Diaries of a Madman

When Discord breaks free of his stone prison, he proves to be much older and wiser than he was on the show. A being of ancient and unimaginable power, he forces Celestia to make a deal to save her little ponies. What she doesn't realize is that one of the terms of the deal is that she forgets ever making it. Enter Navarone, a poor human just trying to get by—or at least, to the ponies that's what he looks like. Pulled from his home by an accidental summoning from one Twilight Sparkle, Navarone is thrust into a world of ponies and more violence than he expected from such a peaceful seeming world. These are his adventures—with a few asides from everybody's favorite Lord of Chaos, of course.

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73. Chapter Fifty-Nine—Wuthering Ponies

I designated one squad to hold on the left and I picked another squad to go inside with me. We began moving to the library proper. At the five minute mark, we entered. The library was still open. I went to the front desk. “Can I help you?” the mare behind the counter asked.

“Ah, yes. I’m looking for the meeting of the crime bosses. Can you point me the right way?”

She blinked. “Um. There’s a section on organized crime…”

“No, no. I’m looking for the crime bosses. Like, the actual people.”

“I… I don’t think I can help you.”

I shrugged. “You might want to leave the library, then. I’m going to find them and when I do, it isn’t going to be pretty.”

“Uh… Are you… okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. How are you?”

“I’m just… gonna go sort books now…”

I turned to the dogs. “Alright boys, looks like we’re doing this the hard way. Look for anything that doesn’t belong.”

The squad leader nodded. “You heard him, dogs. Fan out. Report any side doors. Report anyone you find. Move.”

The squad leader took one troop and went to the right. Two more went left. One stayed with me. “Alright, come on,” I told him. He shrugged and began following me to the center of the very nice library. I saw that there were a few ponies still inside, reading. I jumped on a table. “Anyone not involved with organized crime should probably leave!” I called out. “Anyone that is involved in organized crime, would you kindly step forward?”

I got a lot of weird looks from that, and no takers. A lot of ponies did leave, though. Some retreated further into the stacks. I looked at the dog before jerking my head towards those that fled into the stacks. We began sprinting after them. They led us right to a secret door hidden in a bookcase that swung shut right behind them.

“My my… Go get the others.” The dog ran off.

I started looking over the book titles. I didn’t see how they opened it, but I assumed there was some manner of switch. Flo, suggestions?

“Start pulling books off the shelves.”

I started doing just that. Soon, the bookcase that hid the door was empty. Worth a shot. The dogs finally got to me. “There’s a secret door behind this bookcase,” I said. “Break it down.”

I stood back as one guard walked back a few feet before rushing at and through the bookcase. He stumbled a few feet down some stairs before catching himself. “There are probably more entrances somewhere in the building. Let’s hope the others find them. Everyone, get in there,” I said. They began moving down the stairs. I followed.

It took us a few seconds to get to the bottom, where a hall led down to a door that was being opened by a very angry looking dog. He saw our group and his eyes widened before he slammed the door shut.

“Stop at the door,” I said. “Move, but watch out for any kind of traps.” They did as I said. I pushed my way to the front of the group and tried the handle. It was locked. I knocked and got no answer. I shrugged and used my enchanted key to unlock it. I pulled a canister out of my pocket, pulled the pin, opened the door slightly, threw it in, and closed the door. “Brace it,” I ordered the closest dog. He put his shoulder against it.

Half a minute later, I put my goggles on. “Stand aside,” I ordered. He backed up and I opened the door, stepping inside. Several people of all races were on the grounds, clutching at burning eyes and burned skin. The gas was cleared enough for the dogs to come in. “Bind them,” I ordered. “I don’t know who is important and who isn’t.” In minutes, we had several prisoners bound and gagged.

“What about pony with horn?” one of the dogs asked, pointing to a unicorn.

“Knock him out or break his horn off, I don’t care.” None of the prisoners were unconscious, mind. As soon as the unicorn heard me say that, he freaked the fuck out.

“NO! PLEASE! ANYTHING, ANYTHING BUT THAT!”

I started walking to the dog with the gaudiest clothes as the guard picked the unicorn up and slammed him onto the ground, knocking him clean out. I knelt down to the gaudy prisoner. “Where are the bosses?” I asked. There were two doors leading out of here.

“Go to Tartarus,” he spit.

I sighed. “Look. It’s easy: Left or right. If you give me the wrong answer, bad things happen to you. If you give me the right answer, less bad things are going to happen. So I ask again: Where are they?”

He growled before saying, “Right.”

I looked up as the door to the right opened and the cats walked in. I looked back down at the dog. “Wrong answer.” I pulled my knife out and stabbed him somewhere randomly in the body and he began screaming too. I wiped the blood off on his coat as I stood. “Gag him,” I told the dogs before turning to Jocasta. “Report.”

“We found a secret door and followed it here. We haven’t found any guards at all yet.”

“Looks like we’re going left. Squad leader, you and three dogs stay here and guard these prisoners. Everyone else, to the left door.” They all went. It was locked. Kat moved to take care of it and I let her.

A moment later, she pulled away, concern on her face. “It’s magic. I can’t do anything to it.”

I pulled my key out and opened it. I stood to one side and pushed the door open, quickly jerking out of the way in case anything shot out. Nothing happened. I looked at one of the dogs with us and jerked my head down the tunnel. He went off. Rock followed right behind him. I followed them. The rest of our little group followed.

We entered a long hallway with another door at the end. “Again, watch out for traps.” The dog turned his head to me while he was walking, just in time to miss a bolt that shot out right at him. It stuck into the wall as the dog jumped back into Rock. “Kat, do you know how to trap check?”

“Of course. What kind of assassin would I be if I couldn’t?”

“Let her get to the front. Be ready to pull her back in case she fucks up. Step where she steps, don’t touch what she doesn’t touch.” We stepped aside and let her move past us.

She eyed the ground carefully. She put her arm behind her and said, “Pass me a spear.” One of the dogs in the room was carrying one. It passed hands until it got to her. She began prodding some places. A few traps triggered and we began moving up the hallway in that manner.

It took us fifteen minutes to progress down a thirty foot hall. She stopped at the door. “It’s locked,” she said, and pulled out her tools. A minute later she let out an exasperated sound and pulled away. “By my whiskers, the locks these goons have are insane!” I pulled my key out for the third time and opened it. “How are you doing that?” she asked.

“Magic. Without opening this door, can you tell what’s on the other side?”

She put her ear to the door and closed her eyes. “Silence,” she whispered before gently knocking. “Too thick… We can’t know.”

“Welp.” I pulled out another flash bang and said, “Everyone turn around.” After a moment’s hesitation, they all did. I made sure my goggles were on tight and pulled the pin, threw the door open, and tossed it inside.

Right into a dragon’s face. It exploded as I said, “Fuck me.”

The dragon roared as it was blinded. I slammed the door shut as his flames hit it. “DOWN THE HALL! MOVE!” Everyone began sprinting back the way we came as the door gave in. I felt fire licking my back as my cloak burned off. I cleared the hall and jumped to the side in time to see a jet of flame shooting into the room.

When it died down, I peeked around the corner and saw the dragon blinking, trying to see what the hell happened. I patted myself for pockets before I realized that all of my human weapons were in the cloak.

