Pyramid Scheme

By Xaltatun of Acheron

This work is copyright 2000, 2001, 2002 by Xaltatun of Acheron (A Pseudonym). It may be posted on the Internet to any free forum, provided it is not modified in any way, and provided that this notice is included in its entirety. It may not be sold, or included in any compilation that is sold, or posted on any forum that requires a fee for access, without my written permission. My permission will require payment, terms to be negotiated. For purposes of this notice, sites guarded by Adult Check or similar packages are considered pay sites. Posting on any site must include this copyright notice.

Story codes: (MF, FF, pony, SF, little sex)

Adult Content Warning - this story contains adult themes, including non-consensual bondage/slavery. It could also prove highly disturbing if you think our current socio/political worldview is the only one that exists. If you are under the lawful age for such materials (18 in most jurisdictions) or if you would find such material offensive, please go elsewhere.

There are currently seven stories in the Freehold series:

1. A Slave Girl of Freehold

2. A Ponygirl of Freehold

3. The Field Ecologist’s Ponygirl (sequel to A Ponygirl of Freehold)

4. Delivery Ponyboy

5. Carriage Team of Freehold

6. Escaped Ponygirl

7. Pyramid Scheme

Stories 2 and 3: Ponygirl and Field Ecologist form one story and should be read in that order. Story one leads into story 4, although there isn’t any real continuity of plot.

Carriage Team of Freehold, Escaped Ponygirl and Pyramid Scheme form a sequence, to some extent based on events at the end of Delivery Ponyboy. You do not need to read them in sequence, but it may help fill in gaps.

Some additional background on Freehold, in particular, how it happened, is in the story “The Curtain Falls, The Curtain Rises,” the end of the Ponygirl Transformation series.

The name Freehold has no relationship to any other use of the term by any other author. No connection should be assumed, either derivative or as a base for parody.

Safety Warning. This story may contain descriptions of practices that are decidedly unsafe, either in general, or if performed by someone without adequate training. There are a number of good books available on safety in the BDSM scene. Most large cities, and some not so large ones, have organized BDSM groups that will usually welcome a newcomer. I’m not going to point out which practices are safe, and which aren’t. Any practice is unsafe if performed by someone with inadequate training and experience, or if performed when not paying attention. Please think before you act. Don’t make yourself a candidate for a Darwin award.

OK - now on to the story -------


I really hate it when I start a story in the middle, so I suppose I should mention that my story really begins in “Carriage Team of Freehold.” Or maybe a bit earlier, at the end of “Slave Girl of Freehold.” There’s a bit more in “Escaped Ponygirl.” If you’ve read them, just trot on down to chapter 1, and we’ll get this story on the road. If you haven’t, here’s a quick briefing.

I am, or was, Lucy Smyth. I had a great job as a combination assassin and impersonator for one of those government departments that isn’t ever mentioned, even in the scandal sheets or the worst of the paranoid press. My usual assignment would be to get a complete body makeover, courtesy of the Dodecahedron, which specializes in such impossibilities, and then take out my target and replace her for long enough to lay a false trail before she either mysteriously vanished or otherwise met her well deserved demise under circumstances too mundane to merit investigation.

My last assignment had blown up on me. A man named Fred was supposed to be supplying the muscle if any was needed. The assignment hit a snag, and then one of his old associates walked up, said “Hi, Fred, long time no see”, and waved his hand. Next thing I knew, I was in a cell on Freehold. They gave me another full body makeover, this time to my specifications, and then turned me into a ponygirl.

The ponygirl program is what Freehold uses instead of prison for people who can’t be trusted to behave in a socially responsible manner. They obviously thought that trying to assassinate one of their officials was not socially responsible. I couldn’t argue the point very well at the trial.

Freehold uses us for transportation. Why, I have no idea, and the training advisor, an AI who you will meet later, blandly refuses to tell me. There are no powered vehicles on the island. They seem to get along quite well without them.

I got trained for taxi, and then I got trained for pulling a carriage. The guy who owned the carriage was one of the aristocracy, his driver and valet was Fred’s old associate. I’m now Running Flame, my partner is Fast Fox, and we also have two prototypical dumb blondes, twin sisters named Rippling Stream and Sparkling Brook. How dumb are they? They got assigned to farm work because they couldn’t figure out that they needed to study a map for taxi.

