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Fracture 5: Diagnosis.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 01:21:13 PM

  1. =Fracture 5=
  2.  
  3. >Dust crunches underneath your boots as you walk through the desert.
  4. >Walking had been your preferred mode of travel as of late, it was difficult to get passage on trains when you were the only human around and with your record.
  5. >Fortunately, Appleoosa was the right combination of a town in the middle of nowhere and hospitable enough that it let you treat it as a hub to the rest of the Mild West.
  6. >Among other factors.
  7. >As you cross the town border, you take in your surroundings.
  8. >The smell of hey and dirt.
  9. >The low din of the townsfolk going about their day.
  10. >Creaking wood as carriages rolled past you towards the edge of town.
  11. >The buildings were taller than most, but not too high.
  12. >+Ponies cannot jump that high, should the need to escape become apparent, the rooftops are safe.+
  13. >:What about pegusi?:
  14. >+Move fast to avoid a tail.+
  15. >You weaved your way through the townsfolk as you thought.
  16. >Now where was that shop...
  17. >+"Strong Defense". East end of town. Across from the open air market.+
  18. >You grimace.
  19. >Sometimes you annoyed yourself.
  20. >More wagons rode down the street towards the edge of town, the same direction as the first.
  21. >+What are they all meeting for...?+
  22. >:You're sure it's a meeting?:
  23. >+It is the most likely scenario.+
  24. >*Keep moving, these sheep are looking.*
  25. >You stare around at the ponies walking through the street. Sure enough, a lot were staring at the bipedal ape man dressed in leather armor who seemed to be having three different conversations to himself.
  26. >You're sure you snarl at them as you walk further down the road, a storefront with a shield and a sword on the sign out front.
  27.  
  28. >You step up to the counter and drop your bag of bits onto it.
  29. >The clerk behind it stares at both you and the bag for a good few seconds each before meeting your gaze with wide eyes.
  30. >"No questions asked, got it." he says.
  31. >You smirk, at least there were some people who knew the proper way to conduct trade.
  32. >You walk along the rack of weapons and mull the choices over.
  33. >Hmmm...
  34. >*Get me something that I can rend and tear with.*
  35. >:Ooooohh~. Throwing darts~.:
  36. >+We DO need more ranged offensive weaponry.+
  37. >You listen to all of your advice as you pick and choose.
  38. >*A pair of tomahawks.*
  39. >+Bandoliers and throwing knives.+
  40. >:Flash bombs!:
  41. >And a few smoke bombs for getaways.
  42. >The clerk eyes you as you pick out what you wanted.
  43. >"Jeeze pal, you planning to take on the army with this stuff?"
  44. >:Didn't he say no questions?:
  45. >*Should reach over there an-*
  46. "Just some work." you say.
  47. >Have to keep a lid on it...
  48. >"One o' them mercenaries, eh?"
  49. "You...could say that."
  50. >:REACH OVER THERE AND GUT HIM!:
  51. >You rub a finger on your temple.
  52. >Justaclerkjustaclerknotlikethelastone.
  53. >"Uh...you okay there, buddy?"
  54. "Y-yeah, just the heat getting to me..."
  55. >The clerk rings up your purchase and slides the bits into the register.
  56. >"If the heat's gettin' to ya, head on over to the local watering hole. That'll bring you right back up..."
  57. >You quiet the angry tornado in your head and walk out with your things.
  58. "Yeah, might check that out..."
  59. >You had a friend there anyway.
  60.  
  61. >You push through the doors of the bar and let out a contented sigh.
  62. >This place was nice...even Red liked it.
  63. >You walk around or past all the other ponies in the bar as they drank, played cards and revel.
  64. >You pound twice on the bar.
  65. "Pohito."
  66. >The bartender makes a slightly odd face as he trots away.
  67. >A golden stallion next to you chuckles once. "Only one guy I know round these parts who drinks Pohitios."
  68. >You turn to face him.
  69. "I like the minty taste."
  70. >He tilts up his hat. "And here I thought apples were your thing."
  71. >You roll your eyes and sip your totally not-stereotypical drink.
  72. "Hello, Braeburn."
  73. >Braeburn tosses off his hat and throws back his own drink. "So why'd you blow into town this time, Anon?"
  74. "Can't I just stop by when I'm in the neighborhood?"
  75. >"When ya got those this time?" he asks pointing towards your head.
  76. >You wince and run a finger over the scars leading up to your hairline.
  77. "Cougar got me in the hills..."
  78. >Braeburn shakes his head. "Why ya gotta go and be so reckless, ya big idiot?"
  79. >:It's cute that he worries:
  80. >+He should understand that we're fine+
  81. >:Aw, he's just worried about his squeeze:
  82. >*We are not his "squeeze"*
  83. >*He is ours*
  84. >You feign another pass at your scars as the fire in your veins lights.
  85. >Braeburn seems to not be taking it.
  86. >"You alright, pard?"
  87. >You try to stem the tide of Red.
  88. "Yeah...yeah, I'm fine...you wanna get outta here?"
  89. >Braeburn gets his own red going on his face.
  90. >You find your hand going to the back of his neck on its own.
  91. >"C-c'mon, Anon...everyone's lookin'..."
  92. >You let your vision grow redder as you lean into his ear.
  93. "What do I care~?"
  94. >Braeburn shudders and slams his hoof on the table.
  95. >"Tab!"
  96.  
