The West Is Not Enough

by JohnPerry

Chapter 3: The Good, The Rad, and The Pretty

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Vinyl followed Quiet outside onto the main street and into the nearest saloon, which sat two doors down from the hotel. The bar was in a sparsely-decorated wooden building, with grimy windows and a set of swinging shutter doors that hung in the doorway. A sign above the front read ‘The Golden Griffon.’

Inside, the saloon was dark and dingy. There was a layer of dust on everything save the bar, which was being tended to by a drab-looking unicorn in a pinstripe suit. In one corner, a mule was playing a piano, filling the room with his music. Nearby, several ponies were playing cards. Doc was already sitting at the bar and Quiet took his place beside him. Everypony in the saloon nodded at the sheriff as he passed, with a few at the bar raising their glass towards him, before throwing a suspicious glance at Vinyl.

“I get the distinct impression,” she muttered to Quiet as she took a seat next to him, “that I’m not welcome here.”

The sheriff was silent for a moment. “I’m not going to say you’re wrong about that,” he replied while the bartender placed a glass of beer in front of him.

“You weren’t exactly anyone’s first choice, you know,” Doc remarked. “The town was split over this. Some, like Quiet here, wanted to call in the army, even if it meant Equestria would gain more authority over these lands. Others don’t want Canterlot sticking their nose into our business, an’ that was my view until things got out of control.”

“What will you be having, city girl?” the bartender asked Vinyl. The DJ glared back.

“A rainbow shot,” she grunted. The bartender raised an eyebrow as Doc chuckled.

“Feisty. I like it. Get me one too,” he ordered before continuing. “Anyway, yer the compromise. An’ like any good compromise, no one is happy. We didn’t get our soldiers, but we still get a bunch of Canterlot ponies poking around.”

Vinyl glanced sideways at the other patrons in the saloon, feeling their glares on the back of her head. She took off her Stetson and set it on the bar. “And why would Canterlot ponies be unwelcome around here?”

“You’ve got to understand, we built our lives here from scratch,” Doc explained. “An’ we’re not having that taken away. Remember, these are jus’ simple farmers an’ miners. These are creatures of the land. The common folk of the new West.”

“Morons, the lot of ‘em,” the bartender muttered, returning with two shot glasses and a bottle filled with a rainbow-colored liquid. Vinyl poured a generous amount into both glasses before she and Doc took their drinks.

“Down the hatch,” she said, clinking her glass against Doc’s. She leaned back and quickly emptied the contents of her glass down her throat. There was an all-too-brief moment when there seemed to be no effect before she felt the intense spasms of her skin rapidly changing color as the liquid burned her throat. She caught a brief glimpse of flames erupting from her mouth before the drink’s effects finally subsided.

Vinyl coughed violently, her eyes watering. Smoke poured from her mouth as she thumped her chest. “That went down a little harsher than usual,” she croaked.

“I’ve had that bottle for at least three years,” the bartender said. “It’s probably past its age.”

“That’d explain it,” Doc choked through a cough of his own as smoke leaked out of his ears. He paused for a moment, then grabbed the bottle. “Another?”

Vinyl grinned and held out her glass while Quiet smiled and shook his head.

Help! Help!

The scream from outside drew the attention of Octavia, Watt Sun, and Sharp Eye, who had been sitting in their hotel room strategizing. They glanced out to see a mule running frantically down the street, squealing hysterically, “El Guapo! El Guapo! Dios Mio!

“Oh, of all the times,” Octavia grumbled. “Where’s Vinyl?!” She hurriedly grabbed her sword and Vinyl’s guitar case, slinging both over her back as she bolted out the door. Watt Sun and Sharp Eye quickly followed.

The three Pinkietons emerged outside to find the main street quickly clearing of ponies, mules, and griffons as they ducked for cover, taking shelter wherever they possibly could. The only pony still outside was Quiet Earp, who emerged out of the saloon.

Octavia looked around at the chaos surrounding them. “What in the world is going...” She trailed off, instantly struck dumb. “Oh. Oh my.”

“What?” Sharp Eye replied, turning around to see what Octavia was staring at. “What is... it...”

Standing in the middle of the street and approaching them was a gleaming hunk of a stallion. To say he was handsome would be a gross understatement; he was a shining model of masculine perfection. His chest muscles were exceedingly well-defined beneath his pearly white coat, seemingly chiseled from marble, while mighty biceps bulged from his forelegs. His face was clean shaven and free of blemishes, with a wide jaw and a sharp, angular chin. Bright blue eyes shone out from below a mane of lush, curly blond hair that, even under a wide-brimmed Stetson, had a glamorous, wind-swept look to it. A longer than average horn jutted out from the curls of his mane.