At the end of the last memoir, we were in the Old South Plantations. I’d been told that the next stop was the Ancient Egypt recreation, and boy, was I confused. The AI had even less data on it than it had on the Old South Plantations, and that was going some.

Chapter 1. We leave the Old South.

I came awake when the grooms entered the stable and started making noise. I stretched out and pulled my hooves under me, or my hands and feet imprisoned in their hoof boots, if you want to be depressingly accurate about it. I flicked a few stray pieces of straw off my skin with my tail. Then I slurped up a couple of mouthfuls of water to clean out my mouth, and nibbled on a stray carrot in my food bowl. One of the grooms, a tall guy named Oscar, opened the stall door and then used this big, ornate key to unlock my collar.

Boy, was I glad to see the last of that thing. They didn’t chain ponygirls in their cells in Freehold proper. They knew they had you solid; there was nowhere to go, and there were lots of things worse than being a taxi ponygirl. The ones that had a tendency to wander found their stall doors locked instead. Here in the Old South Plantations enclaves, they chained us up for the night. Like the rest of the Old South, the lock was straight out of the middle 18th century: it was this massive thing with a key that looked like a jigsaw puzzle piece. It was also about as easy to pick as my teeth.

Once he unhooked me from the back wall, I trotted on all four hooves out of the stall into the yard, where I joined all the other ponygirls and ponyboys for our morning feed and grooming. Grooming was just as simple as the rest of this place. They hosed me down, lathered me up and then hosed me down again. I shook myself dry, or at least, dry enough not to drip, and walked over to the food trough.

What do I look like? Well, I’m a ponygirl. When I’m on four feet, which is most of the time that I’m not actually harnessed to something, I’m a bit less than a meter at the shoulder. My flame red hair grows in a mane; it’s about six inches long in an inch wide strip from my forehead down to just below my shoulder blades. The rest of my head is covered with a short, thick coat of the same red hair.

All four hooves end in pony boots, with real horseshoes. The front boots have some kind of stilt arrangement that evens things out so my back is level.

The only other interesting thing is my tail. It’s a real tail, not a fake. It looks like it was designed by a committee that couldn’t decide between a cat’s tail and a horse’s tail. Or more properly, a monkey’s tail and a horse’s tail. The thing was prehensile, and I was getting pretty good with it. Real horses use their tails to swish at flies; I use mine to kill the little pests. For some reason, my hearing is good enough that I can locate them by the buzz of their wings. One quick flip of my tail, and another fly meets its well-deserved doom in midair.

Of course, tails are useful for other things, too. Like sex play. I can also pick up small objects and throw them, which is something that neither cats nor monkeys can do with theirs. I’ve got no idea why they built all that capability in; I was always told that tails were for balance. I’m told that a fair number of former ponygirls keep theirs when they graduate. It seems to be true; a lot of the grooms, and some of the trainers back at the stables in Freehold have them.

There was, I suppose, one other strange thing about me. I had a knife strapped to my right thigh. Oscar had done a double take when he saw it this morning; normally the thing hung on a peg in my stall. It stayed there, too. None of the grooms were allowed to touch it. They were slaves, and the rules didn’t allow them to touch weapons. You might think that the rules didn’t allow ponygirls to have weapons, either, and you’d be right. So why did I have one?

It’s a long story, and it’s been told elsewhere, so I’m not going to bore you by repeating it. The thing that had puzzled Oscar wasn’t the knife on my thigh so much as how it had gotten there from the post. He didn’t know that my front hoof boots had quick release leavers inside. I found out by accident, and practiced. They hadn’t been there before the incident where I’d acquired that fabulous sliver of Damascus steel. I knew there had to be a reason for all of this; and I had a pretty good suspicion about it. I’d been an assassin, and the Freehold authorities were giving me all the rope I needed to either hang myself or prove that I wouldn’t.

“Hey, Flame,” Oscar called. I trotted over and butted his hip with my head playfully. He scratched me behind the ears. “Time to get harnessed.” Big surprise, what? I stood up while he bustled about, fastening the parts of my harness around me. The foundation was a waistband that curved around my hips and ribcage. It had a front piece that came down between my legs, up the back and split just under my tail, finishing with twin buckles in back. The top was a series of straps that crossed between my breasts, went around my torso and anchored the shoulder pads.

