The skies over Neighpon were crystal blue, almost too perfect to be real. Colorful pegasi in pointy costumes zipped across the sky: patrolling, but not finding monsters, weird or otherwise.
When they passed over a certain valley, their ears turned, and they soared as if finding thermals over the small natural amphitheater.
They pirouetted, in pairs or alone, keeping still and quiet in their meditative flight, so they could listen.
Far below, Octavia didn’t pay any attention to them. She didn’t even see the exquisite valley before her. She was practicing, with perhaps a little bit of composing… and her bow coaxed out the sounds of sweet loneliness and yearning, for she missed her Stout Heart. He was her companion, as well as her libido.
And she was Octavia, so without a second thought she labored for minutes that stretched into hours and turned even her most intimate feelings into the grist for performance.
She was Octavia, so she was the music… and the music demanded to speak.
Overhead, some of the silently circling pegasi dripped teardrops, which she mistook for impending rain.
A comfortable trot away, Big Macintosh and Vinyl Scratch rested on a hillside, watching the distant pegasi circle.
“They like that,” said Vinyl. “They’re sentimental. Maybe it’s a part of them being so fierce.”
“Eyup,” said Big Macintosh.
“You wouldn’t think so. When I was a little filly, I saw two of ‘em fight an aerial duel. You never saw so many Kirin in your whole life. These two, they had some kinda dispute about territory, or a stallion, or territory AND a stallion, and they wouldn’t make nice. They did one pass, top speed. Neither of them swerved, and they both got crippled when they hit. It was gross, all feathers fluttering down, and, um, a body part…”
“Mares?” said Big Macintosh curiously.
“Nah, they were both stallions. Sometimes it’s worse when the gay stallions fight. They can be really ruthless.”
Big Macintosh winced, a shadow darkening his face.
“Anyway,” said Vinyl, “the Kirin were right there. Neither of ‘em died, and it was the weirdest thing: they seemed to relax after that. It was like they turned a page on their old lives. Which of course they did, they stopped being warriors ‘cos they stopped having working wings. The Kirin were kind of pissed off about it, at least the younger ones. The older Kirin seemed to take it in stride?”
“…Eyup,” confirmed Big Macintosh, distracted.
“Anyway it’s all part of how they are,” said Vinyl. “Romantics. I’m not surprised at our pegasi hanging around Tavi to listen to her music.”
“Instead, I’m surprised at you,” said Vinyl Scratch.
Big Macintosh jolted. He glanced at her in alarm, but the famous DJ wasn’t even looking at him, and didn’t react.
“Did Ah do somethin’ wrong, ma’am?” asked Big Macintosh. “Ah don’t mean no offense. Ah don’t know y’alls Neighponny ways. And what I did see, uh, uh, well it’s a caution.”
“It’s not that,” said Scratch, gazing into the sky.
A quick flick of the eyes behind the rosy shades. “What’s bothering you, Big Macintosh?”
Big Macintosh pouted. “Dunno what you’re talkin’ about.”
“Hey, remember who I’m roomies with,” said Scratch. “When Octavia doesn’t want to talk, she’s a wall. You might also remember what I do for a living.”
Big Macintosh’s ears quirked. “Loud thumpin’ music tells ya what’s botherin’ ponies?”
That got him a glare. “I can tell by how you move,” said Scratch. “We’re riding in a cart behind you, and moving the cart’s your job every day. I can see your gait, and the way you look around at stuff. You’ve been really excited, and I get that: it’s a beautiful country. But you’re getting worried. I want to know why.”
Big Macintosh stared at her for a while, unhurriedly. “Ma’am…”
“I knew it! Out with it, come on.”
“Ma’am… mah family don’t talk about their feelin’s either. Jes so’s you know.”
“Well, we’re miles and miles away from them, so now’s your chance…”
“Ah’ll tell you mine if you tell me your’n,” said Big Macintosh. “Ain’t fair to be pickin’ on just me.”
Scratch blinked. She lowered her shades, peered over them. “What?”
“You’re ridin’ me so hard on account of you’re avoidin’ somethin’ your own self,” said Big Macintosh. “You been ridin’ Octavia too, for the last couple days. I reckon we both would surely like to know what crawled up your… uhh, I mean, we’d sure like to know what’s th’ matter.”
The ruby eyes were wide and hurt… but then, rather than going tearful, they suddenly scrunched closed and Scratch made a face. “Shit,” she said.
“Sorry,” said Big Macintosh. “Anyways, Ah’ll tell you mine if you fess up. Uhh… I guess I nailed it? It’s that or you just turned mean, and I honestly cain’t see that in ya.”
“Yeah, thanks,” said Scratch grumpily. “No, seriously, I do mean it, and it’s good that you said so. Tavi always lets me go sour for a while and she really shouldn’t, she’s way too nice sometimes. I… guess I can tell you. It’s kind of personal and business combined, and I… listen, you go first. Okay? I don’t think you could possibly understand what I gotta do when we reach Chuo-sho province, so you have to give me time to explain it. To somepony who’s not in show business, that is. I mean, you are but you aren’t, you don’t have the same responsibilities. Not that mine is exactly a respons… yeah, give me time to think, okay? I have to frame this in a way that’ll make sense to you.”
Big Macintosh blinked. “You figure I ain’t smart enough? That’s not nice, Vinyl Scratch.”
“No, it’s me. Being not smart but way too fuckin’ ambitious… seriously, can you go first? I promise I won’t take it out on you guys anymore.”
“It ain’t that bad,” reassured Big Macintosh. “Remember Ah’m used to gettin’ bossed by mares, it don’t bother me. Jes’ seemed unusual, comin’ from you.”
“I wasn’t that bad?” asked Vinyl Scratch.
