Fallout Equestria: The Daily Unlife

"Live a little, they say. Easier said than done."

These are the voyages of the Canterlot ghoul Lemon Frisk. His mission: to find the Meaning of Unlife. His continuing perils: crazed raiders, feral ghouls, overzealous rangers, deranged robots, and a mare who won't stop poking him.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/6001/fallout-equestria-the-daily-unlife

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3. Day Two - Live and Let Live

Live and Let Live
or die trying

Misty Cloud woke up from someone fumbling around with her pipbuck. She looked up, straight into two sickly yellow eyes set above a slightly rotted nose in a leathery, wrinkly face.

She scrambled back against the wall, screaming, before realizing she knew the face.

"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!" she yelled, trying to get her breathing under control. "A zombie sniffing at me is not exactly a comforting sight to wake up to!"

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up," Lemon Frisk said. "I just thought I'd switch off the lamp, but your pipbuck model seems different from mine, and I couldn't figure it out."

"Just be glad I don't panic easily!" she huffed, switching off the light on her pipbuck, and getting up.

Already going back on the previous day's resolution, Lemon Frisk cocked his eyebrow. "That seemed pretty panicky to me."

She glared at him. "I still got your gun, you know."

"Hah. It takes about a week to develop any kind of 'shoot ponies in the face' panic reflex."

Misty frowned, unsure whether he was serious or not. She didn't much care for finding out, though.

"Anyway," Lemon Frisk continued. "Since you're awake and looking oh-so-energetic already, I suppose we're all ready to go?"

"You don't happen to have anything to eat?" she asked. "I'm really hungry."

Lemon nodded. "I took a look through the cupboards while you slept. Found a bag of Sugar Carrot Cakes that seems to have survived the scorching. It's a bit of a mess though."

He pulled the plastic bag out of his saddlebags. The plastic of the separately-sealed cakes had melted to one big web-like mess, but inside it, some of the cakes had remained sealed, and thus, conserved. Many other pockets in the plastic that hadn't stayed airtight contained nothing but dust, the ancient molds that had eaten them long dead and gone.

"Can we eat on the road though?" Lemon Frisk asked. Misty noticed he looked worried.

"What's wrong?" she asked. "Anything dangerous around?"

Lemon Frisk shook his head. "No. I just want to get out of here. If that poor melted guy was any indication, I don't want to think about what might be in the other houses."

"Alright," Misty said, levitating the bag with her magic while walking out the door. Lemon Frisk threw a quick glance at the corner where he had dumped the dead ghoul, shook his head, and walked out of the town. The rusty orange mare followed him closely, while trying to figure out a way to get to the cakes inside the bag.

* * *

One thing a lot of people forget about the wasteland is that it's, well, a wasteland. Sure, you probably heard all these exciting stories about heroes smoking out one raider camp after the next, but in reality, in between that, a lot of the wasteland is dead, monotonous, and above all, boring.

Which is not a good combination if you happen to be travelling with a companion who is not only trying to suppress the memory of the bloody evisceration of two of her childhood friends, but also thinks you're 'squishy'.

Lemon Frisk let out another yelp, and turned towards his travelling companion. "By Celestia's horn, will you finally cut that out?"

Misty stopped poking him, brought a hoof to her chin, and frowned. "Hmm. Do you know anything else to do?"

"I dunno... we could talk?"

"Pass," she said, poking him in the side again, and getting rewarded with yet another yelp.

"Stop that! It really can't be good for my skin, you know. Unlike you smoothcoats, a ghoul's skin doesn't heal very well! You bruise it, and it's gone in another week!"

"You're just making that up," Misty said.

"Am not!" Lemon replied.

"Well then you still look surprisingly good, after two hundred years of scavenging."

Lemon Frisk smiled. "You know the one thing most casual scavengers don't bother taking?"

"No, I've only been out here for about a week. But you'll undoubtedly tell me."

"No need to get cynical. Anyway, skin care products."

"...no. No no no. I see where you're going, but you just have to be pulling my tail here."

"I'm not! As I said, nopony even thinks of taking it; it's seen as luxury rubbish you can't sell unless you go all the way to the Society in Hoofington!"

"And that's how you look... passable... after two hundred years?"

"You just wait," Lemon Frisk said with a smirk. "You haven't seen any other ghouls yet. Well, besides the poor melted guy, but he was a rather extreme example in the other direction, even for a feral ghoul."

"Still. You don't look that good," Misty said. "I mean, there's that spot on your head where you can see your skull."

"Yeah, about that..." Lemon Frisk said with a sigh. "If you ever see anything branded Solaris Inc. Chemical Division... leave it. Really. Though in hindsight, I guess 'Brainwashing shampoo and Cranium Rinse' should've been a hint they were quacks."

"Seriously? You tried out a two hundred year old bottle actually labelled 'brainwashing shampoo'?"

"It wasn't two hundred years old!" Lemon said defensively. "I scavenged that barely four years after the attacks!"

"Brainwashing. Shampoo," Misty said, dryly.

Lemon's head slumped down. "I thought it was just a joke! I mean, they laid it on so heavily with the slogan, I couldn't imagine it being anything but a joke!"