The cloak that was now on fire in the middle of the hall, burning.

My eyes widened. “AWAY FROM THE HALL!” An explosion cut off the questions and everyone pooled at the far side of the room. “Cover your eyes and your nose. Don’t breathe in any of the vapor. Stop breathing if you have to.”

I had mustard gas in one of those canisters. I also had thermite and more flash bangs and several other things.

And that’s when the dragon started thumping down the hall. In case there is any confusion, this was a teenage dragon, larger than Kumani but still small enough to easily get around. We heard a contemptuous laugh as he continued. That laugh quickly turned to choking as he began taking in fumes. And then it turned to a noise of shock when there was another explosion.

I sighed. “There goes the Molotov…” It sounded like the dragon began slowing down, at least. “Good, the gas is getting to it.” I reached down to the nearest prisoner and pulled a bandana off him. I wrapped it around my head and pulled my crossbow up and walked to where I could see him. He was stumbling down the hall, trying to clutch at his throat and continue at the same time.

I grinned as I lined up a shot. I happily plugged his head. The bolt went in a few inches and the dragon stumbled back, clutching at the wound. He fell and triggered a trap that we somehow missed on our mad flight and a large blade fell from the ceiling and sank about a foot into his stomach. His wheezing cut off as he clutched at his wounds. I reloaded.

I nodded. “Dogs, get these prisoners out of here. Into the library proper, and then leave two guards and come join us. Cats and Minnie, sprint down the hall as quickly as you can. Cover your noses and keep your eyes closed as well as you can. Don’t breathe in at all. Move.” I slung my crossbow and drew my sword as we began sprinting down the hall. I stopped just long enough to put the dragon out of his misery before getting to the end. We got into a small room with a single other door. “Shall we?” I asked, waving a hand at the door.

Rock was closest. He tried it and found that it was locked. He hissed and pulled his hammer up. “Enough sneaking around!” He swung his hammer into the door and it blew off its hinges, showing a large room with about fifteen very concerned looking people on the other side.

I stepped inside. “Ahem. Gentlemen.”

There was general bedlam as each pulled out weapons.

“Now, now,” I said. “You know what we had to do to get here. Do you really think you can resist us?”

“I’d rather fight and die than be tortured!” one of the ponies answered. All of the bosses nodded at that.

I sighed. “Remember, two hundred gold for any living ones.”

With that, I shot one of the unicorns in the face and backed into the hall as the cats jumped into the fray. I quickly reloaded and took out another unicorn as it tried to use magic on one of the cats. I reloaded again and killed the final unicorn. Three of the other bosses noticed my contribution and rushed at me. I was in the doorway and I didn’t have time to reload, so I threw the crossbow at one to slow him down and drew my sword, backing up a bit so only one could come at me at a time.

The first one to do so was an earth pony, who quickly tried bucking me with his hind legs. I jumped back and he overextended, ending up on his belly on the floor. I turned my blade sideways and thwapped him on the side of the head with the flat of the blade. He went down and I stepped up in time to meet the blade of the dog swinging it with my sword.

He grinned when he noticed my two handed stance and when he saw how much effort it took for me to block his one handed strike. He pulled back and swung again and I barely managed to block. I pulled back to try for my own hit when his offhand punched me dead in the chest and I stumbled back, the armor thankfully taking most of the damage.

He pulled his paw back, grimacing in pain at punching metal. He didn’t waste much time in coming at me again, though. I was wary of his tricks and started dodging his blows rather than blocking them. I took a one handed stance and drew my knife just as the other dog stepped through the door and joined his companion in utterly ruining my day.

“Aw fuck,” I muttered as I saw them both. They grinned and began attacking. I dodged one attack and parried the other with my sword, knocking it away. I swiped my knife around to try to catch the one that I parried in the side, but he jumped back and tripped over the pony, ending up back in the other room on the floor. The other swung at me again and I dodged right into the fist that caught me in the jaw, throwing me into the wall.

His sword went on a collision course with my chest and I knew I was either dead or out of the fight when one of the guard dogs pounded out of the hall and tackled the boss attacking me, sending them both crashing onto the pony. The friendly dog pounded the face of the evil one until the boss couldn’t move anymore.

The rest of the squad filed into the room at that point and I realized how badly I was shaking. “Go!” I ordered, barely managing to point at the door. They nodded and joined the cats.

I drew a shuddering breath before nodding and sheathing the dagger. I walked into the next room to see several dog bosses on the floor, many with pools of blood around them. Kat was on the ground, writhing in pain. Rock was bleeding from several wounds but he looked like he was having the time of his life as he squared off against three of the bosses at once. Miguel and Jocasta were attacking another two, standing back to back with a dagger in each hand. Minerva was dueling one boss. The friendly dogs were rushing to reinforce the cats. From what I could see, the situation was well in hand.

I knelt down to check on Kat. I rolled her onto her back so see that she had a deep gash in her side. “Ooh…” I hissed. I jumped to the closest downed boss and ripped his shirt off. It was already covered in blood, but that wasn’t really an issue. I quickly wrapped it around Kat. She cried out in pain when I moved her, but she didn’t hinder my efforts. I tied the makeshift bandage as tight as I could get it and she hissed.

I looked up and saw that all the bosses were down. “Rock!” He looked up from where he was prodding a boss. “Take yourself and Kat to the nearest hospital. You both earned your pay, but you can’t collect it if you’re dead.”

He looked to Jocasta, who nodded. He sighed and rolled his eyes before gently lifting Kat up and sprinting back down the hall.

“Alright,” I said. “How many of these guys are still alive?”

The squad leader began checking on his side of the room and I began checking on mine. We were left with six survivors of the original fifteen. One of those was in a pretty bad shape. Two were ponies, three were dogs, one was a cat. I collected my crossbow and looked around. “Check the doors. I swear to God if there’s another fucking dragon…” There were two other doors leading out. Several tables in the room had gold, drug-type things, and a few other objects scattered around.

Miguel moved to one door and yanked it open to reveal a closet. “Huh,” he said, stepping inside. He shrugged and stepped back out. “I guess big bosses gotta have janitors too.”

I shrugged and nodded to the other door. One of the dogs opened it to reveal a long hallway.

I looked around our room. “Any takers?” Everyone looked away. I thought. “How much rope do you guys have left?” I asked the dogs. One of them produced a long coil. “Tie it around one of the dead bodies. Enough so that we can pull it.” The dog nodded and found one of the least damaged bodies and wrapped a line around it and tied it tight. He stood, looking at me. “Two of you pick the body up and hurl it as far down the hall as you can. Then slowly pull it back.” Two of them stepped up to the body and picked it up. Together, they ran to the door and hurled the body through. It flew about halfway down the hall before landing and falling flat with a nasty thud.

One of them began slowly pulling it in, triggering every trap in the hall. The body was pretty seriously fucked up by the time it got to us.

“Remove the rope and pick a different body. We’ll go down the hall a ways and repeat the process.” They did just that with the same results. When we finished, the hall was clear of traps.

Since subtlety was no longer required, I let one of the dogs bust the damn door down. It flew into the room and hit a pony guard. Everyone in the room turned to us. “Surrender,” I calmly said as I walked into the room.

