Kitty pulled many a twist and turn into her supposedly aimless wandering, doing what she could to shake her persistent tail. Much to her frustration he wasn't deterred. She veered into the narrow piss covered street behind Maudlin’s, a seedy brothel known to toss out the worst kind of drunks once they were done being bled for bits. One likely customer was stumbling to his hooves reeking of beer and vomit. Completely naked, grimy yellow fur stained near black. He reared up, his member hanging loose, before Kitty could pass him. “Give a suck yeah? C’mon got’s like two bits,” he slurred. Kitty’s smirk was thin but genuine, her tail hadn’t rounded the corner yet. She whipped a stiletto out of her wing and pressed it’s sharp point to his throat in one smooth motion. “Shit,” he gasped.
“My friend ain’t far behind he’ll give ya a suck,” she whispered, digging the edge of her blade into him. He gave her a gap-toothed grin, or grimace she couldn’t tell. She was off him and walking into Maudlin’s the second her tail rounded the corner. The stench of dust, sweat, and sex hit Kitty’s muzzle like a right hook. She was propositioned the second she walked in but she waved off the advances; she’d treat her sex to a tickling after the asshole following her dealt with. She went up the stairs at the back that led to the private rooms and turned to look back in time to catch him walking in. He was wiping the blood from a thin blade before slipping it back into his coat.
Kitty paled and trotted around the railing to a rickety balcony, her pace picking up speed. She jumped over the railing, her hooves clopping down onto the cobblestones after a short fall. Kitty galloped across the street, and ducked into a little pawn shop. She stilled the bell, ignored the grumbles of the cashier and her goons, and waited, eyes on Maudlin’s. Kitty’s heart was thumping a merry, bloody tune in her chest. Damn it! Kitty was walking out of the shop as her tail waltzed out of the brothel, headed straight for her. How in Celestia’s name was he able to keep up with her? Was the fucker psychic, or….?
Fine asshole. You wanna play, let’s play.
She made her way to the Lantern District’s east edge. Kitty picked up her pace as a sagging building came into view on the right side of the street, an ancient sign hanging out overhead with the faded picture of chalice printed on it. The Silver Carafe wasn't so much silver, as a rusted bronze considering how old it was but the roughest sort of right people gathered here; M's loyal soldiers liked to play cards and drink themselves silly here on occasion. Lucky for her, it was packed, she squeezed into the bar, a cocktail of smoke, cheap ale, and old blood hitting her full in the muzzle. She glanced about and found what she was looking for. Seated at a table near the middle of the room Ruckus and her crew were playing cards- Suns and Moons it looked like. The Back Alley Bruisers they liked to style themselves, not the biggest earners on M’s payroll, but larcenous down to their bones and always willing to make something on the side. Though, it got them into trouble more times than they could likely count, literally.
"Colts how goes it?" Kitty said, plopping down at their table.”Ruckus.” She grabbed a passing serving filly. "Red Nightmare, luv, and a fresh round for the table." Kitty swatted her flank before turning back to the startled faces of the Bruisers. "Want to deal me in?"
Ruckus recovered quickest, her colts not far behind. "Not dead in some gutter yet eh?" She pulled a drag from her cigar. Ruckus was a mare after Kitty’s own heart, a bruiser’s bruiser. Big, mean and with more scars than pinkish, peach fur along her legs and neck. Even her horn was a jagged spire peeking between the ruffled red curls atop her head. She didn’t bother with all the coats most ponies in the Undercity sported nowadays, better to hide stilettos, blackjacks, or anything else to pull in a pinch. She also had some favor with M, and was known to snap necks at a moment’s notice; she wasn’t to be fucked with in other words.
Kitty plopped a fat purse of coins on the tabletop just as a plain mug of ale was placed beside her. She wasted no time to guzzle its contents down in one go before slamming it back down with a belch. She ordered another before the filly had time to leave. "Gutters don't suit me. More likely to wind up dead in a brothel, a pretty mare 'tween my legs." Followed. Persistent fuck. Need distraction. Cheater's game. Gonna knife the sonavabitch.
Ruckus chuckled, smoke trailing from either side of her peach muzzle. Her hoof drifted under the table, no doubt to graze the blackjack hidden at her side. "Aye, with the knife of said mare in your gut after you likely stiffed her." Her cards drifted down as she glanced about the table, briefly catching the eyes of her crew. Kitty discretely palmed another purse of coins, all silver Lunes, to her right, where it found itself sliding into Ruckus' coat pocket. "Lucky you, just finished up a set. Mauve, deal her in. How's Talon these days?" Ruckus asked as a cloud of smoke bloomed from her mouth.
