission device >I'm assuming there is a lot of Gribble-related information in their correspondence >can't really be helped, but by helping them fight off an alien invasion I think I've gained a bit of their trust >hopefully they're not still planning to dissect me >for now I've decided to lay low and pretend to live peacefully among them >not really much of a choice, since I don't know how to get home >my wife and son have got to be getting pretty worried by now, but Nancy knew what she was signing on for when she married a licensed bounty hunter >good thing I can trust my friend John Redcorn to look after them while I'm away "This meeting of the Cutie Mark Crusaders is now called to order!" >the voice of the little horse named Apple Bloom brings me out of my meditation >I'm sitting in the small treehouse where I spend many of my afternoons >a local organization called the "Cutie Mark Crusaders" has accepted me as one of their own "Uh, any new business?" >Apple Bloom looks out from her makeshift podium >the other two, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, look a little bored >the weather's been hot lately >it's probably hard to find motivation to do stuff "Sweetie Belle?" >the little marshmallow colored pony looks up when she hears her name called >Apple Bloom is looking expectantly at her "We're kind of running out of stuff to do." >Sweetie Belle finally says after a few awkward moments >Scootaloo nods in agreement "Yeah, it seems like we've tried just about everything, and we still haven't gotten our cutie marks." >Apple Bloom sighs reluctantly "Yeah, I guess we are starting to run out of new activities to try." >she looks at me hopefully "Mr. Shackleford? Do you have any ideas on how we can get our cutie marks?" >the three of them are looking at me expectantly >I clear my throat and grind out the stump of my asparagus stalk "Back in Arl-I mean, Oklahoma, I was President of the Gun Club." "What did you do there?" >Scootaloo seems curious "Mostly we shot guns, talked about guns, talked about shooting guns. One time we had a yard sale to raise money to buy some more ammunition, since we tend to go through a lot of it." "Was being in the gun club anything like being a crusader?" >Sweetie Belle looks genuinely interested "Pretty much the same thing. Except instead of cutie marks, we were crusaders for freedom." >Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle look at each other "I guess we haven't tried that yet." >Sweetie Belle rubs a foreleg against her chin >Apple Bloom shrugs in response >she turns to me "Uh, Mr. Shackleford? What are guns and how do you shoot them?" >I'm so startled I drop the asparagus stalk I was in the process of lighting "You don't have any guns?" >the three little ponies shake their heads "What about your parents?" >Scootaloo and Apple Bloom look uncomfortable all of a sudden "Uh, they don't have any guns either." >Sweetie Belle interjects quickly >I stare at them in disbelief for a moment "Wait, do ponies in Equestria not own guns?" >the three of them look at each other again, and they all shake their heads "Then how do you defend yourselves against a hostile and oppressive government?" >they just stare at me >foals in the woods they are >they don't even understand the danger they're in >Celestia's mighty armies could roll in here at any moment and they wouldn't even have a well-regulated militia to defend themselves >these ponies have taken me into their home and accepted me as one of their own >it wouldn't be right to just stand aside and do nothing "I've got an idea." "Really? That's great Mr. Shackleford!" >the three of them lean in excitedly "What this town needs is a well-regulated citizens' militia. And we're gonna be the ones to form it." >the three of them glance back and forth at each other in confusion for a moment "Uh, what does that..." >Apple bloom starts to ask a question, but Sweetie Belle cuts her off "That sounds like fun!" >the other two look at her, then back at each other >Scootaloo makes a confused face >Apple Bloom shrugs "Yeah, I guess it's something we've never tried before." >the three of them put their hooves together and shout in unison "Cutie Mark Crusaders Citizens' Militia!"