They looked at each other. “They pinched the bosses,” one said.

One of the ponies eyed me. “IT’S HIM!” he screeched before running to one of the other doors. I looked at him and recognized him from the ambush with Pinkie.

The others apparently heard about it as well, because they wasted no time following the pony down the hall, retreating. The only one that stayed was the pony that was hit by the door. I think one of his legs was broken.

“Follow them,” I ordered. The dogs began pounding after them on all fours as the rest of us followed at a more sedate pace. Demoralized enemies wouldn’t fight as well, after all.

We heard a screech at the end of the hall, where there were stairs. I picked up my pace to see what was going on. The pony at the top of the stairs had opened the hidden door to a very confused looking Kumani. She grinned when she saw our group behind them.

The guards in the middle looked between my group and their group before throwing their weapons down in disgust. “Dogs, bind them. Kumani, send your squad leader to get the other squad of dogs on the side of the building. We’re going to need them.” She nodded and the squad leader went off. “Jocasta, Minerva, Miguel, take this group and two dogs outside and guard them.”

“What about the unicorn?” Jocasta asked.

“Knock him out or break his horn off. I don’t care which.” Miguel smiled and the unicorn began screaming, his horn lighting up. Before he could do anything, Kumani shot her hand out and with a horrifying cracking sound, she crushed the horn in her grasp. The unicorn continued screeching. “That’s that,” I said. “Now shut him up.” One of the dogs gagged him, thankfully. “Take them away. Minerva, when the other squad gets here, lead them to the boss room.” They went. “The rest of you, come on.”

They followed me as I led them back to the guard room. I pointed at the door we didn’t open. “Kumani, open it.” She walked over to it and kicked it and it flew down the hall. We saw a staircase at the end. “Take your squad to check it out.” She nodded and they ran down the hall. One dog went up the stairs.

“Door!” he called. “Books on other side.”

Kumani looked back at me. “Clear,” she said. I gestured for them to come back. They did.

“To the boss room,” I ordered, pointing down the hall. The dogs obediently went, though some were hesitant about walking through a hall lined with traps. None triggered, thankfully. We got to the other side with no problems. “Take any documents you find,” I said, gesturing to the tables and desks. “Gold comes second. Don’t touch the drugs.” The dogs began rifling through desks and looking around the room for anything hidden.

“So what happened in here?” Kumani asked, checking out all the bodies. She poked her head down the hall and gasped when she saw the dragon.

“We found opposition,” I answered. “I asked them to surrender and they said no. The dragon… was not happy to see us.” She sighed, shaking her head. “Kat and Rock were injured so I sent them on out. We had no other casualties. What about you?”

She shrugged. “We found the secret door, but it was behind a stone wall. I had been trying to open it for a while before you showed up.”

“It happens.” I walked over to the closet and looked around. It did appear to be a janitor’s closet. Flo?

“I see nothing odd about it, Navarone,” she answered.

I shrugged and walked back into the main room. Each dog had a few handfuls of what looked like important documents. I heard a racket down the hall we came from and Minerva burst in, another squad with her.

“Grab the prisoners, the documents, and as much gold as you can carry,” I said. “In that order, of course.”

The squad leader looked around. “Which ones are alive?” he asked. I pointed them out and he nodded, ordering the dogs to get to work. When everyone had full hands—I grabbed the cat—we left, walking down the hall without a poison gas cloud in it.

“You know,” I said as we got outside the building, “I do not envy that janitor.”

Kumani nodded. “Me neither.”

When we got to the group of prisoners, I said, “Make the prisoners carry the bosses. Then tie them all together. Kumani, fly to the front of the building and tell the dogs on the other side to gather their prisoners and to meet us at the compound. You go with them.” She nodded before jumping into the air and flying over the building. It took the dogs a moment to follow my orders. “Alright, move them out. Guards on both sides and the front and back. Anyone tries to run, kill them.”

With the prisoners suitably chastised, we began to move. The ex-unicorn was trailing behind and slowing the group down, until I poked him with a knife. “If you slow the group down again, I’m chopping your dick off and leaving you here.”

He picked up his pace.

Almost no one was on the street anymore. There were a few guards that gave our group strange looks, but they never challenged us. I knew Celestia would hear about it, though.

The other group caught up to us when we were about halfway there. They herded their prisoners in with ours and we continued, me and Kumani providing overhead support.

Thankfully, we had no problems and got them all to the compound with ease. Kumani and I landed inside the gates.

The boss was waiting for us outside. “Fantastic,” he whispered, nodding. He turned to me. “Casualties?”

“Kat and Rock were wounded. I sent them to the hospital. We captured six bosses, recovered several documents and some gold, and captured several guards.”

He looked back to the group. “I see that. Why do you have so many guards but not as many bosses?”

“Because we ran into a dragon that destroyed my crowd control weapons. We had to get rid of them the old fashioned way.”

He nodded. “It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is.” He called out, “Get the bosses, documents, and gold inside. The unimportant prisoners stay here.” The dogs began moving things inside. A few minutes later, all the important prisoners and all the documents were inside. “I don’t need these others,” he said before turning to me. “Your choice. Kill them or give them to the ponies?”

“Give them to the ponies. It’ll be seen as a gesture of goodwill.”

He nodded. “Good idea, human. You heard him, boys! Take these prisoners to the prison.” Most of them looked happy at the idea of going to a pony prison. He turned back to his group of mercenaries. “I suppose you want your pay. Give me a minute.”

He went back inside. “Is he trustworthy?” Jocasta asked.

“He paid us for our first job,” I answered.

“He paid well, too,” Kumani added.

Minerva said, “Dogs always pay debts. We are loyal like that. The bank is closed, but he can give you each checks. That’s probably what he’s doing.”

A moment later, he came out with a few strips of paper. “The bank’s closed,” he said. “If you go to the bank at this address,” he said, holding up one of his papers, “they’ll redeem these checks. Nav and Kumani know where it is, so this is for you,” he said, handing the address to Jocasta. He then passed out checks. “I assume you two cats can get the checks to Kat and Rock. I put their descriptions on those, so if either of them dies of their injuries, don’t think you can cash them. Now, I’m going to bed. You’re all dismissed.” He walked back inside.

I turned to Kumani. “Ideas?”

“I’m also going to bed. Sorry. You’re welcome to come, if you want.”

I shook my head. “Nah. I need to go to my safe. Gotta pick up a few weapons to replace those I used. Thankfully I made plenty.”

Jocasta said, “You should also visit Kat, Nav. I think she would like that.”

Kumani growled, steam coming from her nostrils. “Chill,” I said. She relaxed a little, still glaring at Jocasta. “I’ll see you guys later. I’m going back to my apartment.” I jumped into the air. Kumani joined me in the air a moment later, but we flew in different directions.

I landed in front of my apartment and wasted no time entering. I saw that the light was off, which wasn’t a problem. Then I saw Pinkie sitting awkwardly in a chair. “Pinkie? What are you doing?”

She fumbled with a controller before light flooded the room. I saw that she was blushing. I also noticed that her hair was completely flat again. I shrugged and closed the door behind me.

“I forgot that you could see in the dark,” she said, still blushing a bit. “We need to talk.”