My front hooves came next. He pulled them in back and clipped the hoof boots together with the rings on each side.

My bridle was the last piece. That was several inch wide black leather straps that circled my head and focused on rings on either side of my mouth. Like the harness, it fit snuggly enough that it wouldn’t chafe. I tossed my head when he held up the bit, but then opened my mouth like a good girl so he could install it. The bit left my tongue free so I could swallow, which was quite nice. As a final step, he added blinders. This I did not like, but so far I hadn’t been able to figure out how to avoid it.

The blinders told me that we were going to be hitched to the Prince’s carriage today; I certainly didn’t wear them for taxi, which was what I did most days. I didn’t need them for carriage, but our two blondes, Sparkling Brook and Rippling Stream, had a tendency to become distracted and lose the pace if they didn’t wear the things, so Fast Fox and I had to wear them for balance. I’ve got nothing against dumb blondes in principle, but I wish they’d learn to concentrate better.

Today, Oscar put me on the front left position, which is the pacemaker. Once he got us harnessed to the coach, Steel Rivers showed up. I whinnied at him, and he chuckled. Steel is the Prince’s valet, and an ex-assassin from Fast Fox’s old department. He checked all of our harnesses, admired my ten inches of very sharp Damascus, and then swung up onto the coach, causing it to pull against the traces.

CRACK! The whip cracked right over our heads. I flipped my tail twice to set the pace, and then we all shoved off, heaving the carriage into motion. Moving that thing took real work; it’s a heavy sucker even though it’s built of lightweight materials throughout. We got out of the stable yard onto the streets of South City. Government House, where the Prince was staying, was all the way on the other end of town.

We got there, and spent some time just standing harnessed in the traces as household servants loaded the Prince’s kit into the carriage. Once that was done, Steel Rivers cracked his whip again, and we were off. This time, we hit the main road out of town. The going got a bit easier as we left the cobblestones for plain dirt. The traffic wasn’t bad, except that it was all horses and horse drawn wagons. I suppose horses are ok for something, but as far as I’m concerned, they belong on a racetrack or in a circus, not on a road preventing me from getting up some speed so we can leave this idiotic place. Much as I want to get this ponygirl thing behind me, I have to admit we’re better than horses for most things. We’re faster, we’re smarter, we eat less, we have more stamina and we don’t leave horseshit all over the place. Which is why you won’t find horses on Freehold proper.

An hour passed, and we got to the main highway around the island. The Freehold highway is totally different. It’s properly paved, it’s got two strips in each direction, and it’s graded to be either dead flat or a slight enough slope so it’s easily negotiated by teams of ponygirls and ponyboys. There are places where it isn’t possible, but they are rare.

We hit the inner strip, which was for long haul taxis, delivery, and light carriages that could handle the pace. The pace is 15 kph, and it’s mostly adhered to. People who want to can go faster, but it isn’t common, especially since the long haul ponies are trained in maintaining it exactly.

Long haul isn’t boring exactly. It’s more hypnotic. You just keep going, and keep going, and keep going. The rhythm gets in your blood.

Chapter 2. On the Road

Our next destination was the Ancient Egypt enclave. Unlike Old South, this wasn’t a tourist destination. I’d never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago, when the advisor told me it was our next stop.

What briefing there was said it was a group of devotees that were trying to recreate Ancient Egypt so they could unravel the Egyptian mysteries from the inside, so to speak. My briefing on the enclave mentioned that they hadn’t been able to find a river that flooded like the Nile, so they were trying to adapt what they thought practices might have been like in northwest Africa before it dried up and became desert. They were also trying to build a pyramid, which could have been interesting, for a few minutes, at least. The big difficulty for us was that they didn’t speak English, like everyone civilized. They spoke Ancient Egyptian, or at least as close as they could get. I had this suspicion I was going to become more acquainted with how a real pony feels than I wanted.

