Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Literature / Hobbyist Core Member N. B. SeabornMale/United States Group :iconmlp-art-club-101: MLP-ART-CLUB-101
LuLu rules! Tia drools!
Recent Activity
Deviant for 3 Years
5 Month Core Membership
Statistics 69 Deviations 671 Comments 4,610 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Favourites

Groups

Activity


Mature Content


or, enter your birth date.


Month

Day

Year*
Please enter a valid date format (mm-dd-yyyy)
Please confirm you have reviewed DeviantArt's Terms of Service below.
* We do not retain your date-of-birth information.
         Path Finder held on to the manticore’s mane for dear life as it led his fellow bounty hunters towards their target.

         He asked the clydesdale, “Hey, Steel Jacket? Are you sure he’s got a good fix on Ekon? We only got a little bit of blood from his gunshot wound for this beast to smell.”

         Steel Jacket laughed. “Yew ain’t got no faith in my boy there, I swear. Bullet could track a blood-scent all the way to Tartarus if’n he had to.”

         Sure Shot said, “As long he knows to not kill Ekon. You two just need to take out that stupid pink robot. That pegasus with the metal legs is mine to kill, got it?”

         When they were a half-mile from the boat, Spring Step pointed at Ekon and said, “Get below decks. If you can find something to defend yourself with, grab it. Don’t leave the boat until I say so.”

         When he went down the stairs and was out of earshot, Spring Step asked Pinksworth, “It’s not just me they’re after, is it?”

         “Well, maybe they really want revenge. Ekon’s got a lot of baggage he’s not willing to let go of. He’s not telling us any more than he wants, that’s for sure.”

         “I have a feeling that he’s not going to tell us everything, even when we get to New Canterlot.”

         “That’s his choice, Springy. Not one that I’d make. I know how hard it can be to keep secrets, especially the kind that makes him talk in his sleep. Ekon is his own worst enemy.”

         Spring Step scratched her head. “What do you mean?”

          “You cry at that memorial because you miss your parents and friends. But you’ve made your peace with that loss. I don’t believe that Ekon’s made peace with himself or his loss at all. He’s got a ton of guilt over something he did.”

           Spring Step shrugged. “His brother’s haunting his dreams for a reason.”

         “We’ll have to stick a pin on that thought for now, Bed Spring.” She slapped her boxing glove and party cannon together. “It’s clobbering time.”

        “Time to pony up,” replied Spring Step as she jumped off the deck, popped open her wings and glided towards the pony on the far left.

         Sure Shot saw his target flying low towards him. He skidded to a halt and pulled out his hunting rifle. Standing on his rear hooves, he wrapped his front hooves around the large trigger and handle. He took aim at her head and growled, “Smile, you creepy bitch.”

         Just as he pulled the trigger, Spring Step stomped her hooves into the clay, which launched her over his shot.

         “What?” Startled, he frantically cocked the next round. He looked up a moment later and saw only her rear hooves as they smacked into his face.

         Screaming, Sure Shot flipped over and bounced the back of his head into the clay. His rifle slipped out of his hooves and clattered away from him. For a moment, there were two moons in the night sky.

         He scrambled upright and wobbled on all fours, frantically scouting for the pegasus. “Where the fuck are you?”

         She said, “Not such a big stud without your gun, huh?” as she slammed into his back.

         “Is this how you killed Gretchen? By fighting like a coward?”

         Spring Step landed in front of him and replied, “No, I killed her because I fight like a soldier. Was she your girlfriend? Your widdle snuggle-bunny?”

         “Shut up!”

         “Tell me, did she taste like light or dark meat?”

         “I’ll tear your legs off!” he yelled as he charged at her, eyes wide and mouth frothing.

         That’s right, thought Spring Step. Keep getting pissed at me. Anger makes the enemy stupid and so much easier to take out. That’s what my dad taught me.

         Sure Shot swung a hoof at her head, but she dodged it easily. One advantage to having light aluminum legs is that they can make any pony fall with a minimum of effort. While her target finished his missed swing, she swung her right foreleg at his back.

         As he landed with a lung-emptying thud, she continued to tease him. “Was she hoof-licking good? Did her beak ever hurt you when she tried to get a mouthful from your yearling-sized dick?”

         Spring Step danced around him as he got back up. Wiping the blood from his split lip, he said, “For that last line alone, I’m going to beat you until you can’t breath. “

         Meanwhile, Pinksworth was laughing as the manticore tried to smack her with his huge paws. The creature was gasping for breath harder and harder until it finally sat on its haunches and roared in frustration.

         Path Finder finally got disgusted and yelled, “For the love of Celestia, would you do something about this loony robot, Steel Jacket?”

         The clydesdale climbed onto the boat deck and leaped onto Pinksworth. Scrambling to gain a foothold on her hair, he began bashing his huge hooves into the metal, trying to find a weak spot.

         Pinksworth pointed her eyes at the clydesdale and said, “Welcome to Pinkie’s carnival!”

         Steel Jacket could only stare at the huge blue-tinted cameras as he asked, “Say what?”

         “Time for a ride!” she cheered as she launched a hundred feet straight up.

         Steel Jacket could only scream as he hung onto Pinkworth’s front hair curl.

         “Ever been on a merry-go-round?”

         “No! Never!”

         “Gee, it sounds like you had a boring childhood. Let’s make up for lost time, okay?” Pinkworth began to spin in place like a berserk carousel, whistling circus music and giggling.

         As the world turned into a whirling cone of streaking star lights and moon glow, Pinksworth said, “Want to go faster? Raise your hooves if you want to go faster!”

         The clydesdale’s head rolled from side to side as his eyes rolled up and closed. Slipping off her head, he fell towards the boat. By the time his head cracked against the deck, he had passed out from the spinning.

         Path Finder shook his head. “That’s it. I’ve reached my limit with this frickin’ zebra.” Leaping off of the flustered manticore, he pulled out his tazer.

         Unlike his partner, he preferred weapons that could be fired from his mouth. From a distance, it looked like he was chewing on a large brick of charcoal, but the twin steel spikes in the front could fire a small bolt of lightning that could knock out anything smaller than a minotaur.

         Since the robot was still slowing its spinning, he knew he only had a moment to get out of the thing’s sight. The pony scrambled onto the boat, leapt over the sleeping clydesdale and ran into the living room.

         Checking under the table, he heard a faint thumping of hooves beneath him.

         He smiled. Bingo.

         Since the stairwell was the only exit that Path Finder could see, he knew that Ekon had run out of places to hide. He climbed down the steps carefully, making sure nothing creaked beneath his hooves. Five years of hunting you, he thought. I don’t know why your brother wants you alive, but he’s paying me too much to care.

         He peeked into the open door on his left. An empty bedroom. No hiding spaces.

         There was a closed door at the end of the hall. Azi’s more obsessed with getting you back to the mountain than I am. If I’m not careful, I’m going to turn into that stark-eyed loon.