“Give me, like, five minutes. I want to get out of this armor. Or hell, we can talk while I’m getting out of it. Either works. What did you want to talk about?”

“I… I want to… I want you to know why Rarity and I did what we did.”

This’ll be good. I walked to a couch and started putting armor on it. “I’m listening,” I said as I took stuff off.

“I wanted to see you smile…” she started. “You were always moping, always alone and aloof. You never seemed to like my parties… Most of the ponies didn’t seem to like you either. When you finally became normal… You wanted to throw it all away. I got everypony to be so nice to you that week! Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash taught you to fly! Rarity used you as a model. The Cutie Mark Crusaders loved you. Everypony in town talked to you. But… But you still wanted to change back! I asked Rarity for advice and she said that we should show you some of the good sides of being a pony you hadn’t seen before. I… I just wanted to make you smile, Nav! That’s all I ever wanted…” She was near tears at the end.

You were both in heat… and that’s all you wanted. Right, totally believable. I crossed my arms. “It didn’t work.”

She gulped, looking down. “I know,” she whispered. “I’m so, so sorry… I just want you to smile, Nav… Please, is there anything I can do to make it up to you? Anything at all?”

“No.” I grabbed the check and started to walk into the room with the safe, but she stopped me.

“Please! Please, Nav!”

“The answer isn’t going to change. You fucked up, Pinkie.”

She jumped in front of me. “There has to be something!”

I walked around her and didn’t say anything. She plopped to the ground. I opened the safe, set the check in it, grabbed a few replacement weapons, stuffed some paper and ink into a pocket, and went back to the foyer. Pinkie was staring at where I stood when I walked around her, tears gently streaming down her face.

I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have brought her. “Go to bed early. We have a date tomorrow, remember?”

I closed the door behind me as she started to wail. Kill them with kindness. I flew off into the night, leaving the house of despair behind.

Since I still hadn’t studied a map, I didn’t know where the hospital was, but it didn’t take me long to find a guard that did. We flew into the air and he pointed it out for me. I thanked him and went on my way.

I landed, went inside, and walked up to the front desk. The pony behind the door was the same pony from the library. “Nope,” she said as soon as she saw me. She turned and started walking further into the hospital. “Nope nope nope.” She continued saying that until she was out of sight.

A moment later, another nurse came out. “Lights said there was a monster out here,” she said. “Did you see it?”

I shook my head. “Nope. By any chance, does she work at the library?”

The nurse nodded. “Yeah. She moonlights here as a receptionist. While I’m out here, can I help you?”

“Yeah. Did a cat get admitted here an hour or so ago?”

She nodded. “Two of them. One was really bad off. We just barely managed to save her. The other one… Celestia, he was beaten up bad, but he was walking around like it was nothing! As soon as he got healed, he left.”

“Is the girl still here?”

“Yes. She’s resting.”

“Any chance I can see her?”

I heard one of her hooves tapping on the floor as she thought. “She didn’t have any other visitors… And we don’t know much about her. Don’t even know how she got hurt… Alright. She’s in room thirteen, through the right door. Can you answer questions about and for her?”

“I can tell you what I know.”

“Do you know how she got hurt?”

“Mercenary work. She was hit by either a sword or an axe, I think. I didn’t see it happen; I was too busy fighting.”

She grimaced, looking away for a moment before turning back to me. “Does she have any family in the city?”

“Nope. She has a few friends, but that’s it. I don’t think she ever even knew her family.”

“Is she violent?”

“She might not react well to waking up in a strange place. I can stay here all night, though. I’ll keep her calm, if you allow me to.”

“We can’t aggravate her wounds. She was really badly injured.”

“When will she be able to leave?”

“In two or three days, depending on how well she recovers. She’ll have to move tenderly, though; we’re good, but we can’t fix everything wrong with everypony. Does she have a history of stuff like this?”

I let out a laugh. “Something like that. It’s usually her doing the injuring—or more likely, killing. She’s such a sweet little kitty, eh?”

The nurse blanched a bit at the idea of having someone like Kat here. Or maybe at my callousness. “Is… is there any reason the big one left?”

“He’s a dick. Or maybe he wanted to go get her other friends. I don’t know.”

She shook her head sadly. “Alright. I don’t have any other questions.”

“See you later, then, miss nurse.” She nodded and went back to presumably find the receptionist. I entered the door on the right and kept walking until I found door thirteen. I let myself inside and saw Kat in her pitiful state, wilted and asleep on her hospital bed. She didn’t look like she was wearing any clothes.

I thought back and called up her words from right before she raped me the first time. “I remembered seeing you when you were unconscious,” I whispered, stepping up to the bed. “Stripped down. Helpless. Like a little wounded kitten.” I reached a hand out to stroke her fur. “I remember… And yet here I am. Why me, of everyone that could be here?” I sighed, stepping back from the bed. I grabbed a chair before realizing that there actually were chairs and sat down. I guess this is a bipedal room. I pulled a table over and began to write, Flo dictating to me.

 

I was pulled from my writing reverie when Flo said, “She’s waking up.” I actually wrote that on the paper before I realized she was talking about Kat.

I blinked and looked around, stretching. I saw Kat coughing lightly, trying to sit up. I set my quill down and hopped up, walking over to the bed. “Relax, Kat,” I said, putting a hand on her shoulder to keep her lying down. “You’re safe. Well, safeish.”

“What… where am I?”

“A hospital. You got hurt during the fight. I had Rock carry you to the hospital.”

She peeked under the blanket and gasped. “How long was I out?” she asked when she lowered it.

“Around eight to ten hours. Ponies have healing magic. You’ll still need to be careful and you’ll need to stay here for a little while longer, but the actual wound should be closed unless you aggravate it.”

“How did the fight go?”

“We got six bosses out alive. You were the only casualty. Jocasta has your check. Redeem it at the bank and you’ll get your money.”

She sighed, leaning back. “I don’t care about the money. I just wanted a chance to work with you again. To… redeem myself, perhaps.”

I chuckled. “You don’t need to worry about that. There’s no way I’ll forgive you, no matter what you do. You hungry? They might be serving breakfast now, and the nurses would be happy to know you’re awake.”

“W-what?”

“I asked if you were hungry.”

She looked away. “The pink pony… What is she to you?”

“Nothing. A friend of sorts, maybe. Why?”

She said, “She promised retribution if I so much as looked at you funny. She said she was guilty of worse than I and would go to any length to make sure nothing bad ever happened to you again. She said it with such a… a coldness… that I was scared out of my wits. At first, I wanted to avoid you, but when Jocasta told me you were concerned… I thought you had forgiven me. I wanted to prove to you that I’m more than what you saw on the March. I’m more than a mindless torturer, bent on pleasures of the flesh and killing.”

“I’m not a child, Kat. I know you aren’t. That doesn’t mean I won’t flinch whenever you touch me or feel my skin crawl whenever you look longingly at my wings. And that doesn’t mean you can go back in time and undo what you did. Now, are you hungry?”

She looked down. “…Yes.”

I nodded. “Alright, I’ll go see if I can find a nurse or something.” I turned to go.

“Wait.” I looked back. “Where are the others?”

I shrugged. “Don’t know. Rock left as soon as he got healed. I got here last night. A few nurses have looked in, but you haven’t had any visitors.”

