A deep breath, accompanied by a pounding in her head, were the only two noises that Vinyl heard as she returned to the waking world. The rhythmic throbbing soon drowned out her initial breath, which gave rise to a gasp of pain as she slowly sat up.
Vinyl closed her bloodshot eyes, desperate for relief, only to find a curtain of dancing red and black instead. Rubbing a hoof upon her forehead did nothing to alleviate the pain, and the mare rolled off the moth-eaten couch and onto the floor, head clutched between her hooves.
I'm gonna hurl. What time is it? What did I do last night?
Deciding to chance it, Vinyl cracked one eye open, only to find the afternoon sun blazing through the misshapen blinds and directly into her pupil. Immediately, she cast her gaze downward, only to find a familiar yellow paper- one that she had desperately hoped hadn't been real.
She felt like crying, screaming, and slamming her hoof into the sofa. Instead, Vinyl took a deep breath, and did something that she hadn't for a long time: collected her thoughts.
Alright. I need to get out of here by… the 25th? Two days. Two days before they come and force me out. Two months overdue on rent, and they threatened… oh shit…
Hoofsteps echoed across the tile as Vinyl stepped into her kitchenette, meandering through the mess and taking in the deep smell of melted cheese and various remains of half-finished meals scattered about. So much food gone to waste, and what she wouldn't give to have some of it back. The mare shook her head with a sigh, admitting defeat to herself for the second time in a day. If nothing else, Vinyl was at least honest about her shortcomings.
Maybe Dad was right. Maybe I'm in over my head…
Vinyl picked up a dirty spoon, raising it with her mind from its resting place beneath day-old milk in a bowl of soggy cereal. Upon opening her mouth and taking a taste, she immediately recoiled and scrunched up her nose, wishing that she was slightly less curious of a pony as she swallowed with a grimace.
You know what? No. I'm not going down, not without a fight. I made it this far… I just ran out of cash. I need somewhere new to go. Someplace safer than Manehattan, where I won't get into so much trouble.
Shakily, Vinyl reached a hoof out for the light switch, praying to Celestia that the alicorn would allow some artificial light into her living space. One quick flick of the hoof sent her spirits careening downward, and several repeated attempts did nothing to help. The only light came from outside, and a quick glance at the blank clock radio on the counter confirmed her fears.
Guess it wasn't a threat so much as a promise. No electricity. That means no music. That means… I'm leaving today.
Vinyl padded her way back over to the living room before pushing a hoof between the blinds with narrowed eyes. The midday sun was high in the sky, heating the side of the building and bringing a warm sensation to the hoof she had pressed against the glass. For once, the sun felt good, though Vinyl was careful to keep the shades drawn at all times to avoid it. Throwing caution to the wind, she enveloped the cord beside the window with a blue glow and yanked downward with a fierce motion, allowing light to spill into the room and illuminate the dust particles floating freely in the air.
This place always was disgusting, but it's all I can afford. Could afford, rather. Vinyl grimaced a bit, but shook her head and replaced the uncertain expression with a firm nod. No. No more depressing thoughts. Survival mode, girl. You've done this before, gotten out when the times got rough. Just another relocation, and this time, it'll be permanent. This is my break. Time to get ready to make it big.
False confidence in full swing and with the sun already beginning to cause her fur to itch, Vinyl nearly galloped back onto the cool tile of the darkened kitchen floor. Searching desperately, she ran a hoof under the counter top, hoping and praying that her target was where it belonged. Though knowing herself as she did, that wasn't exactly likely.
C'mon, c'moooon… where is… yes!
The rough surface of the wooden counter gave way to a papery texture, and Vinyl ripped the taped envelope from under the overhang as quickly as she could. The sheathe fluttered to the ground as it was abandoned for the smaller bits of paper inside, which Vinyl quickly began to count.
Fifty, seventy, ninety, hundred, one fifty, two hundred, two fifty… two eighty-five. Not nearly enough to get as far away from this place as I want to, but making it a one-way trip helps. So would taking only the bare minimum. Not that I've really got much… but first, I need food. Bad.
Vinyl's second bad idea of the day became fully evident to her as she wrapped a hoof around the fridge handle and pulled. The odor of curdled milk seeped out from the cracked door, and Vinyl brought a hoof up to cover her nose as she slammed it shut once again.