         When Path Finder was two feet from the door, he raised both forelegs and bashed the door open.

         In one second he saw that Ekon was pointing a yellow plastic tube at him.

         In two seconds he realized that Ekon had pulled the trigger of a flare gun.  

         In three seconds he had a sunburst of fire explode into his chest.

         In the midst of Path Finder’s sudden blinding agony, he bit down on the tazer. Cobalt blue arcs of electricity curled over the fire that had reached his cheeks. The urge to scream forced the tazer out of his mouth.

         He frantically swung his front hooves at the flare melting a hole into his chest armor and flesh. As the fire spread from his chest to his hooves, the zebra sprang from the room, knocking the pony into a wall.

         Path Finder was too busy smothering the flare’s fire by mashing his smoldering chest into the carpeted floor to care about the escaping zebra.

        Meanwhile, Sure Shot pawed at the clay as he glowered at Spring Step. He noticed that he was building a small pile of clay pebbles. While keeping eye contact with the pegasus, he placed the tip of his right front hoof under some of the dislodged clay.

       When Spring Step blinked, he kicked a few clay fragments into her face.  Startled, she darted to her right. This distraction gave the pony enough time to charge at her.

         She spread her legs out to keep from tipping over as he slammed into her chest. Since his legs had considerably more muscle than hers, he was able to lift her forelegs up. She scrambled to gain purchase, but her rear hooves could only slide across the clay.

         He tucked his head under Spring Step’s chin and leapt forward. She waved her forelegs as she swayed back from his pushing. Her legs clattered on the ground as she landed on her back.

         Sure Shot loomed over her, smiling. “Got any more clever lines for me, little filly?”

         She shook her head. Then she bit down on the release cord for her wings and yanked. The wings popped open, slipping under his front hooves. He stumbled back, startled.

         The pegasus reared back and aimed her forehead at his bloody nose. She felt the muzzle’s cartilage collapse like a foam coffee cup against her skull. His scream made her ears ring as he scrambled to get away from her.

         While he stood on his rear legs, the torrential nosebleed began to paint his front hooves. Since he was dizzy from the pain, he didn’t notice that Spring Step was flapping her wings to get herself up and back on her feet. Shaking the clay from her mane, she closed her wings.

         Picking up Sure Shot’s rifle, Spring Step slung it over one shoulder. “Are you going to beat me to death now or later?”

         He could only stare at her. Reeling from the pain that only seemed to get worse, he shook his head. He’d been injured before, but never so severely. “So what happens now? Are you going to kill me or what?”

         “What’s your name, kid?”

         “Sure Shot.”

         “Listen up, Sure Shot. I only killed your friend because she was shooting arrows at Ekon. But he’s ours now. We’re taking him back to our home, so stop chasing us.”

         “I loved her,” he whimpered, his tears making his bloody nose sting. “You took her away from me!”

         She nodded and siged. “Yeah. I figured that. But that’s the risk you guys take when you hunt someone out here. Go home. Find some other kind of work. This job’s going to kill you if you don’t quit.”

         His jaw dropped. “You’re letting me go?”

         “Once in a lifetime offer for you. I’m seldom this generous.  But listen up and listen good.” Spring Step pointed at her rifle. “If I catch you out here hunting anyone again, if you so much as sneeze in my general direction again, I’ll blow your head off at the neck and use your skull for a candy bowl.”

         A yellow puddle splashed around his hooves.

         Grinning at this sight, relishing his fear, she said “Go ahead. Call me a liar.”

         Sure Shot shook his head, turned around and ran towards the boat. “Path Finder! We are leaving!”

         Path Finder emptied his canteen into his burn wounds. He heard his partner screaming something, but since he was still below decks, he could only make out the frantic tones. Since the tazer had run out of juice, he left it behind. Climbing the steps, he rummaged around his pockets for other weapons.

         Peeking over the top stair step, he saw the insane robot nudging Steel Jacket with its giant boxing glove. “Who designed that damned thing?” he whispered. “A circus clown?”

         Pinksworth turned towards him and said, “Uh . . . no, I did! You shouldn’t whisper about fillies behind their backs, mister. It’s kinda rude.”

         His eyes popped wide. “Please say you’re just a robot.”

         “Okay. I’m not, though.” She floated closer, aiming her cannon at him. “I guess you’ll have to stick around here for a while.”

          Recalling how long it took to cut himself free from her webs last time, he frantically pulled out a grenade.

         Pinksworth held up her boxing glove. “Hey! Don’t use that! You’ll hurt the clydesdale!”

         He shrugged. “Screw him.” His teeth clamped onto the grenade pin.

         As he spit out the pin, the grenade clattered across the living room. Path Finder slid down the stairs and slapped his hooves over his ears.

         The explosion pushed him into a wall. A dark plume of smoke and wood shrapnel swirled around him as he scrambled up the damaged steps.

         Slowly crawling through the smoke, he waved thin clouds away from his eyes, hoping that he’d find the robot (cyborg?) blasted into paper weights.

         Instead, he found that the clydesdale’s head and neck were gone. Between them, there was a smoking, fragmented crater.

         “What are you trying to do, kill us?” cried Sure Shot as he climbed aboard the boat. “Let’s get out of here!”

         “We have a job to do, dummy! I’m not leaving till it’s done!”

         Sure Shot stared at him for a moment, then looked behind him. When he saw Spring Step walking towards the boat, he ran over to Path Finder. “Forget it! It’s over! I’m bleeding half to death and you’re burned up like a marshmallow. You blew up Steel Jacket and the manticore is about to bolt on us.”

         Path Finder frantically looked around the boat. “But he . . .”

         Sure Shot stamped a hoof and shouted, “I’m leaving on that thing’s back! You have five seconds to join me!”

         As Sure Shot leapt onto the manticore, Path Finder heard the robot (cyborg?) say, “You’d better get out of here before you kill yourself next, mister.”

         That voice was just beyond what remained of the smoke. He patted his pockets, trying to find something to take out that robot, something more substantial than a grenade.

         “Three seconds!” barked his partner.

         Path Finder shouted, “All right! Hold on!”

         Leaping over the bloody remains of Steel Jacket, he climbed onto the manticore. Sure Shot patted the furry ruff of the beast and cried, “Giddy-up! GO!”

         Growling, the manticore got on its feet and raced away into the night.

         Pinksworth floated from the front of the boat to the deck, struggling to keep her jet running smoothly. The grenade blast shot hot shrapnel into the engine, making her leave a black trail of smoke. The once quiet exhaust coughed and rattled as she kept wavering like a balloon in a blustery wind.

         Ekon peered around her. “Are they gone?”

         “Yeah, but I don’t think you want to look at the mess they made on the deck. Hold onto my back and I’ll float down to the ground.”

         Spring Step ran over to them. “Are you guys . . . oh, you’re not okay. I was hoping that grenade didn’t hit you.”