She looked down at that and I made it out the door. When I had it shut behind me, I quickly found a nurse and asked, “Who’s in charge of feeding patients?”

“The nurse assigned to the patient,” he answered. “Who are you asking about?”

“The patient in room thirteen. She just woke up and is hungry.”

He closed his eyes, muttering something. A moment later he nodded, opening his eyes. “I believe the nurse for that room is Blackberry. She’s a black mare, a temporary volunteer. She’s… somewhere around here. Sorry I can’t help more, but I need to get back to work.”

“Thanks, bro.” He nodded and continued meandering down the hall. I started looking around for the nurse. I got several looks from staff that weren’t Blackberry.

“Can I help you?” someone asked. I turned around to see it was a guard.

“I’m looking for a nurse named Blackberry,” I answered.

“And can I have your name?”

“Sir Navarone.”

His eyes went wide. “I’ve heard of you! The princess is looking for you.”

I waved a hand. “She can wait. I need to make sure my friend is taken care of first. Do you know where Blackberry is?”

I heard a loud clopping behind me and I whirled around in time to barely dodge a black blur. She collided with the guard, sending both of them to the floor.

I walked over. The mare had a random berry as a cutie mark. “Blackberry, I presume?” I mused, helping her and the guard to their feet.

She giggled airily. “Yep. I heard somepony was looking for me and then I remembered that I had a patient I needed to check up on and then I got in a hurry and ran into you!” She somehow got all of that out in one breath. She ended it looking at the guard.

“Yes,” I said, “the patient in room thirteen is awake and hungry. I was looking for you to tell you.”

She gasped and began sprinting down the hall again. The guard and I watched. “She has a nice flank,” he commented.

“You’re just saying that because she was all over you a second ago.” She did, though. “I’m going to make sure she doesn’t kill Kat. I’ll find the princess later.”

He sighed and nodded. “Friends are important, of course. Just don’t keep the princess waiting long.”

I nodded and started walking back to Kat’s room. As I walked, I noticed a large collection of confused patients and nurses looking the way I was going. I assumed Blackberry left an impression. I just continued my walk.

It took me a few minutes to get there. When I did, I saw Blackberry busying herself around Kat, who took it all with a longsuffering silence. “Found your nurse,” I commented as I entered.

Kat sighed.

“Oh, don’t you worry!” Blackberry said in a happy tone. “We’ll have you up and well in no time at all.”

“She’d be better sooner if she got food,” I commented, scratching at the whiskers beginning to grow on my face.

Blackberry gasped and sprinted back out the door. I just barely managed to step aside in time.

Kat said, “She’s excitable.”

“Yep. I imagine she’d be a monster in bed. You should tell her that threesomes are part of a cat’s natural healing process.”

“Wouldn’t that be taking advantage of her?”

“Yeah, probably. Oh well. Maybe Jocasta instead?”

“But she knows that it’s not a part of cat healing.”

“I could tell her that it was a human custom.”

“She wouldn’t care. I don’t think she likes you.”

“I know. It’s a shame; I’d love to plow that little pussy.” I pulled a chair around to face her bed and sat. “So what have you been up to since I left Egypt? Still torturing people?”

“I’ve been doing a lot of undercover work. I can’t really talk about it.”

“Eh, fair enough. I’ve been dealing with changelings and crazy mares. It’s been interesting.”

“Not to sound… well, you do realize dragons are crazier than most other species, right? And that they grow to be pretty huge?”

“What I started with Kumani was meant to be a fling. She got attached and I’m starting to like her a bit more, too. She might go psychobitch on me eventually, but unless she straight up kills me, I don’t think I’ll have to worry too much.”

She smiled. “It isn’t you that she’ll kill. It’s all the other mollies that want you. Dragons are jealous lovers. Very greedy. Any female that catches your eye will likely meet a poor end.”

“I’ll keep that in mind if we progress far past the fling stage.”

She opened her mouth, but the door slammed open and Blackberry sprinted inside, a food tray on her back. She quickly set it down in front of Kat, who looked at it in disdain.

“What… what is this?” she asked, poking at a gelatinous mess.

Blackberry shrugged. “I dunno. The cafeteria lady called it soylent green and laughed. I know better than to ask questions about the food.”

“Is it safe for cats to eat?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t feed my cats any of the food here,” Blackberry answered. “But they could probably eat it. Why?”

“Uh. Have you even looked at your patient?” I asked.

“Of course I—OH CELESTIA YOU’RE A KITTY!” Kat jerked back as Blackberry suddenly got in her face. “I’ll play with you and pet you and dress you and—ooh!” She suddenly leaned back. “That explains why there was a tray of cat food in the cafeteria…” She grabbed the tray and sprinted back out.

Kat watched her leave with horror in her eyes. “Don’t leave me with her,” she whispered.

“About that…” I said as I began backing to the door. “I kinda have stuff to do today.”

“Please!” she pleaded. “Don’t leave me, not with her!”

“I can’t stay, Kat. I really have to go. I might be able to come by later, but no promises. Celestia needs to see me, I still need to get my pay, and I have a party I have to go to. Remember, you need to rest and stay dormant for a while. Now, I’ll see you later.”

“Wait!” The closing door cut off the rest of what she was going to say. I began walking to the entrance. I hopped out of the way of a speeding Blackberry and made it with no further troubles. I knew how boring it was to be in a hospital bed with no company, so I was planning on trying to stop by later if I could, but it made me smile to let Kat think she was going to suffer like that.

 

When I finally got to Celestia, she was too busy to make time to see me. She was meeting dignitaries or making out with foals or something. The guard wasn’t specific.

Given the lack of anything better to do, I went to find Shining Armor to tell him about the library. Someone would have to go down there and clean those bodies out before they started stinking.

I found him directing guards not far from where I found Celestia. He looked happy to see me. “I talked with Celestia,” he said.

I held up a hand and he stopped. “It can wait. There’s a bunch of dead bodies in the hidden tunnels of the library. You should probably get someone on that if it hasn’t been reported yet.”

He blinked. “What.”

I explained what happened. When I got finished, he sighed and said, “You have to stop doing stuff like this without Celestia’s permission, Nav. I understand that being a knight gives you some special privileges, but I don’t think one of them is being allowed to form a task force completely comprised of foreign troops to take out crime bosses in Equestria. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”

“Well, we had no casualties. They had plenty. I think it turned out for the best, all things told.”

“I didn’t deny that. If there is a next time, tell me first. At the very least I’d like to know so I can organize cleanup efforts before the bodies start to smell.”

“Fair. If I have the chance, I will. Now, about your talk with Celestia.”

“She told me… several things. I can’t for the life of me approve of them, but I know some of them were necessary. I know in my heart that she’s wrong, but she ordered me not to tell anypony about what was done to you.”

I crossed my arms. “In my world, when a couple gets married, many people call the married couple one person. They go from two entities to one. And Celestia ordered you to tell no one else of what you heard. But she didn’t say you couldn’t tell yourself.” I patted him on the shoulder. “I’m going to go find Pinkie. Think about it, Shiny.” He sighed. I took off, flying to my apartment.

I found Pinkie curled up on one of the beds. I didn’t know if she was sleeping or not, but it also didn’t matter. I walked over to the safe, opened it, and asked, “Are you awake?”