Part of that was that the advisor hadn’t been able to supply us with maps of the place. One of the things that taxi ponygirls do in Freehold City is, obviously, pull taxis. Like taxis everywhere, we were expected to take the address from our customer and get him, her or them there with a minimum of fuss and bother. So we studied maps. And I knew that Prince Andy thought he had better things to do than take the reins in hand to get his ponygirl where she was supposed to go, an attitude that I could hardly disagree with, especially since I didn’t particularly like backseat drivers.

I’d done the next best thing, which is badger the AI until it coughed up some aerial photos of the place. Fast Fox and I looked them over. I suppose they were better than nothing.

Eventually, we got to the turnoff. I came out of my trance when I felt the reins pull my head right to the exit ramp. It was, I suppose, real obvious: the sign had some kind of weird pictograms of birds and squiggles that matched my exceedingly dim memories of a school visit to a museum that I thought I’d successfully repressed.

The ramp brought us down at a sedate percent or so grade, which the carriage brake managed handily so we didn’t have to push back in our harnesses. Once we got down, we were on dirt, rather than the concrete they used for the roads. This particular road ran next to a mediocre river. At least, it was mediocre compared to the magnificent Nile, which I’d seen on another assignment. But then, you take what you can get, I suppose.

Fortunately, we were headed downriver. I say fortunately, because I could see the occasional ox team pulling the empty barges upstream on the other side. The checkreins kept me from shaking my head; following oxen might just be worse than following horses. On the other hand, the oxen probably had it easy; the barges headed downstream had these large stone blocks on them.

We trotted down the tree-lined road, raising a cloud of dust. A little ways down the road, a little brown man in a white linen kilt bolted out of the shade of one of the trees and attempted to grab a hold of my reins. Before he could succeed, I felt, rather than saw, Steel River’s whip flick past, just missing his hand. He backed off, and started yelling. Steel started cursing him back, and then shut up and pulled on the reins to stop. I felt the carriage shift behind me as Prince Andy got out, and then heard the mutter of some kind of a conversation. Then the carriage swayed the other way as the prince swung himself onto the driver’s bench beside Steel Rivers. He flicked my reins, I flicked my tail, and we were off, the little brown man walking in front of us.

I felt my reins twitch, and grinned around the bit as I leaned into the harness and lengthened my stride. In a moment, we almost ran the little brown man down. He looked over his shoulder at us, and then began trotting faster, working his legs under that white linen kilt. The drag on my bit told me to hold the pace, it seemed that Steel Rivers didn’t really want us to run our guide down. Pity. I’d taken a dislike to him the moment he tried to grab my bridle.

In a little while, he turned off the road into some kind of estate complex. I managed to see a brown brick building, a well with a bucket, a cylindrical building and a path to something farther back. Four more of the little brown men squatted under an open framework of some kind, setting on two parallel poles. After a moment, I recognized it as some kind of panequin. The little brown men gave us an incurious look, and then went back to their dice game.

Steel Rivers pulled the carriage to a stop, and I stood and waited while he and our guide transferred Prince Andy’s kit to the carriage on the two poles. I wondered why the four men under the carriage didn’t help them. After a moment, they finished transferring stuff, and the Prince and Steel Rivers got into the contrivance, with both of them still gesturing to the little brown man and pointing at us. He kept making gestures, like, don’t worry, it’ll be taken care of.

They relaxed slightly. Our guide picked up a staff, and the four men under the contrivance quit their dice game and squatted under the poles. Then they stood up, lifting the poles, and the carriage on their shoulders. Now that I got a clear look at them, I understood why they hadn’t helped. Each of them was attached to one of the poles by a chain that attached to a metal collar. The guide stamped his foot, and the bearers walked away with their load.

Chapter 3. If You Want It Done Right, Do It Yourself

I stood there in the broiling sun, wondering where our grooms were. Unfortunately, the checkreins kept me from turning and looking at my companions. After a number of minutes, and a similar number of dead flies, I shrugged my shoulders metaphorically. Well, it had to be metaphoric; the harness was too firm to actually let me do it in reality. Either the grooms were late, or they weren’t coming. And I was getting thirsty, and there was this nice, stone well sitting not ten meters away. With a bucket on the rim, no less.

Another metaphoric shrug of my shoulders, and I felt for the quick release buttons in my front hoof boots. A moment later, I felt the pop as the locks unlatched and the sides split down a seam that you would have sworn was solidly sewn leather. I brought my hands back around and unbuckled the straps that held me to the carriage shafts. The reins and my bit were next, and I was free. God, did that water ever taste good.