"Same ole ornery son of a whorse." Kitty pulled up her cards with a deft flick of a wing, holding them between her wings. "Brewed up a new ale though. Calls it ‘White Delight’ but, it’s too sweet for my liking. You might like it though." She hissed through her teeth. "Bad hoof." She let the cards fall on the table top, showing off a truly poor set of cards.
"Nah, I’ll stick to my beers." Ruckus grimaced then let her cards fall next. "Brought some bad luck with ya," spat Ruckus. "Fold." Her hoof flashed the table before falling face first on the stained wood- a full set of Full Moons and two Gold Suns, that'd have been a Lunar Eclipse and the game. Mauve took the hoof with a pair of crescents before dealing a fresh turn. Kitty started sharping her cards then, pulling from the spare deck held in the many folds of her coats. She tossed a few bits into the middle of the table.
The game went on, Kitty won most hands and lost few. She worked her magic on the hooves she was given, turning the game in her favor. She learned her tail had parked himself further back, even gone to pains to keep from her sight. Shame he didn’t know he was caught. A pile of bits sat beside her, a nice little collection, Kitty was almost sad to see it go. The colts, and Ruckus, became bitter to her “winning.” She leaned forward, ale in hoof, wobbling, sure to make it look like she was whispering something to Ruckus. Her tail’s curiosity seemed insatiable as he left his seat to get a closer look, maybe to read her lips. Kitty nodded, and left slip the cards from her coat.
Ruckus stood up, eyes on the cards fluttering to the table. “Fucking cunt!” Her colts were up a second later. “Looking to cheat us! Like we’re some dandy fresh on the streets.” The bar went silent, and already the bartender was closing up the metal grates to his bar.
Kitty looked down at the cards, scattered across the dirty floor. “Fuck.” she muttered, then flipped the table. Two of Ruckus’ colts ducked out of the way and bum rushed her. She flipped sloppily over them, but was caught by Ruckus. She gagged as the unicorn’s magic squeezed her throat. She threw Kitty bodily into the adjacent table, spilling drinks on their owners. Crazy thing about these sort of bars, they were a two ton powder kegs hooked to a two inch fuse. Chaos broke out as Kitty struggled to stand up, one of the ponies that her short flight had drenched tried to start pummeling her. Her wing lashed out catching him full in the muzzle. Not a moment later Ruckus was on her. The bull of a mare pushed Kitty back, her head a battering ram. Kitty gasped, pain lancing through her back as she was slammed into the edge of a table.
They fell to the ground, wrestling, trading punches, and blows. All the while, Kitty worked a larger bag of Lunes into Ruckus’ pocket. The second the deed was done, Kitty gave the signal. She was launched through the air a second later, right toward the unicorn stallion. She caught a glimpse of a blood-covered knife skittering away as she slammed into him. She heard him grunt- bastard smelled like blueberries- and her wing bashed the side of his skull. Kitty whirled, a right hook connecting right under his ear, which was no doubt ringing.
“You know how to back-alley knife fight jackass?” hissed Kitty. He scowled and his horn glowed. Kitty’s hoof clipped it, the light winking out. Her wings buffeted his sides, forelegs, and face as she pushed him to the back, toward the door leading to the alley. She was forced to fly back when he was finally able to pull a knife from his dark coat- she could almost feel the blade’s razor edge on her muzzle. Blood dripped down his face from a split lip and a deep cut on the side of his head from where her hoof and connected. He wobbled slightly. Kitty growled and rushed forward; flipping through the air, she introduced her hind-hooves to his chest. He was propelled through the bar’s backdoor and into the dirty alley. He landed in a puddle, splashing putrid water everywhere. To his credit he was up and on his hooves just a she cleared the door. Her wing caught the door and closed it behind her.
“Why are you following me?” she asked softly. Kitty was on him, bashing his horn before he could cast a spell. She hated fighting unicorns, always trying to get another spell. If it weren’t for that she’d give some distance. Quick, brutal strikes were to be her go-to. They were on their hind-hooves, his back against the wall. He tried pulling another knife, with his hoof this time- how many did the guy have? His horn started to glow again. Kitty twisted the knife out of his hoof, ducked a desperate punch and slashed his horn, cutting deep. He rewarded her with a back hoof, sending her spinning to the side. A warm coppery taste filled her mouth. A pump of her wings righted her as she twirled and launched herself at him again. She clotheslined him with an outstretched leg. He gasped when he hit the ground, the air likely knocked for his lungs. Kitty landed hard on him and struck him once, twice, three times in the muzzle. He spat blood. “Why are you fucking following me?” Kitty asked again.