Shit, how long was I asleep? Guess they pulled the plug right when I passed out. Figures. How the hay am I gonna be able to see to pack stuff from the bathroom and closet without any light besides the sun?
Deciding to brave the stench one more time, Vinyl poked her head into the fridge and tried to fumble for something that wouldn't have spoiled. Only one thing remained, and the mare reached for it immediately. With a herculean heave of effort, she lifted the heavy dish out of the fridge and onto the kitchen island. Upon the glass rested the final slice of her birthday cake- 17th Bir barely visible in loopy blue icing.
Breakfast of champions, right here. And it's only a week old. Better'n nothing, right?
Wasting no time at all, Vinyl dug a hoof into the cake and brought the dried-out innards to her lips, tasting them with a furrowed brow.
Not quite fresh, but edible. Whatever.
Vinyl continued to dig in, getting cake all over her hooves and muzzle before bringing an errant hoof towel by to wipe them clean. Only then did she arrive at a revelation, and a stroke of brilliance flashed over her, bringing a wide grin to her features.
No lights? Make one.
A tiny pop sounded throughout the room, followed by a sizzling noise as Vinyl's horn ignited in a blazing blue light at the tip. The unicorn winced and closed her eyes, stumbling on her hooves and barely managing to stand on shaky legs. Magic had never really been her forte, and such a demanding spell combined with her lack of nourishment was almost enough to make the exhausted DJ fall to her knees.
Vinyl grit her teeth, grunting with effort as she tilted her horn downward, the swirling ball of white and blue energy swelling a bit in size as it began to fill out into a perfect sphere. With a quick flick of her head, the mare let the orb spiral forth, where it whistled through the air before stopping to float a few feet above the ground. The cascading ball of energy illuminated the entire apartment, causing every room to be encompassed in a light blue glow, much to Vinyl's satisfaction.
Through panting breaths, Vinyl reached a hoof up to wipe the sweat from her brow before walking forward to pick up the eviction notice, under which were two strips of paper.
Collection from the past two months. Totals to two hundred and thirty bits. I could pay it. I should pay it. Mom would pay it, if she was in my hooves.
The tinkling magical glow of the miniscule sapphire sun filled the silence in which the mare stared at the papers, lost in thought. Her ruby eyes scanned over each ticket several times over, watching absentmindedly as the blue waves of light washed over the papers, highlighting bits of the text in swirling patterns. CRYSTAL NOVA faded in and out of visibility as the shadows and light swam across the pages, and the sight brought a grimace to Vinyl's features.
…too bad I'm not my mother.
With a grim smile, Vinyl levitated the papers, eviction notice included, and raised her head high. The tickets were quickly eviscerated with a magical slash from the ether, and ribbons of paper fell to the carpet, joining the rest of the mess scattered throughout the room as Vinyl wheezed.
No more magic for a bit. I need to shower, change my appearance, and get the hay out of Manehattan. Now.
Without another thought, Vinyl trod across the fallen papers, back onto the tile, and into the bathroom to begin executing her new scheme.
Another breath, more steam than air, flooded through Vinyl's lungs as she inhaled deeply. The sensation felt wonderful, as did the water beating down upon her back from the carefully-positioned shower head. Several breaths later, and Vinyl finally opened her eyes, looking downward at the slick ceramic floor of the bath to find swirling trails of green and black.
I'm gonna miss that color. It was pretty badass…
Steam continued to flood the room around the shifting pony, creeping up the walls as the low-angled shower continued to spray hot water all throughout the tub. Moisture glistened off the tiled walls, and the floral wallpaper above it bulged slightly upon making contact with the balmy air. Vinyl creased her brow as she leaned her head back to look at the peeling wallpaper, flinching uncomfortably as the foil in her mane rustled upon her back.
Well, that's that. This place is falling apart at about the same rate I am. Time to engage the best disguise I've got at my disposal…
A shaky hoof rose alongside Vinyl's mane as she slowly gripped the foils in her hair. Sluggishly, she tugged downward, letting the aluminum fall to the floor of the tub as she pushed her hoof through the goopy mess within her delicate hair. Countless sheets of foil fluttered downward, leaving behind a green paste all throughout her steam-drenched mane. Vinyl rested her head against the cool tile while reaching a hoof behind her, pulling the foil from her tail as well while lost in thought amongst the falling water.