I turned around and looked at the other three ponies standing in the shafts, looking back at me accusingly. Well, the two blondes looked at me accusingly, Fast Fox looked slightly disgusted around the bit in his mouth. I saw the slight movements that showed he was trying to find the quick release trick. I caught his eye and shook my head slightly.

Then I picked up the bucket and a ladle, and walked back to water them. As soon as I took the bit out, they started to ask questions. I shushed the two blondes quickly; whatever they had to say, I didn’t want to hear. As you might guess, I didn’t have a very high regard for their mental prowess. Still don’t, as a matter of fact.

Fox, on the other hand, at least managed to stay on topic. “Where’s the f***ing grooms!”

“Darned if I know, big boy. How much do you want to bet there aren’t any?”

“S***t. No bet. Now what?”

“I suppose I get to play groom.”

“Will they let you?”

“Either they figure it’s an appropriately responsible response to the situation, or they boot my ass. I’d rather get comfortable right now, and take my lumps later.” I walked to the adobe building and looked in.

As I’d suspected, it was some kind of a stable or barn. There was a row of eight open stalls against one end, each with a three foot chain and a metal collar and lock. The stalls were about three feet wide and six feet deep with six foot high walls. I walked into one to check it out. The end was the adobe brick of the outside wall; there was no food or water bowl, nor was there a cabinet for the VR helmets. Sigh. This made the stable back at the Old South Plantations look good. Then I thought a moment. It was probably a slave kennel, not a ponygirl stable. Or any other kind of stable, for that matter.

The other side of the building was simply the outside wall. There was a lot of what looked like agricultural equipment in various states of disrepair. Or at least what I assumed to be disrepair, I was hardly an expert in what it should look like if it was in working order.

The cylindrical building was completely occupied by a shaft with three crossbars, in a star pattern. Well, almost. There was a circular stairway around part of the inside; the crossbars barely cleared the stairway, leaving enough space for a walkway around most of the device. Most puzzling. Being curious, I walked up the stairway. It went through a hole in the roof and up between the outer wall and an inner wall. Then it came out on a platform overlooking a hole. I was about four or five meters above the roof, and the wall next to me went up another meter or so. The sides and bottom seemed to be glazed. On closer inspection, there were a number of what looked like bamboo rods sticking up from the floor, around the edges, and one bamboo rod sticking out from the wall just below the platform. It was absolutely nothing I’d ever heard of, until some part of my mind presented me with a smiley face painted on the side of a water tower. The damn thing was a cistern! With that size, it had to be for irrigation. Then the crossbars below were undoubtedly a slave powered pump. Well, I had some ponygirls that might feel walking around in a circle was better than being chained in a stall with nothing to do. Then again, they might not, but they weren’t going to be consulted.

The building behind the water tower and slave kennel (now a ponygirl stable) turned out to be a house. At least, it had well appointed rooms, some of which looked like kitchens, latrines and sleeping rooms. As well as a storeroom that turned out to hold a bin of some kind of grain, but not much else.

Well, I supposed the next thing would be to settle the ponies.

I walked back out and unhitched Fox from the carriage and started to lead him in by the bridle. “Hey, what?” he exclaimed.

“You’re going to do something productive for a change?” I riposted.

“Aren’t you going to let me loose?” he asked in surprise.

I looked back at him like he was a somewhat slow child. “No.”

He dug in his hooves. “Look, idiot,” I said. “What do you think being let loose will get you?”

“You’re loose,” he said. Men. Always trying to be logical, and usually failing miserably.

“Yes. And if you had the quick release levers, you could be too. I’m not going to release you on my own responsibility. Yet.”

He snorted, and then came along docilely enough. I hitched him in front of one of the crossbars in the water tower, and told him to stand there until I was finished. “I’ll be back with more water as soon as I settle the other two,” I said as I turned and walked out. Then I did the same with the twins, placing them on alternate bars so that they would balance and not pull the shaft to one side.