“Go ‘way,” she mumbled.

“Can’t. I need your help.”

“I don’t deserve to look at you.”

“Shut up, Pinkie. Come on, I can’t carry five thousand bits by myself.” She didn’t answer. “Look, I’ll give you five thousand bits if you help me.” She still didn’t answer. I sighed, set the check on the other bed, and sat down next to her. She started shifting away from me until I reached a hand out and started gently stroking her back. I couldn’t reach her belly, so I figured that would have to do.

“Why?” she whimpered.

“Because it kills you. It reminds you every day of what you did and how wrong it was. It makes you feel absolutely terrible.” I leaned my head down to her ears. “And you won’t leave because you know you deserve it.” I leaned back up and continued stroking her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Y-yes…” she whispered, sniffling.

I stood and grabbed the check. “Let’s go, then. Wait, can you carry five thousand bits?” She nodded, not looking at me as she got to her feet. I saw how muted her coat looked and how flat her hair was.

We got a few blocks down the street when I got an idea. “Pinkie, a friend of mine is in the hospital here. Do you think we could go cheer her up after we drop the bits off?”

“Can… can I throw a party?”

I shrugged. “Make it a muted one. She got hurt pretty bad and can’t celebrate. I don’t know how well she would enjoy one of your parties, but it might cheer her up.”

“Who is it?” she quietly asked.

“Kat.”

She stopped. I stopped when I noticed she did and turned to look at her. I saw how her pupils shrank and how the blue in her eyes seemed very prominent. “W-w-what happened?” she asked, her eyes returning to some manner of normalcy.

I shrugged. “She was helping me with something when she took a sword to the side. Cut her up pretty badly. She’s feeling pretty down; none of her other friends came by to visit her. I know how good of a friend you are, though. She would just love to meet you in a better setting.”

She laughed nervously. “I… Oh.” She sounded like she was on the verge of tears again, and we finally continued walking.

“She has had a pretty hard life,” I idly commented as we continued. “Doesn’t have too many friends, either. Being trained as an assassin, torturer, and seducer does that, I suppose. She was probably taken from her family at a young age. It’s no surprise she wanted to see me as soon as possible when I got here; it’s a shame I didn’t take the time to talk to her more the first day. She seemed hesitant ever since. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

“N-n-no…”

“Well, if you say so. Celestia did say you were one of the elements of harmony. I don’t know which one you represent, but surely a friend good enough to be one of the elements wouldn’t break any of the tenets.” She nervously laughed again. “Are you okay, Pinkie? You seem a bit off today.”

“I’m… I’m not feeling well.”

“I wish you had told me sooner! I wouldn’t have made you come out here. I can take you back to our room, if you like. Or we can go straight to the hospital and you can get them to check on you.”

“I’ll be okay…”

“I know what you said to Kat, Pinkie. And I do. Not. Approve. When we get to the hospital, you are going to apologize.”

She gulped. “You really are a terrible pony…” she whispered. “Your evil isn’t mean or direct. It’s acidic. It eats away at a pony until they just want to give up.”

I didn’t answer. We made it to the bank in silence. I passed the check to the teller, who looked at it in silence for several long minutes before looking back up to me, adjusting her glasses, and saying, “Let me go get my supervisor.” I nodded and she walked to the back.

The same griffin from before quickly walked out. When he saw me, he face-taloned before walking up to me. “Sir, can you come with me to a side office?”

I nodded and Pinkie and I both followed him. “When making any withdrawals over a thousand bits,” he said, “we have our clients fill out a form.” He passed a sheet of paper across the table. “Would you kindly fill this out?”

“You got a pencil or something?” He passed me a quill and a bottle of ink. I smiled at the questions on the sheet. Name, date of birth, race, hometown, town of current residence, how the money was earned, and which bank I had my other funds stored in. Half of my answers would mean nothing to him. I gave him a shit-eating grin as I passed the paper back.

“Um. Sir, how were you born almost a thousand years in the future?”

“I come from a different dimension. We use a different year system there.”

He blinked before reading more. “This town doesn’t exist.”

“Different dimension.”

“You… you earned this money killing… bitches?

“Well, there was only one female dog, actually. That word means something else where I’m from too. It was mercenary work, clearing out a crime den. Captured around thirty-six criminals. Killed some others. I headed the company that attacked.”

He sighed and continued reading. “You don’t have a bank?” he asked when he looked up the last time.

“Nope.”

“So… what are you going to do with this money?”

I shrugged. “Give it away to someone that needs it, probably.”

He looked back down at the check. “Six thousand two hundred bits. And you would just give it away?”

“Yeah. I already got rid of the ten thousand I was given last time. It didn’t go to a particularly good cause, but whatever.”

He looked back down at the sheet of questions before looking back up to me before looking back down to the check and sighing. “Mister Navarone, how can you go from killing to giving your money away like this?”

“I like killing and I don’t care about money. I have enough for me to live off and that’s enough. However, there are plenty of people out there that need the money. So I earn it and give it away.”

He let out a small laugh. “A murderous philanthropist,” he muttered. “Alright, Mister Navarone. Your check is cleared. If you’ll come with me back to the front room, I’ll get your money together.” We both stood and all three of us entered the main room of the bank. He whistled sharply and the naga guards from before came out. He nodded to one of them before jerking his head and leading one of them to the safe. A few minutes later, they both came walking out, the naga carrying a large bag.

“Put it on Pinkie,” I said with a nod to her. The naga shrugged and gently set it on her back. Her legs wobbled a bit, but she held up fine. With that, we left. When we were a few feet away from the bank I asked, “So how many bits do you need, Pinkie?”

“N-none.” Her voice was strained.

“Think of all the parties you could hold with that much money. Think of how many smiles and laughs you could make.”

“I… I didn’t earn it.”

“But I did. And I like making people smile, Pinkie. However, I am not good at it. You are. I made this money and I should be the one to choose how it’s used. Is it truly so evil to ask that you make ponies smile for me?”

She whimpered slightly. “N-no…”

“Good. I expect you to be throwing a lot of parties when we get back, Pinkie. After we drop the bits off, we should go to the hospital. We’ll need to hurry if you want to see Kat before it’s time to prepare for our date.”

Flo whispered, “What you are doing is the worst kind of evil. I’m honestly ashamed to be inside of you right now.” She sounded very, very disappointed. I actually felt myself flinch at her tone. “You can look at her and tell how much she regrets what she did. She knows it was wrong and she knows she hurt you. Why can’t you just tell her that you forgive her? You don’t even have to mean it!”

Aside from pettiness… I didn’t have an answer. I looked down at Pinkie and saw how absolutely depressed she looked. I had been the nicest person and yet I was treating her like trash. Is this really what I’ve become? So powerless in my own life that I resort to bringing others down to feel better?

Now I felt bad.

We got to the apartment in mutual silence. I opened the door and let her in, closing it behind us. She slunk off into the bedroom and I followed. She let the bag of bits hit the floor and joined them on the ground, just looking down.

I sighed, looking at her. I felt my shoulders sag. “Pinkie, come here, please.”

