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/bootleg/ bunker #6 Anonymous 02/24/2024 (Sat) 19:19:56 No. 17307
Dreaming of summer activity edition >last bunk >>13810 >/mlp/ boots https://derpy.me/boot Welcome to the wild west of copyright infringement. Here in the bargain bin there's a freedom where things aren't quite right, but a bootleg waifu might still be for you. Bootleg can be many things or cover many genres, but we specialize in knockoffs with tons of heart and soul whether its OCs, or of canon. Get ready for feels and fun where they can win (You) over despite of their inherent flaws. New Shorts >[Flut] Littlest Painter Easel (Castafe) https://ponepaste.org/8790 >[OC] Novel Pursuits with Radio Star (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/8041 >[Rad] a starry night for radio waves (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/8894 >[Rad] Cast Aside (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/9091 >[OC] A Chance For Reign (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/8719 >[Mid] Darkness (Autopony) https://ponepaste.org/7201 >[Tia] Purrlestia (Autopony) https://ponepaste.org/7790 >[Mid] A Midnight Christmas (Autopony) https://ponepaste.org/8437 >[OC] Ivy the T Shirt Mare (Anon) https://ponepaste.org/7136 >[OC] Chilly Filly Flicks (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/8942 >[Bootlegs Anonymous: Confidants (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/9218 Updated longboot greens >[Pies] Rosie Rock (FortuneFavors) https://ponepaste.org/4579 >[OC] Letters for Gray Garden (Castafae) https://ponepaste.org/7923 >[NMM] Midnight Part 6 (AutoPony) https://ponepaste.org/8828 Boots hibernating >[Twi] Twilit Starsky Part 2 (Blondie) https://ponepaste.org/7398 >[Cadence] Condense (Reggie) https://ponepaste.org/4168 >[Twi] Twill Shorts - https://ponepaste.org/5703 >[Luna] Zooma (Reggie) https://ponepaste.org/5304 >[OC] Songbird (FortuneFavors) https://ponepaste.org/8371 Now finished bootleg stories >[AJ, Twi, OC] Jacky Part 13 (Blondie) https://ponepaste.org/8688 >[Marble] Minky (NHanon) - https://ponepaste.org/211 >[OC] Tinny the Tinfoil Conspiracy Pony (NHanon) - https://ponepaste.org/3979 >[OC] Angel Cake's Quest (Blondie) - https://ponepaste.org/5251 >[OC] Shadow (AutoPony) - https://ponepaste.org/6144 >[AJ] Apuljiyak (MexicanCactus) https://ponepaste.org/3559 >[Twi] Bootleg Twibot (Ponk) https://ponepaste.org/1516 >[Rarity] Rare (kqaii) https://ponepaste.org/4127 >BIG boot archive https://ponepaste.org/5786
>>17307 >new boot thread Woohoo!
How do I get started acquiring a bootleg pony waifu?
>>17318 They don't want you to know this but the boots in the park are free. You can just pick one up and take her home. I have 27 boots in my apartment.
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>>17318 Step 0: The boot may drop at any time out of the bunker Step 1: Your new boot needs a name, some come predetermined and others may be crowdsourced Step 2: Avoid the aispill, what a mess Step 3: Use new boot to bait a based drawfag into making oc. Step 4 is still needed, some personality so some green can be made and the bootcycle continues. Unfortunately, people didn't remember to do step 2 and step 4 never happened.
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>>17318 Step 1b: Your bootlegarina may appear one day out of the blue Step 2b: Save your waifu from her fate Step 2c: Learn her name and her story Step 3b: ???? Step 4b: profit Luckily this anon followed all the directions so he is now living happily with his new bootleg waifu.
>>17326 Oh hey it's Carriage! She still a cute. I remember writing a really short crappy green for her.
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>>17318 You don't acquire them. They acquire (You). A less meme answer is that they have come from bundles of emotions and raw thoughts. Through that, they are there and your job is to communicate the when/where/who. "Why" is beyond your reach.
Incredibly late Christmas green, or insanely early Christmas green? God only knows. I clearly don't. Anyways, this is from the /mlp/ thread and by Thun's thun I WILL finish this. aaaahhh >You watch listlessly as a pair of unicorn mares mutter among themselves as they put up Christmas decorations in the hall outside your room. >You'd probably still be asleep if it wasn't for all the fuss one of them was making. >You lift up your eggnog and take a sip as you watch the scene unfold from your doorway. >The pale yellow one with a limp plastic mane scoffs as she floats a bundle of tinsel between her and her partner, who quietly pulls some free as she continues to ramble. >"This is absurd! Have you *see* the price of tinsel these days? Utterly outrageous... Why, back in my day all we had to do was trot on over to the dollar store and *wham*! Tinsel for days! Now we have to *order* it? Online? For *those* prices?! Utterly absurd..." >You suppose she's a little grouchy. >The mare next to her seems to be in a much better mood, as she was dressed to the nines in gaudy festive flair and wore a rather content smile on her face as she effortlessly multitasks her way through an entire section of the hall as her friend rants. >As she finishes tacking a wreath above an office door down the way, she lets out a bubbly giggle. >"Lemon honey, I know you're not very happy about not getting picked as one of Santa's reindeer but you don't have to take it out on the tinsel!" >The holly jolly mare affixes a bit of mistletoe above the entrance to the main hall with a little 'aha!'. >"And personally... I find this particular method of acquisition quite time friendly! No hustling or bustling, just a few swooshes and clicks and it's at your door!" >Lemon huffs, her embarrassment clear as day on her face. "I am *not* cut up over not getting picked! I'm sure Mrs. A had a perfectly logical reason behind it, even if I *am* an obvious shoe-in for Dasher..." >Lemon turns to her companion, a hopeful expression on her face. "Right, Piney?" >Piney lets out a drawn out 'hmm...' as she continues to fluff up a wreath with her forehooves. >"I think..." She pauses to stifle a laugh. "I think you're more of a Dancer!" >Lemon looks on in horror as Piney sways her hips a little as she hums the melody of a song you're unfamiliar with. >Lemon's face reddens. "I- I know exactly what you're referencing! Frankly, I'd prefer you don't bring it up in front of others..." >You take another swig of eggnog as you try to act inconspicuous. >It's hard considering the light-up sweater you're currently wearing. >Jambo and her dumb sweaters... where does she even get them? >Piney finally glances in your direction and blinks. "Ah- My apologies Stella! I didn't mean to wake you..." >Dammit. >You clear your throat. "No biggie, I kinda wanted to break out the nog anyway..." >God you wish this stuff was spiked... >But unfortunately, you and alcohol are no longer friends. >It's uh- it's better this way. >Anyway, time for a quick getaway! >You give the two a sheepish grin and wave. "Have a merry Crimbo, fellas! I'm gonna go… uh…” >Quick, think of something Christmasy! “D-deck some halls! So uh… Yeah. S-seeya, gals…" >Smooth one, Conny. >You're a total smoothie.
>>17331 >After shutting your door and awkwardly excusing yourself from the conversation you no doubt would have been pulled into, you begin to trot aimlessly down the hall. >Eggnog still firmly grasped in your magic, you pause to stifle a yawn in front of an entirely different entrance to the main hall, away from any roving busybodies. >You really don't have a game plan today, especially since Bright Dawn decided to postpone the attendance count for the holidays. >Speaking of which... "Maybe I could go pester her for a bit..." >She's probably still at her desk, doing ungodly amounts of paperwork like usual. >You're sure it's even worse around this time of year. Everyone seems to get some kind of second wind around the holidays and starts running around all willy-nilly... >Maybe a visit from her least favorite pal Conny will do her some good. >Or you know, bad. >At this point you'd just be happy to be around somepony familiar, even if you're not exactly needed. >There's way too many new faces popping up these days... >You let out a quiet 'hah'. "That's... not very friendly of you, Conny." >You probably should work on that. >Back on topic... You're sure Bright won't mind you popping up. >And if she does, well, you can always fall back on Jamboree. >She's usually more than happy to have you hang around. >Even if you'd rather *not* participate in another 'pre-Christmas party'... The prospect of free sweets is always enticing. >But before you enact plan B... >It's time for plan A. >You clear your throat, intent on trying to sound like some bri-ish waif. "Let's hop on over to the front desk, eh gov'nah~?" >You wince upon hearing the sultry tone that weasels its way out of your throat. >Yeesh. >Okay, no voices. >Still don't have a hold on that. >You glance behind you, making sure no one was around to witness that. >...Good, you're alone. >You shake your head. "Friggin' dumbass..." >Sometimes you wonder if that's something you can get turned off. >Maybe you could go to a doctor or a uh- a ponytech or whatever... >Though you suppose that means admitting a few things about yourself, huh? "Like that's happening..." >You'll just settle for your usual tone. >Whatever that might be. "I wonder if everyone thinks I'm some kinda sad sack?" >You're certainly no barrel of laughs, but you're fun! >Maybe? >Sometimes... >You mull it over in your head a bit, swirling your mug. >Ultimately, you decide to leave the topic for now. >No use standing around cooped up in your own head, Conny. >You can ruminate later. >You uh- you're burning daylight! >You don't exactly get many opportunities to just goof off like this, so make it count. >You eye your eggnog briefly, noting that it's about half empty. >Probably should nurse it, you've only got so much of the stuff in your mini-fridge. >You roll your head a bit and let out a sigh. >Anyways... >You lift up a hoof and set it on the double doors in front of you, a small smile on your face. >Front desk, ho!
>>17332 >Pushing your way into the main hall, you're immediately greeted by Ol' Saint Nick himself. >You'd be lying if you said you didn't jump a little. >He was pretty run of the mill when it came to Santa depictions. >Big coat, big belly, big sack... >The only unique bit you could see was a few little pony dolls loitering around his feet. >Funny thing is you're pretty sure you've seen a tiny pony or two who look just like them. >Small world, eh? >Well, especially for them. >The jolly cardboard giant and his little posse were sitting in the middle of the hall, mere feet in front of the doors you just came out of. >From all the little knick knacks and decorations around him, you guess they're still working on here as well. >You give the cutout a nod and take a few steps towards him. "Uh- Hey Santa! You don't, like, retroactively give ponies coal, do you?" >You chuckle a little. "God knows I'd deserve it..." >Seeing that you don't get an answer from the stoic piece of cardboard, you decide to take your leave. "Happy holidays, dude. Don't forget about me, alright?" >You swerve around the cutout and pause briefly to mentally prepare yourself for the onslaught of people to come. "The front's gonna be packed, I just know it..." >You can already see a few ponies in the distance, slowly making their way over as they put up decorations, just like the pair by your room. >By this time tomorrow the whole place is gonna be utterly flush with festive flair. "Guess I gotta go past them, huh?" >You take a tentative sip as you squint at the pegasus and unicorn before you. "Do I... know those two?" >You gingerly make your way towards them and as you approach, the little pricks of anxiety in the back of your mind melts away. >Oh you *definitely* know these guys. >Now in your element, you give them a casual wave. "Hey Jive! Waltz!" >The first of the mocha colored mares to turn to you is a pegasus with a lazy eye and a pair of fake antlers on her head. >Her grin is infectious. >"Conny! How nice to see you out and about." "Nice to see you too, Waltz. Preparations going well?" >"Mmhm! We're holding down the fort until Tally and Ms. R come back." >No clue who those dudes are, but you nod along regardless. "Uh-huh, I see..." >You glance around the now tidy bit of hall. "Looks good so far! Might wanna... uh- I got it." >You light up the bow of a flat present on the wall and retie it, making it nice and fluffy instead of kinda saggy. >Waltz blinks. "Oh! Thank you kindly, Conny." "No worries, I know those things are hard with just your hooves." >Waltz's wings ruffle a little. "Or wings! Gosh, I swear I've seen somepony do it with theirs before, but I simply can't figure it out..." >Her slightly shorter unicorn twin attempts to greet you through the wreath that was currently obstructing her mouth. >"Hah Cawni." "Heya Jive." >Jive lowers her head and gently sets the wreath on the floor. >She sputters a little as she lifts her head. >"Bleh, fake nettles..." "Dusty?" >"Very."
>>17333 >Scanning over the coffee scented pair, you chuckle lightly. "Ya know... It's kinda funny seeing you two *not* dishing out sweets. Or you know... making 'em." >Jive shakes a hindleg, trying to unstick a piece of colorful tape that was currently stuck to the bottom of her hoof to no avail. >"Well, I'll have you know that we do a lot of other stuff! I'd say we're doing quite well for ourselves. I'm on a roll!" >She grumbles as she finally gets it off. "Friggin.. everywhere..." >Waltz tilts her head a bit. "I... Don't know if I'd describe our current situation as 'quite well'." She shuffles little in place, looking unsure of herself. "Or 'on a roll'." >Waltz then unfurls a wing and points to the bow you just fluffed. "As you can see, we are rather ill-equipped to deal with such troublesome- uhm..." She clears her throat. "Apologies, words fail me at the moment..." >Jive, while a little indignant at her sister's admittance, chimes in regardless. "Decor?" >A little flushed, Waltz nods slowly. "Y-yes, that..." >Your eyes trail up to Jive's cracked horn, which almost seems to spark at the acknowledgement. "Yeah... Doing it all by hoof would probably be a pain, but..." >You gesture around the section of the hall they were working on. "I think you two have done a pretty bang-up job so far, despite the lack of hands or uh- or magic." >Jive lets out a sigh, her head bowing slightly. >Your ears droop at the sight. "H-hey... Jeez, Jive, I really didn't mean to-" >She shakes her head. "No no, Conny. You're quite right, it has been a bit of a challenge..." >Waltz inches closer to Jive's side. "T-that being said... It's been rather fun! It's uhm... almost like baking in a way!" >Jive lets out a little 'heh' and turns to her. "Yeah, it really is, huh? Baking was abysmal at first, but I think we got a hang of it, right?" >Waltz nods in agreement. "Mmhm! I dare say now we're the bestest baking club in all of BA history!" "You mean the only baking club in all of BA history?" >Jive snickers a little as Waltz reddens. >"I-I uhm..." >Jive bumps Waltz with her flank, an almost smug look on her face. "The horseshoe's on the other hoof, eh? Must feel preeetty embarrassing..." >Looks like she perked up pretty quickly, even if it was kinda at Waltz's expense. >Waltz stammers a little, her wings unconsciously flaring a bit. "Whuh- Well I- I uhm- At least I wasn't the one who said it first..." >"Ha! But *you* said it in front of somepony! *I* didn't!" >You're... not entirely sure what's going on, but it must be another reference to something you don't know about. >That's happening a lot today, huh? >Waltz swiftly recovers with another little ruffle of her wings. "Anyhoo... We've probably been holding you up for an awfully long time now, my apologies..." >You shake your head. "Nah, I'm glad I bumped into you two. No uh- no hard feelings?" >Jive waves a hoof. >"Not at all! Just, you know, snag me a peppermint while you're out there, eh?" >You smile. "Sure thing, Java." Probably could be chunking this in a way that takes advantage of NHNB's bigger character limit, but oh well
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>>17335 The anon who drew Carriage also did a Twill! It's a nice Twill. I wanna hug her so bad bros.
>>17334 Very nice and comfy read. And very cute art! Thanks for posting!
>>17334 Sounds super fun Anon. It's like they're in a comfy little village where it's always Christmas time.
>>17334 >"Don't you think you've had enough sweets for one day, Jive? You already went through the stocking Mr. C gave you..." >"Shhh... She doesn't need to know that!" "Pff, you let your sweet tooth get the better of you, eh? Maybe I should veto the peppermints..." >Jive huffs. "Well... Malt- uh- She..." >Jive continues to murmur to herself, trying to come up with something to blame on her quiet sister. "I think... Malt hasn't done much today to warrant getting cut off on her peppermint supply. You on the other hoof? Hah, I know from experience that your candy-lust is never satisfied... " >You stifle a laugh. "Maybe I should go get her some instead!" >Malt tilts her head. "Oh! Why, that's a nice offer Conny, but I'm fi-" >Jive butts in. "Fiiiaamished! She's famished! You should *totally* get her some of those peppermints and forget about me! I didn't even want any to begin with!" >Malt gives her a confused look. "Maybe we should try making some peppermint bark later if that's the case..." "So... Do you guys add peppermint extract or just crush up a bunch of candy canes?" >Malt taps a hoof to her chin. >"Well, I haven't made a whole lot so I don't have a uhm.. a flow down just yet. Maybe a bit of both?" >She gives you a warm smile. "Experimentation is key in baking! ...Sometimes." >Malt shudders a little. "You never mess with bread." >Jive scrunches slightly. "I'm starting to get a little sick of the word 'peppermint'..." "Tis the season, unfortunately. You'll just have to suffer." >You swirl your cup a bit. "Personally, I ain't one for candy canes, but a little mint here or there is a-okay in my book." >Jive shrugs a bit. "I'm a bit of a sucker for mint myself. You ever had the mint version of cookies n' cream ice cream? Great stuff right there!" >Malt gently brushes her wing against Jive's side. "Jive... I think you're stalling." >Jive pouts. "Don't act so innocent! You're totally stalling too!" >Malt lets out a theatrical sigh. "I suppose I am, aren't I?" "Truly you two are the biggest obstacles to my journey." >Malt clears her throat and scoots aside, giving you a clear view of the door behind her. "It was nice catching up, Conny. I do hope we get more time to visit some other... time." >Her wings twitch. "I hope it's okay to repeat 'time' so easily..." >Jive shoves the wreath beside her towards the wall. "Could of just, you know, used a different word?" >"I... Didn't think of one in time- ah!" "You want me to get you a thesaurus for Christmas?" >Malt's ears perk up. "I... wouldn't be against the notion, but doesn't that spoil the surprise?" "Dunno, maybe that's not the only thing I wind up gifting! It'll just be 'part' of the surprise then." >"Ooo... I see! But uhm- y-you really don't need to..." >Jive snickers. "Humbly mumbly Malty!" "Careful Jive, Santa's always watching…" >You point down the hall to the cardboard Claus. "Might just wind up with a heap of coal if somepony decides to give him a ring..." >Malt gives a playfully somber sigh and turns to her sister. "Oh dear… Please be careful, sis!" >Jive suddenly looks a little anxious. >”Santa…? Ah! No uh- no need to tell him, alright? I’m cool, mare! Cool as a cucumber!"