Misty groaned. "Yes, please do tell me the slogan, I haven't quite lost all of my sanity yet."

"Lather, Rinse and OBEY!" Lemon Frisk exclaimed, theatrically.

Misty gave him a flat look. "Seriously."

"I swear to the goddesses," Lemon said. "I've seen a lot of stuff in my life, kid. I can't make stuff up that's crazier than what I've really seen."

"So, did it at least brainwash you?"

"Nope. But it sure did try to get to my brain... by burning through my skull. By the time I'd rinsed it off, well... you see the result."

"Hey, Lemon..." Misty Cloud said, looking ahead. "What's that?" She pointed a hoof to an odd construction peeking over the hilltop. It was made of three big poles leaning into each other, with a sheet of plastic draped around it. The sheet was flapping in the wind, making a rather annoying noise.

"Dunno," the ghoul replied. "Does your pipbuck have anything?"

"Haystack."

"What?"

"That's what it says. 'Haystack'."

"Oh-kay. Let's take a look, shall we?"

As they trotted over the hill, they saw that the construction, which could indeed have once been a huge haystack, was standing in the middle of a blooming settlement.

"Civilization, at last!" Lemon said. He turned to Misty. "Don't get your hopes up too much. In the wastes, 'civilized' is a word with a rather broad meaning."

"How would you know? You admitted you never left Canterlot before!"

"I've seen the visitors!" Lemon threw back, trying to keep up his 'wise old stallion' image.

"You also said anypony who wasn't a ghoul had to be crazy to go into Canterlot."

"...I've read the Guide," he muttered.

"Right, your amazing Wasteland Survival Guide. Let's see if any of the manure you've been feeding my brain is true by trying to use bottlecaps to buy ourselves some decent protection."

Lemon smiled. "You'll see."

* * *

"A stable pony, and a Canterlot ghoul! If that ain't the oddest damn couple I've seen in ages!"

"We're just travelling companions!" Lemon Frisk said quickly, before the mare behind him would escalate the guard's simple joke to a situation in which they'd undoubtedly get shot at.

"Right!" the guard said with a grin. "Well, here in Hayden we ain't got no problem with ghouls, even if they're hogging all the pretty mares. There's some others livin' here." The guard glanced through the bars of the gate behind him. "Well, ghouls, anyway. Can't say we got much in terms of pretty mares."

"I heard that, Slugger!" a female voice yelled from behind the gates. The guard just grinned, and let the two travellers through.

The little town was bustling with activity. Misty noticed that the ponies in the watch towers that surrounded the town seemed to have their weapons trained on the inside though, instead of looking for outside threats. She voiced this observation to Lemon.

"I guess it's only logical," he replied. "Those ponies must be up there to make sure nopony gets it in their head to shoot us in the back and take our caps. As long as we don't cause trouble, they should be on our side."

That seemed to calm her down a little, though Lemon Frisk noticed the guard ponies seemed to keep looking at them specifically for an awfully long time. Maybe they did that to all new arrivals... or maybe the gate guard was right about the lack of pretty mares, and they were just getting some nice glances of his companion's rump.

Suddenly, the aforementioned pretty mare let out a gasp, and ran to one of the shops.

"Spray Paint?!" she said, looking at a young turquoise stallion helping in the shop.

Lemon Frisk ran after her into the shop. His eyes widened as he saw the metal collar around the pony's neck. "Misty, wait!" he yelled. The hint of panic in his voice was enough to make the dashing mare stop in her tracks. She gave him a confused look.

"His neck. That's an explosive collar," Lemon said. "He's a slave."

"Not quite," a third voice cut in. The owner of the store, a broad-shouldered white unicorn stallion, walked in from the back, and smiled at them. "So, you fellas know this buck?"

"She does," Lemon Frisk said, pointing a hoof at the mare. "Though I wouldn't mind hearing how he got here, either. From her description, he was gored by a radigator, and," he glanced at Misty Cloud, "torn in half?"

The unicorn laughed. "Oh, that ain't too far from the truth! Took me a bottle of Hydra and two Ultra healing potions to get him back together!"

"So then, why the collar?" Misty asked. Spray Paint slumped down, but said nothing.

"Right," the unicorn said. "Well, this fella here woke up, an' first thing 'e did was try to run off. Kept ramblin' 'bout some friend 'e 'ad ta save. So I bucked him in the face and put a collar on 'im. He don't have any caps, so he's workin' it off. Fair is fair."

Misty smiled. "How many caps are we talking about?"

The unicorn frowned, "Lady, Ultras are really rare. They cost at least two thousand a piece."

"Mister," she replied dryly, "I'm a stable pony, and I look like a stable pony, so I fully expect anyone I meet to start with twice the price when they start haggling. I'll give you fifteen hundred, all together, to let him go."

The unicorn laughed again. "Well, breathin' two hundred year old recycled air don't seem to have dulled your wits!" He straightened his face. "All right then, two thousand. I'm serious though, that stuff ain't cheap."

Misty glanced at Lemon, who gave her an approving nod. She opened her saddlebag, and a line of bottlecaps came floating out, neatly depositing themselves on the counter in stacks of ten, while her pipbuck automatically counted up to two thousand. It gave a short beep when the amount was reached.

