"Yeah…yeah…normal load out. Yeah, I get stuff from them, too, but I keep it elsewhere. Bucked up as it is, I trust you guys more. I know. The score’s just even now and I still have to pay. Oh? No…no, I don’t think I’ll be doing that. If you’re not going to give me some slack then why in Tar should I?"
The stallion chuckled. “C’mon, Viz, if it’s going to be business as normal then we’ll have to hold to that. I am not puckering up again. Yeah…I do think she’s that good at disguise. And mindbuckery. However, you guys need an edge to get back up to speed, right? Well, I’ve been talking to the Princess…”
Pen held the phone away from his ear to dull the steady stream of profanities ringing from his phone for a moment or two before bringing it back.
"Together, all of you could end the civil war sooner, and your Hive gets a chance to be regarded as a carefully ally. Chrysta’s already learned that taking over isn’t in her interests. Maybe a careful partnership isn’t the worst thing in the wor…okay…Okay!! I’m done spoutin’ off! Sorry!"
He took a breath as he listened.
"…I am sorry. Look, how about this…remember that stuff? Yes, I know, I get you guys a lot of stuff…I meant the good stuff."
Viztal stopped talking.
"Yeah, ‘that’ stuff. I can get more. No…I won’t have to do that to get it. What’s done’s done. It’ll just rot and…and those it affects won’t be helped by its destruction. I know where and how to find them and their merchandise. What? Oh, hah, hah…very funny, Viz. I won’t be getting into their prep-stashes. I just need to make sure I have enough mag-sticks and it shouldn’t be too bad. They’re tough but so am I. Besides…no pony’d miss ‘em. Yeah. It’s getting harder for me to move on this world. I’ve being watched by more than the R.I.B. now."
The stallion paused as he listened to his changeling contact’s words.
"Really? shit…Shit!" He cracked the floorboard with a stomp. "There has to be a leak in…oh…it’s your guy. Thanks, Viz, thanks to all of you for bucking me again. No, I don’t care if information’s part of your business, you just bucked me! Damn it! What am I supposed to do? I don’t care if the wanted poster was up before then, you allowed them to put two ‘n two together! ……..No, no, the amount you were paid does not make me feel any better.
"I don’t care what, but either you’re going to give me a discount or some form of protection, even if it’s just notifying me of their movements! I don’t trust them…even if you buck me over, I trust ‘you’, Viz! And…and in a sick, screwy way I trust Chrysta, too. Tell you what…and I don’t do this for really anypony…I can give you something to help you get closer. Yeah, the Book’s power makes it dangerous for you but…there is something I can do. Just don’t think I’m recreating the kelpie incident, okay?"
Pen nodded to the phone. “Yeah…okay. It’s shitty but it’s workable for now. See you later.”
This was just bucking wonderful. The separatists were tipped off that the one who caused the ‘unmentionable disaster’ of Autumn Falls was the same pony on Equestria’s wanted list. A quick internet search and they’d eventually find the only one with a link to such disasters. Apparently Celestia had a long way to go before understanding what something called the internet was.
Viztal and the changelings couldn’t be the only one’s the blame. The R.I.B. had leaks other than what the bugs managed. The industrial lines were mostly managed by Earth ponies. Even those loyal to the crowns had relatives that likely didn’t feel so beholden. Not that Pendleton felt that way about the crown but he’d been down this road before. Sooner or later, somepony tries to use the Book. Be it for power, or defense or whatever, it always turned out bad.
It wasn’t that Pen didn’t sympathize with his kind…he just didn’t trust them any more than he trust anypony else when it came to the cursed tome under his care. The power he was involved with couldn’t be used for any betterment or good. The Book corrupted and tainted everything it touched…including its Chosen. Sure, he was immune to its corruptive effects but didn’t change that under some forms of scanning he would show up as somewhat demonic.
Worse…was what the Book spread about him. Anything sensitive enough might be given visions about him and the power that having both him and the Book would allow. It was, to many idiots, a perfect weapon of war. They were also the same fools how thought they could control its power. Even master necromancers had trouble containing it. As surprising as it might be to many unicorns, necromancers were as often agents of good as of evil. Like what they studied they were often indifferent save for their studies. Any necromancer worth their salt knew poking around the Necronomicon was a bad idea.
The scarred stallion undid the locks and bypassed what traps he had to to go down to the basement. Both where he stored his changeling gifted arsenal as well as where he stored the Book. Blood sigils and seals linked the walls, the floor, and even some of the ceiling.
"You can’t contain me forever, meat puppet…"
Pen sneered at the Book. “I know that. But I can make you as miserable as I possibly can.” The muscular pony spat in its face. “As long as I have you then you can’t hurt anypony else.”
The Book licked the spittle from its face with a manic glee. "It’s only a matter of time until they find me."
Pen figured it meant its cult…but he couldn’t be absolutely sure. “If that’s the case then they’re in for a very back day. I’ll tear ‘em apart, break ‘em, and send ‘em packin’.”
"For a time, Pendleton. Only for a time."
The stallion glared at it. “Then I’ll make that time last as long as is possible. One way or another it has to end with you and me.”
"Oh, trying to spare the sweet meat from…"
A heavy hoof slammed into the chained face of the Book.
"I’m ending this for everypony. Not just her." He hissed as he unclasped his charge.
"You will die, Pendleton Dreadful…it is inevitable now. And the beautiful thing is she doesn’t even know it’s.."
The earth pony roared as he picked up and slammed the Book back down on its pedestal. “Keep fate to yourself, shitrag…nopony’s interested in what you think will be…”
(art by http://ask-lockheart.tumblr.com