>>17341 >Jive steps aside and stands at attention. >”Carry on, Conny!” >You roll your eyes. “Oh don’t be so dramatic, I’ve just been messing with you." >Her stance sags slightly. “You… are?” “Those peppermints up front are free for the taking, Java. I could totally grab you some if you want though, I’ll swing by again soon, I’m sure.” >Jive blinks. “You mean those aren’t just for staff?” >You tilt your head. “...No? Also, who said I’m staff?” >Malt pipes up. “Well, you *do* live here… And help Ms. Bright.” “Pff- I just do the attendance for her whenever she’s too busy to do it herself! I’m kind like her… intern? Assistant?” >You shrug a little. “ …Eh, something demeaning.” >You clear your throat. “Having somepony like me running around and making sure all the little things are taken care of frees her up for more uh- more paperwork? Lots and lots of paperwork…” >Java shivers a bit. ”Yeesh, sounds harsh.” “Funny thing is… I think she likes it. Dunno why though, it seems kinda soul crushing.” >Malt taps her chin with a hoof. “I suppose some ponies find such repetitive activities… soothing? Yes, that.” >You walk past the pair and stop once you make it to the door that was previously behind them. >You turn to look at them and give a lazy wave. “Take care, you two! …Still want me to yoink you a couple mints, Java?” >”If you find the time. I’ll uh- I’ll keep the whole ‘free mints’ thing in mind next time around…” >She looks like she’s kinda embarrassed over her ‘clever’ plan being unnecessary. >You hear Malt stifle a giggle as you turn back to the door. >”Hehe… You said time twice too!” >”Bah- Who cares! Words are made up anyway!” >”Hmm… I don’t think the dictionary people would like it if you said something like that!” >”The- Hey! Stop making stuff up just to mess with me!” >”I-I’m not making that up! I overheard a little silvery mare ramble on about it the other day and she sounded like she knew her stuff! I’d hate to make the people who make words mad… I’m already not very good with them myself!” >”Malty, maybe you shouldn’t take everything at face value…” >You stifle a laugh of your own as you leave the coffee colored twins behind. >Sometimes you wish you had what they had. >Having family must be nice, huh? >You certainly wouldn't mind having one again... >Pushing your way into yet another hall, you let out a yawn. “Man, how long did I stand there and talk with those two…” >It didn’t feel *that* long, but your social battery already feels a little sapped… “Probably got enough juice to manage my way though whatever awaits me in the front…” >You swirl your mug and glance inside. >And a bit of eggnog left to boot. >Onward, Conny! Just a couple steps more. >You trot forward at a leisurely pace, taking in the atmosphere of the small corridor. >Compared to the plus shaped hall before, this one was a straight shot to the front, simply having a couple display cases lining your way. >Inside were various bits of memorabilia of the BA of the past. >Group photos, trophies, and an assortment of keepsakes line the cases. >You pause briefly to look at one photo in particular. >It depicted a lively group of ponies sitting around a roundtable filled with snacks and minis, all gussied up in fantasy apparel. >Sitting a little off to the side of yet another pair of sisters was a familiar lavender colored mare, smiling sheepishly at the camera she just realized was there. >She wore a sort of tabard which was clearly too big for her and had a tilted plastic morion atop her head. >You smile at the scene, feeling a little nostalgic.
>>17342 >That was probably what, barely a week into your stay? >You got snatched up almost immediately by the game guild, right in the middle of one of Starry’s campaigns. >Your schedule was pretty open at the time and seeing that you liked the idea of free snacks… You agreed to give their little game a shot, much to the delight of the fledgling little club. >You squint at yourself. >You look kinda uncomfortable in that picture… >Guess at the time you were still pretty anxious when it came to photography, huh? >Can’t say that’s changed much, but you’ve gotten a bit better at controlling your gut reaction. >You chuckle lightly. “God, I looked like such a friggin' dork…” >”Still do.” >You jump a little at a voice behind you and turn to face it. >...And find yourself looking up at the funniest thing you’ve seen all week. >Standing before you was a large whitish stallion with a faded mane that was once a navy blue. At one point it was short and neatly cut, but now it’s gotten long enough that he actually looks a little like the pony he’s based off. >In any other context, he’d be kinda intimidating, but at the moment… >He wore a pair of felt antlers atop his head and somehow had a glowing red nose attached to his snout. >Around his neck was a collar with various sleigh bells attached and he wore a sort of… saddle on his back. >Looks big enough for a kid to ride. “Fiver? Hey buddy…you look… great?” >You cover your uncontrollable grin with a hoof as the placid and almost disapproving expression on the stallion’s face told you that this was *definitely* not his idea. >”Good morning, Cradle. I…” “*snrk*” >His brow furrows. “Cradle, please-” >You burst out in laughter, unable to keep it in any longer. >As you finally get a hold of yourself and wipe a tear from your eye, he sighs, shaking his head. >”Of all ponies to bump into, why did it have to be you?” >You huff. “What, you implying that nopony else would laugh their ass off at all…” >You gesture a hoof at his attire. “This?” >”Not particularly, no. I just knew you’d find this particularly amusing.” >At least he’s honest. >Now not so giggly, you eye him a bit. >”So Fives… I heard something about Santa’s reindeer earlier from a disgruntled mare… I suppose you’re ol’ Rudolph?” >Five-O nods curtly. “For better or for worse.” “Man… Of all the ponies, I’d want to say it’d be Jams! I think she'd totally rock the red nose.” >”Jamboree was *almost* voted in, but I think the counsel realized pretty quickly that she’s a little too small for the role…” “Ah yes… ‘the counsel’.” >You waltz up to his side and give him a gentle prod in the barrel, making him back away slightly with a snort. “Dude, I don’t think your girlfriend counts as an entire ‘counsel’... I’m pretty sure you need like, at least two other people for one of those!” >Fiver frowns. “Ms. Bright is not my marefriend.” “You’ve been on dates. Several dates.” >His frown deepens. “Lunch or dinner outings between friends of the opposite sex are not unheard of, Cradle. We simply find each other's company favorable.” >It’s usually pretty hard to tell what’s going on behind that icy blue gaze of his, but you do see the faintest hint of a blush on his sorry mug… >You back off a bit with a knowing smile. “Right, right…” >”Had your fill yet?” >Seeing that you can’t think of any more buttons to press… >You shrug and then lazily saunter past the red nosed reincolt. “Eh… Guess so.” >You look back at him with a smirk and waggle a hoof in a loose attempt at a wave. “Ciao, Fives. Take care you big lug.” >His stoic demeanor cracks slightly as he lets out a small chuckle, shaking his head. >He gives you an acknowledging nod, an ever so slight smile on his face. >”See you later, Cradle. Try to not get in too much trouble.” “Wouldn’t dream of it, officer!”
>>17343 >You push open the door to the front at last, leaving a ridiculously dressed Fives behind in your wake. >As much as you egged him on, you're kinda... proud of him? >Of all the ponies that could have possibly been chosen for such a role, Fiver wouldn't have even crossed your mind. >You guess he's loosened up way more than you first thought... >Hell, he even smiled for a second there! >Part of you wants to blame Bright for nudging him to be less of a stick in the mud, but you think it might just be him... Growing as a pony? >To think that's the same dude who attempted to shut down a sprinkler party last summer because it was 'too rowdy'. "Heh. Good on ya, Fives." >As you say that out loud, your ears pin back a bit. >You glance down the small corridor that you were currently standing in. >Just a few feet away are a gaggle of busy people and ponies. >It uh- it just dawned on you that you're technically in public now. >Probably shouldn't be talking to yourself... >You take a deep breath, attempting to stifle the slight burning sensation in your cheeks. >Focus, there's no need to freak! >...You can still feel your ears firmly against your mane. >You guess you can't help but feel a little nervous... It's a lot of people. >That being said, you can't just let yourself get cold hooves right at the finish line! >Press on, Conny. "I got this..." >You murmur that as you slink out of the safety of the doorway and into the fray that was the front of the building. >You observe several ponies gathering around some tall smart girl with a clipboard. >Her words are muffled from here, but it sounds like she's giving them all areas to decorate. >Beside her was a cream colored mare with a frazzled black mane that was done up in a bun. She wore a pair of dorky looking glasses and held a similar clipboard to the women's in a crux of a foreleg. >You know immediately that she's Tally Chart, Bright's *actual* assistant. >Deducing what Waltz told you, that skinny gal next to her must be Ms. R. >You know, people like to talk about how dogs have a tendency to match their owners, but you think the same could be said about ponies too. >Ms. R had the same kinda aura that Tally had. >That sort of... hyper nerd feel. >Now within earshot of their conversation, you tune in for a moment. >"...Mandolin?" >A small unicorn colt waggles his hoof in the air. >"Here!" >"Would you be a dear and help Barley with his tinsel? He's over by the kitchen and I think he could use a hoof." >"Aye aye Ms. Tally!" The orange colt gives a salute and then bounds out of sight, much to the amusement of the other ponies gathered. >Sounds like just about everyone is pulling their weight, kiddos included. >You turn to eye the front desk and lo and behold... >There sat an off-white, almost yellowish mare, her two-toned eyes glistering faintly behind a pair of cheap reading glasses. >Her mane was an unkempt pastel sunset that was recognizable anywhere. >It was the princess of paperwork, Bright Dawn. Another chunk. Squeezed a bit more into the reply box than last time. Just realized that there might be some funkiness to rewrite, but it's nothing too major. Probably. >>17340 Always wanted the BA center to feel like it's own little ecosystem. Somewhere safe for ponies to relax and recoup. Conny kinda belongs to the latter camp.
>>17336 He's a based drawfag, you can see some more of him on /tempo/s dead corpse but I wait for the day he moves on beyond sketches but they have their appeal too
Fixed up some stuff in this Nursery Rhyme pic that was bugging me. Wound up screwing around after the fact and now there's a couple doodles too.
>>17348 She is super cute!
>>17349 I really should draw her more. I'm a sucker for lazy-eyed mares and she's a real sweetheart. Pic kinda related. One of the few with both her eyes uncovered that I like. Still gotta work on making it look 'right' without going the full on Derpy route.
>>17344 >Bright was currently pouring over some kind of document on her desk, a plain fountain pen gripped in her odd magic’s grasp. >Unlike yours or a majority of the unicorns you’ve encountered, hers didn’t really make… sense? >Well, it functioned about the same as yours, but it’s like… Uh… >Okay, so it’s like one of those sour gummy candy strips was wrapping itself around her pen! >It’s… hard to describe in any other way. >Sure, Bright explained things to you when you asked that one time, but you’re not entirely sure what ‘hard light’ is still and honestly? You’re pretty sure she was just messing with you. >So… yeah, you still have no idea what’s up with her magic. >Personally, you think having magic candy tendrils move stuff around for you would be pretty sweet. >...Heh. >You give the gathering of busy ponies one last glance before approaching Miss Bright. >Looks like everypony scattered and now Miss R is helping Tally adjust her tacky christmas tree tie. >You know… it’s not so bad out here. >Ah. >You pause briefly to tap the wood floor with a backhoof a few times. >Let’s not jinx it, Conny… >You clear your throat and lock onto Bright. >It’s about time we go harass a princess, eh? >You trot on over to the front desk, which was nestled between a big ol’ pine and yet another towering Santa cutout. >This one in particular was cradling a frail brownish filly in his arms and looked weirdly… buff? >It was a cute picture, but you really can't get past how muscly Ol' Saint Nick was. >Beefcake Santa wasn’t on your BA holiday bingo card, but at this point it might as well be. >Walking up to Bright, a small smile crosses your face as you give a mock formal salute. “Mornin’ chief.” >Bright’s gaze lifts from her papers and once she notices it’s you, she sets aside her pen and straightens her posture. >She adjusts her glasses with a wingtip, smiling warmly. “Good morning, Constellation.” >Dawn’s wings ruffle slightly as she clears her throat. >”I wouldn’t have expected to see you up so early, you always seemed like quite the heavy sleeper…” >You stretch a little and stifle a yawn. “Well, when you’ve got ponies bouncing up and down the corridors at the crack of dawn rambling about reindeer and questionable dances, it’s a tad hard to keep yourself snuggled up. Feels more productive to go for a walk anyhow.” >Bright rubs her chin and nods slowly. “Well… I do apologize for the inconvenience.” >You shake your head. “Nah, no need Bright. Honestly? I think I need this.” >You take another sip of now room temperature eggnog and then turn slightly to look at the pine that was mere inches from the ceiling. “Gotta get out more, even if ‘getting out’ is just me prancing around the building on a self imposed quest to talk to you.” >You turn back to Bright, whose head is now cocked to the side. >It was less ‘confused puppy’ and more ‘owl staring at you sideways’.
>>17353 >”You were looking to talk to me? What for?” >You glance down into your mug and pout, having just noticed that your last sip drained it completely. >That’s a bummer. >You levitate your mug to the desk and let it settle beside Bright’s own mug, finally giving you a respite from constantly using your magic. >Now mugless, you give Bright a shrug. “Nothing in particular, I guess I just wanted to see how you’re doing.” >”Huh.” >Bright looks… puzzled. >Guess she wasn’t expecting that? >”Well I… I suppose I’m doing fine, just a bit busy that’s all. Hah, I don’t even think I’ve had breakfast yet…” “You and me both, sister.” >You lean onto the desk and give her a poke on her turtleneck clad chest. “When *aren’t* you busy? Don’t you ever get breaks and stuff? You’re like… our boss, mare. Go eat a bagel or something!” >Bright narrows her eyes. “I… I guess a bagel doesn’t sound half bad right about now… Maybe with some cream cheese and banana slices… hah…” “Yeah, I know what you mean, I wouldn’t mind having one of those everything bagels with a couple slices of- Huh?” >You watch as Bright gets out of her swivel chair with a soft sigh of relief. >”Thank you kindly Constellation, I think I have an idea!” >Whuh- >Ooooh god did you actually just convince the one thing keeping this whole operation together to abandon her post? Without warning? >You nearly trip as you slide in front of Bright’s path before she can leave her desk area. “Woah woah woah- wait, you’re leaving? Just like that?” >She blinks a little. “I… Yes?” >You fidget nervously as your mind races into ‘don’t ruin christmas’ mode. “Isn’t that a bit uh… impulsive? I mean- I’m not saying you can’t do whatever you want, I just don’t want something dumb happen while you’re away, you know? That, and I uh- I don’t wanna be the reason you’re away in the first place, h-haha…” >You let out a quiet, nervous chuckle and trail your eyes down to her forehooves. >”Hmph…” >While she wasn’t all that taller than you, you still had to lift your head slightly to look her in the eye as she mulls over your words. >Your ears flick as you watch her stifle a bubbly laugh behind a hoof. >”Oh Constellation, there’s no need to worry! I’ll take full responsibility for my absence and really, it’s only a little breakfast run! I’ll be back in say- about a half hour? Tops? I might swing by Jamboree’s room and see how her costumes are doing before I head back, though…” >You feel yourself standing a little taller. “Cool, cool… Do you want me to tell Tally? She’s just over yonder.” >”It’s alright, I have no quarrel letting her… Hm?” >As Bright cranes her neck to look behind you, you turn as well. >Huh… >It looks like Tally and her gal are nowhere to be found… “Darnit.” >You turn back to Bright, who once more locks eyes with you. >”Constellation… May I ask a favor of you?” >Oh boy.
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https://w2g.tv/en/room/mobile/?access_key=4u2gx5231krmf4bducprg2 /w2g/ time. Don't know why it has "mobile".
>>17362 wrong link
>>17344 >>17354 Those mares are just super cheerful. Curious to see what happens. >>17348 >>17350 Looks very cute Anon. >>17362 >Missed another one Hopefully next time.
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>>17364 I'm back in it. I'll keep it populated for today since I don't have much else to do. Next Friday my house should be done. It'll be nine months of having been out of it, longer than I've ever been in it. Also goes to show just how long it's been since I've done any sort of regular writing.
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>>17365 Blondie, you've shared a wrong link. Pls, share this one, instead of the one in the address field.
>>17366 https://w2g.tv/?r=e4trm0b1tqn0nep2g6 Damn, you can tell I'm really out of it if I flubbed even that.