He spat blood in her face, horn sputtering. Kitty reared back. He was trying to cast another spell! She flipped a stiletto from her wing and stick him through the shoulder. A grunt later his horn’s light cut off. Enough of this spellcasting shit! Her hoof connected with his horn this time, all her strength, waning as it was, into the long bone shard. She heard something crack, the stallion hissed. She punched the horn again, another crack, another grunt. Third time was a charm when the unicorn’s horn shattered under her hoof. This time he screamed, a scream cut short by Kitty’s hoof. His horn’s shards fell to the ground beside them. Blood began to weep from the stump on his forehead.
“Is it because of Talon?” She pressed down as he started sobbing. “Are you following me because of Talon?” Kitty pressed her hoof to the stump, forcing a shuddering gasp from his lips.
“Who?” The question seemed genuine. They weren’t after Talon, they probably didn’t even know about him. Then...Leech! Before she could do anything else, he had another knife out, this one thin as a bloody toothpick. A burning tear ripped through her side before she had time to fully get out of the knife’s way. Kitty just reacted out of pain and anger, sinking her knife hilt deep into the unicorn’s side, just under the left foreleg’s armpit. Air wheezed out of his mouth and he bled out a second later.
A sharp whistle made Kitty whirl, bloody knife up. She slumped, wincing as she saw Ruckus walk up, flanked by her colts. “Damn Kitty, cold.” She looked him over. “This the guy that was following you huh? Since when you getting tailed by anything other than debtor collectors?”
“Don’t body disposal cost extra boss?” one of her crew asked- Mauve Kitty thought.
“I do believe it does.” Ruckus sent a shit-eating grin Kitty’s way.
“Fuck you,” Kitty mumbled and started perusing the dead stallion’s effects. Another set of knives, a small bag of bits, a silver Lune. Not a damn thing worth mentioning.
“Nice clothes like that and no big bags of coin,” Mauve said. “Ripped off you was.”
“Maybe he’s a professional type,” Ruckus said. “Assassin maybe. Or a Shard...” Uneasy glances went all around.
Kitty scoffed, tossing another bag of bits Ruckus’ way. “Just burn the body, and make it vanish.”
“Pleasure doing business with ya. Mauve, Gimp get some of Jester’s brew, the rough stuff, and barrel. Let’s have a cookout- Gryphosi style.”
Kitty was out of the alley before she could hear them chorus “Yes ma’am.” Her side burned something fierce, and blood was leaking through her coats. He’d gotten her with a good slice, barely fur-deep but… Kitty staggered, her vision blurring slightly. Shit! Kitty kept herself calm; bastard used a poisoned edge! Easy filly. Get to the witch’s place and you’ll be ok. Stilling the panic that had settled in her stomach like a block of ice, Kitty rose to her hooves, shaking and made for the Greymoors.
Dilapidated, mostly in ruins, the Greymoors were where only the most destitute go to die. Even before the Nightmare took over, a sort of hostility sort of hung over the place; places that just waited for you. The City Guard didn’t bother patrolling it simply because ponies tended to disappear. The upside was, witch’s were abundant here, ponies with inclinations to the darker arcane arts willing to sell their talents. From hexs to poisons and everything in between. They didn’t come cheap though. Kitty needed the in between; she needed Cirque de Sang.
Thankfully, her shop wasn’t far from the Greymoors’ edge. She could make out the old alchemist's shop the Prench hag was squatting in. Kitty’s vision was dark at the edge’s, her legs were like jelly under her, the tips of her wings dragging the dirt. Her hoof reached the door, barely tapping out the code. At least she thought it was the code. Why did her mouth taste like mint? She hated mint. Her vision darkened and she fought the growing numbness. Kitty climbed back to her hooves but fell to the ground when the door came open. She looked up to see a dog. Was it a dog? Oh right, Spectre. Celestia, the darkness was winning. “Poison. Pay well. Help...” Kitty managed to choke out before unconsciousness claimed her.
A Nightmare Takeover AU
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