  97. >The sun rise over the horizon of the Appleoosan desert.
  98. >You lift your hand to shield your eyes from the harsh rays of the star from your face as you eat your eggs.
  99. >:At least Brae fixed his chair:
  100. >We spend enough time here, he ought to have...
  101. >Speaking of the devil, the golden stallion trots out of the room behind you with a appeased smile on his face.
  102. >"Ah tell ya, pard. You n' yours are one of two things that can tucker me out like this."
  103. >You sip your coffee. [spoiler][/spoiler]"The other being?"
  104. >"Tryin' ta out-buck cousin AJ."
  105. >You smirk.
  106. "Comparing me to a tree-kicker? Now I'm all mad."
  107. >"And we can't have that none, can we?"
  108. >Braeburn hops up to a chair across the table from you.
  109. >"Can't end up like them dragons, huh?"
  110. >Your mind goes blood red and you grip the edges of your hair at mention of the dragons.
  111. "DON'T. TALK. ABOUT. THEM."
  112. >Braeburn winces at your outburst and shies away a bit.
  113. >"N-now...calm down...no need to be gettin' all ornery..."
  114. >Your fingers dig into the table as you glare daggers at the golden pony across from you.
  115. >*HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOU-*
  116. >You take a deep breath and calm the raging inferno in you enough to regain yourself.
  117. "Brae...you know you can't talk about that..."
  118. >He shuffles in his seat a bit. "Sorry, Anon...know ya have got some bad memories there..."
  119. >You remember back to that time...all the blood and anger and heat...the foremost thing that comes to your mind is holding a young dragon down as you tore out his throat with your hand.
  120. "Some good ones too..."
  121. >Braeburn starts to poke at his own eggs with his fork.
  122. >"Still don't understand all that stuff with your head..."
  123. >You sigh.
  124. "Let me explain it..."
  125.  
  126. >You put your fork down and run your hands through your hair.
  127. >You do you explain this? It was always the hardest part...
  128. "Brae...you know how you have that voice in your head? The one who tells you to do things?"
  129. >Braeburn nods his head.
  130. "Well...I have three."
  131. >His eyes widen as he gulps down his food.
  132. >"Three...? Do they all say the same stuff?"
  133. >You slowly shake your head.
  134. "They all sound different and say different stuff...it's like-"
  135. >You  grab you knife and fiddle with it.
  136. "It's like they're all three different people, but me too, you know?"
  137. >Braeburn sits across from you in rapt attention.
  138. "I've started calling them things...you know, when I talk to them."
  139. "There's Blue, I think he's all my time in the guard or my logical thinking, or whatever. He's smart and gotten me out of a lot of problems, but he's a bit of a pill."
  140. >:HA!:
  141. >+Hmph+
  142. "Green" as I call him seems to be some sort of reaction to what happened...with the dragons and Mac..."
  143. :Or those four months we spent alone in that cave!:
  144. >"An what's he like?" Brae asks.
  145. "He's..."
  146. >Green proceeds to mark farty noises in your minds ear.
  147. "Unique."
  148.  
  149. >Braeburn sets down his fork. "And...the last one?"
  150. >You sigh again as the bloody tint edges its way back into your brain.
  151. "R-red...he was the first...all that anger at what happened that's still getting out in whatever way it can..."
  152. >"...Like?"
  153. "Violence, sex, destruction, you..."
  154. >Braeburn is taken aback at that. "Me...? S'that what this is? Just a way to appease the devil in your head?"
  155. >You sigh and lean back.
  156. "I don't know, Brae...I'm not thinking that far ahead..."
  157. >Braeburn is silent for a bit, uncomfortably so.
  158. >*Weak*
  159. >You sigh. [spoiler][/spoiler] "I'll just go..."
  160. >You climb out of your chair and gather your shirt and your things. He can't handle all this? Fine, his problem.
  161. >As you grab your things, you blow past the quaking cowboy and walk out the door.
  162.  
  163. >You walk West away from the sun towards the edge of town, eager to get away from the accusatory words Braeburn or anyone else had for you.
  164. >You were how you were, anyone who couldn't handle that would just have to...leave.
  165. >Not like you could.
  166. >You reach the edge of town and spot a circle of wagons with about a dozen ponies clustered in the center.
  167. >As you pass by, you hear some of what they're talking about.
  168. >"Heading north-"
  169. >"-big haul-"
  170. >"-big risk-"
  171. >"-more bits than you can imagine-"
  172. >You stood still next to the wagon circle as you heard them out.
  173. >*Sounds like a good opportunity for violence.*
  174. >You turn towards the wagon circle draw closer.
  175. >Need to do SOMETHING, gotta get away.
  176. >A pony hops up on a box and flares his wings
  177. >"Alright! Y'all know the job and what the reward is, now who here wants a piece of that action?"
  178. "I do." you boom.
  179. >The ponies all turn to look back at the stranger who barged into their circle.
  180. >"Now who in the hay are you!?" one shouts.
  181. "Nobody important, but I want in."
  182. >The lead speaker cocks an eyebrow. "You know what this job entails, Stranger?"
  183. "Doesn't matter."
  184. >You and he stare each other down for a few moments.
  185. >"...Alright, that's one. Who else?"
  186. >Several of the other ponies follow your example and raise their hooves.
  187. >*Good...more meat.*
  188. >:This job'll be fun!: 
  189. >+We'll need some things, first.+
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