>>17354 ~ ~ ~ >Who woulda thunk. >You, sitting at the big mare’s desk! >Well, she’s not exactly ‘big’ is she? >Taller? Sure. But big? Eh… She's kinda skinny. >You’re not entirely sure who she’s modeled after, but it’s obviously neither Sunrump or Moonbutt. >You wriggle around in Bright’s swivel chair, not entirely sure how to occupy yourself while she’s gone. >’Alright Constellation, all you have to do is make sure that any new ponies that come in are properly greeted and handed an introductory slip! I’ll deal with anything else when I come back, so just tell them that, okay?’ >The likelihood of somepony brand spanking new hobbling in from the cold feels to be around zilch, so really, you’re just a budget seat warmer. “At least she offered to grab me more nog…” >And gave you permission to rummage around in her hard candy stores under the desk, which you totally didn’t know about already. >You listlessly pop a tiny cola flavored candy barrel into your mouth as you glance around the festive front. >Still no sign of Tally, but you do notice Slate and Lime Salt poking their heads out of a side door leading into the commons. >The pair of gray mares were surveying the area for some unknown reason. >Seeing that neither were in their game attire, you guess they weren’t on another quest. >By complete accident, you make eye contact with Slate, who seems excited to see you instead of Bright. >She says something to Lime, who nods along and then says something back. >They retreat into the hall for a moment, and then open the door fully and start beelining for you. >As Slate and Lime make it to the front desk, you clear your throat and attempt to put on a more professional air. >...No accents, okay? “Good morning, fellas… Didja lose a bag of holding somewhere?” >That… wasn’t particularly professional, but it did get Slate to smile. >”H-hi Conny! I’m quite certain I’ve got all my bags where I last left them!” >Lime Salt gives an acknowledging nod. “Conny… Have you seen Miss Bright by chance? We’ve got an idea we wanna run past her.” >Slate nods quickly in succession. “Yes! We’re gonna see if she’ll let us c-convert this little sideroom into a game room!” >She stifles a somewhat nervous laugh. “I’m- I’m thinking of gathering up all of Starry’s old 4E stuff and making it into a true dungeon master’s hovel! It’ll be d-dark and brooding and super duper cool!” >Before you can open your mouth, Slate lifts up a paper which was apparently nestled under one of her teeny wings. >It depicts a rough sketch of the hovel with a bunch of happy stickponies in funny hats gathered around a central table with various bric a brac scattered around. >...One of them looks kinda like you. >Ah, there’s those guilty pangs in your chest again... >”Pretty c-cool right?” >You look up at Slate’s awkward smile and can’t help but flash your own. “Yeah… it’s pretty damn awesome.”
>>17372 >You clear your throat and gesture to nopony in particular. “Bright is uh- she’s on break right now. If you’re looking to tell her about it, you might wanna come back a little later.” >Slate tucks her paper under her wing again with a soft sigh. >”I uhm… I’m kind of relieved it was you here instead of her! I was pretty nervous...” >Lime gives her a little bump with her flank. “I said I’d do it for you, remember?” >Slate turns to her and shakes her head. “No, I wanted to do it! I just sorta… worried myself into a corner, you know? Thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong…” “I getcha, Slate. I don’t think Bright would go and dismiss it though, there really isn’t a use for a lot of those extra rooms, so I think things would have panned out.” >Lime rubs her chin with a hoof a bit. “Conny’s right, sis. Besides that meeting room down the hall it’s pretty barren in that wing. I’d say we’re a shoe in!” >Slate’s warbly smile widens slightly. “R-really? I hope so too…” >She then turns back to you. “Thanks Conny! I’m sure everything will turn out great!” “I… You’re welcome, Slate. Don’t uh- don’t celebrate too early though, you still gotta practice your little presentation. It’s kinda… lacking at the moment.” >”My- Oh!” >Slate nods quickly again. “Yes yes, I know! I’m gonna make sure I jot down lotsa talking points to go over with Miss Bright while we wait!” >Lime Salt gives Slate a poke in the wing. “I guess this means it’s time to take our leave?” >Slate glances over at her. “Hm? Well, I suppose so.” >Lime turns around and starts to make her way back to the door they came from. >From the way she moves, It looks like her leg is still giving her a bit of trouble… >Turning your attention back to Slate, you realize she’s kind of… staring at you. >Lime seems to notice her absence part way through her journey, as she looks back with a tilt of her head. “Something the matter, sis?” >Slate’s eyes dart to the ground and she takes a deep breath. >...She then swiftly props herself up on Bright’s desk, making you unconsciously push yourself further into the swivel chair. >Is she… trying to seem taller than you? You really can’t tell… >She’s got a sort of determined glint in her eye either way. >”C-Conny?” “Uh… yeah?” >Slate covers her mouth with a hoof as she ‘ahem’s’ a little. >”I formally invite you b-back to the game guild! If- If you uhm… want to come back, that is…” >...Oh. >She shrinks down a little, her head almost resting atop the desk. “I just… seeing that you’re here… I wanted to see if you uh- uhm…” >Slate trails off, averting her eyes. “Slate, I’d love to but-” >She lifts her head, her lower lip quivering. “Is it because of what Starry said? You looked really sad a-and-” >You slide off the chair while she’s mid-sentence and grab hold of her face with your hooves.
>>17373 >It’s a little awkward to do so while leaning over a desk, but it gets the right reaction. >Her eyes are like dinner plates as she’s forced to lock eyes with you. “Slate, It’s not Starry’s, yours, or anypony’s fault. I love you guys! I just…” >Your ears droop slightly and you let out a sigh. “It was fun. I had tons of fun. I just can’t… disassociate the game with something, okay? I tried for a while, but I just couldn’t keep it up.” >You let go of her face and fall back to the ground. “Look… I promise that when the time’s right, I’ll be more than happy to come back, okay? I’ll even make a character *specifically* to mess with Starry like old times!” >Slate sniffles. “You… mean it?” >You manage a smile. “Course I do! I’m not gonna abandon my guild, I’m just on… sick leave?“ >”Sick leave…” She repeats with a mumble as she falls back to her hooves. >You notice Lime tentatively trot over, stopping just off to the side of Slate. >She doesn’t look particularly surprised by what just happened. >”Hey Slate? How about we try asking Bright another day, it’ll give us way more time to-” >Slate shakes her head. “N-no… I’m okay.” >Lime lifts a hoof in a concerned manner. >”Are you… sure?” >Slate turns to her and with a little nod. “Mmhm.” >She then turns back to you and flashes an embarrassed smile. “I’m sorry for uhm… g-getting all up in your face, Conny…” “Don’t worry about it, Slate. It’s… not really the time of year to let some heavy nonsense get you down, especially not mine.” >Lime takes a step forward. “Speaking of ‘heavy nonsense’… You never went into detail about *why* you left.” >Have your ears been pinned back this whole time? >You force a small smile. “Like I said, heavy nonsense.” >Slate brushes a wing against Lime, making her look over. “It’s private, I’m sure.” >You nod in agreement, making Lime bow her head slightly. >”…Sorry.” “If it’s any consolation, It’s nice to know you guys are worried about me! But uh- but really. I’m alright.” >For the most part, anyway. >You take a deep breath. “Anyways… You two should probably stop being worrywarts and get on that presentation! Who knows when Bright’ll be back… Don’tcha wanna impress her?” >Slate blinks. >”Ah! You’re right! Limey, we need to start our note taking posthaste!” >Lime seems reluctant to break eye contact with you, but Slate’s rekindled excitement gets her to at least crack a smile. >”Well, it was nice seeing you Conny. Try to relax, okay?” “I dunno mare, I feel preettty relaxed right about now…” >She rolls her eyes. “I’m sure being stuck on desk duty is super relaxing…” >Lime Salt walks away again as Slate gives you an awfully formal bow. >”…We can still talk about games sometimes, right?” “I’d love to hear what you guys get up to, so… yeah.” >Slate straightens herself up and does a sort of funny salute that you know all too well. >“Take care and uhm… Bye Briar!” >You stifle a laugh and return the salute in earnest. “Seeya Fleece.”
>>17374 >With that, Slate bounds after Lime, who was waiting patiently nearby. >They talk briefly, Slate seeming more or less her old, shaky self. >A lackadaisical smile is plastered on your face as you watch them go through the doors. >And once you’re sure they’re long gone, you let it drop and breathe a sigh of relief. >You were really cutting it close back there! Luckily Slate seemed to get the hint… >You find yourself sitting in relative silence for a while, or at least it feels like a while, before you finally raise your voice to mumble to nopony in particular. “...I really do miss you guys.” >But it’s been… difficult. >Your mind’s been pretty muddled lately. It’s been hard to focus on just about anything. >You really didn’t mean for your departure from the guild to be seen as a ‘resignation’ or whatever, but seeing how emotional Slate got… You guess that’s how it felt. >You’ve never been good at goodbyes, even the temporary kind. >No wonder you messed everything up. >It’s just in your nature, huh? >You’re just some stupid… >You inhale sharply. >...And exhale the tension building up in the pit of your stomach. >You’re getting nauseous. >You’re unsure if it’s the lack of real food, or your anxieties trying to get the better of you. >Probably a not-so-healthy combination of both. >Your eyes focus on your forehooves, which lay limply on Bright’s desk. >They’re trembling slightly. >You lower your head and murmur. “...Stop that. We’re not starting this. Not now.” >You take a deep breath, stifling back the rising emotions in the corners of your eyes. “Relax, it’s… it’s Christmas. You can’t.” >Almost Christmas, anyways… >You stay still with your eyes shut tight, your ears swiveling in the direction of some cheesy christmas song crooning from a nearby radio. >Apparently it’s cold outside. >But she can’t stay. >You distract yourself with the song and soon enough, you’ve calmed your nerves to the point that you can lift your head and let out a sigh without feeling like you’re going to throw up. >The guilty pangs in your chest haven’t gone away, but they’ve been prodding you long enough that the sensation has dulled down to something vaguely bearable. >You’ll pull through. You’ll make things right. >Like you said, you’ll get right back into the thick of it and play with them soon enough, you’re sure of it. >You just need time to get through the holidays. >Your shoulders sag a little. >The holidays… >You’ve tried to take them head on, but a weary part of you still wants to curl up and wallow in your bed until they pass. >Just like you did when you were on your own. >...But you know that it's not feasible anymore, not here. >Hah, especially with Jambo on scrooge watch… >You crack a smile. >You jest, but it feels that way sometimes. She’s always around the corner, waiting to cheer somepony up. >Luckily, you haven’t made it on her radar yet, but you’re sure that’ll change if you keep moping about. >You’d rather not share a similar fate to Ol’ Fiver’s. >You don’t look good in a collar, with or without the sleigh bells. >...Huh, you guess that’s your cue to straighten up and put on a brave face, huh? >You sit up in Bright’s chair and glance around the front area. >By some divine providence, it seems that nopony witnessed Slate’s little outburst. >Or yours. >Besides Santa, of course. >You turn to the cutout and give him a raspberry. “You better say nothing to nopony, Nicholas! I’ll never forgive you if you do.” >...And maybe get Slate some sweet dice for Christmas, bub! >And if he doesn’t, you certainly will. >...Wait, do you have money? >You think you might have a couple bucks in your desk drawer? >How much are dice, usually…? >Probably not a lot, but uh… >Maybe… you’ll just give her some of your old dice? You’re sure she’d enjoy the glittery purple ones that you have lying around… somewhere. >Your room is kind of a mess. >Smarty *obviously* isn’t doing his chores… >Lazy ass. >You chuckle quietly to yourself. >It’s a tad early to say, but… >You feel a little better al
>>17376 >You feel a little better already. >Let's hope it stays that way, hm? Weird that it cut off at the very end despite having a chuck of characters left over but it is what it is. Anyways, that's what I got so far. Here's the paste: https://ponepaste.org/9782 Definitely need to go through and fix some stuff, but it's nothing egregious. Probably. From my 'outline', there's not much left after this. bit more with Bright, then onto the final bit, basically. Slow as hell at writing this (considering this is christmas themed and it's MARCH), but it's been a fun tangent. >>17364 It's a shame the local sad sack is the protag, eh? Jokes aside, I've always felt like the BA gals would be, for the most part anyways, pretty cheery. Sure you'll have ponies like Conny who'll show up with some baggage, big and small. But that's what the meetings are for. It's a support group first and foremost after all. Shame that Conny avoids them like a plague... Kind of the reason it's so bad in Confidants. Something something bottled it all up >>17365 Glad to hear things are looking up to some degree. Wish I realized there was a w2g. Those are always fun.
>>17377 Some very silly mares. Hopefully Conny gets things figured out. Thanks for sharing Anon.
What are the boots doing this Friday night?
>>17384 Hopefully this Friday we will see Midnight and Starla having some good sisterly interaction. And planning.
>>17407 I'm looking forward to it.
>As you open up your laptop, you're already starting to regret this. >But what exactly are you regretting? >Doing this now, or delaying it for so long? >You don't have an answer for that. >But what's done is done. >As the system boots up, you already see a chat notification popping up, as if waiting to see signs of life from you. >To be fair, you have emailed back - just no video chats in a couple of weeks. >With a sigh of resignation, you click the video chat program on the desktop and open it up. >A moment later, you're set up with Starla on the other side. >"Midnight!" she cries, excited to see you. "It's been too long, where have you been?!" "I've been around. Busy working on stuff. Sorry, Star." >"How have you been doing? Last I saw you—" "I know. It wasn't a very graceful look," you interrupt. >It's still uncomfortable to think about... >Well, cracking. >Having a panic attack. >You're better than that. >That should all be in the past now. >"I'm not worried about looks, sis," Starla continues, shaking her head. "I felt bad for you. I wanted to know what happened. I've still been a bit worried because we haven't really..." >You knew the discussion was going to turn to this pretty early. >It doesn't make it any easier. >Yet, it's less about you now. >Starla actually sounds beaten up about the lack of communication. >You've been avoiding her because you don't want to talk about it. >You want it to just go away like it didn't happen. >Maybe it isn't as big of a deal as you're making it out to be... >But it's the thought of being open about your failures. >Maybe it's not really a failure, but it's... >Vulnerability. >Something that remains bothersome to reveal. >Old habits die hard. "I know. I've been fine. Better, I mean. I just didn't want to talk about it. And I knew you would want to know what happened." >Starla's ears droop almost as quickly as her expression. >There is no way to make it sound nice, but it still feels shitty to say it and see the response. "I have a hard time... opening up. That's why. It isn't you, sis." >"I get it, I suppose I expected that might be why I hadn't heard from you," she replies, flashing her best attempt at a grin. "I'm sorry about that. Really. With every day I've been... I've felt worse about it. Did Anon tell you anything about what happened?" >"He said you had some flashbacks - something like that. He kept it vague, which I understand." "The doctor's office brought back a lot of memories. There are a lot of sights, smells, and sounds that were very similar to before. Going through everything. And I just tried to tough it out rather than admit I needed a break." >"Midnight... oh, I wish I could hug you through the computer," Starla whines. "You know none of us would have thought anything different of you if you had spoken up, right?" >You believe her - and you know she's right. >And you've already had this discussion with Anon - and agreed to lean on him. >But...
>>17414 "It's hard to open up about that, Star," you protest. "It's not even that I don't trust you or Teddy or Anon it's just - how do I admit I can't handle it? I went through it once, the memories shouldn't be an issue... right?" >Starla looks troubled by your spiel for a time. >There's a pall that hangs in the air, forcing a silence between the two of you. "I've already told Anon I'm going to be more open with him. And I will. But it feels like I'm doing something wrong. Like I'm going backward." >"Or toughing it out to get through the surgeries and experiments... maybe that wasn't really dealing with it? And now you are dealing with it? I don't think you're going backward, though." "Maybe not. But suddenly having horrible flashbacks flooding in without warning sucks." >"I get that. You know I'm always open to listening as well - and it sounds like you're open to talking about it now. I think that's a step forward." "I think it's the only thing I can do. I don't see any other options so..." >"Well, I'm glad you finally reached out to me and told me what happened. Like I said, I've been worrying about you ever since that night," Starla reiterates. "But on another note..." >You note how Starla perks up with a tinge of excitement like someone just flicked a switch in her head. "I'm guessing you have news that's much more enjoyable, huh?" you quip, unable to help cracking a bit of a grin at her sudden shift in attitude. >"Mhm. Teddy and I are planning on taking the Cutlass out to a little car show at the end of the week. More significantly, my first foray out in the public in quite some time." "Wow, no wonder you're excited, Star. Done anything to prepare for that?" >"It's... I don't know if I can really prepare for it. I'm trying to not get too excited, first of all. After all, the one thing that concerns Teddy is my openness. I have to... I basically have to think of what I'm saying before I say it." "So what I had to do for a while to be relatively pleasant to talk to." >"Oh stop. You were never that bad," she scoffs. "Well, there was the time I nonchalantly called you stupid. I'd say that was pretty bad," you remind her. >"Okay, you had some rough instances. And I completely forgot about that until now when you brought it up." "There's also the swearing like a sailor bit. That took some time to tone down." >"From what I heard during the sleepover, that flares up whenever you have a job going bad," Starla giggles. "Maybe a little." >"Anyway, That's what I have to work on. The hardest thing is if someone brings up my mismatched legs. Really worried I'm just going to blurt out the truth." "That shouldn't be too bad I wouldn't think. Just tell em you're originals broke and you had to settle for replacements from another model. That's not really even hiding the truth, you know?" >Starla nods, though her exuberance fades away just a bit.