Quiet Earp trotted up beside the Pinkietons, his expression grim. “That’s Bolt Action,” he muttered.

That’s Pretty Colt Bolt?!” Watt Sun exclaimed. Beside him, Sharp Eye merely stared on in silence, her eyes wide and her mouth agape.

“He... um...” Octavia coughed, blushing slightly. “He certainly lives up to his name.”

Pretty Colt Bolt glanced over at a trio of mares, who were standing on the side of the street in front of the saloon and watching him carefully with expressions caught somewhere between terror and adoration. He smiled, revealing a set of gleaming white teeth. With a single wink, he caused the trio of mares to promptly faint. They made small noises of delight as they fell to the ground.

Bolt looked over at the last remaining ponies in the street. “So, you’re the Pinkietons.” His voice was deep yet surprisingly smooth, carrying through the air and tickling the ear like a soothing melody. At the sound of his voice, a cry of ecstasy rang out from somewhere down the street.

To her enormous credit and a testament to her bravery in the face of danger, Sharp Eye closed her eyes and shook her head frantically, as if snapping herself out of a trance, before taking several steps towards Bolt. “Y-Yes, we are, and if y-you don’t turn yourself in... right away... y-you will regret it.”

“Oh?” Bolt raised an eyebrow as he took a step towards the Pinkieton. “And what would happen if I said no?”

“Then... then we’ll have to use f-force,” Sharp Eye stammered, quickly coming under the influence of the godly stallion.

“Oh, you don’t want to do that now,” Bolt murmured, now standing directly in front of Sharp Eye. “Why are you hanging around with these fellows? Come back with me and I’ll show you a good time.”

Sharp Eye was now eye-level with his chest and standing close enough to make out the tiny droplets of sweat that dotted his perfectly toned muscles. His aroma washed over her like a gentle perfume. She gulped, her face blushing furiously, her throat dry, and her voice barely rising above a squeak as her brain scrambled to find a response. “I... um... I...”

“Ssh ssh ssh,” the stallion said gently, placing a forehoof on Sharp Eye’s lips. “You don’t have to give me an answer just yet.”

He slowly drew back his hoof, causing Sharp Eye to involuntarily follow it with her muzzle for a second. Her eyes were half-lidded and her mouth hung open as her heart thumped loudly against her chest. “Don’t go,” she whimpered as Bolt backed away a few paces.

Watt Sun’s ears flattened against the side of his head and a faint blush colored his own cheeks. “He’s not that good-looking,” he muttered, more to himself than anypony in particular.

Octavia leaned her head towards Watt Sun. “I think you’re fighting a losing battle there,” she whispered.

Sharp Eye appeared to be trapped in a state of bliss, never taking her eyes off Bolt Action. “I’ve never met anypony who made crime seem so... glamorous.”

Sharp Eye!” Watt Sun exclaimed, sounding horrified. “For the love of Celestia, get a hold of yourself!”

“Now allow me to introduce myself properly,” Bolt announced to the street at large, grinning broadly. “I’m Pretty Colt Bolt, the stallion no mare in all the West can refuse! I’m the meanest, toughest, sexiest wild horse that ever packed six-pack abs! I’m the prettiest dang stallion north, south, east, aaaaand west of the Broncos! I’m the—”

Ehhhh, shaddup!” Everypony turned towards the shout to see Vinyl stumble out of the saloon. Her face was flushed and her eyes were unfocused. Her Stetson was perched precariously on her head and her goggles were dangling off her horn as she swayed unsteadily on her hooves.

At the sight of her partner, Octavia groaned and put a hoof to her forehead. “Please don’t tell me Vinyl is now inebriated,” she muttered at Quiet.

The sheriff gave her an uneasy look. “Alright, I won’t tell you.”

Bolt slowly walked towards Vinyl, coming within a single pace of her and giving her a fierce glare. “Missy, did you just tell me to shut up?”

“You bet your well-toned flank I did!” the DJ retorted, loud enough for the whole street to hear. “Here we all were, jus’ having a nice time, and then you have to show up! Pfft, you’re not even all that good-looking.”

The look Bolt gave Vinyl would have been enough to frighten a cockatrice. “Excuse me?” he growled, leaning over her.

“You heard me,” she muttered, shoving a hoof into Bolt’s chest and glaring defiantly into his eyes. “You think you’re hot stuff, huh? Well, you know what? You wouldn’t last two minutes against some of the stallions I’ve met!”