         “I’m a little wobbly, but it’ll take more than that to reach my chewy center.” Pinksworth pointed her glove at Ekon. “It looks like our favorite zebra found a new toy, though. He really did a number on the pony that tried to blow me up.”

         “Ah, you found a flare gun.”

         Ekon nodded, wincing at the memory of the pony’s burning flesh. And his screams. “Hit him in the chest. It’s more effective than my knife, that’s for sure.”

         Pinksworth gasped and pointed at Spring Step. “You got blood on your head!”

         Spring Step rubbed a hoof onto her forehead. “It’s okay. It’s not mine. Both of those bastards are going to need some serious medical care.” She patted her rifle. “At least I got a souvenir for my trouble.”

         Ekon pointed at the wrecked boat. “I don’t think this is a good rest stop anymore.”

         Spring Step sighed and shook her head. “No, it’s not. Crap, that boat had nice beds, too.”

         “It’s another twenty miles to New Canterlot,” informed Pinksworth. “Maybe if we hoof it, we can get there before my jet conks out.”

          “What if I fire this flare gun into the air?” suggested Ekon. “Aren’t there other ponies like you guys out here that would spot it and help us?”

         “We’re kind of spread out, Ekon,” replied Spring Step. “Let’s walk at least another ten miles before we fire that thing, all right? We’ll have a better chance of getting spotted by a border patrol.”

         The prospect of hoofing it that far made Ekon hang his head and groan. Pinksworth patted him on the head with her boxing glove. “It’s okay, Ekon. We’re almost at the finish line! Look at it this way; at exhausted as we are, the bandits we scared away are much worse off!”



                                                                     *                    *                     *



         Path Finder glared at his bloodied mess of a partner. “What the fuck was that all about? I thought you wanted to kill that pegasus!”

         “She would have killed me, but she didn’t.” Scowling, Sure Shot shook his head. “You know what, Path Finder? I’m fucking done with this job.”

         “What? Don’t you dare bail on me!”

         “It’s all turned to shit for us, pal! They’re almost at New Canterlot, I lost my gun and you blew up Steel Jacket.”

         Path Finder pulled on the manticore’s mane, which made the creature stop. “When did your balls drop off? You kept going on about how you’re going to rip that mare’s head off for fragging your girlfriend. But when she busts your nose and steals your rifle, you run off like a filly that got spanked!”

         “That’s not fair! That pegasus had to have been a Wonderbolt. You know how tough they are, even if they can’t fly anymore.”

         “I don’t care if she was the reincarnation of Princess Celestia herself! That’s twice now you’ve fucked everything up!”

         Sure Shot pointed at the burns on Path Finder’s chest and neck. “I can’t help but notice you didn’t get the job done either.”

        Path Finder rubbed his temples and sighed. “Do you remember what we used to do for a living before the world unraveled?”

         “Yeah, we used to take rich ponies on animal hunting expeditions into the Everfree forest. When those woods slid into a chasm, we took up bounty hunting.”

         “I trusted you then, Sure Shot. We’ve killed a lot of creatures large and small. I’ve gunned down I don’t know how many bandits and never thought about my kills twice. I guess trying to bring back one zebra alive is just too much to ask of you.”

         Blowing his bloody nose clean, he asked, “Why are you talking down to me?”

         Path Finder looked into his partner’s eyes. “I thought maybe your anger towards the killer of your lady would make you more focused during this job. But it’s obvious that you’re not useful to me. Not anymore.”

         He turned to face Sure Shot. Placing one hoof on his shoulder, he reached for the manticore’s scorpion stinger. “There’s no more room in this world for useless ponies.”

         Sure Shot turned his head to see the stinger being yanked towards him.

         “Path Finder, no!”

         He screamed as the stinger was pushed deep between his shoulders. When the stinger’s toxin filled his veins, the pony’s heart stopped and he fell lifeless into the manticore’s mane.

         “You got in the way of my goal.”

         Feeling as numb as a rock, Path Finder pushed his only friend off the manticore. Sure Shot hit the ground with a wet thud.

         Path Finder patted the manticore’s head. “Well, Bullet. I guess it’s just you and me now. Let’s go back to your home and hire your master’s buddies. Then we’ll all go to Aki’s mountain. Maybe seeing my new partners will convince him I can still get paid for my trouble.”

         As the number of miles grew between him and the body of his friend, he felt the tears rise. In the silent moonlit desert plain, he wept. Even in a ruined world, where mercy can get a pony killed, even the most brutal people can be shaken by personal loss.

         But soon his tears dried. Then the numbness returned stronger than before.

         When a heart turns to stone, he reasoned with absolute certainty, it cannot be hurt.

         Nothing will hurt me ever again.

Mature Content


or, enter your birth date.


Month

Day

Year*
Please enter a valid date format (mm-dd-yyyy)
Please confirm you have reviewed DeviantArt's Terms of Service below.
* We do not retain your date-of-birth information.
         Spring Step asked, “Is your throat okay?”

         “It’s a little sore, but I’m all right.”

         “We’ll have the nurses look you over once we get to New Canterlot. It’s been five years since you’ve had a proper check-up, after all,” she said, smiling.

         Ekon couldn’t recall the last time he had a proper bath, much less a good brushing of his teeth.

         “How much further do we have to walk?” he asked.

         Pinksworth replied, “Oh, another day or so. If we take off now, we can make the next safe house by nightfall.”

         They left the farmlands behind. An hour later, they stopped in front of a billboard that said “Flim and Flam’s Apple Tonic! For a thirsty Equestria!” Over the slogan, someone painted, in bright red paint, “Celestia and Luna are not dead! They are merely unemployed!”

         Pinksworth commented, “I like the Alicorn slogan better. Besides, that Apple Tonic tastes like wood varnish.”

         “It probably is just varnish,” Spring Step replied wryly. “Those are two ponies I’d like to bash flat.”

         Ekon said, “I had heard that the Alicorn princesses disappeared when the unraveling hit. Is anypony looking for them? It seems to me that they’d be easy to spot.”
         As they walked past the billboard, the pegasus said, “When the earthquake devastated Ponyville, it also split the mountain that housed Canterlot, where the Alicorn’s castle is. When the castle and city hit the ground, most everypony there died almost instantly.”

         Pinksworth added, “But no pony ever found Celestia’s or Luna’s bodies, thank goodness.”

          “Since those two are goddesses, that doesn’t surprise me,” said Ekon. “After all, the sun and the moon are still rising on time, right?”

         Spring Step snorted in frustration. “I’d gladly have a hundred days of night if it meant having even Princess Luna in charge of Equestria. They weren’t just deities, Ekon. They were rulers. Dispensers of justice. When they disappeared, it left behind a huge vacuum of political power.”

         “So who’s in charge of Equestria?”

         “Since the royal family got killed when Canterlot fell, what remained of the government decided to have the most experienced businessman they could find to run the show for the time being. Filthy Rich is his name, but he prefers to be called just Rich.”