“Thanks, I’m glad of that. You might have caught me before I made Octavia unhappy, and if so I really owe ya one. Consider these well-tuned ears all yours, for the purposes of listening to your troubles. I’m not sure what could be troubling you since you’re travelling through beautiful Neighpon while fucking random mares at nearly every stop… a lot of stallions would consider that the best vacation ever, so it’s unsettling to see you worried and restless. Are you afraid they’re gonna come after you?”
“I never worried that before,” said Big Macintosh. “Should I be?”
“Nah. Even less than in Ponyville. The Kirin take care of all that. And traveling musicians are a little like warriors… we’re supposed to be wild and free and screwing the townsponies.”
“You ain’t,” said Big Macintosh.
Scratch winced. “Not yet. I told you, you first. What’s going on? I promise I’ll explain my thing, it’s just… complicated.”
Big Macintosh sighed. “Yeah. So’s mine, I reckon. Ah’m in love, Miss Vinyl Scratch. An’ she’s in love with me… but I got to find her, and that ain’t easy.”
Scratch blinked. “Find her? Here? Since when did you meet a Neighponnese pony?”
Big Macintosh’s pout was hurt, truculent. Vinyl Scratch gawked, uncomprehending, and then her eyes widened in realization…
Braeburn skulked through the long grass like a snake, barely making a sound. If he stuck to the less garden-y areas, he reckoned, he was in with a chance. He was certain he’d heard Big Macintosh, Vinyl Scratch and Octavia talking about how they would head for the capital up North. So long as he got there without encountering any more of them ninja pegasus ponies, he’d…
Before even thinking, Braeburn had reacted. He pounced, pinning down the unexpected shrieking obstacle in his path, gagging the critter with a firm hoof so it couldn’t scream out and call the pegasuses. And then he looked, to see what sort of captive he had.
And didn’t it just have to be an adorable Neighponnese earth pony mare?
“Ah don’t wanna hurt you,” he muttered into her pinned-back, terrified ear. “You were jes’ in the wrong place at th’ wrong time. First, you’re gonna be quiet. Nod if ya understand me.”
She nodded, frantically.
“What th’ buck are you doin’ out here sneakin’ around in the long grass, anyhoof?”
“Mmph,” she replied, apologetically.
Braeburn rolled his eyes. “All righty then. Next lesson: when ya do talk, talk quiet-like. I’mma turn your head around a lil’, look me in the eyes and nod if you underst… sweet Celestia!”
Part of that had gone well. She’d turned her head around as he wished, and there was no sign of trouble there. She’d looked him in the eyes and even nodded… but that turned out to be more than he’d bargained for.
The mysterious grass-sneaking mare was herself the color of grass, with a very short-cropped blonde mane, and had lovely coppery-gold eyes. But they were slitted, like those of a snake.
Braeburn froze. His gaze crept lower to where the back of his hoof still covered her mouth, his fetlocks muffling her sounds.
“Do ya got fangs?” was all he could think to say.
Tears instantly filled those creepy eyes, and she shook her head fiercely. Braeburn thought he could feel her lower lip quivering against his fetlock. He sighed.
“Okay, I’m gonna let go, and we’re gonna talk more nicely. Might not be my smartest decision, but please don’t cry, that’s all I’m sayin’, ma’am.”
He released her. She continued staring at him, transfixed, taking in his scruffy cowpony visage, the signs of strain and weariness, the dark circles under his eyes. Braeburn, in turn, studied her. Those eyes were something else, but in every other respect she seemed… no, there was something about the skin. He couldn’t feel it with his hoof or fetlock, but he could see it: her coat was odd, too. And her mane didn’t seem to extend down her neck in the usual way… and she was awful slender, and though her rump looked basically ponylike in the manner of some of the high-fashion Canterlot unicorns, Braeburn thought he could see a difference in her tail, as well. It wasn’t quite a Kirin tail, but it was bare up at the dock, as if taking that fashion trend for wrapping up the dock and going a step further, to actual depilation.
Braeburn realized she was still staring at him submissively, even though his jaw had dropped in astonishment. Of course, he was a pretty formidable-looking character after days of brush-sneaking and foraging, and he’d certainly jumped her and covered her mouth while pinning her down: there wasn’t much more he could to do be dominant short of nipping her butt.
And that might or might not be a sensible tactic, he thought.
“What are you?” he asked.
Those coppery-gold eyes filled with tears again. She gulped.
“I’m a little pony.”
“You’re a little SCARY,” corrected Braeburn, and then his ears laid back, hard. The strange little cutie’s face twisted, and she heaved a deep breath and released it in a bawl of miserable woe.
She got out about half a second of “WAAAA…” and then it was converted firmly to ‘mph!’ and Braeburn had covered her mouth again. The difference was, this time he was frantically cuddling and petting her at the same time.
“No, baby, no, Ah’m sorry, don’t cry, especially don’t cry so dang loud, okay?” stammered Braeburn. “I won’t say that no more, I promise, deep breaths, all right cutie?” He stroked her, nuzzled her neck, pleaded. “It’s all gonna be okay, if you jes holy Princess patooties what the hay is up with your skin?”
That didn’t help at all. Braeburn continued to hold her and keep her quiet, while he thought over the trajectory of his overtures.
“Naw,” he said. “It’s beautiful skin, ma’am. Soft as any pony I ever met, and you know them teeny teeny tiny light green scales, it’s real perty.”
She wriggled, not so much to escape as just a heave of tragic dismay in Braeburn’s grip. Her elegant little muscles played under the silky-soft but distinctly scaly hide. Braeburn was reminded of a fish, except those were cold and she was warm… well, not really as warm as one would expect, if he was honest, but all the same she was a heck of a lot warmer than a fish. Cool-blooded?
He looked her in those eyes, as a tear dripped down her face.
“Okay, you’re a pony,” he said. “You’ll forgive me for sayin’ you’re a special kind of pony, but if that’s how you want it, m’lady, pony you are. Happens I’m a pony myself. A pony on a mission. And we got a lil’ problem, ‘cos now you know I’m here. Can I let you go without you cryin’ and bellerin’?”