Nopony will ever recognize me if I go all natural. I hate looking like this, but it's my best shot at escaping- almost nopony knows about my eyes, and even fewer about my condition. Couple that with some improv clothing, and I'm pretty much a free mare...
Despite the encouraging thoughts, Vinyl's spirits sank below the floor as the last of the foil spiraled downward and the gel-like mixture began to wash out of her hair. Standing still and letting the water do its work, the mare allowed the bleaching agent to run downward into the drain, revealing the snow-white hair beneath it. Nothing else could make Vinyl feel quite so sick as the sight of her natural coloring, and so she closed her eyes and began to scrub in slow circles to speed up the process of washing off.
Well, here I am, Equestria. Sensitive, naked, shivering, albino, little old Vinyl Scratch, the nothing. No color in her hair, dreams as broken as her glasses, and feeling pretty damn pathetic. So much for no more depressing thoughts.
Vinyl slammed down the water control lever with a tired sigh, shivering as the downpour of hot water was cut off immediately. Silently, she was thankful to even have it, and the thought allowed her to smile slightly as she stepped out of the shower, her wet hooves slapping against the cold floor. All traces of happiness diminished as she rubbed the back of a foreleg against the mirror to clear the clinging moisture, revealing her reflection and the natural coloration that she had avoided looking at for so long.
Vinyl peeled her eyes away from the reflective glass almost immediately, hating how old the wispy white hair made her look. The mare pushed out a loaded sigh and wrenched open the medicine cabinet, thankful that her magical orb moved behind her with a thought to allow sight within the dark shelving. Bottles of Maretrin and Trotlynol comprised the majority of the interior, though Vinyl knew that their number and emptiness was her fault and hers alone. With another heavy sigh, she began lifting each with her horn and shaking it, hoping to find something to alleviate her pounding headache.
Empty… empty… empty… one pill… two pills. Your powers combined, baby!
Vinyl up-ended the two bottles in the air, not bothering to check if the three pills were of the same brand. The capsules tumbled into her mouth and caused the eager mare to almost choke, and so she leaned forward, dropping the bottles and drinking greedily from the sink. After her mental cursing fit and with the pills forced down, Vinyl raised her head and caught sight of herself yet again.
Okay, no. Fuck it, I'm fixing this right now; I can change up my look without ending up like some old spinster, even if I want to be a spinster, but like… with turntables.
Vinyl facehoofed at her own terrible joke and tried to refocus with a sigh. Peeking her head back into the cabinet, she found the lowest shelf covered in boxes of mane dye in varying colors. Upon running her hooves along the paper boxes, only one remained unopened, one that she had never even considered. In truth, Vinyl wasn't even sure why she owned that particular color, but if there was ever a time- it was now. Face creeping into an unsure grin, she pulled the box to herself, taking in the smiling mare upon the cover with a lopsided smile.
…I'd totally fuck her. That's a good sign; let's give it a whirl!
Several hours passed, and Vinyl found herself still trotting around the apartment, working up a sweat as she organized things in piles she dubbed 'shit I need' and 'shit I don't'. The latter was growing quite large, and for once, the unicorn was quite impressed with her maturity level in making a decision. Gone would be the non-essentials, leaving only what she would need to survive. Money would be tight, if not nonexistent, but victory never came without sacrifice.
Alright, bathroom stuff… do I really need a towel? I mean, I can shake pretty fast, and I'll probably be staying in some shithole place. Getting water all over the walls might not do much more damage…
Vinyl's strawberry blonde locks tumbled into her vision as she tilted her head to the side, and the sight unnerved her to the point of shivering.
That's gonna take some getting used to. I'm not gonna be able to take my amp, am I? Shit… I'll miss you… Ampy the amp.
With a defeated sigh, Vinyl slid the box into the second pile, knowing full well that transporting it would be more effort than she could handle alone. As the pile of discarded items- some harder to part with than others- grew higher, Vinyl swished her tail in a mixture of irritation and excitement. Never before had she moved with the intent to stay, which said quite a bit, considering there was still no plan in place as to where she would go. Every other time she ran, her parents' money had carried her, but that resource had just run out. It seemed that this was finally it, and so, a bit of judicious packing seemed more difficult than ever before.