She slowly got to her hooves and walked up to me, eyes still on the ground. I knelt down and wrapped my arms around her. She flinched. I whispered, “I forgive you, Pinkie.” I felt her body seem to sag against mine and it took me a moment to realize that her legs gave out. I held her as she wept silently over my shoulder.

I don’t know how long we were there. When she finally pulled away from me, I saw that some of the color had returned to her coat. “Why?” she whispered yet again.

“I saw how badly you regretted it. I saw how bad you felt… I want to hate you, but I can’t. I want you to suffer… but you don’t deserve it.” I sighed. “I’m sorry for hurting you like I did.”

A bit more color returned. “That’s okay, Nav… I understand. Does that mean…”

I shook my head. “Not now, Pinkie. Don’t ruin the moment.” She sighed and looked away. “Now, we still need to visit Kat. Her nurse was a crazy cat lady and I don’t want to leave her like that.” Well, I kind of wanted to, but I wasn’t going to be a dick about it.

“Do we have to?”

“Yes. Now Pinkie yourself up. You’re just depressing like this.”

“It would be a lot easier if you…” She leaned in and whispered something in my ear.

I pulled back and saw she was grinning. “Dammit Pinkie.”

“That’s not a no-o-o!” she sang.

I sighed.

 

A few long minutes later, we were on our way to the hospital. Pinkie was back to her normal self, smiling a wide smile and laughing at a joke only she knew. I could tell from the way she was looking at me that she wanted me to ask.

When we finally got to the hospital, she asked, “Nav, do you wanna hear a joke?”

“No thanks.”

“Knock knock!”

“Nobody’s home.”

“Pinkie!”

“Go away.”

“Pinkie Pie!” She started laughing like it was the funniest joke in the world. Everyone in the waiting room was staring at her with confusion in their eyes.

I just shook my head and walked further into the hospital, going to room thirteen. When I opened the door, I saw a scary yet adorable sight: Kat had been meticulously groomed and a bow was gracing her head. She was glaring daggers at a Blackberry that was just talking and talking and talking.

“Damn, Kat. All dolled up just to see me?” I asked as I stepped inside. Pinkie followed me and giggled at Kat’s expression and looks.

When Kat heard and saw Pinkie, her ears fell back and she leaned back into her bed, trying to hide herself.

“Ooh, you have more guests!” Blackberry said, breaking off her mindless tirade of incessant chattering.

“Yep. Unfortunately, Miss Blackberry, I need you to leave for now. I need to talk to Kat about mercenary business, something people not in our company don’t need to know about.”

She blinked. “But… I am in your company! I’m right here.”

“Our mercenary company. The members of our group.”

Her perpetual grin widened. “Do you need a nurse?”

“Nah, we got a doc already. He’s good on help.”

She looked from me to Kat to me again. “If you have a doctor, why is she here?”

I crossed my arms. “I would tell you, but that’s company business.”

“But I’m in your company!”

I face-palmed. Pinkie giggled at my distress and said, “We want to talk to Kat privately.”

Blackberry giggled. “Oh! Why didn’t you just say so? I have other patients to see anyway.” She happily trotted out the door, finally not sprinting.

When she was gone and the door was closed, Pinkie said, “Geez, what an airhead.” With that, she sneezed and confetti came out.

Kat and I shared a longsuffering look. I pulled a chair over as she ripped the bow out of her hair and threw it as far away as she could get it. “I can’t believe you left me with her!” she said, her voice angry.

“Yeah well, you know. I brought you more company. Still no sign of Jocasta or Rock?”

She sighed, shaking her head. “I’ve been lonely. Well, I’ve been trying to be lonely, but that insufferable mare…” She bared her claws as she pantomimed strangling someone.

“If you want, I can check you out.”

She waved a paw. “You do that every time you see me anyway.”

“I can’t help it, you’re hot. But I mean check you out of the hospital.” I heard Pinkie mutter something. “What was that, Pinkie?” I asked, turning to her.

“Nothing, Nav!” she sweetly said.

“Uh huh.” I turned back to Kat and asked, “Did you ever get your weapons and clothes back?”

She nodded. “They’re in one of the drawers here.”

“Alright. I’ll go find the head nurse and ask her if you can leave. Pinkie, you stay here and try to cheer her up. And remember what I told you.”

Kat gave me a look of horror at that. Pinkie gave me a sad look, trying to make me change my mind. I left the room with them both staring at my back.

I wasted no time finding someone that looked like a nurse and asking, “Who can clear patients for leaving?”

She shrugged. “If the patient wants to leave, he or she can. We don’t like letting the sick leave, but we can’t exactly force them to stay. Just tell somepony that you’re leaving before you do.”

“I’m taking the patient from room thirteen home, then.”

She looked at me like I was stupid. “Why are you telling me?”

I shrugged. “Who else should I tell?”

“The patient’s nurse or doctor.”

I sighed. “Do you know where I can find Blackberry?”

She looked at me in horror. “Oh, that poor patient. She’s probably zooming through the halls. She does that a lot.”

We heard a loud clopping from down the hall. We turned to look and saw that it was Blackberry coming right at us. I sighed and stepped in front of her. She didn’t even try to stop, just collided with me and sent us both tumbling to the ground.

“You really should look where you’re going,” she commented, sitting on my stomach.

“While your flank is really nice, I’d prefer it not on my stomach.”

“Are you complimenting me or calling me fat?”

“I’m taking Kat out of the hospital. The nurse over there told me to tell you.”

She gasped. “Why would you do that? I want to play with her some more!”

“I have good reasons. Now, can you either get off me or move back a few inches and start rubbing?”

“You can’t take her if you can’t get up!”

“And you can’t play with her if you’re sitting on me.”

She sat up, rubbing her chin with a hoof. “It appears that we are at an impasse,” she remarked.

“You also run the risk of getting fired if we continue blocking the hall like this.”

“Hm…”

I grabbed the hoof she was using to keep herself steady on my chest and pulled it, making her tumble further onto me. I wrapped my arms around her and huskily whispered, “Not that I’m complaining. Think we could… take this somewhere more private?” I gently kissed the tip of her nose.

“Why would I want to sit on you in private? That just sounds weird.”

I’ve never met a girl so completely immune to flirting. At least Jocasta shoots me down. This girl just doesn’t even seem to understand it. The random nurse I was talking to before I got piledrived was shaking her head sadly at my attempt. “Don’t bother trying to flirt with her,” she said. “It all bounces off.”

I sighed. “Well, I’m bored.” I widened my legs, making her hooves lose contact with the floor, and rolled over so I was on top of her. I got to my feet and started walking back to Kat’s room.

Blackberry hopped up and jumped in front of me. “I’m not letting you take my kitty!”

I crossed my arms. “What’s her name?”

“…Miss Mittens?”

I walked around her. She jumped in front of me again. “What’s her career?” I asked.

“Um. Interior decorating?”

I jumped over her and continued walking. She jumped in front of me one more time. “How was she hurt?”

“Fell down some stairs?”

I knelt down, grabbed both of her cheeks, and kissed her. When I pulled away, she was actually blushing. “She’s my kitty,” I whispered. I let her go and walked around her again. She sighed and just walked behind me. “You know,” I said, “if you really like cats, you could move to Egypt. I’m sure more nurses and the like would be welcome there.”

“Why Eygpt?”

“Because that’s the land of the cat kingdom.”