She looked puzzled, but all the same she nodded, and Braeburn released his muffling fetlock once more.
“What is ‘bellering’?” asked his captive, wrinkling her brow in thought.
“Jes’ don’t do it no more. Who are you?” asked Braeburn.
She wiped tears with the back of a hoof. Braeburn saw there were no fetlocks on her, just more of that mysterious scale right down to her hooves, almost right to the edge.
“I am Subrii,” she said. “Please don’t say mean things? I really am a little pony. I come from a village around here. Our Kirin went through sort of a phase, with us…”
“An’ started foolin’ around with your eyes and such?”
She gave him a tearful glare. “No! It was my Mom fooling around. Lots of the maress did. I’m still a little pony. The Kirin will scold you for hurting my feelings!”
Then, she gasped. Braeburn’s eyes burned, pinned her to the spot as surely as when he grabbed her.
“That cain’t happen,” he said, with a chill in his voice, a dangerous cool. “We gonna have a lil’ conversation about that lil’ idea there.”
Subrii quivered. She’d never seen anypony be so sexy and dominant without even moving a muscle. “I’m sorry!” she squeaked. “I’ll tell them not to sscold you!”
“You stay right there!”
“I’m sorry! I will! Are you leaving? I’ll wait!”
Braeburn facehoofed, but only for a moment, and without obscuring his sharp gaze. “Ah’m going to explain a few things. I reckon it’s time I asked a few things too, Miss Pony. Firstly, what are you doin’ sneaking around in the long grass?”
She gulped. “I’m Subrii, I told you. I’m not just any pony, though thank you for ssaying that much, I’m a nice pony and I have a name…”
Subrii let out a little squee. Braeburn’s eyes had narrowed. Somehow, he’d managed to send an erotic jolt through her from just that. She instantly ceased that line of argument, and meekly answered. “I like the long grass.”
“Open your mouth,” said Braeburn.
Subrii did, squeezing her eyes shut, wiping another tear. There was a pause of just a moment.
“Thankee,” said Braeburn, his tone more gentle. He cleared his throat. “You weren’t foolin’, there ain’t no… f-thingys in there, jes’ ordinary pony teeth.”
Subrii sniffled. “I’m a pony. I told you sso.”
Braeburn’s gaze was wry, even amused. “Yeah you did. But between that speech impediment, and that tongue, you got some explainin’ to do, all the same.”
Her eyes flew wide. “What’s the matter with my tongue?”
“Stick it all th’ way out, missy.”
Subrii shut her mouth tight, blushing, her delicate little scales ruffling up on her cheekbones. Her lower lip quivered.
“That’s jes’ my guesswork, Subrii,” said Braeburn, “but anypony can see it’s pointy. I’ll give you one thing, though, I was expectin’ it was forked. You got that goin’ for you.”
She pouted, not meeting his eyes. She glanced up, sulky.
“Thank you for using my name,” she said, sticking out her lower lip in maximum adorableness. “I am sso a pony. So there.”
“You’re a snake-pony,” said Braeburn. “Never saw anythin’ like you.”
For a moment, Subrii’s eyes widened. Her lip quivered, but then outrage won out. Rather than cry and wail, she stuck her tongue out at him.
It was Braeburn’s turn to eye-widen. She was more than a hoof’s length away from his muzzle, but all the same, she’d glared at him and tickled the tip of his muzzle with her tongue. He’d guessed right.
Immediately, he moved another hoof-length away. “Do that again!”
She made a face and glared more, clamping her mouth tight shut. “Mm-mm!”
Braeburn took off his battered hat. “If you knew, if you had any idea how many mares would love your lil’ snakey butt forever the instant they saw that…”
Subrii glowered. “Sso what? I already know that. I like males.”
“Well then, how many times kin you wrap it around a…”
“I wish they wouldn’t get that idea,” complained Subrii. “What fun is that?”
“Depends,” teased Braeburn, “on who ya asssssk.”
She stared at him. He smirked at her. A matching expression began to quirk the corner of her mouth.
Braeburn tenderly booped her nose with his hoof. “Gotcha.”
Subrii giggled. “So now that you know my ssecrets, what is your name? That’s only fair. Mean teasing sstallion.”
Braeburn gave her a look. “We ain’t done, Subrii. You like the long grass, you said. Ah kin see that. But why? What are you doin’ in the long grass, slinkie-pie?”
“I told you! I like it. I roam far and wide.”
Subrii cowered, a bit. She couldn’t get used to the mood-flips of this wild stallion. It wasn’t that he randomly had fits of rage… it was that she’d given the wrong answer. He’d flipped from seductive and flirty, to cold and grim, and she could hardly bear it.
“Subrii, are you a spy for the Kirin?”
Her lip quivered madly, and then she was clinging to him, sobbing, trying to explain.
“I’m ssorry! Not really! I only wanted to be like the pegasssusses, you know? I just want to matter! There isn’t a place for me, not outsside my village! The Kirin do their besst, my village is kind, what is sso wrong with me wanting to help the Kirin, finding monsterss and invaderss and guiding them to help? I’m not a pegassuss, I can’t fight like them, I only wanted to matter and to help all the poniesss…”
“Whoa there,” said Braeburn, and his voice was gentle again. He was cuddling her back. She blinked away tears, looked up, those spooky slitted eyes dilating until they looked almost like those of any distressed mare.
“All that’s fine, honey,” said Braeburn. “You’re a sweet girl.” He nuzzled her neck. “An’ the most unique cutie I ever did see, what’s more. Deep breath. It’s gonna be okay.”
Dutifully, Subrii took a deep breath. She trembled, delicately. “Sso when I bring you to our nice Kirin…”
“Nope,” said Braeburn gently.
Her ears laid back. “But… you’re a strange foreign pony. And I found you ssneaking. And it will be fine, they will know what to do…”
“Ah know what to do,” said Braeburn.