         Ekon struggled to wrap his head around this news. “So no one’s trying to find these goddesses?”

         Pinksworth made a phfft noise and replied, “Of course they are, silly. I have a feeling they’ll come back when they can.”

         Spring Step moaned. “Hope springs eternal for the silliest amongst us. Pinks, we’ve gone over this. If they really loved us ponies as much as they say they have, why would they let the world turn to crap like this? Why let millions of ponies die?”

         “Maybe they had no choice but to leave, Springy. Maybe if we can fix this world as much as we can, that might inspire them to come back sooner.”

         The pegasus flicked her wings and stamped her legs in frustration. “Really? How is that supposed to work?”

         Pinksworth gave a three-shoulder shrug. “I dunno. How did pegasus magic work? I mean, look at your size of your wings and your head. Even when you were flying around at a hundred miles an hour, how did you keep from tumbling forward because of your big noggin?”

         “Because magic,” asserted Spring Step. “It doesn’t need explaining. And you shouldn’t give me a line of smack about huge heads, Pinks.”

         Ekon said, “Maybe it does. If we don’t fully understand magic, how will we ever know how to get it back?”

          “Good question,” said Pinksworth. “I wish I could give a good answer. All I can say is you gotta have faith.”

          “Pssh! Faith is a crappy substitute for brains, Pinks.” Spring Step nudged Ekon’s left shoulder. “I love her, but she’s got rose-tinted lenses on.”

          Pinksworth nudged Ekon’s right shoulder. “I love her, but she’s got welding goggles on. She keeps seeing the worst in people. You’re lucky she likes you.”

         “I’ve seen what she does to people that get on her bad side.”

         “In a better world, I wouldn’t have to act like Judge Spring Step. The unraveling killed most of our military and police ponies. There aren’t too many prisons in the wasteland, so the rules about self-defense and arresting ponies have loosened up a lot.”
         
         “That’s true,” replied Pinksworth. “There are a bunch more bounty hunters lately.”

         Ekon felt a sliver of sweat trickle down his cheek. Please don’t ask about the ponies chasing me. Please oh please.

         “Pinks and I are the closest thing to a police force out here. Not only do we help find wayward folks like you a home, but we also fight bandits and report on what’s going on out here. Pinks razzes my OCD, but I use my obsessions and compulsions to bring as much order to the world as possible.”

         Pinksworth whistled. “There’s a hole with no bottom.”

          Spring Step stuck her tongue out at her friend. “And you call me a cynic.” She stopped and held a leg over her eyes for shade. “Ah! There’s our next stop.”

         She pointed at a monument on a distant hill. It looked like a white concrete flower.

         Ekon said, “What is that?”

         “It’s where I pay my respects when I’m in the area,” Spring Step replied as she broke into a trot. “Come on. This won’t take long.”  

         It was a grand sculpture of white polished marble. Fifteen feet high and twenty feet wide, it was carved to look like spread pegasus wings. On the tips of the eight large feathers were flying pegasi, which were also white marble. Between the huge wings was a silver disk with the words “Altius Volantis – Soaring Higher” engraved in the center.

         There were dozens of flower wreaths and melted candles placed around the memorial. Family photos and even small statues of pegasi stood alongside them. A few of the flowers were fresh.

         Spring Step sat and quietly read the gold plaque that rested at the foot of the monument. It read:

          This monument is to honor those many brave pegasi colts and mares that died tragically when
         the great city of Cloudsdale fell to Equestria. It is also made to commemorate those pegasi who
         perished when Equestria’s magic had failed them. Nopony who is loved is ever truly forgotten.
         Their immortal souls will soar higher than their mortal bodies ever could. May they always find
         the wind under their wings. May the sun keep them warm. May they find eternal peace.

         Spring Step sat in front of the plaque and read the words in a reverent whisper. She then closed her eyes and lowered her head. A moment later, she sniffed as tears dripped from her muzzle.

         Ekon took a step towards her, but Pinksworth put her glove on his back and whispered, “Let her do this alone. Her parents lived in Cloudsdale. So did a lot of her team mates.”

         He looked past the monument and into the valley beyond. The shattered remains of Cloudsdale were strewn across a mile of devastated forest. Enormous white pillars and shattered domes of steel and glass were engulfed in vines and trees. In a few more years, the city would be completely buried in the foliage.

         In the five years of hiding from his would-be captors, Ekon had seen few memorials like this one. He assumed the people of New Canterlot put the sculpture here to honor the dead. Ekon had seen plenty of dead ponies in every state of decay, had walked past countless commemorative gatherings of flowers, photos and the like.

         In a short while, the flowers would eventually decay into dust and the photos would fade into blank paper, leaving nothing for anyone to remember the fallen with. After a brief period of grieving, it was as if the dead had never existed.

         This beautiful sculpture that Spring Step wept at, however, would outlast every living pony. The living would make sure of that.

         A few minutes later, she stood up, wiped the tears away and said, in a shaky voice, “Well, I’ve said my goodbyes. Let’s go.”

         Ekon asked, “How often do you come here?”

         “Once a month, give or take a few weeks. It’s how I honor the memories of my parents. They meant the world to me.” Spring Step looked at him and said somberly, “Memories are the only things we own, Ekon. Never forget your past.”

         He patted her on the shoulder. “Believe me, my past is never far from me.”



                                                                 *                    *                    *



        The sunset was a vivid red, which made the clay lake bed glow like a banked coal. The massive yacht tilted to one side, but the cracked clay held the boat firm as Ekon and Spring Step climbed aboard.

         Spring Step had to check the place for squatters because Pinksworth was too big to fit anywhere but the dining room.

         Ekon pointed at the thumping sounds Spring Step made and asked, “What if she gets in a jam and you can’t help her? Could you break through the wall?”

         “I can tear through almost any wall that’s weaker than oak. My cannon’s pretty heavy, so I could it as a battering ram if I had to. Maybe if we keep traveling three, you can watch her back.”

         He whirled around to face her, eyes wide. “What are you talking about?”

         “Oh, come on. You’ve been on your own for five years, right? Gonna tell me you’ve never been in a fight?”

         “No. Never. I have a knife, but I’ve never used it for defense, just for jimmying doors open.”

         “Wow, I’ve been in a bunch of fights. Almost a lost a few, too.”

         “How do you get used to fighting? I don’t know if I can do the things Spring Step has done.”

         “Well, she was a Wonderbolts captain. The Wonderbolts are like an airborn version of the Royal Guard. Both of those armed forces are trained to protect Equestria, no matter how screwed up it gets.”

         “That’s where she learned to fight the way she does?”

         “Her whole family was in the Wonderbolts, so I’m guessing she was trained how to kick flank as soon as her skull hardened. She’s a great fighter, but she also knows what she’s fighting for. She knows her goal. In our line of work, we often have to fight to reach that goal.”

         “Even if it means killing ponies?”