Bolt let out a roar of fury and drew a hoof cannon from his saddle pocket. Before Vinyl could react, the stallion charged the weapon with his magic and fired off a powerful shot at point-blank range. The magical blast struck Vinyl square in the chest, sending her flying backwards and crashing through a window into the saloon.

VINYL!” Octavia leapt forward, racing to her friend’s aid. However, she hadn’t counted on Bolt Action being able to recharge his weapon so quickly. His horn glowed as he opened the bolt of his cannon, charged the weapon with magic, and cocked it faster than the eye could follow. Octavia barely had time to realize what he was doing before he let off another blast of magic, slamming the cellist against the wall of the saloon and sending the guitar case and sword sailing off her back and into the dark depths of the saloon.

“Right then,” Bolt grunted, turning around to face Quiet Earp and the remaining two Pinkietons. Watt Sun stepped in front of Sharp Eye in a desperate attempt to shield her as Bolt raised his cannon towards them. “Now it’s your turn. Honestly, from what Messy Manes told me, I was expecting more of a challenge.” He charged his weapon and aimed it at the two Pinkietons, preparing to fire.

Suddenly, the sharp, reverberating sound of a hoof hitting guitar strings rang through the air. Everypony on the street paused and even Octavia stirred, all of them staring into the dark depths of the saloon, where a pulsing blue light could be made out in the darkness.

Bolt looked dumbstruck. “What in the world?”

Watt Sun, on the other hand, smiled. “Sounds like somepony wants to get... funky.”

The pulsing light grew brighter as Vinyl emerged into the sunlight, standing on her hindlegs while holding her guitar in her forehooves. Her horn was glowing and a pale blue aura surrounded the body of the guitar. She strummed the guitar, creating a heavy beat that sent waves of energy through the air. Vinyl gave Bolt a cold glare, using her magic to snap her goggles back over her eyes.

The moment she stepped outside, the waves of sonic energy from her guitar began picking up a cloud of dust before her. A faint shield, pulsing with the light of her magic, began to form around her. Her mane and tail undulated in the air, caught up in the power of her music.

Bolt Action looked unfazed. He calmly raised his cannon as Vinyl played faster, her tempo quickening as the stallion charged his weapon. He fired, sending a blast of magic hurtling through the air and expecting it to blow the DJ off her hooves once again.

But this time, it glanced off the musician’s shield as if it was nothing. Bolt’s eyes widened as Vinyl continued playing, the glow of her magic growing brighter as the guitar’s chords became harsher, sending dirt flying into his face. The street in front of the stallion now resembled a violent dust storm, with the DJ at its heart.

Everypony else on the street ran from the raging tempest as Bolt frantically recharged his weapon and fired again and again into the glowing cloud of dust, only to watch his blasts vanish into the storm. The beats of the guitar rose to a droning pitch, casting an ominous sound over the street. He briefly caught a glimpse of Vinyl’s shades, gleaming purple in the midst of the swirling mass of dust, before the DJ unleashed her power.

It came with a mighty blast from the guitar, a deep reverberation that rattled Bolt’s teeth and shook him to his core. He squinted through the cloud of dust to see that the outline of Vinyl had become distorted, waving in the air as if she was made from the same sound that emanated from her guitar, before he felt himself lifted off his hooves and sent flying through the air.

The next thing he felt was crippling pain as he smashed into the brick wall of the hotel. His body crumpled to the street and crashed through a wooden cart parked next to the building. He groaned, trying to lift himself out of the wreckage, but finding himself too weak to do so. His body was covered in bruises and his head was swimming as he teetered on the edge of consciousness. He looked up to see Vinyl approaching him, her goggles gleaming in the sunlight.

“What are you?” he mumbled. “No mare is immune to my charms.”

Vinyl grinned down at the stallion. “I’ll let you in on a little secret,” she whispered, leaning in close. “I’m not really all that into stallions.”

At that moment Bolt lost conscious, collapsing onto the ground. Vinyl stood up and glanced around to see the other Pinkietons looking on in shocked amazement. Everypony who was on the street began reemerging from their hiding places, peering out cautiously or slowly walking out to get a better look.

Vinyl walked into the center of the street, grinning broadly and lifting her forehooves towards the crowd. “Thank you, thank you very much!” she announced. “We are the Froggy Bottom Gals, and we’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your friendly neighborhood Pinkietons!” With that, she returned into the saloon, leaving everypony on the street in a stunned silence.

Next Chapter: The Kids Aren't Alright Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes
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