Vinyl let out a somber moan, hanging her head in defeat as she walked over to her miniscule pile of essentials. A few hygiene products, headphones, her broken glasses, turntable, a torn blanket, and money lay atop the messy carpet in a disorderly pile, just waiting to be packed into the duffel bag resting next to them. Taking her time as the sun set outside the window, the mare allowed her eyes to wander, only for them to catch upon a drawer on the side of the kitchen island.
Almost forgot. That all needs to come, too.
Slowly, the unicorn padded her way over to the drawer, pulling it open and commanding her light to hover over top of it. Deep inside the wooden container lay several sheets of paper, envelopes, and cards, all from a friend that Vinyl had never forgotten. Lifting each one brought a unique memory, all throughout her fillyhood and up until just the year before- when she had stopped replying to her pen pal. The other mare still sent letters, until Vinyl switched addresses without informing her friend. Only the unicorn knew why, but her reasoning wasn't something she was willing to admit.
A light pink card with an apple formed from glued red and green sequins on the front caught Vinyl's attention, and she recognized it as the last bit of mail she had ever received from outside the city. It had arrived almost exactly a year ago on Vinyl's 16th birthday, and looking at the card now brought forth a small feeling of hope as Vinyl cracked it open and began to read.
I know we don't mail as much anymore, but I'll never forget how you changed my life. I never would have had the courage to go back to Ponyville if it wasn't for our talk that one night as fillies outside your apartment. Have a wonderful birthday, girl, and come visit Sweet Apple Acres sometime. I really miss you, Sugarcube.
A familiar tingle rose in Vinyl's cheeks, one which never signified anything good. The mare walked with purpose back to her bag, carrying the letters and cards along with her before tucking them into a side pocket and zipping it up. A quick stomp into the carpet caused the room to go dark as Vinyl's artificial light source swirled and popped out of existence, before she slung the bag over her shoulder and removed a pair of generic sunglasses from a side pocket. Slipping them onto her face, Vinyl gave a wide grin as she surveyed the broken down and disorganized apartment one last time.
"Come visit sometime, Applejack? I think I just might."
And with that, Vinyl walked out the door, dropping her key within the apartment before shutting it and walking down the hall.
The elevator doors opened with a muted shuffle, and Vinyl stepped out into the lobby of the apartment building to find nopony standing in the hallways. Looking out the glass doors revealed that it was nearly night, and the clock over the portal read 6:24pm.
Perfect. No risk of getting burnt, and fewer ponies to deal with on the way.
"…Crystal? That you?"
Vinyl froze in mid-step, her bag swinging forward a bit and nearly unbalancing her as she did so; off to the side of the room stood one of the few friends she had made in her time at the complex: a light grey earth pony stallion with a disheveled blonde mane. A cutie mark of a wrench crossed with a screwdriver adorned his flank, and his typical blue work uniform and cap complimented the 'repairpony' look nicely.
"Hotwire? What's up, man?" Vinyl trotted over, light on her hooves, and embraced the stallion with a foreleg. The much older pony wrapped a foreleg around her neck, returning the nuzzle before pulling back and ruffling the mare's mane.
"Not much. General repairs. Sweepin'. You know the drill around here," he replied with a chuckle. "You headin' out, kid? And what's with the new look? I never imagined I'd see you as a blonde…"
Vinyl responded with a raspy chuckle of her own, lightly adjusting the shades upon the bridge of her nose, trying to get used to their small size. "Yeah, me neither. And… yeah, I'm leaving. Like… leaving leaving."
Hotwire's face fell, the few wrinkles in his features seeming to pop out and become much more visible. "I had a feeling this might happen sooner than later. This city's too small for you anyway, kid. Knock 'em dead." The stallion gave a wry smile and bopped Vinyl on the shoulder with a hoof, doing his best to stay positive. The mare only blinked in surprise, the gesture hidden behind her glasses.
"…that's it? No 'don't go, kid' or angry lecture?"
"Nah. I knew from the moment you waltzed in here that you had big dreams, and a bigger spirit. Too big for this musty old place." Hotwire rapped a hoof against the piping next to him, letting a dull clang echo throughout the entranceway. "Just don't forget about poor old Hotwire, fixin' things and taking calls all day. When you make it big, I want a cut for all those lemonades I brought you," he finished, pointing a hoof at the grinning mare.