Subrii blinked at him, so off balance she couldn’t even ask anything else. She gazed up, wide-eyed, and Braeburn’s eyes held her fast as he spoke.
“Subrii, I’m here on a mission. I ain’t staying… least I don’t think I am. I may have to. I’ve lost love, Subrii, and I can’t stand it, and so long as I live I must cross the hills and valleys of this derned pretty country and seek my love. You won’t see me again… but one way or another, you’re gonna let me go, and I will continue my quest. It’s kind of a relief to tell somepony this. Never told nopony before, Ah jes’ went. Din’t let nopony stop me… an’ you won’t stop me either. So I’m afraid you won’t be bringin’ me to your nice Kirin. I got other plans.”
She sank into his burning, glistening eyes, her dainty mouth hanging open in awe. She quivered. She gulped.
“I love the Kirin. I’m sure they will understand…”
“Can’t be riskin’ that,” said Braeburn, his eyes grim and sad.
Subrii gulped, her heart giving a lurch. He was so romantic and dangerous and sexy, and dangerous, and oh yes–dangerous.
“Are you going to hurt me?” she asked, in a fillyish little voice.
Braeburn winced. Just for an instant, his eyes were squeezed shut in pain. Then, that burning gaze was back, sadder than ever.
“Ma’am, that ain’t my way. As Celestia is my witness, I should be able to put you out of commission for long enough, without doin’ you no harm. I realize this is a strong claim, but to me it’s worth the trouble.”
Subrii gasped. “You are going to tie me up? Or imprisson me?”
The eyes twinkled, in spite of their sadness.
“Naw,” said Braeburn. “I reckon I kin jes’ fuck you real nice, like th’ sweetie-snakepony you are, and keep on a-fuckin’ until you can’t walk no more. Then, I get away, you ain’t hurt, an’ I’ve made it worth your while.”
Subrii’s jaw dropped.
“On second thought,” said Braeburn contemplatively, “that won’t be enough, will it?”
“It won’t?” squeaked Subrii, her heart pounding.
The twinkle became a leer, a randy cowpony leer that left nothing to the imagination.
“Nope,” said Braeburn. “Obv’sly I cain’t leave off there. Ah will just have to keep makin’ more sweet love on and on and ON, until you can’t even slither. Stands to reason, don’t it?”
She stared, dumbfounded.
Braeburn tipped his hat, and winked from under his scraggly russet outlaw mane.
“Will that do?” he said.
Subrii’s eyes dilated wildly, and she felt herself grinning a manic, giddy, crazy grin…
“Are you joking?” said Vinyl Scratch.
Big Macintosh immediately turned away, wouldn’t speak to her.
“No, seriously,” said Scratch, “am I reading too much into that? Maybe I missed something, you met somepony along the way after one of our gigs and…”
“Eenope,” grumbled Big Macintosh. His lip quivered at the unfairness of it all… but then he felt something. A gentle hoof, across his shoulder, trying to coax him into turning back.
“Please, talk to me,” said Scratch. “We’re on the same team here.”
“Also I’m your boss,” added Scratch, “and I thought I was your friend. Please?”
He relented. Big Macintosh turned, looking suspiciously at her, waiting. Vinyl Scratch gulped.
“Okay,” she said. “I’m gonna restate things, tell me if I’m getting it wrong. You’re in love with somepony, who’s in love with you, and that’s why you’re here. Is that going too far?”
Big Macintosh thought. “Ah do also want to help you. Wouldn’t want you an’ Octavia pullin’ the cart, it might make you too tired for playin’ the music.”
“That’s a relief,” said Scratch. “You know I have to think of that when things get weird… oh come on!”
Big Macintosh had turned away again, but he relented and looked apologetic. Scratch rallied, gathering her wits.
“Okay, okay, nothing weird here. Giant foreign horses in love with Neighponnese are… well, actually, that’s far from unusual. So you fell in love, and we’re gonna see you reunited with your long-lost beloved.”
Big Macintosh nodded, his eyes guarded.
“And the one you fell in love with… and believe me, I can understand this part, you know I can… is… it’s Hina-rin. I know you were with her when she visited Ponyville. I heard about it. You fell in love with her.”
Big Macintosh’s lip quivered.
“I get that,” urged Vinyl Scratch. “Think about it. I told you my story, remember? I think I understand how you feel. Please believe me, I get it. Who else around here is gonna understand, better’n me?”
Big Macintosh heaved a deep sigh, and hung his head. “Eyup.”
“It’s just that… look, she belongs to Neighpon—eep!”
Vinyl jumped back, for Big Macintosh had suddenly glared at her.
“Oh fuck,” said Scratch. “Um… I didn’t mean to offend you. Uh… maybe I better stick to my side of the street, huh? I told you about that guy, that I wasn’t able to feed. I fell really hard for him. But they, I mean he, I mean… kinda not fixating on any one pony…”
“She does love me,” said Big Macintosh. “Got to. She don’t have to leave her home now. Ah will go to her.”
“I’m not saying she doesn’t love you, I’m saying that you don’t understand the way Kirin think, it’s totally real love and probably better than anything we ponies can do but you know it’s just not the same kind of…”
“Oh fuck!” squeaked Scratch, her glasses askew, her eyes frightened behind them. “Okay okay okay, we’ll drop that! Um. I really do know how you feel. Umm… kind of getting flashbacks to all that, this is going to be lots of fun getting to sleep tonight now that you’ve made it all fresh and alive for me again…”
Big Macintosh drooped. “Did Ah do that?”
“I told you, I know exactly how you feel,” said Scratch. “I’ve been there. I’m trying to tell you… you know what, never mind what I’m trying to tell you. Let’s talk about something else. Maybe you can tell Octavia. She’ll think it’s the most romantic thing ever.”
“I never said it wasn’t,” sighed Vinyl Scratch sadly. “Hey, listen: as long as you’re not trying to get me to hook up with MY big Kirin crush…”
“Ain’t no CRUSH!”