>>17415 >"That was Teddy's suggestion as well. It's just hard for me to be anything but open. When I met you and Anon - well, I laid everything bare. And that's just how I am. I don't feel like hiding things is... it doesn't feel natural." "To be fair, we aren't natural. Nothing about us is - and I don't mean that negatively. It's just the facts." >"Sort of depends on how you look at it. We're more natural than robots," Starla challenges with an accompanying giggle. "Point taken. But is there any way I can help? I can't think of anything, but-" >"That was why I wanted to talk to you. I don't know what you and Anon have going on, but would you like to tag along? I think it would help if I had someone sort of... I don't want to say the exact opposite of me, but you're much more reserved. Kind of be the angel on my shoulder. Does that make sense?" "Heh. I don't think I can pull off a good angel look." >"True..." "You weren't supposed to agree with that!" you joke. >It garners a laugh from Starla. >"But anyway, it was just a thought I had. I'll already be with Teddy obviously, so it's not like I'm going it alone." "Hey, I'm always game for a car show. I don't think it will be too hard to twist Anon's arm to be there. I can always just threaten to jack the Trailduster or fly there." >"I think we could probably pick you up if Anon was alright with that too. Teddy feels like he owes him one anyway for the sleepover." "Also a very good idea. One way or another, I should be able to make it. I know *I* owe you for helping me out." >"Aww, that's just what sisters do," Starla gushes. "Regardless, I gotta repay the favor," you say, sticking out your tongue in defiance. >"I'm glad things are working out. And it sounds like I have been worrying a bit too much - but I wouldn't have had to worry if you had spoken to me earlier," she reminds you playfully. "Yeah, I guess I feel better letting you know what's going on after all. It's just hard to admit I couldn't deal with something." >"Teddy nor I think anything different of you, and I know Anon doesn't. We all have our quirks, Middie." "I'll try to keep that in mind, Star." >"We all just want the best for each other in this little group. Just like you want to help me, I want to help you. But we have to talk in order to get anywhere." "Yeah, yeah - now you're getting weird and preachy. Stop it," you joke. >Starla chuckles, pointing a hoof at you. >"If my little sis wasn't so stubborn, I wouldn't have to preach!" "I like to think my stubbornness is an endearing trait, thank you very much," you scoff, turning your nose up for a brief moment. "But anyway, yeah, I'll see what Anon thinks of the little outing. You said at the end of the week?" >"Mhm. Friday evening, next town over in the main square." "Cool. I think one way or another I'll be there. Let you know when I know." >"Sounds good! Glad to finally hear from you again Midnight, take care of yourself." "You too, sis. And thanks."
>>17416 >With a nod and a click, Starla's end of the connection blanks out. >And with that comes a sense of relief. >A weight off of the shoulders. >You didn't think it was bothering you that much but filling in Starla on what happened felt... >It was sort of liberating. > There are still no answers as to why you're dealing with some of this past pain all of a sudden, but having someone else concerned and offering an ear makes it feel not as awful or embarrassing. >Certainly not near what you dreaded. >Maybe... >Maybe you're starting to get a better understanding now. >Everyone is here for each other. >Leaning on each other. >No one is perfect. >No one pretends to be perfect. >It makes more sense. >Now that you have a goal to help Starla... >It's time to share what you can to aid Starla in healing her vulnerabilities. -----
>>17417 An update with Middie. Nice to see her reconnecting with Starla. That car show sounds interesting as well. Wonder what will happen there. Maybe one of these days when Middie and Anon get the Chrysler ready they'll be the one showing off. Thanks for the update Auto.
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Things are progressing. The boots are amassing.
Have you got Frosty?
>>17440 I can't believe Todd made tiny skyrim to accommodate tiny bootmare gaming habits. He truly is a visionary.
>>17458 Noice
Friday night WTG with rare host: https://w2g.tv/?r=x25sodip902tky6g8n I can't find the thread on 4chan did it drop off?
>>17462 The /mlp/ thread's been dead a little over a month now. It's a real shame, but I suppose a rest was going to be needed sooner or later. Can't keep up steam forever, right? >>17458 Aw man, she might not have made it in the top 4, but she's number one in my heart.
How are the boots doing?
My dumb ass keeps forgetting I have an update for Midnight that just needs a run though before posting – and I'm close to finishing the one that comes *after* it. Derp. I'll try to get that first one up this weekend. Also, I believe Midnight will be finished this year. That isn't to say I won't write more little things with her – but I feel like the story is getting to a point where she's really come around and there's only a few more boxes to tick. I've slowed down on writing just because the ideas have not come to me as easily, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I've really covered what I had in mind when I set forth on her story two and a half years ago. And I'm not a fan of 'jump the shark' sort of ideas. In the past month or two I've gathered the pieces I still want to apply and have a good idea of how I'm going to do that, and with the Chrysler in the story on the upswing, along with Midnight her self in the last update – it's all feeling like a resolution is coming together even though that wasn't the particular plan behind it Also on that note, Midnight is on FiMFiction, and has been since around Christmas – I can't remember if I said anything about that in the bunker. She's gotten a lot of love – to the point that as of today, her story is in the top 1% of all stories on the site by rating. Out of 152k stories and counting – that's huge to me. I still got a bit to go before catching up over there with the green, as they just got the *ahem* Chrysler purchase celebration and relationship consummated scene.
>>17478 Curious to see how Middie ends up. Will definitely be missing her. Looking forward to the next update. And congratulations on the fimfic thing.
>>17480 To be fair, we have a bit of a ways to go yet. I'm not 100% on timing – I just know part 6, which is where we're at, is the last one. Unless something changes, of course. Im gonna hazard a guess there's a dozen updates to go, at least.
>>17417 >"That looks like dogshit." "Well thank you. I worked very hard on making it look like dogshit." >"Don't they make proper stuff for this kind of job?" "Mhmm." >You've been waiting for Midnight to speak up about the current paint masking job just about complete on the engine. >Most everything is put together now - it's time for a nice coat of bright silver paint. >With virtually everything sealed up internally, there isn't too much to actually mask off - mostly just openings for the carburetors on the intake, exhaust - shit like that. >So the weapons of choice for masking? >Newspapers and trash bags with masking tape. >It's funny how Midnight is sharp as a whip, but can't see how the look of the masking material doesn't matter. >But you finish up the last bit of tapework before popping her bubble. "So you know what happens with the proper masking materials when I'm done painting?" you ask as you turn to her. >"I don't know. Probably throw em away.... wait-" "And the last horse crosses the finish line." >"Oh shut up. You can at least admit it looks like you raided the trash can to accomplish this work." "I did. For the newspaper at least." >Midnight's nose wrinkles as she stews in her own embarrassment. >Perfect. >It means you can start figuring out how to mix up the paint and put it in the spray gun. >You went out and bought the spray gun and other painting supplies specifically for this job - other than rattlecans, you've never done something like this. >But after watching some videos online and seeing how cheap a gravity-fed gun could be bought... >Hell, why not? >Should last a lot longer than a rattlecan, that's for sure. >Just gotta do it right... >"What happens if you don't end up mixing this correctly, anyway?" >Gee, thanks... "Heat death of the universe, I think." >"...what?" "I dunno, first thing that came to mind." >Midnight shakes her head as you set to work shaking up the quart of paint. >"Starla told me she and Teddy are taking the Cutlass out to a little car show at the end of the week. Guess he's got the car pretty much buttoned up now." "Oh? That's pretty cool." >You already knew that - Teddy texted you yesterday about his plans. >It's less about taking the car to a show, and more about loosening up. >More specifically, not keeping Starla so sheltered and under wraps from the world. >You understand his caution, and from Starla's own admission, she can be a bit too eager to talk with strangers - possibly letting out a bit too much information. >But Teddy also admits he's gone too far - what you and Midnight do together, Starla and he should try to mirror and get out at least a little bit. >Again, you figured Midnight would hear it from Starla and bring it up with you... >But you gotta see this face when Midnight asks to join in. >"Yeah, she's going to finally get some experience being out in social situations. First time in a long while." "How do you think she's going to do? She nervous?"
>>17482 >"No, she's looking forward to it. Unlike me, she likes the idea of talking to lots of people," Midnight explains with a short chuckle. "Well, that's good." >The little discussion stalls out as you wait for Midnight to start prodding forward with a proposal. >Oh crap. >While getting all the paint, chemicals, and solvents around to start spraying, you realize the reducer to thin the paint is incorrect for the application. >Midnight picks up on your sudden hesitance. >"What's wrong?" "I'm done for the night, I guess. I don't have the right chemicals. Either I messed up and bought the wrong thing, or they shipped the wrong thing - but I can't paint without it." >"Dammit. So what now?" >Before you answer her, you grab your smartphone to start a search. >While you bought everything online, there's probably a paint supply store somewhere nearby... >The nearest one is an hour away. There's no way you can make it before close. "Have to wait at least until tomorrow to get the right stuff.- and I don't know if the weather will cooperate to paint. Chance of rain tomorrow evening." >Midnight growls her frustration out loud. >"Why didn't you notice that before?" "I - look, I've never done this before, Mid. I don't know if I ordered it wrong or if the company shipped me the wrong thing. But at least I noticed before starting. Who knows what kind of a mess I would have created." >"Fine, fine," Midnight relents, though still disappointed. "In other words, the night of the car show is probably gonna be when this will finally get some paint on it." "Well... primer. And then paint," you admit with a sheepish grin. >Midnight sulks just a tad more with that information. >Tonight hasn't gone to plan in the slightest. >But there is a silver lining here... >After all, Midnight can't do much if anything to help with the painting process. >And you already know Teddy is more than happy to stop by and pick up Midnight to accompany him and Starla to the car show. >A couple of days late, but maybe it all works out in the end? "Hey, chin up, Middie. To tell you the truth, I already knew about the car show plans." >"And you made me jump through hoops because..." "It was one hoop at most," you correct her. " And I wanted to see your pleading face when you asked if we could go." >"I don't have a pleading face," Midnight argues, sticking her nose up at the suggestion. "Okay, should we go with a pouting face? Or a begging face?" >"Shut up. What's your point on this, anyway?" "My point is - I got a night where I'm preoccupied with this project, while I know you want to go to that car show with Star. Wanna keep an eye out for her, don't you?" >"Yeah!" >Midnight appears to already catch your drift, judging by how quickly her mood perks up. "I can tell Teddy to come on over and pick you up that ni—" >"Already on it! I'll go let Star know right away!" >In a flash, Midnight's excitement takes over as she bolts away and up the stairs in a clatter of hoofsteps.
>>17483 >Alright then. >Lemons into lemonade, and all that jazz. >You have to admit, it's going to be weird not having her here. >Knowing she's outside the gates without you... >The thought starts to create a small pit in your stomach. >...it's a very strange thought, too. >After all, she is an adult. >She is more than capable of dealing with anything thrown her way. >You view her as an equal. >You don't need to protect her. >... yeah, that all being said, this is clearly the right thing to do. >You will manage, and Midnight will have a great time helping Starla out - not to mention explaining all the cars she can. >Teddy had suggested paying you back in a sense for watching over Starla during his trip. >You refused any sort of payment. >But yeah, this works. >While not trying to steal Modnight's thunder, you fumble through your phone to your messages and shoot Teddy a text. 'You think you can handle two mares and a Cutlass on Friday night?' >It isn't too long before your phone dings with a notification - a laughing emoji. >'Starla just bolted off hearing the PC with a notification. I figured you weren't too far behind! We'll be glad to have Midnight along!' 'Sounds good, just let me know when you're heading over Friday.' >You get a thumbs up in response and leave it at that. >Forced to end the project for tonight, you set about putting away all of the tools and chemicals you have scattered about nearby. >It isn't too long before Midnight glides down from the top of the stairs unannounced. >Fortunately, you see movement out of your peripheral before she can spook you. "Nope, not this time." >"Dammit." >While Midnight stomps a hoof down with a tinge of disappointment, it doesn't diminish a grin that displays eager anticipation. "I take it all systems are go for Friday?" you inquire, playing dumb for her sake. >A fervent nod of Midnight's head is the response, her mane bouncing about with energy. "I can't believe you're gonna leave little old me all alone at home," you whine in an exaggerated, upset voice. >"You'll be fine, wuss." >While Midnight gives you a bit of attitude, she extends a wing and hooks it around you - a short, feathery embrace that feels like more than just a simple expression of thankfulness. >It seems Midnight senses the slight uneasiness you thought you were keeping under wraps. "Oh, I know. You can handle yourself. Just kind of an odd position for me to be in." >"How do you think I feel suddenly becoming a mentor of sorts?" "Well... you make a fair point there. But I think you're the mare for the job." -----
>>17478 Glad to see a bootmare make it big on that site. On one hand, I imagine a lot of our greens would be pretty highly rated. On the other, I gotta wonder just how lame a lot of fimfiction stories are too. I'm proud of you man. Also rather jealous because in eight days it'll have been ten months and shit just isn't ending. It's maddening. It's maddening while you're Middying. I'd kick and flail and say shit's not fair but I've gone so past that point that I'm out in the ether with no support tether to bring me back. When it comes to her story ending, it'll be another big chapter of greens having came to a close. I'm curious how it'll be. I've been a big bag of dicks for not reading it as closely as I should've. Even now I don't think I'd be able to because it'll just remind me that I'm not writing. >>17476 They're grooving because it's /w2g/ time. https://w2g.tv/?r=a1c2n3w4atkklhh656
Blondie, check your email.
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>>17500 https://w2g.tv/?r=uwsyjd1n3khjxgavpn Haven't been ignoring the email, I've just been thinking. So why not thing to some tunes for another Saturday /w2g/.
>Rain. >It's the first thing you notice as you stir awake. >With how loud it is, it must be pouring. >Not that you couldn't feel it of course. >You're right in the thick of it, getting soaked. >It must be quite the sight, huh? You probably look like a half-drowned cat right about now. All on its side and with its blue-ish mess of a mane in its face... >...Cats don't have manes, dumbass. Your analogy sucks. >Just... get up. You're cold and there's a pit in your stomach that needs filling. >Your eyes slowly open and you find yourself in the same corner of the alley that you remember collapsing in, the buzzing orange light above you signaling that it's probably dark out. >Huh... you guess the rain washed away all that muck from yesterday. Your hooves almost look like they could be strutting on the hardwood floor of some old lady's flat, ready to serve her tea and crumpets at a moment's notice. >It's kind of a weird thing to think about, but you'd take smelling potpourri and mothballs for the rest of your life over... this. >That's what you're supposed to be, right? A helper? >You're not very helpful as is. >You'd probably be a burden more than anything. >A walking talking conversation starter, but that's about it. >Bleh, whatever. Up and at 'em, Meadow. >It takes a bit of struggling to right yourself since you're still pretty sleepy, but with one last heave... You're now sitting instead of lying in the rain. >Hooray. >You let out a noise that's between a sigh and a groan. >Time to be a big girl and go find something to eat, okay? If you hurry you might be able to snag something out of the dumpster behind that burger joint. It's usually still a little fresh right after closing. >You're hoping for fries this time. Your dumb tum doesn't like meat, but if you have to... you'll just fight through the nausea again. >'Y-you're awake! I've been trying to get you up for a while now...' >Ah, and there she is. Your partner in mind. >You like to think of her as a mouse nestled in the walls of your head. >She's always kinda nervous, so imagining her as such is a little funny. >...You're glad you can't hear each other's thoughts. There's at least a little privacy in your predicament. >You shake the grogginess from your head and take a deep breath. "Evenin' Meddy." >'But... it's morning?' >You lift your head and look past the brick walls around you and into the dark and stormy sky above. "Nope." >'Oh I- I see now! G-good evening Meadow... Uhm...' >Sometimes you forget she's more or less along for the ride. What you see, she sees. >You get to your hooves while Medley gathers her own thoughts. >'It's been quiet for a while! Be- besides the rain, I mean.' "Good to know. That'll make this next bit a little easier." >'What are we doing?' >You unfurl your useless wings and shake the water from them as best you can. "We're getting a bite to eat." >'Oh! I- I was feeling a bit peckish...' "Same here, sister... Keep an ear out, will ya?" >'O-of course! Uhm... sis.'