         Pinksworth’s eyes drooped on their stalks a bit. “Yeah. Even that. It took a long time for me to accept that. I’d rather just immobilize ponies myself.”

         Spring Step popped her head out of a nearby doorway. “Yeah, that won’t bite you in the butt someday. The boat’s clear. I call dibs on the couple’s suite. Ekon can sleep in the guest room.”

         Pinksworth shook her head. “A single mare sleeping in a couple’s bed? That’s weird.”

         “And comfy. You know what to do, Pinks.”

         She waved her boxing glove at Spring Step as she floated out onto the ship’s deck. “Yeah, yeah. Keep watch while you snooze. I got . . . uh-oh!”

         Ekon asked, “What’s wrong?”

         Pinksworth’s eyes bugged out as her lenses focused towards a distant dust trail. “I see four bogies inbound! Two of them . . . wait a minute!”

         Spring Step ran out onto the deck, peering at the distance. “Spill it, Pinks! What’s wrong?”

         “Two of them are those ponies we left behind in the city!” Pinksworth turned towards Ekon. “Did you steal some pirate gold coins or something?”

         “No! M-maybe they want to get even with Spring Step for killing that griffon?”

         Spring Step scowled. Then she nodded. “Yeah. Maybe that’s it.”

         Pinksworth said, “Well, they’re cheesed off enough to bring along a clydesdale and . . . oh, please say you’re kidding!”

         Ekon cried, “What? What do you see?”

         “One of Ekon’s buddies is riding a manticore.”

         The pegasus rolled her eyes. “Haven’t seen one of those bastards in years. Their tail stinger toxin can kill anypony in under a minute.”

         “Ekon?” said Pinksworth. “You might want to sit this one out. You’ll need more than a door-opening knife for this fight.”

         Spring Step stretched her legs and arched her back as she loosened up for battle. “All things considered, Iron Mare? I’d rather be flying.”
Yes, all you need to pay is some attention to my latest chapters of my Equestria Wasteland story, "The Unraveled World".

Enjoy!
Hey there, guys and gals!

It's been way too flargin' long since I've submitted anything to this site. (Nothing since August? GAH!)

I have a reason for the lateness. I have been working on the biggest story that I've written since any of my Equus Mortis stories.

I have submitted the first two chapters of my Equestria Wasteland story, "The Unraveled World". It stars Pinksworth (whom you guys know from the sculpture I did earlier this year) and was inspired by (what else?) Fallout 4, a game I don't even play any more because I'm trying to get this beast of a story done. I have more chapters that are almost ready and the ending is more or less mapped out.

I'll be submitting another two chapters in hopefully two weeks. (Burger King's wi-fi got so crappy that not even a cell-phone works there anymore. Why do they call it a wi-fi hot spot, then? The good news is that Books-A-Million's wi-fi works even better (with firefox, that is) so now I can finally show you guys what's been keeping me absentia for too long.

I hope you guys enjoy my story!

Mature Content


or, enter your birth date.


Month

Day

Year*
Please enter a valid date format (mm-dd-yyyy)
Please confirm you have reviewed DeviantArt's Terms of Service below.
* We do not retain your date-of-birth information.
        After breakfast, which was heated by Pinksworth’s jet exhaust, Spring Step examined Ekon’s shoulder. Placing a fresh bandage over the wound, she said, “You’re healing well enough. Once Pinks comes back from recon, we’ll take off for New Canterlot.”

         Ekon would have chewed off his own tail in order to stay in the safest apartment he had ever lived in. Begging with the likes of Spring Step, he knew, would be an exercise in futility.

         The old mantra of hard-earned lessons played in his mind, however. Safety and security are delusions. A locked door can be kicked down. If something stays lost long enough, it will eventually get found.

         That last lesson was also’s Dad’s mantra about the joys of archeology. Finding lost things, especially the things that would result in a employer’s bonus, were always welcome events.

         After all, Ekon thought with a frown, those bounty killers got close enough to shoot me after five years of hiding and running. My days of being lost to them were over.

         Another lesson slipped in unbidden. Friends are hard to find. Up until now, he was afraid to make friends with anypony.

         After all, no civilization means ponies go hungry. Hungry ponies get greedy. Greed can trump trust and friendship. When your belly tells you how to run your entire life, nothing else matters.

         In his delicate situation, Ekon knew for years that having friends in a world where ponies can get murdered for a can of beans might not be the best idea. Besides, the more people knew him, the more people might give those bounty killers a lead on him. It was better to be alone.

         But it never felt very good to be alone. Zebras were social animals as much as ponies. Ekon had to go against his own crowd-loving nature in order to survive. But it never felt like he could ever thrive, could ever be more than a target on the run.

         Pinkworth floated onto the balcony and into the living room. “It’s all clear!” she said cheerfully. “No eyes anywhere. We can take off now.”

         Ekon smiled at her. The smile came easily to him, as he genuinely felt happy to see another person, even if she were locked up in a giant robot pony head. Even Spring Step, a pegasus with artificial wings and four metal legs that she used as lethal weapons, was a welcome addition to his life.

         Something’s better than nothing, Pinkworth said last night. How true.

         Spring trotted past Pinkie and hopped onto the balcony railing. “I’ll see you on the ground, Pinks.” Her artificial wings sprang out and she jumped into the sky. She pinwheeled around a few times and soon flew out of sight.

         Pinksworth said, “Okay, Ekon. Do you want a ride on my head or get carried in one of my arms?”

         “What?”

         “You can hold onto my hair-curls if you don’t want to risk getting your tail burnt by my exhaust.”

         “How did I get up here while I was knocked out?”

         “You were placed on top of me and my friend laid on top of you. Then her legs wrapped around my front and rear curls. This kept you from slipping off me. If you were awake, you’d think you were on a threesome date. Or at least the cute meat in a pony sandwich. Aww, are you blushing?”

        “Er . . . no,” Ekon muttered while taking a sudden interest in the floor.

         “Darn! I’ll have to try harder. Tell you what. Why don’t you hold onto my party cannon?”

         He climbed onto the cannon and hung on as tight as he could.

         “Ready, Ekon? Here we gooo!”

         Ekon tried to close his eyes, but one part of his brain, the part that wasn’t worried about falling to a messy death, wanted to see the decayed city from Spring Step’s point of view. He had heard of pegasi giving earth ponies rides like this, but he never knew any pegasi well enough to ask them for that kind of favor.

         Even though he was gritting his teeth in fear, his huge smile came from the bright joy of flight. In Pinksworth’s case it was less like flying and more like a controlled fall, but Ekon enjoyed himself in spite of his involuntary whimpering.

         No wonder Spring Step got artificial wings, he thought. At least that way she could glide.

         She could leave the world behind, he thought with a twinge of envy. Until it caught up with her, at least.   The world caught to everypony eventually.

         After about a minute, they landed next to Spring Step. His legs were shaking as he stumbled onto the ground. He didn’t realize until a moment later that his heart was hammering from the excitement.