“Take it easy!” snapped Scratch, looking flustered. “I’m still your boss, you know! I am seriously not gonna walk on eggshells and watch every little word around you. Do I have to be your cheering section? Knowing what you know about me, knowing about what happened between me and a Kirin? Damn it, Big Macintosh! You can think what you want, but there’s a limit to how much I’m gonna let you fuck with MY head this way…”
“Ah’m sorry!” blurted Big Macintosh. “Ah’m sorry. Seriously. Don’t mean to cause you distress, Miss Scratch.”
Vinyl glared at him. “I ought to say, it’s Miss Pon-3 to you. Dick!”
“Ah’m sorry,” repeated Big Macintosh. “You’re right, Ah see it now. I’ll be good. Won’t bother you with it no more.”
Vinyl sighed. She sat for a moment, then she scooted over and hugged him. “Still Scratch. To you. Thanks for making an effort, big guy.”
“Or maybe Scratchie, like with Miss Octavia?”
“Don’t fuckin’ push it,” warned Vinyl, and Big Macintosh desisted.
They sat in peace, listening to Octavia’s practicing.
“Do you think she heard us?” asked Big Macintosh, his ears quirking towards the continuing music.
Scratch snorted. “Not likely. She’s in the zone. On another day I might go over and break the trance, so she doesn’t tire herself out and be over-rehearsed for the next performance.”
“Ain’t gonna do that, though?”
“If it’s okay with you I’d rather not have her get off and running with this. Not right now. Maybe after the next gig?” said Scratch. “That’s the last thing I need right now.”
Big Macintosh’s brow wrinkled. “Hmm.” He brightened. “Miss Scratch, are you scared you’re gonna see this Kirin at the next gig?”
The response he got was a dark little chuckle.
“It might be easier,” she said. “I promised I’d fess up. You know I’m a pretty good lay, right? I mean, not among us, but at after-parties and stuff?”
Big Macintosh nodded. “Eyup. So am I. Er-hem! So they say, anyhoof.”
Scratch turned an intelligent eye on him. “Yeah, I daresay, especially if you’ve learned some technique. It would explain a lot of things, actually, like how you think you can… It would explain a lot.”
“Ah got trained by Br… I got trained by th’ best,” said Big Macintosh, a fretful look crossing his face.
“Well, usually I use my powers for good, but sometimes I… let’s call it, I use my powers for probably-good,” said Scratch uncomfortably.
“How ya figure?” blinked Big Macintosh.
“You know,” said Scratch. “Good for something? Like… good for making connections? Using them on somepony who’s not what you call close to me?”
Big Macintosh blinked again. “Ma’am, I’ve served at stud for a buncha different mares. You mean different than that? Ah can’t claim to be the special cuddle-bug of Princess Luna, but Ah helped her foal all th’ same.”
Vinyl winced. “Yeah, probably hard to make you understand this part. It’s not the same for stallions. I’ll just say it. There’s this very powerful agent. He’s probably going to be at the next concert. I’m going to be playing for him. And then, later…”
Big Macintosh’s eyes widened. “You reckon he’s gonna take advantage of you? Miss Scratch, Ah know I weren’t hired for nothin’ like that, but if you need a bodyguard…”
“No!” protested Scratch. “You don’t get it. I’m going to be playing at him. And I’m gonna do my best to seduce him. And I’m gonna fuck the daylights out of him, give him the works.”
“Two things, okay?”
“Eyup,” said Big Macintosh, and waited for them.
“One,” said Scratch, “I don’t like him. Not that much, anyway. I’m faking. I can do all the physical stuff, but I’m going to be pretending I like it. It’s not dangerous, but it’s yucky.”
“Kirin don’t like it,” explained Scratch. “It’s not honest. In this case it’s not going to do any harm, except to me, because if I do that I feel dirty. He’s not going to be harmed.”
“How can you be so sure?” asked Big Macintosh. “Sounds like you know this feller.”
“That’s thing two,” said Scratch. “That’s why I’m really scared. This dude is jaded. He’s a powerful promoter, and he’s damn good at it. The Kirin respect him and his skills. He’s not running around demanding sex or pressuring mares, either, get that straight. I’ll be playing at him because it’s hard to get his attention, and he doesn’t give a shit about me.”
Big Macintosh studied Vinyl. Her lower lip was pouting, her expression was grumpy and unhappy, and she did look scared and sad.
“Beggin’ your pardon,” he said, “but if he don’t give a fuck about us, and you don’t like him, why are ya even worried? Why don’t ya just leave him alone?”
Scratch sulked. “Tens of thousands of bits worth of bookings. If he’s more fond of me and likes what I do. I think he’ll like the show.”
“That ain’t enough?”
“I want to be sure,” said Scratch.
Big Macintosh leaned over, and hugged her. “Miss Scratch?”
“Ah don’t rightly see how you’re doin’ this fella any harm. Do you think it is trickin’ him or foolin’ him? To try and fuck him, jes’ to be remembered?”
Scratch let out a raucous laugh. “Hah! Not likely. This guy, he’s seen it all. That’s one of the things I don’t like, he’s going to be sure I’m just trying to bed him in order to get bookings.”
“But… you are.”
Vinyl paused, looking off toward where Octavia was practicing.
“Yeah. I am,” she said.
Big Macintosh followed her gaze. “Wait, Ah get it! It ain’t jes’ you that you’re doin’ this for. You’re lookin’ to get Octavia some attention?”
Scratch nodded. “Bigtime. How can I fail her when this is her big break?”
“Why don’t you ask Octavia to go romp with him?” suggested Big Macintosh. “Maybe he’d like it.”
“No way,” said Scratch. “He’d go to a fancy dress party with Octavia. I told you, he doesn’t prey on artists. He won’t be going after me, either, unless I make it really obvious I want that. If I’m just a total slutty-corn, he might lower himself enough to fuck me, and not be ashamed of it. It would be my doing, that way.” She pouted.