>>17511 >With hunger as your motivation, you weave from alley to alley, passing by the occasional stray cat or homeless dude on your way to your destination. >Most are friendly enough, some hiss, some don't. >That goes for the whole lot of 'em, weirdly enough. >You guess losing your marbles one way or another comes with the territory. >'I hope he's okay...' >You pause a moment and then glance back at the passed out fella you just walked around. "He's... breathing, thankfully. It looks steady." >You're certainly no nurse, but you can at least deduce at a glance if someone is dozing or pushing up daisies. >You wonder if that's part of your whole 'helper' deal... >'That's good... Maybe you can uhm... cover him up? There's some cardboard over there...' >You focus on the soggy piece of cardboard lying nearby and tilt your head. "I mean... he's already soaked just like us. Not only that, it's basically mush at this point." >'But- but we can at least try, right?' >On a closer inspection, it's not *that* mushy... It'll certainly survive the night. >It's cold and he's already soaked to the bone, but... covering him up is the least you can do, right? >You shuffle in place for a moment, conflicted. "We... we should get moving. We need to worry about ourselves first..." >'Please just- just cover him quickly... Please Meadow?' >You let out a sigh. "Alright Medley. Only for you." >You go and grab the piece of cardboard and drape it over the poor sodden bastard, making sure that it keeps his upper body as dry as it possibly can. >It takes a bit, but you nudge his sprawled form until he's mostly under the wet blanket of cardboard. "There." >Jeez, he's a heavy sleeper... >Whatever he took or had must have knocked him out cold. >'Thank you! Uhm- I'm sorry for holding us up.' "It's okay. I..." >You mull over your words a second and then with a deep breath, start trotting away. "I kind of wanted to help, too. I'm just not uh- not good at engaging, you know?" >'Well... I guess I'm glad to be your cricket then!' >You stop in your tracks and give an inquisitive look to no one in particular. "Cricket?" >'Remember the uhm- the book I made you read that one time? Before we got kicked out of the library...' "Ah, that one..." >It's a little fuzzy, but… yeah, you remember. >You chuckle a little and take a moment to part your damp mane. >It's going to take forever for it to dry off, but at least it's... kinda clean. "You're telling me you wanna be my conscience?" >'I'm... not sure what I want? Not yet at least…' "I'm sure you'll figure it out in due time, Meddy. C'mon, let's get a move on." >'Mm? Oh! Yes, k-keep going... Sorry, I was just thinking.' "No problem sis, we all do." >Mental meeting done, you pick up the pace and beeline for the quickest path to the burger joint. >Usually you'd avoid this way due to the high foot traffic, but tonight? Tonight it was all yours. >As you approach the end of the alley, you smile wearily. "We're here." >The glow of the neon sign tells you as much.
>>17512 >The dark blue light always made you feel... calm. >You weren't particularly anxious on your way here, but you felt a little more at ease now. Less guarded. >All you have to do now is cross the street and head for the back of the diner. >A simple affair, seeing that this particular street was pretty quiet at night. >As per tradition, you lift a hoof and give the sign a wave, which always makes Meddy happy. >'Hello Mr. Sign!' "Yeah... hey again." >You huff a little and emerge from the alley and into the sleepy street, stopping right before you leave the sidewalk. "Alright... Here we go." >'It sounds okay... but look both ways regardless!' "Aye aye, cap'n." >Once you make sure the coast is clear, you take a deep breath... >And leave the sidewalk. >You trot at a brisk pace under the blue light of the sign, occasionally glancing into the darkened diner through the windows. >If it's dark already... >You might be too late. >Once you finish crossing, you immediately dart into the alley, not about to waste any more time. >Upon seeing the dumpster, you pause and take a breath. "Okay... We're good." >'It's quiet...' "Yeah, it is... Maybe they finally put down rat traps?" >As you approach the closed dumpster, you can already smell a faint... odor. >It's not *bad* yet but it's certainly noticeable. >'Bleh...' "Bleh indeed." >You swallow dryly and ruffle your wings. "Let's just get this over with..." >You inch closer to the dumpster and lift it's lid with a bit of extra help from your wings. >With it now uncovered, you prop yourself up and peer inside... "It's..." >Fuck. >Yeah, the smell was a dead giveaway. >Your eyes are watering like crazy... "This is all old... Where- where's today's? Or yesterday's?" >'There's nothing there?' "I- I mean... yeah, there's stuff in here, but..." >You'd probably wind up choking on your own vomit if you tried forcing it down. "I... dammit." >You fall back to your hooves and stare at the ground. >You're going to have to find an alternative. >Like what? Shoplift and get blacklisted by another convenience store? >Medley would probably have another panic attack. “I can’t even process grass right… Some pony I am.” >As if there was any grass to begin with in this shitty part of town… >'M-Meadow...?' >Huh, She sounds… concerned? "It- it's okay, I'm not upset. I just... I need to think." >'M-Meadow there's something b-b-behind...' >Your ears begin to swivel behind you as she stammers. "What are you-" >"Boo." >You let out a very uncharacteristically panicked yelp and flare your wings, smacking something squishy in the process, hard. >As you whip around to face the voice, you catch a glimpse of a figure falling on its ass. >You stand frozen in place, your unfurled wings blotting out the light and leaving the groaning figure in the dark. >"Ugh... why the hell do those things hurt so much?" "St- stay where you are. Don't- don't move!" >It raises its hands. "Wouldn't dream of it... Would you mind uh- mind putting those things away?" "I..." >'D-did we… hurt it?' >Your wings falter. "Okay." >You rest your wings, revealing the figure to be... >Just some guy. "...Sorry."
>>17513 >Great! You can add 'assault' to the list of stupid stuff you've done. >'His hat is familiar...' >You focus on the cap upon his head, and lo and behold... >It's the same ones they wear at the diner. >An employee too? This is awful... >You watch him flounder around until he finally gets himself into an upright position. >Your ears droop ever so slightly as you stare at him rubbing his jaw. >With a sigh, he lays a hand on his knee. >"You know... I always wondered who's been rifling around back here. It always happens *right* as my shift is about to end, too..." >You shy away a little as he raises a hand to gesture loosely at you. >"And here you are! In the... flesh, I guess?" >He shakes his head. "Do- Do ponies have flesh? I dunno… You’re the first one I’ve met. I guess I can notch that one off my bucket list, huh?" "I guess..." >Why- why are you so rigid? >Every inch of your body wants to bolt, but... >Having been this way so many times makes you acutely aware of the lack of an exit behind you. >It's like you've already accepted that you've been cornered. You can't fly after all and trying to push past him might just escalate things... "I don't... know what to do..." >You mumble that under your breath as he's getting to his feet. >Seeing that he doesn't respond, he might not have heard you. >'Maybe... maybe you can talk to him?' >Well, it's worth a shot. >Not like you've got many other options at the moment. >He adjusts his cap and stuffs his hands into his pockets. "So... Was I right?" "What?" >"About you being the culprit." >'cul... w-we're criminals?!' >You wish you could shush her with your thoughts sometimes… >Your head lowers. "It's already been thrown out... why would anyone care what happens to it afterwards?" >He shrugs. "Personally I could care less, but you see the problem is... I work here." He walks close enough to close the lid of the dumpster, resulting in you backing away quite a bit. >"I'm kind of required to keep tabs on things." >You straighten yourself and clear your throat. "Well... I haven't even done anything yet!" >"Yet." >You frown, but keep your mouth shut. >"As you might have already been able to tell... There's nothing edible in there." "Y-yeah... I noticed." >"They just started remodeling the dining area so we’ve been delivery only for about... I want to say two- three days? Not a lot to throw out when it’s all getting sent to god knows where." >So that's why. >He pulls a hand out of his pocket and stifles a yawn. "Seeing that I had nothing better to do and this just so happens to be around the time the sounds start happening... I thought I'd try to see who's making them." "And here I am..." >"And here you are." >'Do you think he'll let us go?' >What else would he do with you? Report you? >Actually... let's not entertain the thought. >Reclamation isn't something you want to think about right now. "Can I just... leave? I- I won't come back, I promise..." >"Not yet. Before you go running off... I'd like to know why." "I'm hungry..." >"That's not what I meant."
>>17514 >Your ears pin back as he gestures a hand at you. >"Why the hell is a pony scrounging for scraps? In the rain no less!" "...Because I forgot to eat yesterday?" >He crosses his arms. "Really now, there’s no need to avoid the question." "I'm not... There's nothing to avoid! That's the truth." >God, why is he being so antagonistic all of a sudden... >'But it's... not the *whole* truth, Meadow.' "There's nothing left to say." >'You know that's not true! Please, just...' >You shake your head slowly. "no." >"I- Look, I understand if you don't want to talk to me, but it's not hard to see that you're-" >The debilitating combination of being cold, wet, and scared wanes just enough for your underlying frustration to surface and you take a step forward and cut him off. "I answered your stupid question! I don't want to- I'm not going to talk about that! I'm not! I- I don't wanna..." >You trail off, your face on fire despite the weather. >'Meadow... Maybe we should really-' "NO!" >'B-but... Okay...' >As Medley's voice falters, your ears flatten. "M-meh-medl... N-no no I'm- I'm sorry! I didn't mean to..." >You mumble apologies for a while, trying to keep your composure. >...But before you can completely stabilize your emotions, you find the man approaching you. >You desperately want to push him aside and find somewhere to hide, but just like before, your legs simply won't budge. >He stops about a foot or so away and... kneels. >"Are you alright?" "P-please just… go away..." >He shakes his head with a soft chuckle. "Nah, I'm gonna take a seat riiight... here." With that, he sits down, his back against the dirty dumpster. >You'd hit him on purpose if you could muster the strength. >He looks up at you with a small smile. “How about you rest up too? It might help clear your head a bit…” >You continue to stare at him, your soaked coat barely registering anymore as shame heats your lousy body. >Seeing no other option, you listlessly shamble over and unceremoniously plop down next to him, too drained to care anymore. >You lower your head and find yourself staring at the wet concrete in front of you. >Tonight was supposed to be easy. >A light jaunt to the one place that reliably had passable food. >But here you are, sitting around in some back alley with a random stranger in the rain. >Drenched, starving, and an utter mess of a pony that just yelled at her only friend for trying to help her. >You ball yourself up and take a deep breath. "Why are you still here?" >"You seemed like you needed some company." >You glance over at him. "You only care because I'm a pony." >You lift a hoof and feebly press it against his shoulder. "If I were some smelly hobo you'd probably call the cops or smack me with a broom." >"Who's to say you *aren't* a smelly hobo?" >Feeling rather conscious of yourself all of a sudden, you turn your swiftly reddening face away from him. "I-It's raining!" >"So?" "Rain... helps." >"I think it might be the dumpster diving that's doing you in here." "N-not like I have a choice... It's that or begging. Begging is-" >"Too easy? I imagine a sad looking pony can melt just about anyone's heart." "I don't want to be pitied." >"Nobody does."
>>17484 >a new update to Midnight and I'm a week late getting to it But I am very happy to see it. Even if it took me a while to get to it. Progress as ever on the project car. I wonder what they're gonna do when they get it finished? They'll need some sort of project to keep them busy. Curious as well to see how the car show goes. Thanks for the update. >>17511 Is that a boot with a tulpa? Or is Meadly more of a sock to Meadow's boot? But very interesting start. Like to see where it goes.
>This still feels utterly humiliating. >And it has been miserable to get used to. >The weight. >The sensations. >The movements. >Maybe the eyes were the worst experiment in terms of... well, potentially being left permanently blind. >But these wings. >These stupid fucking wings that were decided would be the next exciting experiment... >You fucking hate them. >As usual, you were never asked. >You weren't told about what was to come. >You just fell asleep one night... >...and apparently one day later, you woke up with a new set of limbs. >These damn people couldn't even be bothered to create a new set of wings – oh no, that would have been too good for you. >No, you got some pulled from the garbage, dyed to a 'good enough' color... >Slapped em on you. >These last... possibly several weeks – that's what it feels like anyway – have been awful trying to figure them out. >Up until the last few days, it just felt like they had a mind of their own. >Twitching. >Flaring out at random. >Waking you up in the middle of sleep. >And while they don't feel hefty by any means, you've still had to adjust to their presence now forever tied to your back. >Your back has been aching, both from the surgery and getting used to them. >It's finally starting to feel better. >You've gotten an understanding of how to control the limbs – muscles tied to electronics, wires, actuators... >It's disgusting to think about. >You're disgusting. >A bona-fide fucking freak. >But it wasn't your choice... >You don't ever get one. >The point of all of this? >Probably flight. >You want to say torture, but... >Maybe that's part of it. >The project manager wants to be rid of you. >You've overheard him multiple times – and he's said it to your face. >Apparently the higher-ups think he's doing amazing work – and don't want him to move up from the project. >After all, who could match his work, his successful experiments? >By the sounds of it, you were his meal ticket to move up in the company. >Maybe he still will – but not while you're still breathing and offering a canvas to create a perverted painting. >At this point, why doesn't he just kill you? >Wouldn't that be easier? >You don't know. >It would be easier for you. >Probably better off... >This is your life. >That's all there is. >Waking up in a glass room, tests, procedures, pain, recovery, tests, training. >Is this worth it? >You don't... >You don't want this. >You want... >Something. >Something else. >Death isn't it. >Footsteps approach down the hall – you hear them well before seeing the culprits behind them. >You sure it's head jackass. >You forgot his name. >You've forced it from your mind at this point. >He doesn't deserve to be remembered by you. >You remember his assistant though... >Johnson. >He's participating in all of this... >But he doesn't seem to enjoy it. >Yet, on it goes. >Yep, there's bald 'n stocky. >And his mop-headed assistant.
>>17517 >"And how are we getting around today?" dickhead asks as he steps up to the door of my room. "Fucking lovely as always. What do you want?" >"How's the wing movement coming along?" "I got em folded away neatly, what do you think?" >"I'm not looking for attitude, I'm looking for results," he replies, putting his hands on his hips. >Johnson is scrawling down a few things on a clipboard, occasionally glancing at you. >He looks uneasy as usual. >You don't know if it's the callous tones of the discussion today or what. >Really doesn't matter. >"Open your wings." >Ugh. >Whatever, the sooner you do what he asks, the quicker he will fuck off. >You give it a brief thought, sort of having to remind yourself how they folded closed... >They snap open wide, just barely fitting within the confines of your room width-wise. >"Any pain moving them like that?" Johnson speaks up. >"Worry about that after we see what she can do, Johnson," Baldy grumbles before turning his attention back to you. "Closed." "You've already seen them closed." >"Why do you want to argue?" "My personal entertainment. And giving you a taste of what I go through." >"Right, poor you. Living in your own home, given the best medicine and treatment—" "Which I wouldn't need if you left me the fuck alone." >"Just close your goddamn wings so we can move on." >You do so, but make sure to sneer at him in disdain." >"Good. Have you tried flapping them at all?" "Yeah, been overjoyed to have em so much and looking forward to my first flight," you Sass. >"Is that a no, or you can't?" >Bullshit you can't >You've been able to complete everything he's ever asked. >You fucking hate him for it, because you know he wants you to fail. >He wants a terminal failure. >But you don't fail at all. >You won't give him that satisfaction. >Unfurling your wings again, you give a few short pulses of them up and down. >The motion sends a twinge of pain through your sides on the first occasion. >But you grit your teeth and bear it. >Fuck him. >You want to make him stuck here longer. >"Hm, actually looks pretty close to how we engineered the bots," Baldy comments. >"She's a quick learner, huh?" Johnson suggests. >"I'm sure it has more to do with the programs stuck in her head. Probably has some memory of how they work without realizing it. Just took some time to reconnect the dots." "Fuck you. Maybe I'm just determined to succeed to piss you off." >"Piss me off by making me look good? Think you got some wired crossed there, princess." >He laughs off your suggestion, uses that godawful name... >But you see it. >He knows what you meant. >You can see his hand clench into a fist, the way he narrows his eyes. >Two can play at this stupid game. >You are not a failure. >You're going to keep succeeding, just to extend his misery. >Misery loves company. >You fold away your wings again, feeling an ache where they join into your body.
>>17518 >That's the first time you've ever tried flapping them with any sort of drive or speed – and your body is letting you know it. >You need to start working with them more – but when no one is here. >You want to make progress... >Slow, agonizing progress. >You want to keep dragging this on for him. >You don't know if you can fly... >You don't have a desire to. >You hate these fucking things. >But you'll do it. >You will fly. >Learn it little by little. >Just to succeed. >And keep him here. >"Do you have any pain at all?" >Johnson speaking up breaks you out of your simmering anger. "Nothing I can't deal with. Doesn't matter anyway." >"Where is the p—" "Don't worry about it – I'm not a bitch," you sass, turning and heading back to your bed at the far end of your room before flopping down. "It's fine. I can tolerate it." >"That's why I don't bother with niceties anymore Johnson. It's not gonna get you anywhere with her," dickhead murmurs to his assistant. >It's still plenty clear for you to hear. >You doubt he was trying to keep it quiet meaningfully. "You never tried being nice, you lying cocksucker." >"Language." "You mean the language I got from you?" >"I think you need some time to yourself until you can drop the fucking attitude," he growls, pointing at you before turning on his heels. "Johnson, come on – we'll get back to her in a bit." >Johnson looks upon you with a look of pity, but nevertheless needs his boss's call and follows. >You don't need his pity. >It's pathetic. >You're fine, you can handle yourself. >...you're just sick of this shit. >But what else is there? >It's not like you're gonna be able to just throw open this door and walk out of here to... >... >You don't know what's out beyond this building. >Trees, mountains, other buildings – the outside. >It's a vague concept you understand. >But you don't know anything about it. >Not really. >Hell, even if you could get out of here, what would you do? >Other than – well, not be a guinea pig...? >That already sounds better than this. >You're smart enough, you could probably figure it out. >You have overheard numerous times from past assistants comments about how quickly you learn and adapt to situations. >Maybe... >Maybe it's time to start thinking of something beyond this. >Doing yourself a favor instead of dealing with this endless pit of hopelessness you sit in. >With no one in sight, you rise back to your hooves, shuffling over to the door. >Hm... >What's inside of this thing that makes it lock...? ----- Been a while since we had a one shot peeking into the before times with Midnight. https://ponepaste.org/9969
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>>17519 Nothing mid about this mare! Sorry Always interesting to see more 'before-times' Middie. Spite can be an awfully potent motivator and it looks like she has a whole heap of it.