The unicorn caught a glimpse of the amount of caps still left in her saddlebags though. "That seems to be all good and fine for his medical bill," he said, "but I'm not sure I wanna let him go. It's getting mighty busy here these days, and I need the help."

"What?!" Misty yelled. "I gave you the caps! What more do you need?"

"Yeah... I'm having second thoughts here," the big unicorn said. "Slaves go for a lot more than a measly two thousand caps, you know. And you seem to have plenty."

"I may still be getting used to this whole caps nonsense, but I'm undoubtedly going to need them to survive here. You agreed to the deal, dammit."

"I changed my mind," he said, glancing at the caps on the counter. "Ten thousand, and not a cap less, or I'm keepi—"

The unicorn was cut off by Lemon Frisk putting his foreleg over his neck. Misty had no idea how the old ghoul had gotten behind the counter, let alone with Spray Paint held tightly in his other foreleg.

"Now, now..." Lemon Frisk grinned, pulling the unicorn and the collar-wearing earth pony together in an uncomfortable (and squishy) hug. "We're all friends here, aren't we?"

The unicorn desperately struggled to get out of the ghoul's vise-like grip. "What are you—"

"Hey, I got an idea," Lemon said, still grinning like a madpony. "I'm just going to hug you two here, really tightly, because we're such good friends." He pressed the unicorn's neck against the Earth pony's explosive collar.

"I heard of these collars," he continued. "Blow up when you try to force them, right? Directional charge aimed to the inside, hm? Still, I wonder how much of your face it'd take off in this position. Let's squeeze a bit harder and find out!"

"You're mad!" the unicorn yelled. "You'd just pop right with us, standin' there!"

"Probably!" Lemon grinned. "But maybe I'm just a two hundred twenty year old buck who wandered into the wastelands to get himself an exciting end! And hey, hugging to death, what a way to go!"

"All right, all right!" the unicorn said. "Three thousand, then!"

"Deal!" Lemon Frisk said, and promptly let the two ponies go.

He calmly walking to the other side of the counter. "I wouldn't want you to think we were robbing you in any way though." He gave the unicorn a dead serious look. "Notice anything odd about these caps?"

The unicorn, still somewhat shaken, floated up one of the caps and looked at it carefully. "They're not bent. These caps are unused."

"See," Lemon said, "we're on our way to New Appleoosa, but we found a neat abandoned Sparkle-Cola factory on our way. Cellar's filled with thousands of full bottles, and a ton more bottlecaps." He opened his saddlebag and showed the unicorn the inside, filled with thousands of identical undamaged caps. The unicorn's eyes widened.

"So I'm thinking," Lemon said as he closed the bags, "I don't want any bad blood between us, but we need these caps to get some arms and barding. This factory is only a day away from here. We blocked the door pretty well. If you're fast, you may just be able to organize a little expedition to scoop up the rest of that little treasure before any other scavengers get to it. We're not going back there, anyway."

"Too good," the unicorn said. "I'm not buying it."

"You'll get the other one thousand caps," Lemon Frisk said. "This is just extra. I don't have any reason to send you to your death."

"Allright then. Any nasties on the way?"

"A burnt village. You familiar with it?"

The unicorn nodded. "They call it Scorch Mark. They say there's ghouls in there. Ferals."

"The only one we met was melted to the floor. Poor guy couldn't even close his mouth. He must've been standing there like that since the war. It's aways safe to keep your eyes open and your caravan armed, but I doubt any of the ghouls there are in better condition." Lemon Frisk frowned, and stared at the wall, a sad expression in his eyes. "My guess, even if more of those melted statues are actually ghouls, most of em can't even scream."

"Lemon..." Misty Cloud said, hesitantly.

Lemon Frisk shook his head. "I'm fine, Misty. Just... damn. Those poor bastards."

"Ahem," the unicorn cleared his throat. "All right, I'll take it. You promised me another thousand caps though."

"Misty, get them out of my bag," Lemon said. "And you..." he said, turning back to the unicorn, "well, you might want to get a map, so I can show you the way."

* * *

When they exited the shop, the turquoise stallion finally spoke. "Misty... thank goodness you made it out alive!"

The rusty mare hugged her friend, and pointed a hoof to Lemon Frisk. "All thanks to Squishy here!"

Lemon glared at her. "Calling me names? Is that how you repay me for wasting a thousand caps on yer buddy?"

"Nicknames don't count as calling names!" Misty Cloud retorted. She let go of Spray Paint, and hugged the ghoul instead.

"All right, all right. Get off," he grumbled.

"Aww." She cocked her head and smiled at him, still hugging him tightly. "You were so big on hugs in there! Whatever happened to being happy huggy friends?"

Behind them, Spray Paint's face has just gone a shade greener, and he was developing an odd twitch in his eye.

Footnote: Level up!
New perk: Boring Guy: Somehow, you just don't seem to meet any of those dangers the Wastelands are so famous for. You have a -15% chance on random encounters. Less stuff out to kill you obviously also means less corpses to loot, though.

   
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