Big Macintosh thought about that. “Huh. It’s kind of like…”
“Ah been trying to practice on unicorns,” admitted Big Macintosh. “So’s I get good at it, that is.”
“Well, not on me,” began Scratch, but then her eyes widened. “Wait a minute! I remember at that one town, what I saw of the Kirin. They were real plump. And later, out by the lake, there were these fireworks… Big Macintosh, are you trying to learn how to get unicorns off extra hard? Specifically so you can go find Hina-rin and, uh, sit around feeding her?”
“Eyup,” said Big Macintosh, blushing.
Scratch’s face was a study in conflicting emotions. “Okay, that’s a new one. I mean, it would sort of work. I don’t know how relevant that even is…”
“No, listen,” said Big Macintosh. “Is that so different?”
Scratch gawked. “I’m not following you, big guy.”
“Ah mean,” said Big Macintosh, “it’s all the same, ain’t it? All you’re lookin’ to do is another performance. First you’re performin’ on them decks, and then you’re findin’ this guy, this powerful important guy, and you’re fixin’ to perform on him too. Ah know from you an’ Octavia talkin’, you practice this kinda performance. You’re proud of bein’ good at it. Well, Miss Scratch, so am I. Ah’m good at that kinda performin’. What is so wrong with that? Ain’t it just generous?”
Scratch stared at him.
“You’re worried you ain’t measurin’ up to this fella,” continued Big Macintosh. “Ah’m worried that since I ain’t no unicorn, it’ll be hard between me an’ Hina, and I want to measure up by bringin’ her unicorns to, uh, to milk? Somethin’ like that. I din’t realize you had similar worries, Miss Scratch. But I don’t see no harm in you performin’ all sorts of ways, and why is it any different? You don’t go out and kiss everypony in your audience.”
Scratch’s ears were back, but not distressed so much as disconcerted. “Actually, there were a few times in Fillydelphia…”
“Ah know Fillydelphia!” replied Big Macintosh. “Ah have put on some mighty pow’ful penis performances in Fillydelphia! This ain’t Fillydelphia, Miss Scratch. You gonna let that stop you?”
Vinyl Scratch began to grin. “Heh. Fuck no, it won’t. I think you’re right. One thing I know is, I’m not harming this dude. He might like me, he might not. Hard to impress, this guy. But there’s no reason to think he’ll be offended at me trying.”
“Okay,” grinned Scratch. “You’ve convinced me. Let’s both go out there and fuck like champions. Not each other!” she added, hastily. “Our adoring public. I’ll do my best with this guy, might even be kind of fun. And you, you can go find a unicorn. There’s got to be plenty of nice Neighponnese unicorns you can get sexy with.”
“Will do,” said Big Macintosh. “And not before my reg’lar work is done!”
“Right,” said Scratch. “Practice milking unicorns.” She made a face. “But not me, for several reasons! As you know.”
“It’s all right, Miss Scratch,” said Big Macintosh.
She hugged him, glanced around to see nopony was there to overhear, and whispered, “You’ve earned ‘Scratchie’. For this pep-talk.”
“Gosh,” said Big Macintosh. “Ah did?”
“Unless you piss me off!”
Big Macintosh gulped.
Scratch snickered. “Don’t look so tragic. Octavia gets the same deal. Tell you what… tonight, pick out a nice unicorn mare at the concert. Then go back to her place and screw her senseless. We’ll see how our luck is going. Tell me if it goes awesome, maybe it will be a sign.”
“All right… Scratchie,” said Big Macintosh.
Braeburn ran his hungry hooves over his eagerly willing conquest. Subrii had surrendered immediately to his plan, and he was still not sure if it meant certain success, or if it meant she planned some kind of surprise. Was there a snake behavior she’d unexpectedly throw at him? There were no fangs. He proposed to leave her a quivering puddle of mare. Would she, perhaps, shed her skin and chase him as a newly refreshed snake-pony? Surely that was madness, impossible?
There was no time like the present to find out.
Subrii quivered at his touch. Her neck was bare of any trace of mane. The short little mane-cut was tough-looking, but it wasn’t backed up by aggressiveness in her personality. Perhaps she just found it embarrassing to have a long mane when it didn’t grow on her neck like a normal pony?
Normal ponies didn’t wriggle like that. Subrii showed startling talent at stallion-touching. Braeburn gasped as the little snake-pony sensuously writhed against his body. She had a more or less normal quadrupedal frame, slim but normal legs, but all the same when she got aroused she moved as lithe and boneless as a horny cat. Or, of course, a snake.
Braeburn fondled her pert butt, to croons of delight from his would-be lover. Fascinated, he studied the dock of her tail. Just as he’d suspected, it continued hairless for more than a few inches before blossoming outwards into a blonde pony tail. The lithe green dock of her tail wriggled. Braeburn nuzzled it, then nuzzled the firm round muscle of her ponylike rump, greeted by a squee and a wink.
He sighed with relief. Certain changes might be… inconvenient.
Braeburn rubbed his cheek against her rump-cheek, savoring the feeling. The lesbian ponies were being cruelly shortchanged, he thought to himself. Hell, an excitable filly could probably get off simply riding this cutie around, riding her back to be specific. Her coat tingled his muzzle like rubbing against silk.
He suddenly took a hoof to Subrii’s precious pony-pussy, parting her folds to inspect the texture of her flesh, wary of more scales. But there was nothing to fear, nothing but distinctly pony glisten and ooze, and another cry of desire from that soprano voice.
No, it was different, somehow. Braeburn extended a tongue, privately admitting it was a very inadequate tongue compared to hers, and he tasted Subrii’s vagina, and she shuddered and cried out again, a sweet yearning call like a bird taking flight. Her nectars were lighter, more tingly, and there was another difference he couldn’t quite work out.