We are back!
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Glad to see this place again. A lot has happened in the last three months. As much as things have continued and degraded, this place remains. The closest thing to a home anyone could ask for.
>"pssst..." >A gentle prod in your thigh pulls you away from your couch potatoing. >You look down just as a cream colored mare rests her chin on your leg. >She's wearing a baggy gray tee and a sleepy little smile as she looks up at you. "Long time no see, Rads." >She chuckles softly. "Pfff... I've been here the whole time, chief! Just, you know, doin' other important stuff." "Sure you were. You totally weren't vegging out just like me." >Radio shrugs. "Hey man, I was *waaay* productive on my laptop! Didn't you hear all the clickity clacking?" "A little bit, yeah... Whaddya do?" >"Beat New Vegas again." "What a shocker." >Radio invites herself into your lap with a content little wriggle. "I mixed it up a little this time! I found some killer weapon mods on Nexus..." >She lifts a hoof and makes a clicking noise with her tongue as she pulls it back. >It's been a hot minute since you've heard something come out of her actual mouth. >"With a couple of fancy new rifles and a buttload of plasma grenades, I blew that dam to kingdom come!" "Independent New Vegas?" >"Do you even need to ask~?" >You stifle a laugh and run a hand through her unkempt mess of a mane. "Glad you had fun, Rads. But uh... I guess that means neither of us were particularly productive these past few..." >How long had it been again? "I honestly don't want to think about it too hard." >"Well... There's nothing wrong with taking a wee break every one inna while. Right, chief?" >You take a moment to think, still idly stroking her mane. "I... guess it could be worse." >"Remember to knock on wood, chief." >You wordlessly give her nose a couple of boops, making her scrunch up with an indignant expression. >"Aw c'mon, I ain't wood!" "But you're close enough, right?" >"Hey, just because I'm not exactly bone and meat doesn't mean I'm made of *wood*!" "Well then... What are you made of?" >"I'm-" >Radio pauses her theatrics and begins to narrow her eyes at nothing in particular. >"What *am* I made of?" "I dunno, snips, snails, and puppy dog tails?" >She frowns. "That's for colts! I'm an ELEGANT and POLITE filly!" >Her frown deepens further as you stifle a laugh behind a hand. >"You implying I'm coltish or something?" "Tomcoltish, maybe... When was the last time you did anything remotely 'girly', anyways?" >"I- I uh..." >Radio shifts her weight in an almost nervous manner, her cheeks a soft pink. "I-It doesn't matter..." "I'm sure it doesn't." >Seemingly satisfied by your dismissal, Radio takes a deep breath and lean back into you, letting herself sprawl out without a care. >A part of you wants to tease her about how nonchalant she's being, or maybe even her reluctance to share her 'girly' activities, but... >You drape your arms around her, eliciting a soft sigh from the warm little equine in your midst. >You'd rather get in your daily dose of Radio first. "...Anything you'd like to watch? Since we're here." >"How about... The NeverEnding Story? We haven't watched that one in forever!" "What, no Princess Bride?" >Radio flashes a grin. "We could watch it afterwards! Make it a marathon?" >You ruffle your lapdork's mane. "I guess that doesn't sound so bad... But after this we're getting off our asses and doing something with ourselves, okay?" >Radio tugs back down her slowly hiking shirt. "If it makes you feel any better, I'm totally filing this under 'research' for my novella!" "Lucky you! Having an excuse and all." >"Hah! That's the perks of being a writer, chief!" "Since I'm *technically* your editor... Can I use that excuse too?" >"I mean, I can't exactly stop you, can I?" "You could try, but I'm at least three times your size." >"What does *that* have to do anything?" "Besides the fact that I could fling you over my back and wear you as a cloak? Not much." >"That... sounds kinda fun." "Oh of course you'd think that's fun!" >"Being carried is *fun* dude!" "And makes you feel tall." >"Well, that too." glad to have you back, /boot/
>>17586 Nice little short story. Hope they enjoy their movie night.
>>17586 >"Independent New Vegas?" >"Do you even need to ask~?" well, this qt won me over
Looks like we lost some posts - or I've been slacking on posting what I've uploaded to PonePaste. So, three updates at once - but I swear the last one is the only 'new' one. >>17484 >"Wow, look at all the people and other ponies!" "You say that like it's a good thing." >Starla sidesteps enough to give you a playful bump while you try to hide a smirk from her. >It's really not too terrible at this car show - but there are more people than you've ever seen before. >Teddy stopped by and picked you up late in the afternoon for the car show - you and Starla sat in the back seat. >With the convertible top of the Cutlass down, it was a bit noisy heading down the road, but it was a fun experience nonetheless. >However, you have to admit it was a shock pulling into the town square, seeing how many cars there were, along with the crowd. >Starla... may have offered some comforting reassurance to alleviate uncertainty on your part. >There wasn't much to 'setting up' once Teddy parked the car in a spot directed by car show personnel. >Pop the hood, put a placard identifying the car with some info in the front windscreen, and clean a few errant bug splatters off of the front of the car. >After that, you all started to wander amongst the cars on display. >Teddy seems to want you to show Starla 'the ropes,' as it were. >He's content to mostly hang back a few steps while you and Starla gab it up about certain automobiles and other sights. >So far, you've kept Starla on the straight and narrow - greet others when they approach her. >Much to your surprise, that has not happened yet in the ten or fifteen minutes your group has spent walking around thus far. >Then again, you've spied more than a few ponies amongst the shuffling crowd - it's not like you're sticking out *that* much. >"Ooh, what's this? Looks like a pickup and a car all in one." "Ford Ranchero. I don't know the year though..." >You glance at the placard sitting in the windshield of the tawny gold hybrid. "'73 with a 351." >"That's really cool. Is there other stuff like that? In the world, I mean." "Yeah, they made these for a number of years, and Chevy had a similar thing called the El Camino. There might be more, I dunno." >Anon would know... >But he's not here. >And you're fine. >"They made the El Camino through to the eighties - the Ranchero was put to rest sometime in the late seventies," Teddy chimes in. "Chrysler did a little bit with what they called the Rampage in the eighties, but I've never seen one. They didn't last long." "Thanks. I'll be honest, I sort of focus on pre-eighties stuff, so that's info I did not know." >"Happy to help when I can." >The three of you press onward. >While Starla enjoys looking at the cars, you can tell she really wants to make conversation with someone, but by how she's crowd-watching. >She perks up every now and then when it appears someone is walking towards her or looking in her direction... >But again, nothing yet. >You're... >You might be a little out of your depth here, now that you think of it. >Maybe she should say hi to someone. >After all, you have never approached anyone and made a friend... >You don't really know how to approach people. >Or other ponies. >This was a stupid idea. >"Hello there!" >A feminine voice nearby halts you in your tracks. >It's only coming out of your internal struggle that you find a fellow pony standing off slightly to your right and ahead of you. >It doesn't take you but a second to recognize the white coat, the pastel-colored mane - and the fact she's a fellow alicorn and roughly the same height as you and Starla. >It's a Celestia bot. >"Hi there!" Starla cheers back, unable to prevent a surge of excitement from slipping into her call. "Uh – hi. Sorry, I was lost in thought." >"Aww, no worries. How are my fellow ponies doing today?" Celestia asks with a beaming smile, sharing equal attention between Starla and me. >Well, they really laid the show personality on thick with this bot... >... >Stop, Midnight. >Try to be nice.
>>17715 >"We're good! There's a lot of cars to look at tonight. You're Celestia, right?" >So far so good for Starla... >"I am!" Celestia replies with a short giggle. >It fades away as she starts to really inspect us. >"I... actually don't recognize you two. I'm sorry," she adds with a hint of concern. >"That's okay! It's because we aren't—" "We aren't, uh– standard. We were custom ponies," I interrupt, silencing Starla with a flare of my wing. "No worries, we get that a lot. My name's Midnight." >You turn to glance at Starla, who momentarily seems taken aback by the interruption. >Maybe you jumped in too soon, but you're a little on edge... >You give Starla a slight nod for her to proceed, which gets her to come back to a cheery expression. >"I'm Starla. It's nice to see another pony tonight." >Celestia extends a hoof toward Starla, who eagerly shakes it, then does the same for you. >"Wow, I don't believe I have ever come across such unique ponies before," Celestia comments with a giggle. "It's very nice to meet you both – do you live around here?" >"Uh... about a town or two over," Starla answers, before turning her head and pointing to Teddy. "Teddy and I live together, Midnight is a friend be brought along tonight – but she lives close by me, too." >Celestia breaks into a big smile as Teddy waves and returns the favor – but otherwise, the conversation is kept strictly to the ponies. >Which isn't too difficult, since you don't know who Celestia is with... >That makes you a little uneasy. "Who are you with?" you ask purely from paranoia. >"Me? Oh— right over there," Celestia answers, pointing to a Ford Country Squire wagon visible just about two cars away. >A middle-aged man and two young kids sit in lawn chairs beside the car – with a blanket laid out on the ground beside them. >"I just needed to stretch my legs a bit – bit of a sticky actuator in one of my hind legs after a while, you know?" "Y‐yeah, I get that in my wing on occasion. Sometimes those little parts just don't like to sit idle," you chuckle, fanning out your wings in demonstration. >Starla chuckles as she nods her head, holding out one of her discolored front legs. >"Sometimes it takes some repairs to get things sorted out," she adds with a laugh. >Huh – you never thought of that. >"Ah, that explains the coloring. Sorry, I didn't want to say anything—" >"Nonono, you're fine, Celestia," Starla reassures her. "It's not that big of a deal. The discoloration is better than dealing with parts that wouldn't work at all." >"I guess it's good to know I have options should something happen down the road," Celestia replies, beaming with a big smile. >"Celestia!" >A call of her name from nearby causes her to snap her attention away from Starla and off in the direction of her family. >One of the kids – a little girl – is waving her arm. >"I'm sorry to have to go, but it was nice meeting you, Starla and Midnight," Celestia says, nodding to each of you respectively before turning to head off. "Maybe we'll run into each other again sometime!" >"I hope so! Bye Celestia," Starla calls after her. "Good talking to you!" you add. >That actually went better than expected. >If anything, you were the one... a bit awkward. >Maybe you were a bit too hasty. >But Starla sits on her haunches and sticks her forelegs out in a flash, grasping you and pulling you into an embrace. "What the—" >"Thanks, Midnight! That was awesome!" she cheers with exuberance. >Alright then – Starla thinks it went really well. >You can't help but crack a bit of a smile at her outburst. "That was pretty much all you, Star. I'll be honest, I'm not that good and meeting new people or ponies. I think I made it a bit awkward - at least to start." >"I thought it was fine - maybe this is a good learning experience for both of you tonight," Teddy chimes in, reaching over to stroke Starla's hair on top of her head and giving you a light pat on the withers. "You both sort of cover each other's... I don't want to say weaknesses, but a skill where you're maybe a bit lacki
>>17716 "Ah, you don't have to sugarcoat it for me, Teddy," you scoff with a smirk. "But yeah, I guess we do make a decent team, Star." >Starla nods her head fervently at your musing. "Absolutely – hopefully we can run into more ponies tonight." "Well, we don't have to go overboard, either," you reply sheepishly. >You can only imagine how much shit Anon would be giving you right now. >In a good way of course. >And maybe a little grating... >It sucks he couldn't be here. >It's not that you *miss* him... >It just would have been better. >The 'two's company, three's a crowd' sort of thing, obviously. >After all, Teddy's kinda just letting you and Star do your own thing. >But he's clearly enjoying the sort of tag-along role... >Alright, maybe you miss Anon just a bit. >But Anon is probably stumbling his way through painting the engine right now – meaning at the end of the evening, there are multiple things to look forward to seeing. >This is your time and Starla's time to shine. >You nod to yourself and push onward with tonight's unique experience. ----- >So, this evening has gone smoother than you ever expected. >Maybe Starla psyched herself out with how trusting and open she can be. >You think her realization of her legs being an 'out' for hiding the truth helped her a lot, too. >You're still kicking yourself for not thinking of that before. >Regardless – you've not had to step in too much when Starla comes across someone to talk to. >There's been a few kids that stopped and marveled at her – she really enjoyed that. >She even offered up a ride for one little girl and made her night. >You don't really like the term, but... it was kinda cute to see Starla trotting around with an overjoyed companion on her back. >But more or less, you've been on the sidelines – which is fine, since you have more interest in the cars than the people. >The number of people... it's been a bit overwhelming at times. >Not that it seems like anyone suspects something of you... >It's just a lot of people. >There was a kid that pointed out the 'bad-ass looking Nightmare Moon over there.' >That was kinda cool to hear – even if the boy got scolded for language. >So, it's been an eye-opener in many ways. >There haven't been too many ponybots, though. >But you did catch sight of one you would rather avoid... >You haven't said anything about it to Teddy or Starla – you've just been able to find a car nearby to suddenly find interest in and steer away from possible contact. >Sure, the Celestia bot wasn't bad, and in the few instances you have talked with bots, like the Twilight in the store, they don't match you with a similar-looking pony from the show... >But spying that starry blue mane on and off amongst the crowd, you're leery about that encounter. >That's... that's gonna be an awkward encounter with a Luna, right? >That feels kinda weird to even consider, since you have a personality chip of hers crammed in your head, too. >Again – how much knowledge from the show do they put in these things? >It might differ from company to company. >But Nightmare Moon is a big part of Luna's past, so that's gotta be in there somehow, right? >You knew about it before even watching the show. >"Midnight." "Hm?" >You're drawn from your thoughts to the present finding Starla looking at you. >With the casual atmosphere around here and the number of pony bots you've seen wandering on their own a short way from their owners, Teddy allowed the two of you to proceed a short distance on your own. >He was caught up talking with a fellow Oldsmobile owner and didn't want to keep you two tied down. >Now you realize you've been silent pondering your concerns for an uncomfortably long time. >"You've been awfully quiet. Everything okay?" >You shrug your shoulders and furrow your brow, playing it off.
>>17717 "Yeah, of course. Just thinking about everything we've seen today, trying to figure out... ah, that Fairlane we saw, the fastback," you stammer, pointing to the maroon coupe just a few cars away. "Trying to remember how that all fits in with the Torino name during that model run. It really gets confusing since it was initially a trim level, I think." >Starla's eyes narrow a bit at you. >She's suspicious. >At least, until her eyes suddenly widen. >"Oh, Midnight, look ou—" >You abruptly run into something, startling you and flinching back on instinct. >"By the stars, my sincere apologies," comes a rather proper, silky voice. >You take stock of who you collided with – even though just by the sound and wording, you know it's the one you've been avoiding all night. >Sure enough, Princess Luna stands only a step away from you, looking on with concern. >She's shorter than the Celestia bot from earlier, who was about on par with you and Starla – but it's not a vast height difference by any means. "I— sorry. That was my fault," you admit nervously. "I wasn't watching where I was going." >"Hello there!" Starla cheers, stepping toward Luna. "I'm Starla, and – well, I admit, I sort of distracted my friend Midnight here into not watching in front of her. Sorry." >Princess Luna gets a chuckle out of the apology as she steps forward and offers a hoofshake to Starla. >"I must take part of the blame as well, passing in between vehicles rather than using the aisles or the sidewalk," she admits, smiling. "I am Luna, and it is a pleasure to meet you." >As she turns to offer you a hoofshake, her smile fades just a bit. >"You are not harmed, are you?" she asks. "What? No, I'm fine," you dismiss her, quickly sticking out a foreleg to meet her gesture. "I'm uh – yeah, I'm Midnight." >While Luna accepts your hoofshake, she doesn't seem particularly swayed that you're 'fine'. >Moreover, as her turquoise eyes dart around your form, a sort of confusion starts to taint her face. >"Forgive me for such an odd comment, and I mean no offense," she begins. "You look surprisingly similar to my canon alter ego, Nightmare Moon. I can't say I've encountered another like you before." >And there... it kinda is? >Luna recognizes you as very similar to Nightmare Moon, but she doesn't seem distressed in the slightest. >"We're both custom models!" Starla announces, exuding gusto as often has been the case tonight. "I don't really have a basis, but Midnight was... that was what they were going for, right?" "Y–yeah. Nightmare Moon look. Just changing it a bit," you stammer in agreement. "You know, don't need the licensing for the specific character that way." >"Ah, that makes sense," Luna nods in agreement her concerns about your attitude having died away. >But... >You feel like you can't leave this alone. >After all this work and fuss avoiding her tonight, thinking this bot would be the one to take issue with you and know who you are... >You should be happy about this – it's not a repeat of the little girl at the supermarket months ago. >But curiosity must be sated at this point. "I'm... sort of surprised you're fine with my appearance. I thought you might have been a bit bothered with me being... well, your alter ego, as you said it." >Luna cocks her head as you speak – but no sooner do you finish, she brings a hoof to her muzzle and giggles lightly. >"Nay, it would be absurd to take offense to you for that – perhaps your appearance matches that of the fearsome Nightmare Moon, but you did not choose this look. Nor would I expect you to be made with her attitude, for it goes against what we are meant to be – companions," she explains. >... >Are all bots this self-aware? >You don't know – but you've never stopped to consider they might be, and that's why you don't bother them in the few interactions you've had. "Ah – I guess I got somewhat used to kids being scared by me. Not sure what I was thinking," you say, laughing at the end to sell it. >It garners a short giggle from Luna, indicating success.