         “I can tell you had fun,” remarked the pegasus.

         Pinksworth slapped her boxing glove on the cracked sidewalk. “Darn! I forgot to do a barrel-roll! I can do more than just float around, you know.”

         “It’s just as well,” replied Spring Step. “We’re trying to make a good impression on our friend here, not scare him half to death.”

          “I got enough of that from those bandits,” Ekon said. He looked around at the surrounding gutted buildings, at all the places where his hunters could be watching him. Watching and waiting.

         Spring Step patted him on the back. “Don’t worry. The Iron Mare has great hearing. If there were any bad guys out there, she would have heard them by now.”

         “All I can hear now are buildings sliding into the chasm,” informed Pinksworth. “ Let’s hoof it, folks. We’re off to see the lizard.” She started bobbing her head back and forth, humming a cheerful tune that Ekon didn’t recognize.

         “What do you mean? I thought we were going to New Canterlot, not the dragon empire.”

         “She means Spike. He’s . . . an unusual dragon.”

         “What makes him special?” asked Ekon.

         “I know this sounds kind of nuts, but he’s from an alternate timeline. He came from an Equestria that never had its magic taken away and never lost Celestia or Luna.”

         “How do you guys know he’s not a con artist?”

         “He knows a lot of stuff that only high-ranking officials knew. Like where Celestia’s private library is.”

         Pinksworth chimed in. “He knew my real name and the names of everypony in my family. No one in Ponyville knew that. That’s enough to convince me.”

         Ekon asked, “Is he your boss?”

         Spring Step shook her head. “He’s only about fifteen years old, so no. He’s more like an advisor. You’ll find out everything when we introduce you to him.”

         Ekon followed Spring Step as they walked down the empty freeway. The further they got from the city, the calmer Ekon felt.

         A few miles later, they walked past dusty fields of decayed corn and rotted trees. Row after row of failed crops were all that they saw for the next hour.

         Ekon was so used to seeing bare branched trees that he had to stop when he saw a tree in the distance holding some kind of fruit.

         He pointed at the tree and said, “Is that an apple tree?”

         Spring Step frowned as she prodded him to keep moving. “There’s nothing there you want to pick.”

         “What do you mean?”

          “With no earth pony magic to help make plants grow, it takes over a year to grow any kind of food,” said Spring Step. “This farm once belonged to the Apple family. When the unraveling hit, their vast crops died. They took it as a sign that the world would soon end. A suicide pact put them in that tree. The father left behind a note.”

         “The world never really ends, Ekon,” Pinksworth said. “But sometimes it makes you wish it did.”

         The pegasus said, “That’s not the only suicide tree we found, either. Lots of ponies either became bandits or did themselves in. Either way, it’s a waste.”

         “That’s why we try to take good folks away from all of this,” added Pinksworth. “We’ve lost way too many people as it is when the cities got destroyed.”

         Ekon shook his head. “I don’t get it. Why don’t you bury them?”

         “We don’t have the time to bury every dead body we see, kiddo,” replied  Spring Step. “Better to spend our time helping the living.”

         As they went over a hill, Ekon snuck a look at the suicide tree. Something swayed in the lower branches.

         They were leg bones.  Small filly leg bones that dangled like flowers in the dusty, silent breeze.

         Ekon’s back wrinkled as he shuddered.



                                                                      *                    *                    *

         

          After an hour of walking past a few more farmlands, they found an empty farmhouse. Spring Step held up a hoof and said, “Okay, let’s break for lunch. Ekon, stay here with me. Pinks, check out the house.”

         Pinksworth saluted her with the boxing glove and chirped, “Roger! Back in a bit!”

         As she floated towards the house, Ekon asked, “Do you always send her ahead as a scout?”

         “Why not? I’ve seen her take rifle damage that would have killed a Clydesdale. Tazers don’t do much except make her giggle. Maybe a big enough explosive would kill her, but most bandits don’t have the kinds of weapons or armor that your pursuers did.”

         Spring Step looked over Ekon. “Now that I’ve had to think about it, I’m a little surprised that they used military tactics to hunt you down. I checked out the combat area while you were out. That sniper I killed deliberately missed you with that arrow. It seemed to me that were trying to capture you alive. No offense, but you don’t look like a treasure trove. That backpack of yours probably only has camping gear, right?”

         Ekon’s ears curved back. Crud, she’s pretty observant, he thought.  “I . . . uh . . . I guess they were slave traffickers?”

         She rubbed her chin, pondering what he said. “If they wanted you as a slave, why would they risk killing you with live rounds?”

         “W-well, you said it yourself. Bandits don’t value anypony’s life. If they killed me, that’s no big loss to them. Right?”

         “Sure,” she replied, as she stared at him. For several moments.

         Finally, much to his relief, she turned away to see Pinksworth come towards them.

         “It’s all clear! Let’s eat!”

         Ekon asked, “How are you getting into the house? Aren’t you too big for the front door?”

         Pinksworth held up her party cannon. “Oh, I can make my own doors.”

         True to her word, when she reached the porch, she raised her cannon and smashed open the door. She effortlessly knocked the surrounding frame and panels until she could float inside.

         The farmhouse kitchen still had a sink and stove. Pinksworth used her claw arm to pull the stove’s plug out. A tiny outlet door near her exhaust popped open. When she plugged the stove’s plug into the outlet, she said, “Okay, guys, let’s boil that water and get rid of those nasty germs.”

         Snickering at Ekon’s gap-jawed amazement, Spring Step said dryly, “Full of surprises, isn’t she?”

         After everyone’s canteens were filled with freshly boiled water, they settled down to lunch.

         Spring Step chowed down on a vacuum packed hay-burger. Ekon was amazed at how nimbly she was able to handle her meal with metal limbs. She needed her military-grade discipline to gain that kind of control over soft foods.

         Pinksworth was pouring boiled water into a bowl of white powder that she procured from a hidden compartment. After mixing the components, she poured what appeared to be white applesauce into her smiling mouth grill.

        Ekon asked, “What are you eating?”

         “Well, today’s special is apple fritter surprise. The surprise is that it actually tastes like apples and not library paste like the first batch the eggheads made for me.”

         Spring Step chuckled. “Oh, wow. I remember that. You made this horrible ‘bleeekk’ sound when you tried to eat that cruddy glop! They thought that your voice-box fritzed out!”

         Pinksworth bonked her party cannon on the floor as she giggled. “Yeah! One of the scientist ponies said, ‘Help her! She’s choking!’.  And I said, ‘No, I’m not! I just can’t eat school supplies! If you want to feed me, hire a chef!’”

         “I was laughing so hard when you said that, I fell out of the bed. I didn’t have my legs yet, so I just kept writhing around on the floor, wiggling my stumps!”

         “They had me on a bed-hammock, so all I could do was make a toothless grin and hawk up a white loogy on the floor. You looked like a newborn foal, rolling on your back and laughing. I do love to make ponies smile. No matter where I am.”