He froze. Was that the trick? Poison-pussy? But no, she just stood trembling and waited, and he suffered no sort of ill effect. Indeed, he was suffering very good effects. He’d dropped a potent erection, and it was starting to throb with unforgiving rigidity, and possibly he needed to get started before his girth got too enthusiastic.
He didn’t even nip her ass. No point, really. And what with one thing and another, Braeburn felt out of touch with the more aggressive aspects of mare-dominating. Given the chance to not be so nippy, he found himself gladly taking it… and he mounted upon her, shuffling his hind legs to and fro, clasping her to his chest with honest affection. She’d been a real sweetie, and nice, and he proposed to give her a wonderful ride.
Braeburn prodded Subrii’s pussy, and his ears laid back.
“Tight as a snake’s ass…” he breathed.
Subrii squirmed, and twisted her head around with disconcerting agility. It almost made him leap clear in alarm, but it was Subrii being adorable and tearful again, even though her neck was bent disturbingly.
“Please not!” she begged. “I don’t care if it’s true, it’s not as fun for me! Please?”
“Th’ boys try and get up your ass?” blinked Braeburn.
“It chafes,” sniffled Subrii. “And I’m so excited… my body aches for you!”
“Ma’am,” said Braeburn, “jes’ turn your head round and brace yourself. Ah kin do ya right. I’m honored, in fact.”
“Eee!” squeed Subrii, and she faced front, and as Braeburn lovingly nuzzled that delicately scaled, maneless neck, he allowed his hips to press forward.
Immediately, she shuddered, and Braeburn hesitated, his eyes wide. “Dang,” he breathed. Subrii’s pussy was about the tightest thing he’d ever felt, but the mystery of her juices became clear: there was no friction, none that he could feel. Subrii lubricated like no mare he’d known: thin nectar but impossibly slippery. Braeburn pressed a bit deeper, and the tension around him was astonishing, but he could barely even feel a sliding. He glided into her like his cock was on wheels, rolling her snakey aperture wider as he pushed.
Subrii shuddered harder, letting out a little wavery squeal. Braeburn hesitated.
“Are you all right, honey?” he asked. “You’re so dad-blamed tight.”
Her ear twisted to hear him, and she moaned, then said, “Give it to me!”
“It ain’t too much?”
“You are in the right hole,” said Subrii dreamily. “I can stand almost anything if it’ss the right hole…”
Braeburn’s ears were quirked to the side in disbelief. “You say that now, missy… but all right, whenever you’re ready…”
Subrii was ready. Braeburn had to resist an instinctive urge to shove, because she expressed her readiness by wriggling that taut little rump, twisting his cock-head inside her with wet slippery noises. There was nothing like a wriggling pony rump to say ‘push it deeper’, and there was no pony rump quite as wriggly as that of a snake-pony.
Braeburn complied, but slowly, cautiously.
His eyes just kept getting wider, and he craned his neck over to the side, trying to see what in Equestria it even looked like. Surely her pony posterior hadn’t been THAT small? And yet, he seemed to be trying to pry his cock through some tiny hole that barely loosened for him. Subrii’s rump clenched on him, and he whinnied in alarm at a tightening sensation… surely it would snip his stallionhood right off! But then she’d relaxed again, and it made surprisingly little difference.
He hit the central part of his swollen erection, his ears laid back hard in astonishment. Subrii was crooning in obvious ecstacy, her whole body shuddering like tiny earthquakes coursed through it, and yet the pinch of her was pretty much unbearable.
“Does that hurt?” Braeburn asked.
“Keep going!” moaned the slinky snakepony, her body trembling all over.
What the fuck, thought Braeburn, and his hips swung forward, and his swollen horsecock slid fully into Subrii, thumping her cervix. That also was reassuringly normal. The element that remained strange was, again, her slipperiness: so slippery were her juices, and so intense her pressure, that Braeburn’s cock seemed to get sucked into her depths, the squeezing forcing it to slide rapidly forward as it sought a narrower clench.
Braeburn gasped, and Subrii let out a little shriek and began to reel, her hooves juddering against the soft grass as she came.
Braeburn spared a hoof to wipe his brow. “Dang,” he said reverently. “Snake’s ass ain’t nothin’ to a snakepony’s pussy. Who knew?”
“Ahh! More!” begged Subrii, staring wildly into the sky.
“Shh!” cautioned Braeburn, himself glancing warily at the sky. There was nothing up there to worry about, for now. “I’ll give ya more if you try to be quiet. Relax.”
Panting, Subrii nodded frantically, and then devoted her full attention to the amazing things happening in her vagina.
Braeburn was as good as his word. He could go no deeper: the little snakepony was bottomed out, his crotch nestled against her quivering, silky-scaled buttocks. Her bare dock wriggled excitedly against his belly, causing Braeburn to note in astonishment that it was one hell of a sexy sensation. But it was nothing compared to the sensations around his throbbing cock… even when he let it sit still for a moment, nothing could diminish the uncanny slipperiness of Subrii’s vagina. Any motion he tried to make was effortless, frictionless. He barely felt it, but he felt the pressure, and that was intense.
Tugging produced spectacular results. Subrii shuddered, shook, wailed softly, but Braeburn stayed alert for other signs that more clearly spelled distress. He tried to sense whether there was a cramped, pinching sensation, a strain in her vocalizing. A sudden edge in any sense could suggest trouble… but there was none. His instincts were telling him one simple story: this was the most aroused mare he’d ever, ever fucked. Her vagina was like unto balling a chipmunk, but the stretch in it was unbelievable. He wasn’t hurting her, not even when he paused half-withdrawn, the full brunt of his titanic girth prying her vagina wide.
Did she not even feel pain? Was it a snake thing? He sensed only that constant shuddering, and palpable waves of obscene pleasure that flooded her relentlessly.