>>17718 >"Yes, kids are quite impressionable," she muses. "One of the little girls in my family is convinced I have finally chased away some nightmares that she had been suffering from for a week. I suspect that my assurances that I would not allow them to ever harm her may have had some alleviating effect, just from my duties in canon as ruler of the dream realm." >"Aww, that's sweet," Starla croons, holding a hoof to her chest. >"Yes, it is – but I must confess, I am unsure what do to should those nightmares return for whatever reason," Luna admits, her smile diminishing just a bit. "After all, she is believing something that is not true – even if my only claim was that her dreams could not harm her." >But following that, Luna shakes her head, returning to a more relaxed, casual demeanor. "But I suspect that since you have had incidents with your appearance around children, you do not live with any?" she asks you. >Both you and Starla shake your heads negative. "Nah, that's kind of the nature with custom bots I think," you say. "Usually just a grown man with a lot of money to spend." >Your comment elicits a giggle from Starla, while Luna nods her head – but seems just a little lost. >"Starla! Midnight!" >Teddy's voice rings out just a short jaunt away, and as you turn, you see him waving to you. >"Aww, I think it's about time for us to go," Starla pouts. "Hopefully we can run into each other again sometime." "Maybe not actually run into each other, though," you quip. >"Indeed, it is nearly the top of the hour – the show is coming to a close for the night," Luna replies. "But yes, I do hope we can meet again sometime – perhaps at another car show in the future we will find each other?" "Hopefully then, I'll have a car to show. Er, my companion and I," you correct. >"I look forward to that," Luna agrees, offering you and Starla another pair of hoofshakes. Farewell for now, my friends." >"Bye, Luna," Starla calls as Luna nods and turns away. >Her form soon disappears amongst the crowd – which is becoming thinner as participants and sightseers alike begin to pack up for the evening. >Both you and Starla turn and head back toward Teddy and the Cutlass. >"So, that was quite an interesting meeting," Starla comments without particular direction. "Yeah, I didn't expect it to go quite that smooth," you admit with a chuckle. >"Is that why we've been taking random shortcuts for a good chunk of the evening?" >Oh. >So it wasn't as indiscriminate as you had thought. "...might have had something to do with it." >"Do you really think that low of yourself, Midnight?" Starla inquires, her voice sounding a bit pained. >You turn your head to look at her, seeing a face that expects the truth, no matter how depressing it may be. "Star, I don't think of myself badly – it's that... well, that was Luna. I figured if any bot is gonna know or freak out about my appearance, that would be the one, you know?" I protest. >"That's... it?" Starla looks confused by my sincere admittance. "What did you think was bothering me?" >"Well, I guess I thought maybe you were getting hard on yourself with... I guess how easy it's been for me to talk to others," Starla explains. "I didn't notice you had your eyes on one specific individual." "Heh, in hindsight that doesn't make it much better," you muse. "But no, you're more sociable than I am. That's a given. I'm not overwhelmed by any means... but tonight has been tiring for me from a mental standpoint. I'm not particularly comfortable with all of these people around – but I'm doing it for you." >"And it really means a lot to me you came out and helped me find my footing tonight, sis," Starla crows, leaning up against you. "Thanks again." "No problem. It's about time I returned the favor. And even though it was uncomfortable at times – I think it was good for me to get out and interact, too."
>>17719 >"You're ready to head home, aren't you." "Hm?" >Starla has a glint in her eyes that you don't particularly like... "I'm not that desperate to see Anon, Star." >"I never said his name, you brought it up," Starla gasps. "Oh come on, I know what you were hinting at." >"Yeah – seeing a freshly painted engine, not Anon!" she teases. "Whatever. I think I've had enough of big sis for one night." >Starla laughs, which shortly tempts you into joining her. >What an evening. ----- >You're glad Midnight has not been around while you've come to grips with painting. >She would have driven you nutty, no doubt. >It's been about two hours' worth of a learning curve to figure out how to use a spray gun and get paint to flow nicely and look good. >You bought more than you needed for that reason. >Last night, you cleaned some junk parts in order to have a canvas to experiment and work with rather than leave the Hemi to be the guinea pig. >That splotchy, run-happy coat of paint made you happy to have called an audible there. >Nevertheless, having just finished cleaning the spray gun and marveling at the final work now set to dry – it was worth all the time and effort. >You haven't heard anything from Teddy since the first hour – just letting you know they arrived and sharing a picture with the mares waltzing around some of the cars at the show. >No news is good news, probably – and you have all the confidence in the world everyone has had a good time. >At this point in time, with the sun close to calling it a day, you expect them all to be back at any time. >It's been surreal not having Midnight here by your side. >Yeah, it happens every day while out working in the yard – but she's still, you know, in the same general area. >A shout would bring her back quick as a flash – and she's proven that. >It's kinda silly missing her though, isn't it? >...yet in some ways, it helps put everything in perspective now. >How much she means to you. >Her not being here is such a void – which you always knew would be the case, but now actually experiencing it... >You hear the distant rumble of a well-tuned exhaust outside – at idle, by the sounds of it. >You feel your pocket to make sure your keys are there to open the gate, then make your way out of the shop with some extra pep in your step. >Damn good timing to come around the corner of the garage door – as Midnight soars over the gate and lands at a canter toward the shop. >Teddy and Star must be ready to call it a night rather than stop in for a visit. >Or Midnight is just too eager to be back to wait for you to unlock the gate. >But the changing notes of the engine beyond the fence tell you the Cutlass is on the move – and before long, you hear the V8 roar away down the road. >You come to a halt now, seeing no point in walking out there further since the gate doesn't need to be opened, and Midnight is making the distance up at a decent clip. >"Wow, I even got a greeting party tonight. You must have really been missing me." "I *thought* Teddy and Starla might stop in for a short visit before heading home, smartass." >Midnight shakes her head. "Nah, too much fun and excitement – Starla was yawning a lot on the way back." >As Midnight comes to within arm's reach, she rears up and plants her forelegs on your shoulders, pulling you closer to her for a hug. "Oh, what's this?" >"Nothing. Just figured since you probably missed me real bad..." "And you didn't miss me at all?" >"... maybe a bit." >You aren't surprised by her coy, abbreviated answer – but being this forward with a hug is a bit unexpected, even if it has become more of the norm. >It's good to know you weren't alone in the feeling tonight. "How did tonight go on your end?"
>>17720 >"Smooth as silk. Honestly, I didn't have to do much," she replies, gradually letting you go and dropping back to all fours. "I think Teddy might have exaggerated her issues with being too open with people – and Starla sort of started believing it too. Of course, since I gave her a bit of a pep talk on the way and some things to keep in mind... I dunno. Hard to say – but there really weren't any issues." "Cool – and yeah, Teddy is wrapped up a bit too tight when it comes to Starla. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I think he's gotten into his own head trying to keep her safe all these years." >"Well, I think he learned to loosen the reins just a bit—" "You're awful for going with that pun, Mid." >"... You know, I actually didn't think of it before I said it. But I'm glad it upset you," she retorts, sticking her tongue out. "But anyway, there were a decent amount of ponybots there and they were allowed to roam a bit on their own – so Teddy let us do the same toward the end of the evening. Not far, but that was still kind of a step forward, right?" "That's— yeah, I'm sorta surprised to hear that. Maybe this little outing did a lot of good for everyone." >"Oh? Even you?" "Yeah, I didn't have someone belittling me for my horrible attempts at using a spray gun," I reply, booping her on the nose. >"I only belittle you to drive improvement," she tries to argue. "That being said... you're no inspiring confidence in me regarding the finished product." "I guess we'll just have to take a gander then and find out, huh?" >Midnight doesn't need to say anything – she sidesteps me in order to set out for the shop, and I turn in time to match her strides forward. "So, how was being out in the public interacting for you?" I carefully question. >"It's not my thing. I think it was good for me to get out and experience it again, but I'm no Starla – meeting new people and gabbing it up is kinda stressful and tiring." "I get that – at least you finally listen to me that you aren't Starla, and I don't expect it from you." >"Yeah, yeah. I at least got one concern alleviated – ran into a Luna bot, and she knew what I was supposed to look like, and didn't care." "I didn't know you were still hung up on that." >"Eh, not in a major sense. Just something always there in the back of my mind." >Both of you whip around the corner and step onto the concrete pad, the shop lights doing a better job of illumination now that the sun is just about to call it quits for the day. >Of course, now with the engine in view – Midnight quickens her pace to a proper trot, leaving your side. >"Damn – it actually looks good!" Midnight gasps as she circles around the finished paint job to marvel at the different angles. "You actually had me a bit worried when you said you had a learning curve, but it looks good to me!" "Well, the learning curve is off to your right, laying on the floor on cardboard," you remark, directing her to the engine heads you had attempted to paint. >Midnight turns and makes the short trek to view your prior fuckups. >You watch her grimace a bit as she hones in on the first one where you essentially drenched it in paint. >"Glad you actually used your head for once. Was it really that hard to figure out?" she asks, turning her head to look at you. >It's an honest question, but the skeptical looks she's giving you still make you laugh. "Yeah, it is. You have to get paint thickness or consistency right mixing it up, then you have to adjust air pressure, paint flow, and distance from the part you're working on," you explain, watching as Midnight's face softens with each mentioned variable. >"Alright, I guess I'll cut you a break. I didn't read too much into it," she replies, stepping away from the reject parts. "Unless you thought up some bullshit to feed me." "You really think I would do that?" you ask, putting your hands on your hips. "Absolutely." "...well, I didn't this time. I'll make you use it so you can see how complex it is." >"And I would probably ace it first try." "Oh, shut up."
>>17721 >Midnight smiles, holding her head just a bit higher with my lack of a comeback for our stupid little banter. >"So, when are we putting this in?" she asks, stepping back over to the engine. "We'll give it a couple of days, make sure the paint is cured really well before we start trying to manhandle it back into the engine bay." >"Thank god – I though you were gonna tell me a month or something absurd like that." "Nah, but I'm getting about as antsy as you to get it on the road now. Which is why I was thinking..." >Midnight cocks her head as you trail off, focusing her attention upon you with a stoic face. >"There's no way you did more thinking today than just coming up with test parts for painting," she counters, trying to keep that straight face. "Ha. You funny – but no. I guess I'm starting to think we don't need to get everything done at once. There are items we could leave for a later time, like the paint. At this point, I'm thinking of just getting new tires for the wire wheels that are on the car right now." >"I kinda like the wire wheels," she concedes, looking at the Chrysler sitting off to the side under protective sheets. "But be honest, you having trouble figuring out what tires and wheel widths will work?" >Your shoulders slump just a bit as she nails the other reason. "Yeah, it's not like there's a how-to write-up on new wheels for these things. Just because of how tall the sidewall is and how narrow they are in width – I've been struggling to decide what will work *and* look good on the car without having massive gaps in the wheel arches." >"Well, once we burn the new tires off, we can always change in the future, so I guess I don't see an issue," she replies, walking over and pulling up a corner of a sheet to view the chromed spokes tainted by years of dust. "You think they'll clean up well?" "I'd be confident enough to put money on it, with as well as everything else that has been brought back to life so far. But I don't think we're gonna be burning tires off the car in just a few years, Mid." >"Not with that attitude," she replies, walking back to me with a smirk plastered on her face. "And that's why you aren't allowed to drive it." >"Good luck stopping me." >You just shake your head at her, desiring a return to the plan you had been considering for a while now. "I think we're going to try and flush the transmission and brakes, see if we got any leaks under pressure and if the transmission will even work after sitting for so long," you continue. "It would probably be short term, as I'm sure the seals in there are crusty – but yeah, I want to get it on the road sooner rather than later. Part of the fun of an old car is getting stranded." >Midnight raises an eyebrow at your finishing statement while you flash her an eager and goofy grin. >"I like the sound of getting on the road sooner, not so much possible death in the desert." "Well, I'm not planning road trips with it anyways – this might be immaterial if the transmission can't generate line pressure to move anyway." >"Alright – I guess I'm game with this plan. I was skeptical about any plan you had for painting the car anyway. I looked at paint shops and cost a while ago – holy shit, the price for a repaint is absurd." "Yep. We'll do what we can with the paint on it for the time being. Guess the car might be just like you." >"Hm?" "Diamond in the rough." >"Ugh, I should have tried finding someone else to take me home at the car show." >Despite the tone and her face of disgust, Midnight circles around behind you and leans against your right side, opening a wing to embrace you. ----- Behind the scenes, I have about five more updates ready - and beyond that, there may be only one or two more to write before this tale of almost three years comes to a soft close. There might be some little peeks into the world now and then, but honestly, between writing this for so long and the relentless update schedule and rewrite for FiMFiction, I'm ready for a nice break from writing.
>Midnight is ending soon Man, I just started lurking over here too. I have to admit, I fell off the Midnight ride for a while; but I'm gonna have to stick around now for the ending. Coming into this update, I was expecting to be totally lost; but I'm tickled that I actually remembered the scene with the Twilight bot at the store. I do remember reading that part. Congratulations on all the FimFic success by the way, auto. If you ever pick up the pen again, I'll definitely check it out.
>>17725 It's not a matter of if, but when. No work I have ever written has seen as much consistency and productivity as Midnight has over almost three years now. It's trailed off some over the past year now, and as I've been writing the few upcoming update, they've been coming fast and fluid. I don't think it's dragged on too long, but I feel like this story should come to a close sooner rather than later just based on how it's been difficult to come up with updates over time – and the way it's coming together right now feels right. I don't want a jump the shark moment to try to keep it going, and I feel like that's what it would take for it to continue on longer. Peeks into the world seem more appropriate now than a continuing narrative, and with as much as she means to me, I think those will come in time. Right now creatively, in terms of writing – I sorta feel exhausted. I need a break to recharge my batteries for when inspiration takes me away into a new tale. What that will be and when... that's anyone's guess. But I'm not done as a writer.
>>17722 >Things feel like they're moving much quicker now with the plan to expedite the process of getting the Chrsyler on the road. >... well, it should feel that way, obviously. >But it really feels like someone has hit the fast-forward button three times over. >New whitewall bias ply tires showed up yesterday – they're gonna look beautiful on the car once the protective coating is cleaned off and they're mounted up on the chrome wire wheels. >Midnight cleaned up said rims over a period of three days – first out of curiosity to see how well one would come out. >Needless to say the sparkling results she got spurred her to tackle the remaining three – she did a fantastic job working over all the little spokes, getting every bit of tarnish and dust that she could. >It might be better than you could have mustered – though granted, that kind of minute work is hard on the fingers. >Not so for the mare equipped with a metal wire and small polishing cloth. >But the big deal is getting the engine back into the car. >Maybe that's why Midnight tackled the wheels so eagerly – find something else to distract her while you give the paint a few days to cure and harden. >Having removed it, you both have a good idea of what to look out for and items needing special care. >While that makes installation a bit easier, the fresh paint makes the job a bit more complex, too. >No one wants to nick up a new paintjob, even if it would probably be an area not normally seen. >And touch-up would be pretty easy... >Still, it feels like the stakes have risen a bit today as Midnight fastens a chain to the engine. >"You're not gonna get your panties in a bundle like last time, are you?" "When did we install an engine?" >Midnight sighs and completes the package by rolling her eyes. >"Roll the damn engine hoist over here so I can start unbolting the mounts." "By the way, buying panties in a bundle is cheaper than buying them individually." >"Ugh. Terrible." "I knew you'd be happy I threw that in there." >"Your definition of happy doesn't jive with the definition everyone else goes by," she laments while holding the chain aloft, wriggling it to emphasize her desire to get the ball rolling. "Hey, I can't help that everyone else is wrong," you grunt while shifting the engine hoist out of its corner. >"Alright, I'm giving up on this conversation now. I don't want the stupid that coursing through your brain right now to still be there once we're in the middle of dropping this engine in." >You get the engine hoist over to Midnight and let her place the chain on the hook before opening your mouth again. "It might be better to get it all out now, right?" >"No. You *will* use that as an excuse to be extra stupid in the future," she growls, biting her lower lip as she fights off a grin. "You're right – and I still will." >"Already figured. You need to come up with new tricks." >Midnight makes quick work of all the mounting bolts with a ratchet while you get the hoist jack positioned at the right height. >When the last bolt pops free, it's only a slight jerk that lets you know the task is truly at hand. >And with that, the jokes and silliness come to a halt, with Midnight guiding you forward to the Chrysler's waiting engine bay. >"You sure it's gonna be easier to put the headers on after the engine is in the car?" "It's a double-edged sword. Yeah, we could possibly get it in with the headers mounted, but we could run into binds and ding them up working around the transmission. Still won't be fun putting the headers in afterward, but I think I'm better off. With the exhaust studs and new hardware, it shouldn't be too terrible." >"Famous last words?" she asks with a knowing smirk. "You know it." >Much like the removal process, Midnight helps to guide the engine down into the engine bay, keeping it from swaying on the chain. >It's certainly a boon to have everything cleaned up – dust works well as camouflage when it's caked on everything.