         Their laughter was contagious, as laughter so often is. He couldn’t help but chuckle at their levity, yet be amazed at it. Ekon was never able to laugh at his own pain, could never find humor in what he had done to his family. He looked at the pegasus’s metal legs and then recalled what Pinkie’s real body looked like. How could anypony laugh with bodies that were this crippled?

         That’s when it finally hit him. A moment of clarity about those he walked with. They both had a bond born not from mere suffering, but from endurance of that suffering. Sharing a laugh together was a survival trait for them. No wonder they got along so well.

         In spite of their myriad differences, they were very much alike. They were both wounded survivors, having a laugh in the middle of a desolate wasteland.

         Ekon envied their joy, their ability to endure so much hardship.

         After Pinksworth caught her breath after her giggle-fit, her camera eyes looked out the kitchen windows. “I think we’d better stick around here for a while, Springy. There’s a dust storm coming in.”

         “You’d think that not having any more farmers in this part of the world would reduce those storms.”

         Ekon inquired, “What do you mean?”

         “A lot of farmers tried to compensate for the lack of produce by expanding their crop fields as far as they could go. More tilling of barren fields meant more dust getting kicked into the atmosphere. The harder the farmers tried to get their livelihoods back, the more Equestria denied them that goal. This world does what it wants, Ekon, magic or no magic. We’re all just along for the ride.”

         He snorted. “At the mercy of a place with no mercy to give.”

         “Sheesh, listen to mister gloomy,” commented Pinksworth. “Only people can give mercy, silly. Places don’t do that. They never have.”

         The pegasus yawned. “Listen, Ekon. These storms last a while. Pinks will stand guard while I catch a few winks. Why don’t you do the same, eh?”

         Normally Ekon would hide in a closet and barricade the door before daring to take even a short nap. For now, however, he simply laid down in a corner of the kitchen and used his backpack as a pillow.

         A few minutes later, he was dangling from the suicide tree. Something bumped into his left side. Ekon turned his head, the noose digging into his throat. There were his mother and father, swaying in the sunshine.

         “Welcome home, dear brother,” said a voice on his right.

         Ekon struggled to look to his right. Why weren’t his legs working? Why were they simply dangling like that filly’s legs?

         It was Azi. Ekon’s little brother. He was sitting on a tree branch, swinging a noose in one hoof. “It’s good to have you back. I knew my guys would drag you back to me eventually. You can’t just run from your past, you know.”

         “I shouldn’t be here. Cut me loose!” cried Ekon as he tried to shake his head free from his noose.

         Azi sighed. “Do you remember what I told you before you ran off?”

         He stopped struggling. “You said ‘you had better keep running, Ekon. I’ll find you and bring you back here. You’re going to get what you deserve’.”

         Ekon’s brother patted him on the head. “And this is what you get for your cowardice. Mom and Dad would still be alive if you had just helped us escape that damned cave-in.”

         “Please set me free, Azi. I’m sorry.”

         He chuckled. “Not as sorry as you’re going to be. Hanging’s too good for you. Not even your weird new friends can stop me from getting what I want.”

         Azi hopped off the tree branch and wrapped his legs around Ekon’s waist, straining his neck to the breaking point. “Soon you will suffer as our parents suffered. It took hours for them to die from their injuries. Hours, dear brother.”

         “Azi!” he gasped. “I can’t breath!”

         His brother had a faraway look in his eyes as he rubbed his chin. “That’s what Mom said. Dad could only scream.”

         Ekon couldn’t talk anymore. He couldn’t even breath, only struggle as he felt his neck snap and his lungs collapse and his eyes close as his brother held him tighter and tighter and . . .

         “EKON! WAKE UP!” cried Spring Step.
         
         He sat up, gasping and coughing. His neck was sore as he rubbed it.

         Pinksworth asked, “Is he okay? Why was he choking?”

         “He must have slipped his head under one of his back-pack’s straps. It was pulling on his neck while he slept. Can you breathe now, kiddo?”

         It hurt a little to swallow, but he nodded. He reached for his canteen and slowly drank. “I’m all right. Thanks.”

         “I’ve had some nasty dreams, too,” said Pinksworth. “Usually about being trapped in a giant cupcake. Good thing I can eat my way out every time.”

         Spring Step ignored her and asked, “Do you dream about your brother that often?”

         Ekon spluttered water back into his canteen. He stared at her as he asked, “What?”

         “You talk in your sleep. You said ‘Please set me free, Azi. I’m sorry’.”

         Ekon groaned, set his canteen down and began to rub his temples.

         “I sometimes dream about my team mates. We’ve all lost someone we love, Ekon.”

         He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to blot out the sight of his brother. “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”

         Spring Step got up and took a step back. “Sure. I understand. The storm’s gotten worse, so we might as well get some more rest.”

         “I have an idea, Ekon,” Pinksworth said. “Maybe before you sleep, you should think of the good times you had with your family. That works for me.”

         He looked at her and forced himself to politely smile. She has no idea how rotten I feel about my past. No one does.

         Ekon pushed aside his backpack, not wanting to risk throttling himself again. Instead, he simply laid on the floor and tried to think of happier times. Discovering the vault of magic items with his father. Exploring the caves that seemed to reach all the way to the center of the world.

         Fifteen years ago, when Azi was still in grade school, Ekon had gotten him two Junior Archeologist dinosaur bone kits. Plastic skeletons hidden inside hard clay tablets. An enclosed set of excavation tools were included with each kit.

         “Why did you get me two of them?” Azi asked.

         Ekon tousled his brother’s mane. “Dad says that if you really want to join him and I in our line of work, you have to learn how to do what we do.”

         Azi beamed at him and said “Find lost things. Find history. That’s what Mom and Dad are always telling me.”

         “It’s good to know the job’s goal, but even better if you know how to reach it. Work on one kit first and let me know when every bone is uncovered.”

         Azi grabbed both kits and ran off to his room, shouting “Okay! I’m on it!”

         A day later, Azi nudged his brother and said, “I’m done! Come see how I did.”

         Ekon was surprised that his little brother had finished what was supposed to be a two day job at the least, but he looked forward to seeing the fruit of his brother’s  labors.

         Half the bones were snapped.  The skull had deep grooves cut into it. The clay was reduced to dust. Ekon scratched his head. How did this big a mess appear so quickly?

         A glint of steel caught Ekon’s attention. It was one of Dad’s larger rock hammers.  It was covered in clay dust. The pick in the back of the hammer matched the skull’s grooves.

         Azi was sitting in the middle of the blast radius, waiting for Ekon’s assessment. His ears drooped when Ekon shook his head and held up the hammer. “Did you use only this hammer to break open the clay?”

         “Uhm . . . well, yeah.” Azi looked at his hooves. “I started to chip off a little of the clay at a time, but . . .”

        “But you got ants in your tail and you wanted to speed up the unearthing of the bones. Right?”