Braeburn, increasingly filled with quiet awe, began thrusting. Subrii squeaked, quivered, shook like an earthquake, and her amazing vagina never weakened. What weakened was the snakepony herself. She began to sway, staggering, and Braeburn danced a lewd dance for a moment as he lowered her to the soft tall grass without for one moment ceasing to fuck her.
And, nestled in the grass that matched her silky scales, Braeburn extended his stroke until he was slowly, insistently plunging his huge throbbing horsecock from her glistening entrance to her deepest depths, over and over. He swelled harder. It didn’t seem to matter. Subrii’s tongue lolled, her eyes stared at unseen wonders or the fireworks of her own orgasms, and her body shook uncontrolledly, writhing in the grass on the end of Braeburn’s slowly plunging erection.
He took it farther than he’d ever imagined he could. He slowed down, toward the end, watching her elegant limbs twitch weakly, remembering his vow: she hadn’t passed out, might never pass out from orgasm alone, but he had to leave her so drained she couldn’t even slither. By his reckoning, he was almost there.
Subrii shook even more fervently, as Braeburn went rock-hard inside her, still moving, inches from climax.
“Ee…e…ee! eee! hh!”
Braeburn hugged the limp little snakepony close, and blasted, and horsecome surged fiercely into Subrii as her lover throbbed his release and ultimate peak.
Subrii’s eyes, staring into glorious nowhere, dilated so hard they looked exactly like a natural pony’s eyes, when obliterated by pleasure and love.
Braeburn collapsed on top of her, squishing her into the grass, her tongue still lolling. One snakepony eye twitched. Subrii couldn’t even move a muscle.
Braeburn panted. “Dang. Amazin’. Amazin’…”
Subrii saw him, out of the edge of her vision, which was blurred out with clouds of rosy glory. He tugged his subsiding erection out of her tight pussy… which felt amazing, more intensely sated than she could have even imagined possible. He stayed visible. She was glad her eyes hadn’t closed, though that little membrane she had was partly showing. Subrii couldn’t even be embarrassed by that.
She watched Braeburn quietly slink away into the distance.
Then, he was back, somehow. He was snuggling her, though she was so limp she couldn’t even wriggle. He was arranging her body, still so warm from her endless orgasming and glowing in the afternoon sun, and he settled her comfortably and nuzzled her pretty face and gently, carefully, coaxed her eyes to close, though she wanted them to stay open and looking at him. But she couldn’t resist anything he wanted, and she willingly allowed him to cuddle her to what he thought was sleep.
In a sense, it was. As she cooled off, deliciously exhausted by all the incredible sex, an irresistible torpor came over her… and she knew then that his plan had worked. He’d be long gone by the time she could move again.
She did manage to slither half an inch in the direction she thought he’d gone, before succumbing to an enthralled, slowly rotating mental meditation on her own utter pleasure and satisfaction.
Half an inch wasn’t much… but it was a start.
Big Macintosh sweated, humping a squealing unicorn mare. There was no other word for it. She was very aggressive, and demanding, and she’d brought him back to her bedroom which was unaccountably filled with floating green balloons, and exhorted him to his humping in the most uncompromising terms.
This surely counted as practice, but it only made him long for the tenderness and intelligence of Hina even more.
He grunted, and ducked. She was swinging her head around, whinnying in ecstacy as his massive red cock thrust again and again into her electric blue pussy. All of her was an alarming blue, except for her mane and tail which were red and yellow. Fucking her in her room of green balloons hurt the eyes, but he didn’t dare close them for long.
Her long blue horn was sharpened to a point. He couldn’t take his eyes off it. It suited her. And when she swung her head around, he had to stay clear of that point at all costs.
She bucked under him, hooves slipping on the floor, barely keeping her footing. He grunted again, and decided he’d had about enough.
Twisting his head, he bit firmly onto her neck and began ramming his cock all the way in, with a succession of brain-rattling thuds.
The squealing blue unicorn thrashed, and then seemed to explode in light. Her body convulsed on him even as he thrust and spasmed and spurted horsecome into her, and she gushed horngasm at the ceiling, popping an assortment of the balloons.
“AAAAH! YES! NOW! GET! STAB!” shrieked the wildly orgasming mare.
Big Macintosh’s eyes widened, and then she’d yanked herself out from under him. She was leaping about off her rear hooves, drooling Big Macintosh come all over the floor from her gaping pussy, and springing up like a mountain goat to stab the balloons with her horn, even as bolts of magic gushed from it.
“GET THEM! STAB! WITH YOUR DICK!” squealed the demented unicorn.
“Buh?” managed Big Macintosh, wobbling on his hooves, wide-eyed.
He kept watching his crazed lover leap about, and soon she tired, panting, her legs shaking. All at once, she collapsed in the middle of the floor, a massive grin on her face.
“I keep hoping one will,” she crooned, nuzzling fragments of green rubber scattered across the floor.
“One will what?”
“With his dick,” she said. “I’d come so hard. Oooooh.”
Big Macintosh wobbled, and then sat down heavily on his butt, shaking the house.
“Mmmm,” said the unicorn mare. “Thank you. I’ll be good for weeks, after this.”
“Beggin’ your pardon,” said Big Macintosh, “but what the hay are you doin’ with them balloons?”
She nuzzled the floor, and the scraps of rubber, dreamily. “I’m very aggressive. Did you notice?”
“Jes’ a bit!”
She smiled, still nuzzling green fragments of ex-balloon. “The Kirin taught me this. It helps with my urges. I still want a stallion to do it with his dick, though. Then I would know he was the one.”
“But what the heck are ya doin’ to the balloons?” said Big Macintosh, plainitively.
“I’m killing them,” said the dreamily nuzzling unicorn.
Big Macintosh stared.
She looked back at him, in deep satisfaction, cheek lovingly nestled against shattered green rubber.
“So I don’t kill ponies,” she explained.
“So, Big Macintosh… did you find a nice unicorn to practice on?”