“Walk.” Rippling Stream and Fast Fox leaned into their harnesses while Sparkling Brook just stood there until the arm of the crossbeam behind her came up and whapped her in the ass. Then she lunged forward. That startled her sister enough that she stopped, and then the beam came up and whacked her in the ass. She lunged forward. They both settled into a steady walk. I thought I heard a gurgle, so I went back up and checked. Yep, water was coming into the cistern in a nice, steady stream. I went back down and told the blondes to keep going until I told them to stop. That earned me a dirty look from the one facing me at the time. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was giving them orders, telling them to do something that she didn’t want to do, or because she wondered if I thought they were so stupid that they would stop without orders. On reflection, I also wasn’t sure I cared.

Next I got water for Fast Fox, who was assiduously ignoring me, and the two cistern slaves. They, at least, gulped it down with every evidence of gratitude. I started them back up on their eternal quest to fill the cistern, and briefly wondered if the twins knew what their labors were accomplishing. Somehow, I doubted it, and somehow, I doubted that they would care if they knew. There were advantages to being a dumb blonde. Fast Fox had probably figured it out from the sound of the water gurgling, if nothing else.

I stepped back to consider the next thing. I still didn’t have a clue about food, although I supposed I could cook the grain somehow. Then I stopped as a thought occurred to me. The freight course had mentioned that each freight wagon carried VR helmets for all of the ponies for when they stopped away from a regular stable. Freehold was nothing if not consistent. Therefore…

I hunted around the carriage for a while until I finally found them under one of the seats. Four helmets, sitting in a row like four peas in a pod. There were a couple of other gadgets, including a chord board and a screen, as well as a number of somethings that looked like they might be PDAs, except that they didn’t have either a keyboard or a screen. However, they did have an on/off button, what looked like a microphone and speaker, and two little holes.

Curious, I pushed the ‘on’ button. Words formed in the air.

Please identify yourself vocally.

“I’m Running Flame.”

Why are you using this unit instead of the headset?

“We got left here. Prince Andy and Steel Rivers are off somewhere else, there aren’t any grooms and there isn’t any usable food. I’ve been trying to retrieve the situation.”

One moment.

There was a pause, and then the words being painted on the air changed subtly.

What’s your situation?

I described it.

It doesn’t look like you’re in any immediate danger. I’d like to let the situation develop a bit. What do you think you should do next?

It’s asking me? I thought a moment, and then chorded: “Keep watch for a while.”

That sounds like a good plan. Anything else?

“If I’m going to be out and about, I’d like something to wear.”

Good idea. The ancient Egyptian culture seems to like full length dresses for women. Look in the closet in the first room. Check back in two hours if nothing has changed.

That sounded like a sign off, but then words formed above the unit again before I managed to get to the off switch.

I see you have determined how to use this unit. Are you having any trouble with it?

“It’s the weirdest communicator I’ve ever seen; I suspect I haven’t figured out most of it.”

“I’ve put the course on your curriculum. This is an experimental unit, and the course authors would like your feedback when you get around to it. So would the designers.

I decided to take a moment to look at the course. It was a good thing I did: it turned out that manual input was a virtual keyboard: all I needed to do was wave my hands in the air as if I was typing or writing. I managed to get it to accept handwritten English, which was, I suppose, a great thing.

I left a message for Prince Andy and Steel Rivers, and signed out.

The closet contained a pull over dress that I would swear wasn’t there the last time I looked. I let it fall over my head, and shimmied it down around my hips. There was a slit in the back in the right place for my tail. I looked through the closet again for a belt. It was a nice leather, all kinds of loops to hang things from, with an ornate buckle that might mean something hereabouts, or maybe it was just intended to impress. Whatever. I hung the communicator on my belt and paused. Then I hiked up my skirt and transferred the knife to the other side of the belt, making sure the loop held it just right so it lay flat against my hip, and wouldn’t stick out or bounce around.

The sun was heading toward the western horizon. Two hours should put it about… there. I started walking around, looking at the building and grounds, wondering if suddenly grooms and food would sprout from the eternal dust. I even looked at the trees; none of them seemed to be bearing fruit at the moment, not that I’d have a chance of climbing one to get it.

Well, it looks like Running Flame has everything organized – or does she? Where are the grooms? Where is there any food? Have they been left high and dry? What is going on? Stand by for the next exciting episode of Pyramid Scheme!