She gasped. “Kitties ruling a kingdom?! That’s so adorable! Is the princess an itty bitty cutesy wootsy kitty?”

“I don’t know if they even have a princess. I know the king was an okay dude. I helped put him in power, so he owes me quite a lot.”

“Hm… How many ponies are over there?”

“Fuck if I know. I’m not a travel guide. I know you couldn’t pay me to live there, though.”

“But… kitties!”

“Sure, they’re sexier than ponies. But they’re also considerably more dangerous. All in all, fuck that noise.”

“Psh. Kitties aren’t dangerous! You just gotta treat them right.” It amuses me that she didn’t deny that they were sexy.

I didn’t answer. Partly because we were there and partly because I didn’t care. I opened the door and walked into an icy silence. “Kat, get your clothes on. We’re leaving.”

“HAH!” Blackberry said, jumping in front of me again. “You don’t know her name either!”

“…My name is Katrina,” Kat said. “Kat for short.”

Blackberry blushed and looked away, her ears drooping. “Oh.”

“Now come on, Kat. You need to collect your pay while Jocasta’s still willing to give you the check. Killing people pays good, and you deserve the money.”

“HAH AGAIN!” Blackberry yelled. “I know such a cute little kitty wouldn’t kill anypony!”

Kat ahemmed. “I’m a professional assassin. I kill for a living.”

Blackberry’s eyes went wide as she whirled around, slapping me with her tail and staring at Kat as she got out of bed. I did my share of staring too; I had seen it all before, but that didn’t mean I didn’t like being reminded.

She reached down into a drawer, bending over just nicely. She pulled out a set of bloody clothes and sighed.

I shrugged. “Least you’re alive. Most people don’t recover from getting hit with an axe like that.”

“True enough,” Kat said. “But I think it was a sword. It was one or the other. Not like it matters.” She began putting clothes on. She stumbled when putting on pants, and Blackberry and I both jumped to catch her.

Pinkie somehow beat us both. I nodded and backed off. Blackberry said, “If she’s stumbling just from putting clothes on, she needs to be in the hospital.”

I crossed my arms. “Kat?”

“I’m not staying here,” she answered, gently pushing Pinkie away. She finished putting her clothes on and started pulling weapons out of the drawer. She nodded when she had everything. “Okay, let’s go.”

“Take a few steps,” I said. She walked towards me but stumbled on the last step. I caught her. “Okay, when you get back to your apartment, you aren’t leaving until you’re well.” I gently picked her up. “Pinkie, I’ll carry Kat back. Go get ready for the party. I’ll be at our apartment shortly.”

Pinkie asked, “Are you sure, Nav?”

I nodded. “I can move faster by flying.” I backed out of the door, making sure not to hit Kat on the edges. I began walking to the exit, Pinkie and Blackberry trailing behind. “Just like old times, eh?”

Kat smiled. “Except this time I’m hurt and you’re not flying yet.”

“And there won’t be a happy ending. Ah well. No reason to risk pissing Kumani off while you’re still hurt.”

“It doesn’t… hurt, per se. It just keeps seizing up.”

“If the nurses say you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine. But you must stay in bed. No competing in the tournament. When you go to get your pay, make Rock carry you. He’s a big boy and can handle it. Don’t let Miguel touch you, though. That little fucker gives me goose bumps.”

“What is a… goose bump?”

“Evolutionary adaptation in humans. It alerts us to potential danger. They also show up when it’s cold. Essentially, they’re little bumps that push out on our skin. It’s akin to your fur standing up straight.”

We were finally at the door. I set Kat down for a moment to remove my ring and pocket it before grabbing her again. “Ready?” I asked.

“Of course! You know how much I adore flying.”

I turned to look at Pinkie for a moment. “Remember, I’ll meet you at the apartment.”

She was eyeing Kat pensively. She looked up when I spoke and nodded. “See you soon!”

I jumped and just barely managed to get into the air; it’s a lot harder to take off with a passenger. In a few seconds, we were high above the city. “So where’s your apartment?” I asked.

“Can we just… fly for a few minutes?” she asked, looking at me with what she probably thought was a cute cat face.

“Sure. It’ll take Pinkie a few minutes to get ready.” I lazily floated around the skies, giving Kat as much of a view as she could get in my arms.

When she got her fill, she said, “We’re in the building with the red roof.” She pointed to the general area and I saw what she was talking about. I dove at it, letting my wings make minute changes to the flight path until we were on a collision course with it. I slowly pulled out of the dive, ending with us slowly floating circles around it as I got closer and closer to the ground. “Jim will be happy to see you again,” she commented as we finally touched down next to the front door.

“Jim?” I asked, not recognizing the name.

“Jim Johnson. The king.” Oh yeah. The king with the most boring name ever.

“I don’t have too long to see him and he’s probably out anyway. He might be at the party I’m going to, though.”

She nodded as she waved the guards down. “He will be.” I ducked into the building. “I was supposed to go, but I don’t think I’ll make it like this. Jocasta will probably take my place.”

I grinned. “Shame. I can’t flirt with her this time; Pinkie demanded a date for her services in the past.”

“Ugh, that mare… I don’t know how you stand her.”

“With more patience than a god. I also take long, long breaks.” We were into the anteroom of the building now. “Which wa—holy shit.” That place was outright opulent.

She grinned at my reaction. “Some ponies go all out for royalty. Go up one of the staircases, it doesn’t matter which.” I could see that they both went to the same place, essentially; they started in one place and twisted until they ended up in the same. I shrugged and picked the left one and carried Kat’s battered form up.

When I got to the top, she pointed me left. I went that way and entered a long hall. “Which room?” I asked.

“Fourth on the right.” I carried her to it and pushed it open. Inside was a tastefully decorated room, obviously designed for a female. I set her down on the bed.

“You need anything before I go?” I asked.

“I can think of a way to make myself feel better…” she said with a smirk.

I sighed. “I wish. But I don’t have time.”

She waved a paw. “Not that. I meant having you raid Jocasta’s panty drawer.”

My eyes lit up. “Oh hell yes! Point me the right way!”

She grinned. “Across the hall.” I walked across the hall and put my ear to the door. I heard nothing. I tried knocking and got no answer. I tried the handle but it was locked.

I pulled out my key, opened it, and peeked in. It certainly looked like a room that might belong to Jocasta. I looked around quickly and stepped inside, leaving the door open. I walked over to the dresser and opened it.

My face went white.

This was not Jocasta’s room.

I very silently closed the drawer, walked out of the room, closed the door, and walked across the hall. Kat was smirking. When she saw my expression, she burst out laughing.

“Dried. Faces,” I finally said.

She stopped laughing. “Wait, what?”

“There were. Dried faces. In that drawer.”

Her eyes went wide. “What in the…” She gulped as her eyes flicked to my back, her ears dropping to her head. “Miguel…”

I closed my eyes and clenched my fists, saying a quick prayer before turning around. Before me stood Miguel, just staring. Not glaring. Not blinking. Just… staring.

“…Hi.” I said.

He didn’t say anything.

“Want to help me raid Jocasta’s panty drawer?” I slowly asked.

“That would be fun,” he answered, still staring dead at me.

That was the most awkward panty raid I have ever done.

 

 

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