         Pawing at the floor, Azi begged in a meek voice, “Please don’t be angry, Ekon. I just want to be like you. That’s all.”

         Ekon sighed, put down the hammer and sat next to his brother. Wrapping a hoof over his shoulders, Ekon said, “I’m not mad at you. I just wish that you would learn to slow down. Patience is an archaeologist’s best asset when there are fragile treasures to be found. These bones are cracked because you were just too anxious to see them.”

         “I’m sorry I ruined your present.”

         Ekon hugged his little brother. “Oh, that’s all right. That’s why I bought you two of them. The second kit’s a do-over.”

         Azi’s ears flipped up as he turned to stare at Ekon. “Huh? You’re not mad?”

         “Not for tearing up the first kit. The second one is your chance to get the skeleton out right this time.”

         “I’ll do better, I promise!”

         “That’s the spirit. Know your goal and gain the patience to reach it.” Ekon got up and picked up the steel hammer. “For now, don’t use Dad’s equipment, okay? Use the tools in the kit this time.”

         Three days later, Azi nudged Ekon and said, “I got it done right this time, Ekon!”

         “Okay. Let’s go take a look.”

         The bones were fully intact and assembled. No nicks, holes or grooves could be seen in the plastic.

          “Now that’s how it’s done,” declared Ekon. “Keep this up and soon everybody in the family will be at Dad’s work sites.”

         They both smiled at each other. That was a bright and hopeful time, watching Azi grow. He was full of energy and promise then.

         Pinksworth’s advice helped. While Ekon slipped away into a quiet slumber, he didn’t even see the suicide tree this time.

         He did, however, hear his brother whisper something.

         Soon you will suffer as our parents suffered.



                                                                     *                    *                    *



         Sure Shot and Path Finder were in a remote camp of bandits. Bandits and bounty hunters shared a brother’s bond founded on the most nobel of pursuits; making money. This bond was made even more solid by the thick clunk of gold bars hitting the floor of the leader’s tent.

         Steel Jacket, a massive orange clydesdale, grinned a gap-toothed grin at his biggest payday of the year. “Well, will yew look at that? That there’s your ticket to getting’ that dang zebra straight inta yer lovin’ arms!”

         Sure Shot asked, “How? Ekon’s got at least a day’s lead on us.”

         “Don’t worry,” assured Path Finder. “Word in the wasteland is that you tamed a creature that’s got a sense of smell that’s second to none, right?”

         “Tha’s right. But yew need to provide more’n gold. Got anythin’ with that zebra’s scent on it?”

         “When Crap Shoot here fired the wrong damn ammo, he made Ekon bleed. I wiped up as much blood as I could.” He dug into his pockets and pulled out a bloody rag. “Is this enough to get a scent?”

         Steel Jacket took the rag and nodded. “Yep! Lemme show you mah pride and joy. And source of income.”

         The bounty hunters followed the clydesdale out of the tent. When they got to a large holding pen, the ponies both flinched when they heard a loud roar.

         “Haw! Don’t pay ‘im no mind!” Steel Jacket laughed. “He’s jest happy to see me! Ain’t that right, Bullet?”

         Path Finder scratched his head. “Why is his name Bullet?”

         “Cuz this boy can find anypony, or zebra, in the first shot. Point ‘im in the right direction an’ he’ll go straight to the target,” said the clydesdale as he opened the gate to the pen.

         In a blur, the manticore leapt out of its pen and landed with a jarring thud in front of the ponies. White horns and pointed ears capped the beasts’s red mane. The lion’s blond body was lean and muscular. Brown bat wings flapped anxiously. It’s large red scorpion tail curled and uncurled. The stinger on the end was as long and thick as a harpoon.

         “Ain’t he a beaut? That stinger’s got enough toxin in it to kill anypony dead in two blinks of an eye. Ah trained him to run for hours, so we should have no problem getting’ to yer buddy real quick.”

         Path Finder asked, “We?”

         Steel Jacket grinned. “Shit, yeah, ‘we’! What? Yer thinkin’ Ah’ll let my best tracker just run off with yew guys? This ain’t a cart yer rentin’. We’re a package deal. Once yew boys nab your zebra, Ah’m takin’ Bullet home. Y’got a problem with that?”

         “No, sir,” replied Path Finder.

         “Good. Ah gotta feed ‘im first before we take off. Gimme five minutes.”

         Sure Shot said, “That’s fine. I have to talk to my partner anyway.” Jerking his head away from the pen at Path Finder, he walked out of earshot.

         “What’s up?”

        “What the fuck? ‘Crap Shoot’? You humiliated me! When are you going to let my mistake go?”

         “When Ekon’s delivered alive to Aki, that’s when.” Path Finder pointed a hoof at him. “I don’t let anypony or anything get in the way of our goal. Don’t fuck this up for us.”

         “You used to be a lot cooler with my mistakes in the past. You’ve gotten mean, Path Finder.”

         Path Finder looked at his friend with eyes as expressionless as a toad’s. “Ever since the world went under, I’ve had to kill ponies. In the past five years, I’ve learned that you have to be harder than the world in order to survive.” He leaned closer. “How hard are you, buddy?”

         He turned away from Sure Shot and walked away.

         “You’re not my buddy,” whispered Sure Shot. “I don’t know what you are anymore.”
Yes, all you need to pay is some attention to my latest chapters of my Equestria Wasteland story, "The Unraveled World".

Enjoy!

deviantID

Eskerata's Profile Picture
Eskerata
N. B. Seaborn
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Writing is a passion of mine. I know I can't make a living off of it, but as Stephen King has pointed out, writing is not about making money or fame. It's about being happy.
True happiness, the kind that lasts beyond the usual fleeting timespans, is found in following your passions.
As a result of following this simple insight, I always have something to look forward to. Ain't that grand?
Interests

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconubrosis:
uBrosis Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2016
Thanks for the fav! :)
Reply
:iconmarchgustysnows:
MarchGustysnows Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Filmographer
Greetings!
Sir, thank you so much for selecting my artwork. MLP Emote Twilight Sparkle Happy 
Reply
:iconeskerata:
Eskerata Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
No problem. (smile) 
Reply
:iconmarchgustysnows:
MarchGustysnows Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Filmographer
Excited Rainbow Dash chat emote 
Reply
:iconubrosis:
uBrosis Featured By Owner May 15, 2016
And thanks again for the fav! :)
Reply
:iconubrosis:
uBrosis Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016
Thanks for the favs! ^^
Reply
:iconkoni126:
koni126 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2016
Thanks For the Fav {Free Use} 
Reply
:iconluckycrisis:
LuckyCrisis Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:iconthxfavplz:
Reply
:icondaisymane:
daisymane Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the watch! I really appreciate it.:) (Smile) 
Reply
:icondatcrazycatcritic:
DatCrazyCatCritic Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome to :iconadorablepolymerclay: :)
Reply
Add a Comment: