Holding area for previous monthly side stories.
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When I Grow Up!
A magical mishap has hurled your character backwards in time to their childhood, but preserving all their adult memories. Do they change their past and thus their future? Do they let their life unfold as it did before? WHAT DO?!
A magical mishap has hurled your character backwards in time to their childhood, but preserving all their adult memories. Do they change their past and thus their future? Do they let their life unfold as it did before? WHAT DO?!
"...Ah, my achin'... Okay, note to self. Get a tutor for magic. Dang my head hurts..."
I massaged my temples gently, trying to alleviate the pounding ache that plagued the base of my horn. That's normal I guess, trying to perform a spell way out of your skill range ends up giving you a pounding headache. Guess I should remember to take note of that next time I decide to try something stupid. ...Why'd I even try to do that in the first place? Tear a hole in the fabric of reality? What was I hoping for, being able to jump dimensions or something? Whatever the reason, all I know is that it failed miserably. Something blew up, and I definitely knew it wasn't Keelhaul's ship for once.
"Well besides the headache, I feel okay. Nothing broken, maybe just a little sore from hitting the ground, but doing pretty good for magic blowing up in my face." I mumbled to myself, picking myself off the ground. "How 'bout my office though? Hope I didn't blow out a window. Or worse, my door. That thing cost a lot to get that thing commissioned. Iced glass with your name imprinted on it isn't really that easy to get."
Taking off my ol' pa's hat, I cleaned the dust that had fallen on it, and then quickly patted my scarf, and myself down to knock the dust that had latched itself to my coat and the fibers of my ma's scarf. And when I was done, I took a look over my office. And I had no idea what I was looking at.
Thankfully, my brilliant detective skills kicked in, taking the information in about the area before my eyes. It was simple to analyze the situation, what with the amount of information my eyes had gleaned.
"...This ain't my office." I said, slowly, looking around. "Where in Equestria am I...?"
Alright to be honest, I must've hit my head after the blast, because it took me a little bit to realize I wasn't in my office. It was a little obvious since I wasn't exactly standing on the green tasseled carpet I was used to, but I was a little disorientated after all. I mean, there was a magic explosion right in my face just a few moments prior. I'm sure it'd take a little bit to figure out something was up.
I took a good look at my surroundings, and found myself in the middle of a city. One things for sure, I knew for a fact that it wasn't Canterlot. You could see the castle way off in the distance, rather than somewhat close and looming over the city. Plus the architecture didn't match any of the styles of the towns that were near the city either. But a gut feeling told me where I was. I got ol' Thorn N' Petal here. And this was also the city I grew up in, for most of my childhood.
"...Fillydephia? What in the hay...? Did I get blasted all the way over here? Wow holy smokes, that must've been a gigantic explosion then. Must've took out half the city block." I said to myself in shock.I stared at the castle in the distant to see if I could spot any smoke or lights or some sort of sign that the explosion was being addressed, but it was too far away to distinguish anything useful. "Jeez, my poor neighbors. They weren't bad ponies, and they kept their noses to themselves. Huge plus, so I hope they're okay... 'Cept for Duster, guy was a bit of an *yay*. Hope a cinder-block fell on his face, maybe that'll get him to shut up for a moment."
I really should've been paying more attention of where I was, but I was too concerned of my house and my neighbors at the time. If I hadn't noticed at the last minute that a cart was careening towards me, I probably would've been squished. I gave a pretty loud yelp, and dived out of the street and onto the pavement at the last second, covering myself in a second helping of dust. My hat slipped over my eyes at the same time, but thankfully I didn't need my eyes to hear what the cart driver was yelling.
"Hey stay off the road you stupid kid!"
I knew he was pretty much going to be out of earshot if I retorted, but I did so anyways. It'd make me feel less foolish, which was what I was going for.
"Well why don't I just take my hoof, and shove it three feet up your-!" I started angrily, tipping my hat back upright before I understood the content of the stallion's words. "...Wait hold up a second, did he just call me 'kid'? He looked about my age, so that doesn't make any sen-"
My hat fell over my eyes again, and I tipped it upright again. I just then noticed for the first time, that my hat felt a lot bigger than usual. I felt a bit warm since my scarf was wrapped around my necks a few more times than possible, yet it was still almost dragging along the ground. Not to mention the fact, that everything felt much bigger than the norm, even the ponies walking by. I didn't even bother to dust myself off this time when I scrambled to my hooves.
I dashed straight to the nearest store window, and was shocked what I saw in it's reflection. Looking straight back at me, with big green eyes, was a caramel filly wearing an over-sized stetson over pigtails, her rather intact scarf covered in dust along with the rest of her person. Her flank was completely blank.
"...Dear Celestia, I'm a filly. ...And I'm wearing pigtails." I whispered, tugging my cheek a little. Both to check if my eyes were playing tricks on me, and to wake myself up if I was dreaming. I was not on both parts, as both the filly in the window mimicked my actions perfectly, and my cheek hurt like heck.
"Okay okay, think Smoking think. What'd that spell do? Turn me back into a kid again? Sure that could be a possibility, but then why am I in Filly? There's now way I could've been flung all the way from Canterlot to Filly without being disintegrated by the force... Maybe I was teleported. Wait that can't be right, that doesn't seem right. ...Wait, there's no way..." Pacing, I tried to think quickly of what was going on. I was also doing my best not to freak out over the fact that I was now a kid, with pigtails to boot. "Ah, the date!I need to find a newspaper, get the date!"
So I quickly scampered off to find a news stand or a papercolt or whatever to find the date. It wasn't all that hard, they were everywhere in Filly, it took just a couple of seconds. And sure enough, right at the top of the freshly printed newspaper, was a date that didn't match the date that I thought it was in my head.
"...So it's true then, I've really gone back in time then." I murmured to myself, sitting on a park bench somewhere in the city. I had been running around trying to find ways to contradict what was apparent, but I was just met with more evidence that supported the ludicrous theory I had. The fashion, the styles, even a few movies or so I remembered watching to perfect my accent where still running too. "But I have to get back to my own time, this just ain't right. Okay lessee, how did I screw up that spell again...?"
I rationalized that messing up the spell in someway would shoot me somewhere though time again, but I wasn't sure whether or not it'd send me back to my original time. But I was hopeful it could work, since it threw me backwrads. Worst come worse,I go further and just need to test it out differently to bring me back. So sitting on that bench, with my too big hat and my too big scarf, I concentrated hard on the spell. My horn began to glow at first gently, and then flaring up quickly to become ablaze with magic light.
And then it suddenly fizzled out with 'Pbbth' and a pop, the only result being a couple of tiny sparks falling in front of my face. I just stared at my small horn, and put my face in one of my hooves in frustrated realization.
"...Ponyfeathers, that's right. I'm still a child. My magic abilities were about as worse as a filly when I was older, but they're even worse now because I didn't even know anything about performing magic! Sure I read books, but I was too young to have the ability! So what, does that mean I'm gonna be stuck as an adult in a tiny, toddler midget's body?"
I sat there, sulking just for a moment, bemoaning my predicament. I couldn't help but think about all the things I couldn't do now because I wasn't an adult anymore, like being able to buy cider on my own, or even apply for any bounty hunting contracts. Or a job at all, the money I got as a kid was through shooting contests and street acts with my guns. And I knew for a fact that this was the time before I got my guns, so I was still scavenging from garbage cans and wrestling dogs for scraps of food tossed out after hours.
But then a thought occurred to me. Despite the fact I was returned back to being a kid again, I still remembered that happened after I was a kid.
"...Hm wait a second. If I can remember, today was a day I went to the market, and for whatever reason there was a parasprite out loose, eating every bit of food available. In the commotion, I stole some food and was able to fill my stomach completely for once, but the market was completely trashed later in the afternoon when I went scavenging. I wonder..."
Moving before I even finished my thought, I was on my way to the market. If I was still a kid, then did that mean that things that happened were yet to happen still? I needed to check, and this was a surefire way to do so. After all, the parasprite was in the papers for a while, so it wasn't exactly something hard to recall.
But much to my surprise, I arrived to a very peaceful, very normal day at the market. Ponies were busy, bustling about to buy their groceries and peruse the wares of the sales ponies, while the sales ponies and the customers duked it out in large battles of haggling, both wagering their bits to bring home a great deal.
"Huh, that's odd... I swear, I just know there had to had been a parasprite here." I said, doing my best to sneak between ponies, and try not to get squished by any of the adults not paying attention. "Maybe it wasn't today? Or maybe that's just not how this works. ...Oh well, I might as well find something to eat while I'm here."
Instinctively, I walked straight up to a stand to go buy some food. My stomach rumbling, I couldn't help but anticipate the food I was going to buy, since I had skipped earlier in the day. ...Or is it several years in the future? Well anyways, as I fished around in my scarf's pocket, I realized my hoof was poking around at nothing.
"...Oh right. I was badly broke." I grumbled, grimacing at the memory. I couldn't help but eye the shiny fruit on display at the stand, my stomach felt so empty. My mouth was watering, but I then realized that if I needed to go eat something, I would have to steal it like I used to.
"Ugh, I don't like stealing at all..." I mumbled to myself. I wasn't exactly too guilty of doing it at the time, since I saw myself as an unlucky soul that needed a little bit of help to live in this cold world. The store keepers wouldn't notice if one or two fruits were missing, and I doubt it'd affect their coifers either. But growing up, I got to know a lot of store owners and shopkeepers like the standponies here through my work, and I learned that sometimes each fruit or product did matter. It could even mean the difference of a roof over their family's head, or freezing to death slowly out in the street. I vowed not to steal if I had to, and although I technically haven't made that vow in this time, the idea of needing to steal something just because I was hungry did not appeal to me at all.
But as I was eyeing the the apples fairly greedily, one of the apples then blinked at me. I blinked back in surprise, and the next thing I knew, a large mouth appeared, in preperation to eat one of the other apples.
...Oh crud! It's the parasprite! I thought, moving quickly. I plunged my hoof into the apples, knocking a few pieces of the fruit onto the ground.
"Hey, hands off the merchandise you greedy little-!" The stand owner began to shout, but stopped midway after he realized that I appeared to be wrestling an apple. His little outburst grabbed the attention of some of the ponies passing by, since it must've sounded like he was accosting a thief. That's just how ponies are like I guess, can't help but want to watch justice being enacted on some poor unfortunate soul, no matter how small the crime was and so long as it's not happening to them.
"Tch! Stop strugglin', ya little varmit!" I grunted, doing some sort of mad dance to try and keep the fluffy, insectisoid pest pinned either in my hooves, or under it. But parasprites are tricky buggers. The little red fluff-ball kept slipping out of my hooves to make a dive into the apple stand, before I got another quick grasp on it. Finally, wit a bit of effort, I was able to somehow get the hat off my head, and trap the little critter under it.
"Gotcha!" I said triumphantly. I gave a sigh of relief , wiping the sweat off my brow as I sat on the wriggling pile of cloth. I didn't like wrinkling my father's hat like this, but it worked so there was no way avoiding it. It was then I noticed the whole group of onlookers watching me, and I stared to feel a little sheepish.
"Was... was that a parasprite?" The standpony asked, looking incredulous. Still somewhat out of breath, I nodded. The fruitseller blanched, realizing what could've happened if the parasprite hadn't been noticed earlier. "I... Wow, I could've lost my entire stand. Gone out of business. Th-thanks, you saved my hide!"
"Uh, well it really wasn't anything special." I said modestly. The parasprite was wriggling harder now under my rump, so I gave it somewhat of a hard whack. My hat fell still, and I couldn't help but wonder if I knocked the little pest out. Wasn't going to risk lifting up my hat to check.
"No, really! This was the first good shipment of apples I've gotten in a while! I could've lost my home if I wasn't able to sell this!" The salespony insisted. "Is there anything I can do for you? Anything at all."
"Ah, n-no no, it's fine really. I don't really need-" I started to say, starting feel slightly embarrassed by the pony's display. But then, partway through my protests, my stomach growled fairly loudly. My face started to flush red.
The standpony then began to laugh. He quickly turned around, and then set a cloth bag with a few apples inside. "Hehe, alright alright little missy. But you sound hungry, so at least lemme give ya something to eat at least. And don't worry, it's on the house. I was gonna eat those for lunch, but I think I'll be fine skipping lunch for just a day, so take it!"
I looked at the bag, and mumbled a quiet 'Thank you', before taking an apple out. After rubbing it against my coat, I took a bite into the red fruit, and just savored he sweetness of the flesh. Not only that though, the fruit tasted... sweeter for some reason, couldn't tell you why. It was enjoyable to eat, but not fully since the throng of ponies were still looking at me, and I couldn't help but notice them gossiping. Had a good feeling they were talking about me, though probably in a positive way, and I kind of wished I wasn't in the spotlight.
"Muuuuunchy? Munchy? Where are you, my little parasprite pet?"
The attention of the crowd, the shopkeeper, and my own turned towards the sound of the voice calling out in curiosity. And the next thing I knew, the parasprite that I was sitting on suddenly started struggling even more violently before, even making some odd noises frequently.
"Munchy?!" Cried an odd looking pony wearing a pointy hat, who suddenly charged through the group, and knocked me off my hat without a second thought, sending my hat flying off of the parasprite as well. Scooping up the bug, the strange pony started to coo. "Oh Munchy! My precious child, I thought I lost you!"
"So you were the idiot who let a parasprite out into the market!" The standpony said, absolutely livid. The two ponies then started to argue, thankfully drawing the crowd's attention off of myself.
Scooping up my hat, and the bag of apples I had just acquired. I decided it was a good time to just hightail it out of there. It wasn't hard to slip away unnoticed, since the crowd seemed absolutely enthralled by how purple in the face the apple-seller was becoming, just through yelling.
While on my way away from the market, I passed by what looked like a degruntled reporter, notepad and classic hat with a piece of paper saying 'Press' sticking out of it. I couldn't help but overhear something like a grumbling about how no huge stories ever happened at he market, and he probably should've checked out somewhere like Mane Street or something.
...Did I just prevent that whole incident from happening? I thought, realizing in great surprise at what I had just done. Here I was, leaving a perfectly intact market, with a satchel filled with apples given to me as a reward, rather than escaping a chaotic market, cradling some stolen apples under an arm. Does that mean...? Does that mean I can change the past?! Sweet Celestia, this may not be as bad as I thought!
I stopped for a moment, and thought about everything that I had regretted doing and wish I did differently. Or anything that had happened to me that might've happened differently if I had known it'd be coming. And of course, my first thought went to my parent's death, and preventing that.
But my thoughts fell silent, and I cursed quietly and sadly. I was still wearing the clothes that I inherited from my ma and pa, so that really could only mean one thing. I couldn't help but feel that it was unfair, that the one thing that I most desperately wish I could've changed and would have made me happier, is the one thing I can't affect in any way. But I shook my head to rid myself of the negativity.
"...There's still a lot of things I can do, so there's n sense on dwelling on it." I mumbled, continuing to eat my apple. "But... First things first, I need some weapons. Preferably, my old guns. It's time to go visit a shop."
As I said that, my flank started to glow, and suddenly a mark appeared there, but I paid it barely any heed. I already knew what would be there, and I had more important things to be excited about.
The Fire Arm, it was't exactly a place that was popular for getting weapons. Notorious for making overly complicated experimental weapons, Vigil Gunslinger was never much of a reliable gun-smith. If you just wanted to buy a pistol or something, the next thing you knew, that piece of equipment was flying straight at the target the moment the trigger is pulled. Or even the odd store namesake, a flaming metal pony arm. But this was the place where I got my revolvers, two partners that had supported me up through most of my adult life. Who knew the eccentric pegasus would be the one to invent those things? Though I had heard that Vigil had got commissioned to help build weapons for the Peacekeepers, but the factory they set him up in was razed to the ground by a Alliance raid. No trace of the poor guy left.
I opened the door, and couldn't help but enjoy the sent of oil and gunpowder that hung around in gun stores like this one. The familiar ding of the door as well, I just couldn't help but enjoy the nostalgia of being in the store. Although, I was technically here a lot earlier than I was supposed to, the store didn't look any different, except there was only a pony sitting behind the counter and I, rather than the six or so ponies that were here a long time ago.
The lime green pony behind the counter certainly was an odd one. He had a long wispy beard that seemed to be charred in places, and two cracked and dirty goggles on his head that looked like you'd be able to see less if you were to wear them.
"Welcome to Fire Arm, where we got guns galore. How may I help-" Vigil said, looking up from his magazine at the sound of the bell. His reaction was about the same as when I tried to join the competition the last time I was here.
Back then, Vigil was holding a some sort of contest for his new guns, the twin revolvers that were my signature weapon. He was doing it to drum business, since he was pretty much close to bankrupt at that point. Even though there were more customers visiting, the grand total was still lower than ten. When I came into the store, he had laughed and said that guns weren't something a little girl should play with. I was nearly kicked out because of the argument that ensued afterwards, involving much name calling and beard tugging, but it was thanks to one of the contestants, who later became a big role in my becoming a private investigator, and a bounty hunter. Lone Star, Sheriff of Appleoosa. The guy was in town because lots of law enforcers were being called from all over to figure out what had happened with my parents' house getting burnt to the ground, and since him and my pa' used to be old partners back in the day, it was personal business. Guess he didn't know that my dad had married, and had me, since he didn't recognize me at all. Or maybe he did, couldn't really tell with that pony. We lost contact after a long time, but he was a big influence on me. In fact, it's why I chose to be a gunslingin' cowpony, rather than be like a certain Sherclop Pones!
However this time, I was alone in the store, with no Lone Star to back me up. So I was quickly trying to figure out how I would go about getting those guns while Vigil began belittling me.
"Well aren't you a cute little girl! Did you get lost or something?" He said, with a very demeaning tone like I was a foal.
I ignored those comments, and looked him dead in the eye. I'm not sure what he saw, but for the first time, I saw him looking surprised. "I came to buy a gun."
"O-oh really?" He said, looking surprised. The demeaning tone was gone, and at this point he looked like he was prepare to convince me otherwise. I don't blame him, if I was in his shoes, I wouldn't of ever sold a kid my age any sort of weapon. Especially with my intentions the first time I was here. "Well, I can't really sell you a gun, you're just-"
"I've had experience in using firearms as well as safety and maintenance. You give me any one-hooved gun around .36 caliber, and I can guarantee you that none of my shots will be wasted and go towards collateral damage." I said flatly, and truthfully. "I have no purpose of using these guns to harm or take advantage of other ponies, but to help and protect. The only ponies I will be pointing these guns at are criminals, maniacs, and the wicked."
Vigil looked speechless, and I knew right then that he definitely wasn't seeing a filly in front of him. Guess it was the confidence in my words, because I definitely wouldn't have been able to say what I just said if I was still a kid.
"A-alright, well what do you have in mind then? And how exactly do you plan to pay for it, guns aren't cheap y'know. And no offense miss, but you don't exactly look like no Misses Moneybags either." He asked tentatively, still looking reluctant in selling me a weapon.
But he had a point, I didn't have any money. If I could've still accessed the money I had made from my job, I definitely could've bought my guns again. But none of that has happened yet, so I didn't have a bit to my name. I was thinking as best as I could how I could convince him, but he stopped me dead in my tracks.
[color=408000]"...Why do you need a gun? It sounds like you've had experience, but there has to be a good reason for any child to need a gun."[/color] He asked, curiously. Vigil must've seen how much thought I was putting into getting a gun from how hard I was thinking about the money situation.
"I... Well, I need them because I can seem myself needing a pair in the future." I said, being careful with my words. I doubt anypony would believe me if I just started spouting things like 'I know the future!' or whatnot. Most likely be laughed at as a kid, or taken to the loony house as an adult. Nor did I want any attention from that either, never really liked the spotlight. "My parents were killed a w- er, very recently. I know who killed them, but I doubt the police can do anything about it just yet. Nor can I either, it'll take me a very long time. And it'd be nice to have something to protect myself, rather than just running around willy nilly with just my bare hooves."
Vigil fell silent and I just stared at him, curious as to why he asked me that. He went into the backroom, and left me alone for a little bit before returning with a small wooden box. To my delight, I recognized that box. I couldn't ever forget the box that my first treasures came in. He placed it on the counter, before giving me a hard look.
"...You're Flat's kid, aren't ya?" He said, much to my surprise. Astonished, I stammered a reply.
"Y-yes, my pa was Flat hoof. How'd ya know?" I asked.
"Your intensity. I couldn't tell at all from how you looked, musta taken after your mother." He said, opening the box and adding what looked like pistol rounds to the package. "But that conviction, and the fire in your eyes. That's the same look Deadfoot had when he was on a case. The same look when I provided him with his first gun. I never forget when I give one of my babies away to another pony, and this certainly feels nostalgic."
Vigil laughed, looking amused while he walked around the counter with the box in tow. "How funny, I gave yer pa's first gun, and now yours. Somehow, I have a good feeling that these guns and you are gonna spend a long while with each other. And don't worry 'bout the price, consider your payment getting the sum'*yay* that killed him."
He gave me the box, and I couldn't help but be amused by how accurate his statement was. Opening the wooden container, there lay in all it's glory my beautiful Thorn N' Petal, nestled gently in their holsters. I hadn't seen them in their full beauty since they got smashed when chasing the two assassins, so I nearly teared up at the reunion. Like second nature, I put the holsters on, and twirled the guns in a flourish, before returning them back to my sides. An old dance with an old partner, following steps we'd always walked. The guns may be brand-new, but the spirit in them? It was the same as the one that was with me most of my life growing up.
"...Thanks Vigil, thanks a lot. I promise you, I will track them down. It'll all be in the papers, and you can be proud of the fact it was your guns that helped me get 'em."
"Good! No come on and scram, ya crazy kid! You got work to do!" He said, pointing at the door. I grinned, and started to head out, feeling a little sad know that he'd die way before his time. But then an idea came to my head.
"...Hey Vigil, you know. You're a pretty good gunsmith. You could probably make it big if you mass produced your stuff. Start off in somewhere like Stonehoof, and ship your stuff all over the place. I'm sure you'd do well." I said in passing, before leaving. But not before hearing his little quip on my way out.
"Pfft, yeah right. Like I'd be given an opportunity like that. But I'm sure if I did, it definitely wouldn't be in Stonehoof. Maybe Canterlot, or here in fact. What a crazy idea..."
I smiled to myself, before trotting off on my way. I was sure I did something good that day.
Since I had a lot more time on my hands, I did a lot of things differently. First off, it turns out, I was actually pretty proficient in magic, well at least the non-specialized ones. I made sure to practice a lot and read lots of magic books, and the next thing I knew, I could teleport pretty far and pretty frequently without a sweat, and I could lift things about as heavy as I was without too much strain, nor a shiver in sight. Learned how to light my horn too, which was useful when I was out in the dark. Secondly, I made sure to not get into the habit of smoking. Started to do it because it was cool, and never really bothered to stop since I was too busy and stressed to even think about kicking the habit. So it was much easier to kick the habit before I even started it. Ended up having lots more stamina, which was great when I needed to chase somepony down.
But the biggest thing was I didn't hide my gender, every encounter I had, I continued to act like a mare. Nothing changed much, except for maybe some confessions popping up from ponies I'd never expect. But it definitely made things simpler, and sure enough, there was a lot less worrying about my secret being let out if it was already out in the open.
I changed things too. I stopped Keelhaul from killing his parents, and got him out into the world. I never expected to be that timid little boy who wouldn't say a single word. I taught him to stand up for himself, and he sure enough grew up fine and strong. He somehow still became the Keelhaul I know and love, which I'm not complaining, but he definitely seemed more at peace and definitely had more tact this time.
And Mel', well I didn't try too woo her this time. I still did the same things this time, but more as a friend rather than a stallion. Our relationship was strong and didn't collapse like last time, and things didn't escalate up to the point where she loses her voice. I prevented a lot of stuff like crushing Tarnished and his involvement with the mafia, along with getting the assassins locked up before they even had a chance to point a gun at Mel'. Sure the gala attendees panicked when I drew a gun in the middle of the ball room, but not as much as a gun going off from out of nowhere and causing a ruckus. Was pretty hard to aim that thing after I shot one of them directly in the hand. Oddly though, there wasn't a black colt singing on stage this time. I wonder what happened...?
But eventually, using the clues I had gathered in my previous life, it was much easier to track down who killed my parents. And much to my surprise, it was a simple housewife living in Canterlot, who had a young daughter. And rather than enacting my revenge, I just sat down and had a talk with her, before going off on my way again. She seemed pretty regretful of her actions, and was doing her best to repair everything she had done in her screw up. Plus, it seemed like it was almost an accident, seeing how she had no control of herself when she was young. I couldn't kill her, but I feel it was for the best. Her daughter reminded a little bit of myself after all, and it'd be bad to continue a cycle of violence that could just be ended with forgiveness.
"...And that's my story of when I was a young."
"Aaaaw, that's it! Come on Nanna, you glossed over the good parts! How'd you take down the mafia?!" said a little colt in protest, sitting up in his bed. "Or, or your involvement in the war! Or how you get the name '24 Bullet Maiden'?!"
"And how did you and Granpa Keely get together!" His sister added in protest, sitting up.
"Eew, I don't wanna hear about that!"
"Now now kids, settle down." Smoking said calmly, trying to get her grandkids to quiet down. "I can tell you all of that another time, but it's getting late. You two should get to bed."
"Aaaaaaw!" The two complained, looking very disappointed. But Smoking smiled, and sighed. She knew that if she left the two kids unsatisfied, he was sure they'd never fall asleep. "Alright, fine. Just one more, and then you two need to sleep, alright?"
"Yaaaay!" They cheered, perking right back up to attention.
"Okay, lemme tell you how I got that name. It all started when came in contact with a certain Real Deal..."
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