"Sure thing. But… before I go, I feel like I can trust you. My name isn't really Crystal…"
Hotwire only laughed, shaking his grungy mane back and forth as he did so. "Of course it isn't; half the ponies in Manehattan use an alias, especially the younger ones. Hay, Hotwire may or may not be my real name, you know…"
"Shaddup. I'm… Vinyl Scratch, really." Vinyl tilted her head and offered a soft smile, before turning it into a scowl and narrowing her eyes. "And don't you fuckin' tell anypony."
"Scout's honor." The stallion crossed a hoof over his chest and gave a wide smile. "This the last time I'm going to see you, Vinyl?"
"Nah. I've still gotta give you your check from when I get my first album in stores, and I'd rather do it in pony. Oh, hey- did you fix the vending machine at any point today?"
Hotwire arched a brow and pointed a hoof at the now lit-up dispenser. "Sure did. Why?"
Vinyl's eager grin told the stallion all he needed to know, and she watched with anticipation as he trotted back over to her, a soda in hoof.
"No shit! I paid for that last night, right before it died. Thanks, Hotwire!" Vinyl reached out for the drink, only to have it pulled away from her by the male.
"What if I'm a little thirsty? Some ponies work all day, you know."
"Oh come on! I will wreck you if you don't give me that soda. I need something to drown my sorrows in on the trip, and wouldn't you rather have me drinking that than booze?" Vinyl asked with exasperation.
"Fine, fine. All yours, kid. Where are you headed, anyway?"
Vinyl unscrewed the cap and brought the drink to her lips, furrowing her brow as she took a long swig. Despite the soda being flat from the night without the chill from the machine, the liquid was some of the most satisfying Vinyl had drank in weeks. Carefully, she considered her options, and arrived at a conclusion she was slightly uncomfortable with.
"…not entirely sure, really. I'll go wherever the bass takes me." He's a friend, but I don't want anypony tracking me down; I've got enough trouble just trying to survive right now.
"Fair enough. Well, I don't think either of us is the type for drawn-out goodbyes, so good luck, kiddo. Write me a letter or something, sometime. You know where I'll be."
"Will do." Vinyl stepped awkwardly on her hooves, shifting the weight of her duffel bag to the opposite shoulder. "Well… peace, bitch."
"Never change, Vinyl. Never change." Hotwire gave a small salute before turning back to his work and picking up a wrench off the floor in his mouth.
"Expect mail from Crystal soon. Bye!"
One small cough later and an overdramatic heave of effort, and Vinyl was out the revolving glass door and into the trash-scented lower Manehattan city air. The streets were dotted with ponies walking to and fro, carrying their shopping bags and conversing in small groups. All eyes turned to Vinyl as she slowly and carefully walked down the sidewalks, sipping her drink and trying desperately to avoid attention. The streets were quite a bit more crowded than the desperate DJ had expected, though not a carriage was in sight down the entire block.
Come on, come on… there isn't one carriage out in Manehattan at night? I need to leave, right now. Ponyville is at least a twelve hour ride from here, too. I want to be well outside the city when they try to kick me out.
A clattering noise brought Vinyl hope, and she tilted her shades upward to better see the approaching carriage in the darkness of the cobblestone streets. A single pony of muscular build trotted confidently, looking angrily around him and causing several of the ponies on the sidewalks to retreat into side alleys at the massive stallion's glare. The pony eyed Vinyl as she stepped out into the street, holding a hoof somewhat nervously out to the side as she awaited his arrival. Suddenly, the carriage rattled to a stop, and the two were left alone as the remaining ponies scattered for parts of the city unknown. The stallion let out an irritated snort, his brown eyes glaring down at the filly from behind his charcoal mane.
"Need a lift? Where are you tryin' to get to?" he asked in a gravelly voice.
Vinyl was slightly taken aback, wincing as the harsh tone met her ears and caused them to droop a bit.
"How much for Ponyville?"
"Ponyville?" The stallion raised a brow, his expression changing to a grimace as he calculated. "You're on the wrong side of town, it's an overnight trip, and I'm in no mood to be runnin' around like a foal right now. Three hundred bits."
"Three hundred bits?" Vinyl lowered her shades a bit, uncaring that a single pony might see her eyes in the dark. "Are you out of your fucking mind?"
"Listen, kid. I make the rules. You need to get out of this town so bad, you pay the price. Three hundred bits."
Vinyl grit her teeth and twisted a hoof, digging it into the cobblestone as she gave a defiant snort to the much older, much stronger pony.
No. Screw that. I'm not hitting a brick wall now. I'm in way too deep to let him walk all over me.
The stallion gave a short laugh, his bulky chest heaving as he eyed up the little mare before him with an amused grin. "Are you really about to try to haggle? No dice, lady; I'm not moving from this spot." The carriage puller stomped to emphasize his point and then sat down in the middle of the road, his harness resting high upon his shoulders.
"Don't even tell me you're the only carriage in this quarter."
"The one and only. Three hundred. You didn't think this trip would be cheap, did you?"
Vinyl bit her lip and dropped her bag to the stone below with a heavy thud before leaning down to place her soda in the side pocket. She brought her hoof up to massage her temples, mind racing with possibilities.
Alright, Vinyl. Option one: honesty.
"Look. I need to leave. Tonight. I only have two eighty-five on me right now. When we get there, I can borrow the other fifteen from a friend, and pay you back. Deal?"
The stallion shook his head. "No deal. I've got no guarantee of seeing all of the bits."
Vinyl breathed out, letting the air push through her nostrils with a noise of irritation. Option two: plead my case.
"I really, really need a favor, man. I'm being evicted, and my only option is to go live with a friend. I've got nothing. I ran away from home, and I'm still running. Please help me?"
"Then I suggest you go back to your parents, and stop wasting my time here, little filly."
Vinyl's stomach began to turn as desperation sank in. Option three…
"…I'll blow you."
The stallion blinked and narrowed his eyes. "Excuse me?"
Vinyl averted her eyes, taking great interest in the worn stone below her hooves. Her heart pounded as she mentally prepared herself for what she might have to do. "You heard me. I've got experience. That, and two hundred and fifty bits. As soon as we get someplace nopony would catch us."
The stallion snorted in disgust, shaking his head as his upper lip curled and he spat onto the ground. "Are you really that desperate? I'm not like that at all. Hell, I should hold you here and flag down a cop to book you for prostitution. Not to mention those parents you're running from."
Vinyl's eyes widened as she took a step back, tucking a hoof under herself in uncertainty as she shut her hanging mouth. Shit. Shit shit shit SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. This is bad.
"Please don't. Please don't." Vinyl dropped to her knees, putting her hooves together as she begged upon the dirty stone. "I'm sorry. Just… just give me a chance. I promise you I'll get you the rest of the money. Take me out to where two eighty-five would get me and dump me there, for all I care. Please." Vinyl began to tear up, and for once found that the wetness pooling at the edges of her vision wasn't artificial. "…it's my birthday."
The other pony heaved a sigh and rolled his eyes upward, pulling uncomfortably at his harness as he rose to stand. "I highly doubt that, but you know what? Get in. Two fifty it is. You stay quiet throughout the night, and lay low in the carriage. I'm not supposed to take minors alone."
"Shut up, and get in. You obviously are." Angrily, the stallion pointed a hoof at his carriage, and Vinyl climbed in without further protest. The mare pushed her bag below the cushioned bench, snaking a hoof within it to take out her bits before handing the majority of the stack to the stallion. He quickly counted the bills before tucking them into the pocket of his vest and letting out a long sigh.
"Get comfortable, kid. This is going to be a long ride…"
Vinyl merely nodded before tucking her shades into the bag and pulling out her blanket and draping it over her prone form. The seat cushions were surprisingly springy, and Vinyl wormed her way into the backing of the seat before casting her gaze up to the stars and moon.
Mare in the Moon… if you're not just some stupid ponytale, let me get there safely. I promise I'll go back to them, one day. Once I've proven them wrong.
The stars twinkled in response, and after a long yawn, Vinyl fell asleep to the sound of the rotating wheels beneath her.
Author's Note: TWO MONTHS LATER. Long, long story short, life happened, I wasn't feeling that great, and writing ground to a halt. Post-college life isn't going so well, but I'll get over it. Will try to update more stories more frequently, and not leave you guys hanging for a month at a time. Up next will be a new one-shot, but first, a quick announcement:
-The Sweetest Release has been removed from this site. I'm honestly surprised that it remained posted for that long, but there you go. Sorry to anyone who looked forward to re-reading that... whatever it was.
-Thanks to Minjask of the Ponychan boards for helping with grammar editing.