>>17745 >Yet aside from two temporary halts to ensure clearance around the fuel lines and a bundle of wires, the engine soon finds its mounts on the frame and comes down with a gentle nudge. "You think you can get a few bolts into the motor mounts from the top?" >Midnight pokes her head into the engine bay on the passenger side, peering down into the depths where the mounts and the slots where they mount on the K-member lay, having attached the mounts to the engine beforehand >"Yeah, I don't think that will be an issue," she remarks. "I'm guessing you're gonna do some finagling with the hoist to get holes lined up?" "Nailed the plan to a tee." >You head over to the stash of parts from the Chrysler lying on shelves over by the storeroom and start poking through coffee cans, trying to find the specific bag marked as the engine mount bolts. >"So you had a plan, but didn't plan ahead for the plan?" "Hey, shut up. That's too many plans to keep track of." >"That's two plans if you really want to split hairs and separate the ideas." "Yeah, but you said three plans." >"...What?" "I dunno, I was reaching for that stupid joke. Sue me." >Of course the bolts are in the last can to be opened – and the transmission bolts are here as well, so you grab them too. >"Should have started with the last can first, huh?" she quips with a smirk as you toss her one of the bags. "You know, you're getting as bad as me with the jokes now. I need to piss and moan like you used to do," you threaten in jest while pointing. >"I'm just paying the favor back." "That's what I would be doing." >"Well go ahead then – but I reserve the right to assault you if it gets too annoying for me." >As Midnight focuses her attention on finding a hole that's lined up, you man the hoist, waiting for instructions. >"...granted there isn't a ton of room for it to move around, but that's one side started without you having to do anything," Midnight announces, strutting around you and over to the driver's side. "Hey, I've seen them be a fight. Sometimes reproduction stuff doesn't fit like it should." >As she inspects the other mount, her muzzle creases with a frown. >"Oh, you mean like this one?" "Mind if I take a look?" >She nods, shifting over while you duck under the arm of the hoist, take her former position, and rest on the fender to get a view. >Somehow, you managed to get the engine in the car cock-eyed, as one of the ears that should be inside of the K-member mounting cradle has slipped by on the outside. "I'm sort of impressed it sat down as well as it did like that – but I think you're gonna have to take that other bolt back out so I can raise the whole engine." >"Dammit, of course it was too easy," Midnight groans. "Eh, it's really not that much of a setback. Maybe another five or ten minutes, Mid," you assure her. "You know there's too much stuff to hook up and test to start the car today anyway, right?" >"A mare can dream, can't she?" A hopeful – almost desperate – smile follows that musing. "That's not a dream. It's a delusion." >Annnd there's the mild scowl you were expecting to follow. >"Fine. Did you want to try lifting up on the engine first to see if we can get it in place without bolt removal?" "Ehh... I know we aren't gonna see the back of the engine, but I'd still have to see the paint get dragged against the transmission and chipped." >"Not trying to pull teeth here, just asking before I make a move." >Midnight darts around you and through the engine hoist with fleet footwork to get back on the passenger side. In a matter of seconds, she's holding up the previously installed bolt as proof of work. >With a nod, you man the hoist again, raising the arm with just a few pumps, and in turn, the engine comes free of the mounting cradles once again. "Alright, round two. Head over to the driver's side again, since that seems to be the problem child." >A silent salute followed by a flurry of hooves back around you, and Midnight's eyes are glued to the mounts. >"Go ahead and ease it down," she instructs.
>>17746 >The engine sinks at a lethargic pace as I crack the bleeder on the jack, while Midnight shifts the engine about to get the placement dead on this time. >"Hold. This side is good, I'll check the passenger side." >On this occasion, wings unfurl and Midnight leaps up, giving those limbs a couple of good flaps to clear the car with ease before dropping to the floor and pirouetting in place. >"Hey, we're in business," she cheers as the bolt floats back down into the engine bay. "We're well on our way to getting this thing back together then. The worst part I think is going to be exhaust fabrication – tying the headers to the pipes. But I don't think that will be too bad, either." >While Midnight works on the engine mounts, you grab a light and start looking over the transmission bellhousing to engine fitment, armed with a couple of bolts stuffed into your pocket. >Looks good from what you can see – though you can't really view bolt-hole alignment. >The transmission was completely unbolted from the engine (obviously) as well as the crossmember underneath, allowing the unit to slide back a bit more and be out of the way. >The roughly half-inch gap could easily be bridged by the bolts you have... >But fishing one out of your pocket and poking it through the hole in the bellhousing, the angle isn't right – it missed the threaded hole in the engine block on the low side. >Eh, worth a try – you'll just have to back up the front of the transmission to compensate and get everything started. >Today has been one hell of a start overall. >One day closer to getting the car on the road. -----
>>17747 Happy to see more Midnight, happy to see them getting close to that car on the road. I'll be curious to see what shenanigans they get up to with it before the end. Which it does seem to be getting scary close. Midnight has always been a staple here, but if it's getting time, then that's what's gotta happen. I'm sure you'll give us a good send off. Thanks as always Auto.
>>17749 The idea of Anon and Middie going on a road trip in some shitbox that they've fixed up has been killing me all day. I don't think a mile would pass without the two of them teasing each other in some way.
(807.79 KB 810x1020 Conny Bunbun.png)
>"Just a little more annnnd..." *click* >"Done." >You watch as the chest's lock clatters to the floor. >Your companion lets out a quiet chuckle, clearly proud of herself. >"Cake, dude." >With a whistle, you crouch down beside her. "When'd you learn to do that?" >The off-color Purplesmart with the pale pink eyes looks over with a satisfied little smile. >"I've got lots of free time, dude. Looots of free time..." "Sounds like somepony wants to go to the park more often." >"Or a burger joint, or maybe a movie..." "Anywhere but here, huh?" >"Here is cool too! Just gimme a time and I'll be on the couch ready to be your chatty blanket." "Well, it *is* pretty chilly out..." >The mare shifts her weight. >"Anyways... you ever see those videos where the guy picks locks and points out their flaws or whatever?" >She turns back to the chest and begins to mess with its lid with her forehooves. >"Turns out- Mmn- This is one of the real crappy ones he harps on about all the time! Even a dumbass like me can tumble this fumble of a lock with enough fiddling. ...Magical manipulation helps, too." "To think this is the same mare who couldn't bring an eggroll to her mouth a few months prior..." "Ain't I a wonder?" >As she finally gets the lid open, her nose begins to twitch and she sneezes suddenly. >"Guh... Whatever is in here better be worth the hay fever..." "Careful, you might start whinnying any second now." >"Keep it up and I'll be sneezing on *you* next!" She punctuates this by sniffling and rubbing her nose gently with a foreleg. "Bleh..." "Oh no! Not the tiny horse germs! Whatever will I do?" >"Ah shuddup..." >With that, she turns her attention to the chest and... narrows her eyes. >"Hm." "What's the haul, Rock-a-bye-cradle?" >"It's- Wait, no, don't call me that!" >You give her a teasing smile. "Sorry Conny... Couldn't help myself." >She huffs. "Sure you couldn't..." >"So uh... How much did you spend on this thing?" "Considering the fact the seller didn't give me a key and just dumped it on the ground in the parking lot... Not much." >Conny looks back at you with a concerned look. "Jeez... Why didn't you say that earlier?! I could of got cursed or somethin'!" "Does whatever is in there look particularly cursed to you?" >"N...no? It uh..." She takes another glance into the chest. "It looks like a bunch of theater supplies." "...Theater supplies?" >Conny rummages around in the chest and pulls out a rather well preserved pair of gray rabbit ears. >Her eyes linger on them a while. >"Yeah... There's a bunch of animal masks and ears and stuff that looks a little... jesterish? Must of been for a play or something..." >"Huh, well... Suppose the chest is still good. Just got to clean it up and out and we'll set it up in your room. >"Sounds... nice." >Conny continues to hold the bunny ears with her forehooves as she lazily rummages around in the chest. "You like those things?" >"...Whuh?" "The headband." >Conny looks down at the bunny ears and turns them around in her forehooves. >"Y-Yeah? I guess? I was thinking of maybe doing something with em later..." "They seem a little too big for Smartypants." >To your surprise, Conny doesn't respond right away. >Instead, she starts to look a little... sheepish? "...Conny?" >"Don't laugh." "Don't laugh at what?" >"I've... got an idea. And I want you to take it seriously." >You raise an eyebrow. "And what would *that* be?" >Conny clears her throat. "Remember the uhm... The dress?" "Yeah, I do." >"I liked wearing it." "I know." >"And I... Wanna wear more stuff." "So...?" >She fidgets a little. >"Can we... play dress-up?" "With dusty old theater junk?" >"I- I can improvise! I bought some stuff with my allowance and uhm... I think it'd be fun." "Well... I suppose I could break out my funny hat collection." >"Oh, oh! And don't forget your camera!" "I thought you didn't like your picture taken?" >"So long as you let me take pictures of *you* in silly clothes, I don't mind looking like a total dork in yours! Sound fair?" "I can dig it."
>>17747 >The package shipping service you use for parts decided to be a pain in the ass. >While packages get delayed now and then, somehow they managed to lose five shipments of your parts destined for customers. >You were contacted by a couple of those customers, concerned that the packages hadn't shown up yet, and tracking seemed to have them fall off the face of the Earth. >Sure enough, the delivery company doesn't have a clue what happened - but they're gone. >Wonderful. >So, today has been a matter of contacting those unfortunate souls whose parts are lost to the abyss, and either making things right by refunds or getting replacements shipped out. >Fortunately no one has directed any ire or frustration toward you - that has been a welcome surprise with three down, and two more to go. >You've just been doing this downstairs at the counter with your cell phone on speaker while watching Midnight piddle with some connections and lines that still need to be hooked up in the engine bay of the Chrysler. >So far so good – she hasn't come across anything requiring your eyes or advice. >Who knows, another day or two and you might be ready to hear it run for the first time in decades. >That's a thought that comes with excitement and a bit of anxiety. >But for now, you keep your mind on the business at hand... which is the business. >You dial in the number for the next customer in question and hit the green pickup icon, listening for the funky little connection ditty before the phone begins to ring. >Midway through the third ring, you finally receive an answer. >"Hello?" "Hi, is this... Kenneth Johnson?" >As you speak, you note Midnight's head jerk up out of the engine bay, her eyes locked on you. >"Johnson?" she mumbles just loud enough to make out. >Your brow furrows as you try to understand why she suddenly cares about this. >The previous three calls, Midnight didn't bat an eye or stray from her work. "Yeah, I just go by Ken, though. Who is this?" the man on the other end of the line asks cautiously. "Hey, this is Anon from Anon's Vintage Auto Sales. You had an order with us... oh, about two weeks ago, right?" >"Oh yeah, sorry. Couple of chrome VW wheel center caps and a shifter knob. I noticed it hadn't moved in shipment for a while..." >Midnight plods toward the counter where you are, her ears perked up and at full attention to the ongoing conversation. >You continue giving her a funny look as if she's lost her marbles – but she doesn't take notice. "The wonderful package delivery service decided it would be fun to play hide and seek with your package – and unfortunately – they contacted me and said they don't know where it is." >"Aw, man..." "Yeah, I'm sorry. But that's why I am calling, I—" >Midnight rears up and plants her hooves on the counter, staring down at the phone. >What the hell is with her all of a sudden? "—I... was wondering what you wanted to do going forward," you continue awkwardly. "If you want, I can just refund you, or I can see if I have enough parts to still fulfill your order." >"I still want the parts since I don't want new – how long till you know what you have and can fulfill it?" >"That's him... that has to be him." Midnight mutters, looking up at you with wide eyes. >"Uh... I didn't quite catch that," the guy on the other end of the line answers. "Sorry, my help is asking me something, can I have a sec?" >"Sure, you just want to call back or..." "Uh – yeah, I'll call you back this evening. I plan on going out and checking for parts this afternoon, so I'll have an answer for you yet today." >"Okay, sounds good. Thank you very much." "No problem, take care." >You tap the hangup button and watch it say 'call ended' before glancing back up at Midnight, feeling frustrated. "Mid, what the hell are you doing? I don't need help looking like a dumbass, you know that." >"Anon, that's HIM!" she shouts, stomping a hoof down on the counter. "Who is he supposed to be, aside from our customer?" >"Johnson." >... >You're drawing a blank.
>>17781 >Midnight senses it and leans closer to you. >"The man that worked with me while in the lab. The one that was actually somewhat nice to me – the part of his name I remember. Johnson," she explains. >Your mind races back to when Starla stayed at your place – one of the first instances Midnight started fighting with flashbacks. >This particular one she mentioned remembering that man – and was curious whether he had a hand in her escape from the lab... >... to the point she considered scouting out the lab for him, or something like that. >It was a terrible idea – you and Starla vehemently rejected the idea and talked her out of it. >Nothing was said about it after that. >Until today, hearing the name. >The last name of this individual. "Middie, Johnson is a very common surname. I guarantee if you went and looked through a local phone book, you could come up with thirty or more people." >"It isn't just the name. It's his voice – I recognize it," she counters with a hint of disappointment. "A voice on the phone and a voice in real life can sound a bit different," I argue, starting to get a bit uneasy with her sudden fanaticism about this. "Speaker phone is just going to distort it that much m—" >"Anonymous," Midnight interrupts in a stern voice as she glances over to your right. "Grab the paperwork for his order." "Why?" >"Is the address near here?" >... that's not a bad idea in order to ease her mind. >You grab the handful of papers that denote the orders lost in transit and sift through them again, having just copied the phone numbers down on a pad of paper to call later. >You find the one for Kenneth Johnson and look over the shipping address... >"It's in this state, isn't it?" >Midnight isn't wrong – and you doubt she glanced through the two sheets of paper that were lying on top of it in these few seconds. >His address – a residential address – is maybe a half hour to an hour from here. >You're still not convinced. >And even if she is right – what does it matter? "What are we looking for here, Midnight? I don't know – you have to explain it to me," you tell her in a calm voice. "I want to know... I want to know if he had a hand in me getting out of there," she starts, pausing for a moment as her eyes fall back to the now-dark phone. "I want to know if what happened to me – I want to know if what I went through was really as miserable as I remember. I want to know if my head is making things worse than they ever really were." "What do you think that's going to actually accomplish?" >Midnight drops back to the floor, looking deflated. >"Truth be told, I don't really know. I guess it all still bothers me. I'm just looking for some kind of closure on it. Just some answers that I don't have," she laments. "Maybe it won't do anything, maybe it will hurt more than it helps. But I guess I'd like to know if I'm haunting myself with these memories that are blown out of proportion, or if I just still haven't quite gotten past it all. And I'd like to know – I'd like to apologize to him because I treated him like shit. And he still seemed to actually give a shit about me. From what I remember." >Midnight... doesn't make a lot of sense. >It sounds like she doesn't think her explanation makes sense. >But she feels strongly about it nonetheless. >Maybe it's just a thing of... confronting the past? >Sort of? >You don't like the idea – obviously, there's a ton of risk in having Midnight talking to someone that night and still being involved with that lab. >It's... >You don't know what to do. >Right now, you don't have any reason to come up with action here. >You have another call to make. >And then you have to scrounge for parts. >That's the priority. >... >You can keep telling yourself that. >It doesn't make it true. "Midnight, do you really think— if this really is the guy, how... look, I want to help any way I can, but I don't want you hurt or in danger, either. So do you at least understand why I'm nervous?" >Midnight, who had been shuffling back toward the Chrysler to work, turn
>>17782 >"I do. It makes me uneasy, too," she admits somewhat shamefully. "I don't think I'll ever fully be satisfied with my past and maybe I'll always have questions and memories that bother me from time to time. But I guess if there's any other way to try to close that door for good – it's talking with someone that was there. Coming to terms and acknowledging I went through hell before... before getting to heaven, I guess." >Midnight finishes that statement looking a bit embarrassed, but with an honest heartfelt smile. >That was... "You know, you always say I'm lame, but that last bit was pretty corny," you say, pointing at her. >"Picked it up from you, dumbass," she retorts, sticking her tongue out. >Perhaps none of this matters anyway – there's still no telling this is the guy Midnight thinks it is. >But... >An idea pops into your head. >A stupid one, but it could end things here and now. >You're almost certain you still have a pair of hubcaps... >You pick up the phone and hit callback. >"Hello?" "Hey, sorry to bother you so soon – this is Anon again. I can tell you I just found some hubcaps for you, so at the very least, you'll have those." >"Oh, that's great!" "I thought you might like to hear that. But while I'm on the phone again, my secretary was nagging me – she said she thinks she recognizes your name and voice and she just is dying to sate her curiosity... you didn't happen to work at a factory around here, did you...?" -----

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